Monday, June 13, 2011

Voyager Bien: The Big [Mill] Chill part 2

Waking up at the Mill was about as magical as it gets. Embers in the stove, the sound of water rushing through the foundations, a slight chill that keeps the covers tucked tightly. Breakfasts got off to a slow start, so the strawberry rosemary and black pepper focaccia Liz smartly made the night prior tided us over with coffee until Sunday brunch hit the table.
Ksenya and I were up next to cook, and we decided to make molettes - Mexican breakfast sandwiches - and a bloody maria bar. My scratch mary mix benefitted from freshly grated horseradish and smoky chipotle in place of Worcestershire. We used cucumber, radish and cilantro to garnish.
Our molettes stacked fried eggs, epazote-spiced black beans, avocados, fresh salsa, cheddar and cotija atop grilled brioche. A mighty satisfying way to start the day.
After brunch we caravanned through the neighboring Dutchess Wine Trail.
Our first stop was at Clinton Vineyards, who specialize in Champagne-style sparkling wine and fortified dessert wines. A sweet earthy Cassis is their award winner.
Our next stop was at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, started by the guy who trademarked "I ♥ NY" of all things. Luckily he's multi-talented - We had a lovely time at his tasting room, the entertaining pourer offering samples of many selections beyond the list.
 Back at the house we joined forces for pizza night.
We used fresh dough from Adam's Fairacre Farms and Buffalo mozzarella. Ksenya masterminded the menu, with delightful premeditated combos like proscuitto Bing cherry rosemary ricotta, gorgonzola fried sage pear, honey glazed root vegetable, and lemon bitter chicory green shaved parmesan. We cranked 8 pizzas out of two small consumer ovens!
The reason we were all together, after all, was our dear Ksenya's 30th. Brooke made her a gorgeous chocolate stout cake with the last drops of our last growler of beer. The fire crackled and we sat in our food comas and watched it smolder. The way every night should end.
Most of the gang took off Monday, but a few of us remained. We had something important to do.
One of Ksenya's ideas that sank the trip for me was a trip out to Orvis Sandanona shooting grounds, a classy sportsman lodge wingshooting school in nearby Millbrook.
Here we were instructed on handling and shooting shotguns on a world class sporting clays shooting ground, then go off on the course (reminiscent of the Sleepy Hollow set) with our guide who would send the clays flying for us, two at a time.
 I actually wasn't half bad!
 A pond of fallen clays on the course.
 Getting the hang of it!
Sore and exhausted from our full day adventure gun toting in the woods, we opened some wine and relaxed, choosing s'mores over organized dinner. It was our last night at the Mill, and we huddled about the fire like it might go out if we looked away.
I woke in my pleasantly chilly stone room for the last time and said goodbye to my curtain of trees and cute woolen blanket. We tidied the house forlornly and packed up the car. I felt my veil slightly reappear merely contemplating the return to real life, happy to continue to play lumberjack duck hunter river swimmer cast iron chef up in the country. With wet bittersweet eyes we waved goodbye, the falls gargling their own farewell as the dark eyes of the stone mill watched us disappear quietly back down the country road from which we came.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Buvare: Papa Pomelo Daiquiri

One of the many reasons for my blogger slack lately (excuses, excuses) is that I just moved house. This is something I am very ecstatic about. I have a yard! I have an outdoor dining table! I have sexy lounge chairs and a babbling fountain! Most importantly I have somewhere to ENTERTAIN.

The other night while recording our podcast, the Table Set - which is centered around the umbrella topic of entertaining, Andy, Greg and I were discussing house warming parties in particular, and the importance of incorporating a sense of place. One of the most noticeable aspects of my new yard is the towering citrus tree dangling with human head-sized yellow fruits: Pomelos.
The size of a soccer ball and heavy as a mid-size dog, the greenish-yellow giant comes to us from Eastern Asia. With a dense foamy pith up to 2 inches thick, the pomelo is deceiving in size, but still packs a good amount of tart juicy pulp inside. The flavor is somewhere between a lemon and yellow grapefruit, and dropping bombs on my patio at least once a day, my new go-to citrus for cooking and cocktails.
Naturally for my intimate housewarming gathering I decided to employ the fruit (as did many guests, spearing take aways from the tree on their way out). I peeled back the pith (the remnants a meme of their own: "cat wigs") and squeezed about a quart of tangy juice. Now what?
I took a wise cue from one of my Table Set co-hosts Greg to try it as a Papa Hemingway Daiquiri - A sexy twist on the rum/lime classic made by Ernest himself, incorporating grapefruit and marischino liqueur. With a few tweaks of my own, the Papa Pomelo was born. Originally a punch bowl affair, below is an abbreviated single cocktail version.

Papa Pomelo Daiquiri Punch

2 oz white rum
1/2 oz marischino liqueur
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 oz fresh-squeezed pomelo juice
1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
Dash of Fee's rhubarb bitters
Drop of orange flower water

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over cracked ice. Shake hard and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pomelo peel.

