I Have Conquered The Paella

Okay, so I had help. A lot of it. And okay, so maybe my primary contribution was to hover around my paella-knowledgeable friends taking photographs and taste-testing ingredients just to make sure nothing was poisonous, rather than actually "cooking." But still.

The first time I ate paella was in Barcelona, which seems like the right place to have your first experience, except mine was kind of traumatic. The bowl arrived and I gave it a stir, and all of a sudden the creature from the black lagoon came launching up at me out of the depths, all claws and tentacles and such. (Spoiler: it was a crawfish. But when you do not expect to see a crawfish and are surprised by one in your food, terror is a totally acceptable reaction to have. Those are scary little fuckers.) I've never tried making it myself because it looks complicated, and saffron is expensive, and it seems like the kind of dish that should be made from a recipe handed down from a relative.

Enter: my friend Erin, whose mother-in-law Linda has a family recipe, and who just so happened to be in town last weekend.


Fig Season In Full Swing

Noritake China serving dish & gravy boat (shop my curated collection here)

My neighbor Hannah has a fig tree, and too many figs. This was a problem I was more than happy to swing by to help her with.

Hannah gave me bunches of ideas for what to do with the figs, including dipping them in chocolate and large-flake salt, stuffing them with goat cheese and drizzling over some honey, and topping pizzas with them - and yes, all of those are going to happen because HOORAY FOR FIG SEASON - but what I ultimately decided to do with this particular batch was to incorporate them into a dinner by cooking them up in a port-wine sauce that I poured over goat cheese and shallot-stuffed chicken.


Fresh Texture

A friend from the East Coast came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and over dinner she told me that the one thing of mine she really, really covets is my "dish situation" (by which she meant my collection of serving platters and wine glasses and plates and such).

With zero humility, I have to say: I love the collection I’ve amassed over the years. It includes everything from Noritake dinnerware classics (featured in this post; you can see the collection I curated for the brand here) to vintage finds from all over the country, and is constantly evolving as I discover new style pairings that feel fresh. That’s my favorite thing about my collection, actually: every few seasons, I step back and look at it, think about if and how I want to switch it up, and then simply mix a few new pieces to create a completely new look.

Take the tablescape pictured here, for example, which started with a bunch of pieces I already owned:


So THAT’S How You Make Ribs

I wouldn't say that BBQ is my forte. Or grilling. I'm not as unfortunate as I used to be - I specifically recall a camping trip with my college boyfriend where I flipped all four of the burgers we had brought, and with each flip somehow completely missed the very large grate over the fire and sent them directly into the embers, leaving us to subsist on boxed wine and cheese slices - but since it's not something I did much of until we moved to California, the learning curve has been a steep one.

Like with ribs, for example: I make decent ones, but they're not great. My friend Alisa makes great ribs. So I asked her to teach me her secrets.

Apparently it all starts with the rub.


Chicken Thighs with Capers & Artichoke Hearts


My favorite meal on the planet is the "Trust Me" menu at Sugarfish, a sushi place with a couple of locations around the Southern California area. The menu has some a la carte options, but really you have three choices: the "Trust Me," the "Trust Me Lite," and the "Nozawa" (a.k.a. "Trust Me Mega"). You tell your server how hungry you are, and then you sit back, trust, and allow the joy to happen.

That is what I need you to do here. Trust, and allow the joy to happen.

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