All posts by mallagher

How is Your Onsen tamago?

Onsen tamago is a Japanese method for poaching eggs in he shell.

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Harris Salat explains

Japanese owe this cooking method not to noodles, but to the country’s bountiful natural hot springs. Hot springs or “onsen,” dot volcanic Japan from tip to tip (dipping into a steaming onsen one of the great pleasures of visiting Japan), and a custom for cooking eggs at these springs evolved over the years — toss them into the hot water, wait a bit, and the egg magically poaches. The secret is the onsen’s water temperature, which causes the egg’s yolk and albumen congeal into a nice sphere on the outside, and beautifully creamy and tasty on the inside. It’s a great way to cook eggs if you’re a stone’s throw (or make that, an egg’s throw) from an onsen.

Interesting, but not very helpful. What about the rest of us? Harris has more

I asked Chef Rio and here is his easy technique: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and add 4 eggs. Leave the eggs in the water for about 30 minutes. Remove the eggs, crack them open and — viola! — you’ll have nicely poached onsen tamago. (For those of you who demand perfection, maintain the water temperature at exactly 145 degrees F (or 65 degrees C), which will yield an impeccably spherical poached egg.)

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Today, We Conquer Downtown LA

I liked this plan

Start your day at Egg Slut inside Grand Central Market with their namesake dish, a coddled egg atop a potato puree served in a glass jar with a side of toasted baguette. You’re welcome. From there, make your way to The Broad. The city’s newest contemporary art museum is free and reservations are in high demand, so book tickets ahead of time, especially if you’re hoping for a selfie in Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms. For a different kind of cultural experience, try a guided tour of the Arts District with Cindy Schwarzstein, the founder and director of Cartwheel Art Tours. The once gritty section of DTLA is quickly becoming a dynamic community with a thriving street art scene, and Schwarzstein has a wealth of knowledge on the topic and is super passionate about the ongoing evolution.

For lunch, head to Cafe Gratitude, one of our forever favorites for their healthy riffs on junk food classics like pizza, burrito bowls, and Indian curry. Head back to the hotel swimming pool for some R&R or spend your afternoon perusing the wares at indie boutiques like Poketo (design-driven gifts), Hammer and Spear (vintage furniture and stylish housewares), and Matteo (luxurious linens in earthy colors). For dinner, we like B.S. Taqueria for low-key Mexican dishes, Broken Spanish for fancy Mexican dishes, and Bestia for seasonal Italian fare.

And you start off at the Hotel Figueroa, the only hotel in downtown LA with a ground level pool!

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The History of the Pork Pie is Confusing and Contradictory!

You probably were not aware of that! Let’s dive into this

The first recorded proto–pork pie recipe appears in the medieval manuscript known as The Forme of Cury, attributed to the royal cooks of the court of Richard II and first published around 1390. A close look at the now-digitized recipe collection reveals that the recipe for “Mylates of Pork” is most pork pie–esque, as it contains ground pork (“hewe pork al to pecys”) and is cooked in a rudimentary pastry shell. But there are crucial differences, such as the addition of both cheese and eggs to the seasoned pork mixture, as well as the recipe’s explicit calls for saffron. While it is perhaps more of a borderline quiche than a pork pie, the bones of the modern dish are there.

Pettegree suggests a different 14th-century recipe as a candidate for the original pork pie: the appropriately named “Pig Pye,” printed in Dorothy Hartley’s 1954 Food in England. The recipe calls for pork, plus mace and other seasonings; the dish could be enjoyed hot or cold, but the addition of currants set it apart from our present-day savory versions. However, Laura Mason, a food historian and author of several books on British food, remains skeptical about the reliability of this recipe, noting that Hartley’s research-gathering methods have recently come under scrutiny.

And then there is the issue of crust edibility

What we do know is that early pork pies were dished up in what were rather ominously known as “coffins,” or “cofyns.” Janet Clarkson, in her excellent book Pie: A Global History, writes that the original pork pie crusts were “tall, straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids,” not unlike today’s gala pies (large, rectangular pork pies, with a signature, somewhat disturbing core of elongated boiled egg). According to Clarkson, modern texts often describe the outer pastry shell as an element that was regularly discarded, in part because the long cooking times of early pork pies would render the crusts tough and inedible by modern standards—a conclusion that, she is quick to note, makes little sense. Regula Ysewijn, in her book Pride and Pudding, also dismisses “the notion…that pastry was never eaten in [the 14th century]” as “nonsense,” and Dr. Annie Gray, a food historian and author of The Greedy Queen: Eating With Victoria, confirms that “the crust was eaten, it’s illogical that anything edible would be thrown away.”

And that is not the end of the story! Go for a cup of java and bring this story up to the present.

Paris: The Circus Bakery has Cinnamon Buns to Die for!

Let’s say that you are not staying over in the Marais. That means you might need to get your butt over there in the morning for the cinnamon rolls at the Circus Bakery. They look like this

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Very nice!

Looking at this, I would hesitate before aspiring to make one at home. It would be a project. It would require certain tools and skills.

But it could be done! Here is how!

Inviting Brown Bears to Lunch in Lapland

You don’t think of brown bears as sociable types, but they have feelings too! And around mid-day, they are ravenous!

How do I know? I watched this rather peculiar video about eating strange foods in Finland. You are justified in asking why I would watch his. The answer, my friend, is that northern Finland is one of my Luxe adventure destinations!  The journey stars in Stockholm. From there, we head west, then up the western coast, then to the greatest restaurant in the world, sleep in a tree house, and head over to Lapland for cloud berries and sauna. We end up in Helsinki.

Meanwhile, check out the video. It is quite the thing!

Enjoy!

Finding Nirvana in a Barcelona Wine Bar

Put yourself into the story

When I walked into La Graciosa, a bare bones, one-year-old wine bar in Barcelona, I was already thirsty from all the day-drinking I’d been doing (I was on VACATION, okay?). One of the owners, who’d been unpacking a limitless supply of boxes (boxes EVERYWHERE), was happy to oblige, and pointed us a bottle of Spanish natural wine to try. “But what can we have by the glass?” I asked. He looked confused. You can have whatever you want!

Feel the vibe?

La Graciosa is a friendly, wine-nerdy place. There’s a bookshelf of cool wines to drink or buy, a bar lit by hanging green globe lamps, a few tables and big wine barrels-as-tables, and a cozy, secret-feeling backyard. They have crispy breads and the aforementioned anchovies. It’s in a cool neighborhood too, Gràcia, and steps away from La Vermuteria del Tano, a tiny treasure of a corner bar with fragrant, delicious house vermouth from a big barrel I wanted to wrap in bubble wrap and take home. But my suitcase was already full.

La Graciosa

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Vermuteria

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Here is your link.

And here is your guide to the Garcia neighborhood.

The rest is up to you.

 

Is Montauk the New East Egg?

Summer is the season for dreaming. And I thought this blurb captures a certain type of dream that is unique to the beach scene in the eastern part of the US – more specifically Montauk

For a new generation of dreamers and seekers, Montauk is the new East Egg. The string lights of the Surf Lodge beam across Fort Pond, promising parties you can’t get into, full of people you’re not cool enough to meet—not yet.

East Egg?

To get this reference, one must be a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby. East Egg is his fictional  “old money” town where Daisy and om  Buchanan can be found. West Egg is   is where “new money” resides and that is where Gatsby does his thing.

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Of course, one yearned to be accepted by the East Egg crowd, though the best parties actually were to be had in West Egg at the Gatsby Mansion.

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So what is it about Montauk that evokes these references?

Check out this  article to find out!