Now watch your head.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Carnish Culture: Nudie Foodies

"YOU should be a Nudie Foodie" was the first thing Linda (Ms. Salty Seattle, to you) said to me upon meeting in a dusky West Hollywood bar. I had seen the tweets, I knew of this brazen charitable meme... and couldn't help but [modestly] oblige.

(A ChocoMeat teaser...)

So who are The Nudie Foodies? It's not a hippie culinary cult - necessarily. But the Nudie Foodies are on a mission to make a difference, the best way we know how. Recipes! And coincidentally, taking off some clothes...
Our mission:
We are the Nudie Foodies. We exist for the sole purpose of bringing cheeky goodness to the world. Our project was borne out of a desire to help the people of Japan recover from the devastation caused by the recent earthquake and subsequent Tsunami.

You can help us help Japan by purchasing a Nudie Foodie book which will be available soon through All profits will be donated to charity committed to the Japan relief effort. Our book features 18 cover model-caliber food bloggers peeling it off for Japan. Each blogger showcases a recipe in the book, and each nudie image features ingredients from those recipes.
TheNudieFoodies.comThe review copy has been recieved, which means an offical book launch is not far off! Follow the Nudie Foodies on TwitterFacebook and at for updates. If you feel so inclined, bear a badge of support for your brave fellow foodies! (Get badges here).

For the sake of all that is good, support your local Nudie Foodie. Only good will come from it... (Trust me).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Carnish Culture:!!!

Today is a very special day.

It marks the launch of an exciting new endeavor I've secretly been working on for the past couple of months with some very talented and wonderful people.

Created by the ever-lovely Joy the Baker, I give you Homefries, the first independent podcast network dealing with what's really important: Food, wine, simple living, parenting, lifestyle and entertainment!

I am honored to be involved, co-hosting a entertaining podcast called the The Table Set with two of my absolute favorite bloggers Andy & Greg (@windattack & @sippitysup). We will discuss pressing issues regarding party menus, clever decor and foxy cocktails. We'll hopefully alleviate the party planning concerns that keep you awake at night. And laugh a little too.

Watch our intro video and start listening!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Croquer: Rosewood Tavern

And so George Abou-Daoud has done it again. Yes, he may have yelled at me when I snapped shots for my Mercantile piece, but the prolific owner also of District, Bowery, Delancey, Mission Cantina, Gelatovino, and Tamarind Deli has opened yet another rustic industrial-chic watering hole-cum-dinette. This one with a tight focus: Steak and Scotch. (Immediately, I like it).
Fresh to the Fairfax Village strip dominated by Animal and the Golden State, Rosewood Tavern resurrects the airy digs formerly of the Black Sea Russian restaurant, and by the noisy din of the room, not without some raucous leftover ghosts.
The bar bypasses specialty cocktails (though they do have a full bar), instead focusing on a hefty collection of Scotch and Irish Whiskeys and 28 craft brews on draught - From Eagle Rock Brewing's Solidarity to O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Eel River Triple Exultation to New Orleans' Abita Amber.
Opening night was expectedly nuts. We wove through the din and saddled up at the bar. Work week strain called for a stiff drink, so I ordered a 14 year old Oban Single Malt Scotch on the rocks. After that, the wait hardly bugged me. Wait - what wait?

From our table, it was clear the opening night staff was beyond weeded by the rowdy TGIF drinking crowd. But more importantly, they were sweet as rhubarb pie. I was once on the opening staff of the Doug Fir restaurant in Portland (took to first table, in fact!) - Thus - I will never complain on an opening night (yes, the computers WILL go down - and did).
That said, nothing took as dreadfully long as was promised. The food came out in little time, or so it seemed (thanks again, Scotch).
We started with the Horseradish Deviled Eggs. Standard fare, but welcomed all the same. Nice bite from the horseradish.
The Chicken Liver Mousse Crostinis were more of a revelation, texturely enhanced with sprinkled crushed walnuts and ever-so-slightly sweetened with drops of port reduction.
It's a steak place, you gotta get the Iceberg Wedge. More of a slab, this wedge is drowning in tangy bleu cheese dressing, bacon and spring onions - with extra bleu crumbles for good measure. Because we can.
My friend Michael's New York Strip Steak was basically perfect. Amazing seasoned sear, perfectly mid-rare, adequate marbling bursting with succulent flavor. Swoon. The side of Brussels sprouts with bacon literally and figuratively lived in its shadow. But neither of us cared.
My Beef Tenderloin was a gorgeous baseball of meat threatening to burst. Juicy and expertly prepared - an impressive cut of lean meat. The side of asparagus with Hollandaise sauce was a charming accoutrement.
It didn't arrive until the plates had been cleared, but our glasses of Old Chub Scotch Ale (8% ABV, from Colorado's Oskar Blues Brewery) were still welcomed, and sweeter than expected so made an apropos dessert. With brown sugar and nutty coffee notes, it carried less peat than a Scotch barrel-aged ale suggests, but again, so what? It's Friday. Steaks were had. Smooth Scotch. Everything's A-OK.

Rosewood is open Sunday-Thursday, 5PM-midnight, Friday and Saturday, 5PM-2AM.

448 N Fairfax Ave. Mid-city 90036; 323.944.0980
Rosewood Tavern in Los Angeles on Fooddigger