I find an excuse to visit the Publix near my mother’s house almost every day that I’m in Miami. And it’s not for the daily free chocolate chip cookie their Danish bakery has for every child (and shameless adult) who asks – though that doesn’t hurt. When every recipe I attempt in New York turns into a scavenger hunt or compromise, I love the everydayness of seeing these things in a large chain grocery store. Most markets have strong Caribbean or Central American sections, but only in Miami do you see Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and the West Indies represented as well. It’s like shopping in the a pan-Latin future as imagined by dancing dolls of It’s a Small World. Read more
It has been a long time since I’ve written one of these catch up posts. It’s probably only because we’re deep into the snow-globe months that I’m able to now. Seeing the links I’ve flagged over the last few weeks, it’s clear that each one has been an escape from black and white (or blue) days:
Since virtual travel is my only option these days, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting lost in Roads & Kingdoms. There’s an amazing scale to the photographs and balance in the stories that’s really lovely. This Colombia’ Bloom Boom story is just one example.
I also loved reading this story about Puerto Rican chefs, purveyors and activists reinventing farm to table in the tropics (via the New York Times). I had no plans to visit but this has me plotting a return. In the meantime, there’s this Saveur round up of recipes from the island.
I’ve never had a problem with French waiters. I personally enjoy their polished but short-fused manners. But if you do, this article in their defense provides some context for the haughtiness.
Trying to go beyond understanding to actually making myself understood, I’ve been flipping through the Farm to Table French Phrasebook by Victoria Mas. It’s my latest attempt to build on the spotty movie French I’ll likely never use with some solid food French that I absolutely will.
I stop to read anything by or about Patti Smith but this brief interview in Medium ended with a surprisingly powerful description of her mother and her famous potato salad.
I rarely want to go out when it’s this ugly-cold which means I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about changing up anything and everything in my apartment – #cabinfevermakeover. For inspiration, I’ve been looking here, also here, and sometimes here. When it’s time to actually time to do something about it, I’ll want to go here but will most likely end up here.
I’m also obsessing over DIY/start from scratch projects. I keep pricing pasta makers then remind myself in Carroll Gardens you’re always a block and a half away from freshly made pasta by people who know what they’re doing. Low tech tortellinis, however, are still on my list. Tasting Table has been putting out great videos lately but this tutorial featuring Giovanni Rana has become a favorite.
Everyone was talking about the dress last week but it seemed like minor news compared to the discovery of tetrachromats among us, capable of seeing 100 million colors at once. I can’t imagine what that must be like but the incredible exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic gave me some idea of what it could look like.
Finally, it’s Lent but I haven’t decided what I should give up (though apparently I’m in good company). My sister Carmen is doing a #somethingbeautiful series on instagram this year. I’m always amazed at the quiet moments she captures – especially when she hits Brooklyn. You can follow here.
Film was my first love but it was never an easy relationship. Early prep days were always my favorite time, when you were crewing up and you could anticipate any and all problems – or not. No one ever sets out to make a less than perfect movie but there are so many elements that can get away from you that it can be a heartbreaking process. It’s lovely to see good work rewarded and I’m excited to see friends making movies being honored this weekend. What’s isn’t so great is not seeing it recognized, and it was equally disappointing to see so many frozen out this year. Read more
I can’t decide if this post is too early or too late for Mardi Gras. I’ve always associated bread pudding with Lent for some reason although there is nothing ascetic about pudding drowning in butter and bourbon. While friends’ feeds filled with street scenes from the parades, I spent Sunday morning, on what felt like the coldest day in Brooklyn, standing over an enormous of red beans with smoked sausage and filling an enormous pan with bread pudding. Read more
Winter may feel endless just now but the season for red pomelos is way too short. Only a few markets in my neighborhood carry them and I all but missed them last year. Sweeter than other varieties with a thick white pitch or albedo, pomelos are perfect for making dulce de toronja and I‘d been waiting all year for them to come back around. Read more
A couple of months ago, I was asked to do a small write up on Felipe Rojas-Lombardi for the launch of the Celebrity Chef stamps series. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know very much about him when I started. Though he was famous for his work with James Beard, was the founding chef of Dean & Deluca, and introduced countless Spanish and Latin American food traditions to New York’s culinary scene at his Chelsea restaurant The Ballroom (tapas for a start and quinoa no less), his career predated the chef as celebrity phenomenon and it was sometimes hard to pull up information. Still when I did find articles, some scanned into pre-Google archives, I found some answers to things I’d always wondered about. For one, it explained why gourmet prepared food counters (like the one he developed for Dean & Deluca) are essentially Peruvian though they would never fall into the “ethnic” food category (he predated those facile distinctions as well). Read more
Every January 6th, on El Día de los Reyes, Santa Claus and reindeers are traded in for wise men and camels. Celebrated throughout Spain and Latin America, kids leave shoes out along with grass and water for the camels in exchange for presents the Reyes Magos will leave behind. Growing up, it was one of my favorite holidays because it meant having at least one more gift to open. This year I forgot to leave my shoes out last night and if the camels came looking for straw they were disappointed but I still wanted to post my favorite recipe for Rosca de Reyes. Read more