Apr 2020

An Unexpected Last Supper: St. John at The Hoxton

St. John x The Hoxton

My unanticipated last supper before sheltering in place was a pop-up at The┬áHoxton starring St. John, the legendary London restaurant. In the days following the event, LA’s mayor cautioned against dining inside restaurants before shutting down dining rooms across the city altogether. I don’t know when normalcy will return, but as far as final feasts go, this was one for the books.

St. John x The Hoxton

Hosted by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, the five-course dinner featured dishes from their newly released The Book of St. John. Before sitting down to sup, we snacked on deep-fried calves’ brains paired with an intensely garlicky aioli and sipped a Fergroni (a.k.a. Negroni as it should be).

St. John x The Hoxton

I had the distinct pleasure of dining at St. John in 2012 and remember the roast bone marrow with parsley salad fondly. It was wonderful to be reunited with this iconic dish on my home turf.

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Apr 2020

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake

Backyard Citrus Upside Down Cake by Nicole Rucker

“It’s the end of the world as we know it…” The R.E.M. song has been playing in my head ever since the coronavirus put us all on lockdown. It’s been nearly a month since I set foot in a restaurant, a workplace, a grocery store, or a school. The Astronomer, June, and I are heeding the advice of experts and hunkering down for the foreseeable future. And while it hasn’t been the easiest of transitions, Michael Stipe was right…I feel fine.

Like most folks with similar interests and in similar lots, I have been doing a lot of pantry cooking and stress baking. The stove has been working hard these days — making big ol’ pots of bolognese, fried rice with forgotten and frost-bitten brats, cold peanut noodles with soy sauce packets, and more anchovy pasta than I care to admit.

The oven has been churning overtime too — baking up loaves of bread and most recently, this Meyer lemon upside-down cake from Nicole Rucker’s cookbook Dappled. The cake didn’t go entirely according to plan. For starters, I baked it in the wrong sized pan — the difference between an 8-inch and 9-inch round can’t be underestimated. And second of all, the sliced lemons, which were intended to pretty the cake’s surface, migrated all over its sides. Still, the texture and flavors turned out well — moist, fragrant, caramelized, and delicious. It brightened up our dinner table and our neighbors’ too. And these days, that’s more than enough.

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Mar 2020

Yi Mei Deli – Rowland Heights

Yi Mei Deli - Rowland Heights

When it comes to Taiwanese breakfast, I haven’t had reason to veer from Monterey Park’s dependably great Huge Tree Pastry, but a recent lunch meet up in east San Gabriel Valley introduced me to Yi Mei Deli. With three locations in Southern California (Rowland Heights, Chino Hills, and Monrovia), Yi Mei Deli serves up a solid Taiwanese breakfast.

Yi Mei Deli - Rowland Heights

My dining companion Juliam ordered the genre’s greatest hits, and a few sleeper ones too. We settled into a communal table, and the food arrived hot from the kitchen as soon as it was ready.

Yi Mei Deli - Rowland Heights

First up was a duo of breads: a twisted cruller (you tiao) and a baked sesame flatbread (shao bing).

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