Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Anderson Valley in the News

Oh my god, it's our summer vacation, suddenly writ large.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hej Hej

I'm not even jealous that Andy is going to Venice on Tuesday, because a week from then I'll be at the BALTIC HERRING FEST!!! Who the hell needs cichetti when you can have voileipäpöytä? Not to mention all the reindeer you can eat! This, though, might be a little much, even for me.

In preparation for total herring immersion, I have been eating a lot of this.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Way Life Should Be

- Beginning the day with lobster stew (aka "butter soup with some cream and lobster in it")
- An afternoon's walk on a remote island
- More lobster (this time with Champagne)
- Ice cream with Italian wine-soaked cherries
- Blind maple syrup taste-off (in a surprise upset, Vermont loses! Maine and New Hampshire's syrups place first and second.)
- Percolated coffee
- Nervous Nellie's Jams and Jellies (Blueberry Ginger preserves? Bought two jars.)
- A trip to Helen and Scott Nearing's homestead
- Good friends and a heavenly bed

Photos here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Rant

Thank goodness someone in the mainstream press is finally commenting on celebrity-chef fatigue. I have been very tired of this phenomenon for some time. The New Batali Restaurant. The New Colicchio Restaurant. The New Keller Restaurant. In Berkeley, the New Waters or Relation-Of-Waters restaurant. I blame Keith McNally, in part (not to mention Jean-Georges Vongerichten), but I also blame the food magazines that, for want of paparazzi photos of movie stars, have created this monster cult of celebrity chefs whose new restaurants in far-flung locales become pilgrimage sites. What happened to the idea of going to a restaurant and eating a meal prepared by the chef whose job it was to cook at that restaurant? To develop menus for that very place, on a small scale, for a local patron base, without worrying about whether the same ingredients would be available at his other restaurant in Vegas? Why now, when we give such lip service to the small and local, are we so eager to fly across the country for the same Miso-Glazed Cod at Nobu in LA or Miami or Dallas that we ate at the Nobu in New York? Why are we interested in a chef's restaurant "concept", rather than a chef's own touch in the kitchen? I hesitate to heap kudos on anyone, knowing that tomorrow they could decide to join the fray and up their pay, but right now I raise a glass to Wylie Dufresne, Gabrielle Hamilton, Sharon Pachter and Charles Kiely, and other like-minded chefs for keeping their cooking at a scale they can control, rather than delegating their ideas to their sous-chef heirs.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A traumatic night

...and this capped it off. Memories, well wishes, reminiscences welcome here. We were just at O'Rourke's two weeks ago with Ian and Arta, having memorable omelettes. I went there and cried in a booth on the day my sweet guinea pig died; I ate there on the morning of my 30th birthday; I can almost smell the steamed cheeseburgers cooking every time I pass the Middletown exit on I-91. Godspeed, Brian. Flickr photos here.