Who cares how they cram all that graham. The real question is: How do they cram all that spicy green peppercorn fish?
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Heirloom fruits sourced from family-owned farms located no more than 350 miles from Los Angeles are transformed into beautiful jams, chutneys, fruit butters, and marmalades at Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl. Here, preserves are made the old fashion way, cooked slow and low in copper pots using as little sugar as possible and natural pectin. This “less is more” approach means that every jar practically bursts with nature’s wholesome goodness.
The magic of spring and summer is captured in flavors like wild blueberry with tarragon and Santa Rosa plums with flowering thyme, while winter’s blood oranges and kumquats are delicately tamed in marmalade form, sometimes with the addition of vanilla bean.
Ms. Koslow recently teamed up with Ria Wilson, formerly of Canelé, and Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski of G&B Coffee to open her production space to the public for breakfast and lunch. The Astronomer and I swung by on Saturday afternoon to catch up with my favorite jam maker and to sample a few of her new menu offerings.
The well-edited menu celebrates toast in sweet and savory forms and features daily specials that change with the chef’s bounty and whims. Runny eggs and preserved goodies of all stripes punctuate each plate.
After spending three days in Paris, The Astronomer, my mom, and I packed our bags and headed to the countryside. The first stop on our survey tour of France brought us to the Loire Valley, a region famous for its age-old châteaux. The Astronomer, a proficient stick-shift driver since age 15, rented a car to shuttle us from site to site. Even though things got a little hairy at times on the narrow, winding roads, he navigated the terrain like a true Frenchman.
The first fancy house that we visited was the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, an impressive residence with its foundations built under water. From there, we headed to the Château de Villandry to scope out its intricate gardens.
Somewhere between point A and B, we found ourselves lost among the grassy pastures. Though we made a valiant effort to follow the sporadic signs pointing us in the right direction, it was a hopeless situation without a GPS.
On the search for Villandry, we drove by dozens of signs on the road advertising a plethora of artisanal products. We decided to follow the blue arrows promising foie gras after giving up on finding the château.
Fortunately for us, the signs leading to Ferme des Morinières were much easier to follow than the ones for Villandry. Ferme des Morinières is a family-run foie gras farm that has been operating for three generations. We were the only visitors on the farm this early evening, although I sensed from the farm’s welcoming spirit and gift shop that visitors exploring the countryside swing by all the time.
I was sold on Valentine’s Day back in middle school when my crush* gifted me a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates between first and second period. No matter that the drugstore batch tasted like Halloween leftovers or that the “relationship” lasted barely a week—I was totally smitten and as far as I was concerned, Valentine’s Day ruled.
While the good ‘ol days of pastel-colored conversation hearts and flimsy perforated cards are over, I can still appreciate honoring February 14 with something sweet for my sweetie. Here are a trio of locally made desserts that will charm the pants off just about anyone. You’ll see…
Justin Chao of Le Bon Garçon crafts the most brilliant caramels I have ever tasted. Every batch is made from scratch using the best ingredients and no preservatives, which results in a soft and silky caramel that is truly like no other. It’s quality you can really sink your teeth into.
For Valentine’s Day, Le Bon Garçon has created a limited-run blood orange-infused caramel called Caramour, as well as beautiful packaging to go with it.
Other flavors available include classic salted caramel, passion fruit, and macadamia nut. Make sure to place your orders by February 7 in order to ensure delivery by Valentine’s Day.