Lunch @ MOMA

quiche.jpgThe excuse was the outstanding de Kooning retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, a sleek exhibition setting that lives up to its classically modern name. But the first thing we did was head up to the 5th floor Terrace cafe for a delightfully civilized early lunch. Armed with an appropriate regional wine - a Merlot from Pellegrini Vineyards, North Fork, NY 2006 - we dove into beautiful plates of seasonal flavors.

For my sweetie, slices of organic chicken with marinated squashes and hearts of romaine lavished with mustardy vinaigrette. For me this warm eggy tart of roasted cauliflower and Bayley Hazen blue cheese, More…

Last week we headed for the east coast and a family wedding in Bethlehem, PA, home to steel tearoom.jpgmill ruins and an 18th century utopia built by Moravian colonists. Blindingly green, the Lehigh Valley in June can be hot and humid. And it was.

But we found relief in a charming Irish team room next door to an Inn where George Washington used to hoist pints of colonial homebrew while plotting  military maneuvers.

McCarthy’s Tea Room, located in the architectural center of Bethlehem, offered an authentic breakfast of eggs, on top of a slender oat cake More…

Nickelodeon Theater founder and fearless world traveller, Bill Raney, will be on handbraney.jpg this coming Thursday, May 13, at the Cabrillo College Bookstore, signing and talking all about his colorful book, Letters to Zerky, A Father’s Legacy to a Lost Son & a Road Trip Around the World.

An anecdotal account of hippie era trekking literally around the world—Europe, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, Nepal—the book tracks Bill’s journey with wife and young son during the late 60s. It’s a real-life caper loaded with hair-raising events way beyond the pale of mere touristic wandering.

Bill is a trip unto himself and the upcoming Cabrillo event will be pure pleasure. Come meet a remarkable man with supernatural abilities to be lost, and found.

The book talk starts at 7pm on May 13 - FREE. Call 831/429-4234 for details.

Seattle’s Union

At the very strategic corner of First Avenue & Union, next door to the Seattle Artunionsquid2.jpg Museum and hanging over Pike Place market, Union is a very smart island of low-key sophistication. Chef Ethan Stowell, whose sibling restaurants include the popular Tavolata and How to Cook a Wolf (cf. MFK Fisher), does simple, elegant, non-fussy things with regional ingredients.

I loved a squid salad (pictured here) luscious in a light tomato broth, tossed with olives, fennel, More…

Newark Shuffle

Here’s my story, even if it isn’t what you expected.

I never made it to Israel. I got as far as Newark, when root canal complications got the best of me.

Swelling, pain, fever – the full Cleveland. And flying to the East Coast the day after major root canal work was probably, in retrospect, a bad idea. In a diagnostic epiphany, my prescient physician B. Hilberman pronounced it a case of “bad mazel.”

So I cancelled my flight to Tel Aviv. Cancelled my original return flight to SFO, and –cobb.jpg after paying handsomely for the privilege – made a new return flight reservation.
Then I killed time by 1) seeing the Francis Bacon exhibit at the Met, 2) consuming pizza at Otto in the Village, and 3) mega-dosing ibuprofen, Cipro and lying flat on my back.

In the meantime, I got to know the lounge staff at the Hilton Newark Airport (Cobb salad dinner, left), and the labyrinthean off-ramps of the New Jersey Turnpike. Heavy skies, leaden humidity, the look of perpetual acid rain — the northeast reminded me all over again just why I live in California.

So, I have no tips for great dining in Jerusalem. Alas. But I can reveal that a subtle and delicate balance of anti-inflammatory pain killers, high powered antibiotics and steady doses of red wine can indeed help win the fight against pain and mid-career disappointment.


springsalad.jpgBack from Vegas, I’m still trying to sort out the declining playground of Frank Sinatra & friends. More posts in the following days. . . .
For now, let’s just say that in addition to a tremendous meal at Mario Batali’s new Carnevino, we discovered an eco-haven (with a Platinum LEED ranking) in the Springs Preserve. Here we lunched - twice - at Wolfgang Puck’s all-organic, utterly delightful cafe (here’s the house salad).

Stay tuned.

Paul in Paris

paulparis.jpgNope. Not Jean Genet. It’s restaurateur Paul Cocking (Gabriella Cafe) eating his way through Paris last month, one eponymous restaurant at a time. Blown away by what he tasted, Cocking and his traveling companion Jeannine Bonstelle sampled freely along the Left Bank, the Right Bank and everything in between.

The Ile St-Louis provided this gorgeous dish at a place called Mon Vieil Ami, 69 rue St-Louis-en-l’Ile, 4th. Culinary researcher Bonstelle found the place in Clothilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris. coloredfood1.jpgThe bistro showcases the cooking of Alsace’s Antoine Westermann - including this gossamer salad of lightly steamed vegetables in broth.

Philly Tartare

phillytartare.jpgHere’s another reason why I love to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The museum’s restaurant invariably offers gorgeous lunch dishes for excellent prices.
This salmon tartare, served on a bed of transparent zucchini ribbons and topped with shaved fennel and a long wedge of house-made sesame cracker, was a knock-out with a glass of bubbly.

Our late September art walk through Rome included lodgings at the very oldcardcesi.jpg Palazzo Cardinal Cesi, a 15th century papal residence. Housed a few feet - literally - from St. Peter’s, we were able to stroll to a lifetime’s worth of great artwork, every day. (That’s me in the palazzo’s breakfast room, complete with barrel vaulting.) Just down the street and across the Tiber, we re-visited the Baroque masterworks by Borromini and Brunelleschi — the gold and marble interiors — and mannerist exteriors —that defined the 16th century during this gilded age.

After a long meditation inside the 2000-year-old Pantheon, it was time for a Campari — which, along with Fernet Branca, is our cocktail of choice this fall. Food, artwork, architecture, and the visually-dazzling tendency of Italians to be just thatcampari.jpg much more fashionable than anyone else - a remarkable trip. Our taxi drivers looked like they’d just stepped out of a Hugo Boss showroom. Waiters invariably resembled Caravaggios. Just too delicious.

Which brings me to the picture perfect bresaola appetizer at La Campana, in Rome’s medieval district. The marriage of cured beef and shaved grana is almost matchless.

But don’t take my word for it. Look down a few posts.

Food for the Soul

Worth a 13-hour flight, and then some. stpinterior.jpg

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