Friday, May 19, 2006

Second Breakfast, Interrupted

A note to my dear readers:
I'm headed out of town on a two-week reporting trip, but I'll be back on June 7th, and I hope to have lots of great culinary news to share upon my return. Eat well while I'm gone--see you in a couple of weeks!

Monday, May 15, 2006

An Update, Long Overdue

Shame on me for taking so long to update! My heartfelt apologies to my five loyal readers. With all that's been going on lately, there simply hasn't been much time for epicurean pursuits, although herb-planting has begun in earnest! Cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, dill, basil, oregano, garlic chives, and thyme are in. I love being able to step outside the kitchen and snip off whatever I need, as opposed to picking up one of those clear plastic packets of six-hours-from-moldy herbs from the grocery store.

I'm working on a pretty labor-intensive story for Columbus Monthly right now, which has required some serious pounding the pavement all over central Ohio. I can't say much about the topic right now, except that I think it's going to be fabulous (God willing!), and it will run in the August issue--the same month that my Southwest Airlines cover story will appear. More on that later!

Some other things that have transpired since I last wrote:
  • Book manuscript is IN, after a time-consuming fiasco (my fault) that I really don't care to relive by recounting it here.
  • I've read a few wonderful books lately: Patrick Hannon's Running into the Arms of God, Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan's Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading, and, of course, Giada's new cookbook: Giada's Family Dinners!
  • I made the trip home to see my elders in honor of Mother's Day weekend, and as always, the visit was festive and fun, and I got to try pappadams (wafer-thin Indian breads made with lentil flour) for the first time. I also paid a visit to the Indiana State Prison yesterday, a Level 4 facility in Michigan City. (Again, it was for a story, so I can't say much about it now.)
  • I have purchased two tickets to see The Da Vinci Code on opening night at the Arena Grand. Can't wait!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Weekend Recap

This weekend was a foodie's dream, and my bro was the perfect Detroit tour guide, showing us all Rock City has to offer. We sipped margaritas in Mexicantown (which was hoppin' due to Cinco de Mayo celebrations) and enjoyed soul food at Slow's Bar-B Q in the slowly-revitalizing Corktown area. I highly recommend the fabulous frittatas at (where else?) Frittata in Clawson. Mine included wild mushrooms, gruyere and savory pancetta, and my mom ordered a Jamaican jerk version complete with mango salsa!

We had a fabulous time at the Eastern market, and I bought all kinds of flowers. I also picked up some Michigan honey, ruby-red stalks of rhubarb, a giant bag of fresh, earthy mushrooms (which we used to top a homemade pizza tonight) some curry from Rafal Spice Company, and cinnamon-caramel coffee, which makes one of the best morning cups of coffee I've ever tasted. I brewed a pot at my bro's place on Sunday morning, and he asked me: "Are you leaving this coffee here?"

I also bought a ton of herbs, which I planted tonight: basil, flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, dill, thyme and some nasturtium (edible flowers!).

A couple of interesting food-related news-y notes:
  • Read this NYT article about the cookbook series that's outselling all the cookbooks by Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis and Jamie Oliver combined. Prepare to be surprised!
  • Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" this week highlights, a nifty kids' kitchen guide that was nominated for a 2006 James Beard award.

Friday, May 05, 2006

In Search of the Spice of Life

I'm off to Detroit this weekend to spend some time with my brother--I'm so excited! I've got his Cinco de Mayo present chilled, packed, and ready to go: a six-pack of Negra Modelo. There are few things I enjoy more than tossing down a couple of cold ones with my bro and husband!

The culinary hot spot that tops my to-do list this weekend is the Rafal Spice Company in Detroit's Eastern Market. I first read about it in the Saveur 100, an annual compendium that sums up the year's best in restaurants, food, drink, people, places and things. [The 2005 collection highlighted IKEA's Swedish food markets, the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, and these new Spicy Thai Kettle Chips.] Anyway, I'll be scanning Rafal's apothecary jars for curry powders, cardamom, cinnamon varieties, vanilla beans, and whatever else inspires me.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hot off the Press...

A couple of new articles published this week:

Read my profile of Master Chef Hartmut Handke here--Columbus' very own king of creme brulee, which the 2004 Zagat Guide said may be the best in the world. I remember very well the first time I tried Chef's creme brulee. I literally stopped talking to the people at my table, because I wanted to devote every single bit of my attention span to tasting it. Quite simply, it was unbelievable. I wrote the article for Midwest Airlines Magazine, the in-flight magazine for the most pleasant airline I've ever experienced. Midwest has a direct flight from Columbus to Milwaukee, a hub, which I availed myself of two years in a row when speaking at the Call to Action national conference. Hands down, they offer the best treats I've ever had at 30,000 feet: kringle, a heavenly pastry that's a signature Wisconsin treat, and some really great lemon bars!

Columbusites can read my new profile of World Laughter Tour leader and psychologist Steve Wilson in the May issue of Columbus Monthly. Wilson starts "laughter clubs" to promote the healing powers of laughter, and he has worked with everyone from schoolteachers to the Pentagon. He's a great guy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

If You're Going to Try to Be Clever...

...for pete's sake, SPELL THE WORDS CORRECTLY.
(Surreptitiously taken photo courtesy of the 5th Ave. Starbucks in Grandview.)