Kate Christensen is exactly the kind of woman I would spend all my time trying to bed if I weren’t already married to The Most Wonderful Woman in the World. She’s hot, with the most beguiling eyes, and expressions, I’ve encountered (we once shared a stage at the Key West Literary Seminar); she’s smart as lightening, and she writes fabulous books. Readers of this site, if you haven’t read Epicure’s Lament, put it next on your list, followed by The Great Man, which inspired the below recipe. That’s right: a fictional scene generated this most delicious North African–style chicken stew, a version of which I made for Donna on Saturday. It’s also a lesson in the way recipes ought to be written and followed. Christensen’s most recent book, a memoir, Blue Plate Special, began as a Read On »

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When I opened to the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s wonderful and expanded food section, I was delighted to find a handful of bartenders offering cocktails. The Derby, offered by Lindsey Hawes, who mixes drinks at The Willeyville in the Cleveland Flats, caught my eye (here she is making another fave of mine, The Dark & Stormy). The Derby  caught my eye for its straightforwardness and lack of frou. I immediately thought of the Brown Derby, a restaurant chain that flourished here in the 1970s, where I first encountered what was called a salad bar, back in the pre-sneeze guard days (God, how I long for the simpler times when people didn’t freak out about bacteria and rub sanitizing gel on their hands every five minutes). Potatoes came foil wrapped (an actual botulism worry, in fact). Butter Read On »

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I got so carried away with my enthusiasm for Omar’s I didn’t get to the rest of my NYC post, which needs to emphasize an important event, orchestrated by Ferran Adrià, that took place in Manhattan and at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. (A number of people asked what show my Mom took me to before that lovely dinner. It was The Trip to Bountiful, for which Cicely Tyson won a Tony. I mention it not because it’s a lovely, subtle play [and movie with Geraldine Page] by Horton Foote, but because it was such an unexpected thrill to see genuine star power on stage. And I’m not talking about the power of celebrity, which is its own weird, slightly creepy entity, but rather power that comes from within, the diamond-hard center of an artist. Tyson lights up the Read On »

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Here’s how it happened. When my mom asked me what she could give me for my 50th birthday, I said “A Broadway show and a nice meal, just the two of us.” The restaurant she chose was one of her faves, Marea, but then she changed her mind—her pal Cynthia, with whom she was staying on the UN-traffic-clogged East Side, said we had, had, had to go to Omar’s—only open ten weeks. I hadn’t heard of it. Checked it out on Urban Daddy—interesting but I hate clubs. I looked into the namesake and thought, South American party boy—I don’t know, Ma. But she’d reserved it, even ordered a car for after the theater for the special occasion, so I didn’t argue. It’s in one of my favorite neighborhoods, West Ninth between Fifth and Sixth, and we descended from the sidewalk to Read On »

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Today’s cocktail is a new one for me, via Emilia via Pableaux (see below). It’s a sherry and fruit cocktail from the early 19th century called a Cobbler. A Google search will give you all sorts of spirit-based “cobblers,” but how they differ from a basic whiskey cocktail is, well, they don’t. So let’s keep the term clean! A cobbler is a sherry-based cocktail! And truly refreshing!—M.R. by Emilia Juocys Friday Cocktail Hour is probably one of my favorite weekly segments I have been part of since I began working with Michael and Donna. Every week I get to learn a new classic cocktail or an interesting variation. Since living in Chicago I have been blessed with not only a fantastic food scene, but also a thriving mixology scene. I’m constantly tempted to have multiple “happy Read On »

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