October 29, 2014

White Gold

This month we visited the Piedmont region of Italy to wander through the autumnal vineyards and get dizzy from local, intoxicating white truffles...

September 22, 2014

Tomatoes at Every Table

We had a beautiful tomato love affair while visiting friends and family in California and Marfa, Texas recently. Many sweet outdoor meals were made with products from home gardens with tomatoes, squash, runner beans, herbs, cucumbers, and magic galore.

Simone's crazy good tomatoes (with Burrata) from the West Paris garden in Marfa. You did it Simone! 
A potluck spread at Mark & Jen's Santa Barbara riviera balcony high above the pacific
Old friends and newlyweds gather 

Mark & Jen have converted an entire dry hillside into a produce giving paradise

Jen and Ingrid at my childhood home during golden hour on the Santa Barbara riviera

all photos Danielle Rubi-Dentzel, except the top tomato photo by Simone Rubi

August 5, 2014

Frico Egg!

TofC contributor, Ingrid Pankonin, sent us this sweet little egg recipe and we can't wait to try it. I bet you won't be able to wait either. How good does this sound? Merci Ingrid!

Sometimes the best simple recipes come out of combining two already delicious things - in this case, the frico, a Friulian cheese crisp, and a fried egg.  It's super easy, can be made with things you probably already have in your fridge, and is kind of a brunch game-changer.  Buon appetito!

Heres's what you'll need:
Butter - about 1/2 TBS.  I use salted because I like salt.
Parmesan - about 2 TBS, grated.  (Use your instincts on the amount and get a nice thin layer of cheese - you want it to crisp up evenly.  You can also probably use any hard grating cheese, like an aged pecorino.)
Salt + pepper.
A cast iron or nonstick pan.

Heat up the pan, put the butter into it(it should sizzle and melt right away), then sprinkle the cheese over it in an even layer.

After the cheese, immediately crack an egg (or more eggs, depending on the size of your pan and number of mouths - maybe try one at a time first?) over the melty cheese-butter. 

Salt and pepper it.  Put the lid on and cook to your desired doneness.  I'm a sunny-side-up gal, myself. Admire the crispy edges!

Slide it out of the pan with a spatula, and serve with whatever you like - in this case, some roasted summer vegetables and prosciutto.

  Can you imagine this on a Caesar salad?

July 19, 2014

Meat and Coffee in Chicago

Here we have a report from Chicago by our long time contributor, Simone Rubi. Simone lives in Marfa, Texas and recently started Do Your Thing Coffee with Rob Gungor.  Do Your Thing is a coffee stand selling premium, luscious coffee magic in various corners of town.  During their time off last week, they spontaneously got same day tickets to Chicago. Just for fun... and more coffee research ( and awesome food, art, design and architecture). As a former home of mine while a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, I was so excited to hear Simone's food stories for TofC. We love Chicago!    - Danielle

Last Tuesday I went to Chicago. It was a last-minute decision. Total whim. As soon as I got on the plane, my memories of visiting Danielle while she attended SAIC flooded my mind. Chicago is it's own thing. It lacks pretense and is full of purposeful architecture. The river running through the city creates such a wonderful travel experience for the pedestrian and biker. Luckily, the city started it's own public bike system last year, so I got to see the city by bike. Riding around in perfect Summer weather, stopping to check out a couple of art exhibitions, wandering into restaurants that were recommended. 

The two stand-out restaurants that I went to were The Publican and Au Cheval. I received a tip from a friend (and chef) back in LA, Lydia Burkhalter. She suggested I try the homemade bologna sandwich at Au Cheval, in the meat packing district. It was unreal. The soft, thin, slightly-sauteed slices of the delicately-spiced mortadella were velvety and sweet. Layered high on a soft, eggy brioche bun, with oozy cheddar and a bit of mornay sauce, it was not the bologna you think of from that sad sack lunch from 5th grade. It was a delicacy. It was an honest sandwich, mirroring what Chicago feels like, honest and meat-loving. 

I tried the roasted chicken & sausage on fries at The Publican and, in the words from fellow TofC contributor Sam Grawe, this had the best juices. Don't miss this place! The thinly sliced Benton's country ham (Tennessee) with goat butter on housemade German-style bread, was pure joy. Salty and sweet, melting on my tongue, on par with the Iberican hams in Spain. The avocado, kale, carrot, and toasted peanut with tahini dressing was better than the kale salads back in California. They nailed it. Chicago nailed it.

Intelligentsia. Do Your Thing Coffee tasting what they do

Text: Simone Rubi
Photos: Simone Rubi

July 5, 2014

First Bombay Style Bistro in Paris

Finally. An Indian restaurant in Paris with fresh ingredients and heart warming flavors. There is love put into this food. A respected chef from London ( Cinnamon Club) , Manoj Sharma, has put a modern touch on traditional Indian cuisine at the brand new MG Road restaurant in the eastern Marais district of Paris. MG Road will quickly become a favorite place to tuck into, with quality food that will hug you. The menu features dishes like Sea Bass steamed in banana leaves with lemon infused rice, Chicken tikka with fresh herb chutney, Creme Brulée in the form of an Indian rice pudding, and a wine list with biodynamic wines. They also sell items like vanilla salt, black salt, tea spices, teas, chutneys and more.

Velvety butter chicken curry, dal with black lentils, and Pulao rice make up the lunch box to-go called the "Tiffin Box"
We opted to try their Tiffin box, a traditional stainless steel stacked to-go lunch box, which we brought home around the corner. They have two options, one vegetarian and one with meat. You simply pay a deposit for the box and either bring the box back later, or hold on to them to re-fill later. Which we plan to do. A lot.

The owner, Stephanie de Saint Simon, has a background in high end specialty catering and event planning. Along with party planning, she started Ouma Productions,  an interior design business specializing in beautiful decor, furniture and design objects from India. 

Tiffin Boxes filled with goodness to take home for those living in the nearby quartier
Tiffin Boxes with Pulao rice, dal with black lentils, chickpeas with tamarind, and butter chicken

MG Road Restaurant
205 Rue Saint-Martin
Tel. 01 42 76 04 32
75003 Paris

Open from 9am - Midnight, closed Sunday & Monday.
Breakfast : 9am - Noon
Lunch: Noon – 3pm
Dinner: 7pm –10:30pm

May 30, 2014

The Circle of Smoke

A couple months ago I started giving different types of wood chips to James Henry at Bones for smoking various cuts of meat and seafood.  I mill a lot of different varieties of wood and have amassed a decent collection of European species, mostly from the Taviot mill in the north of Burgundy.  James said the sycamore maple chips were going well with shellfish and the french walnut was working better with things like pork and duck. He had smoked and cured some duck breasts in early May that are now ready. One of said breasts made it home with me and we cut into it today. 

The aroma is sweet and smoky, and I think I can smell the distinct, earthy, coffee scent that comes off milling walnut wood.  The fat at room temperature is soft and easy to slice thin and transparent. The meat is dark and about the same texture and greasiness of Bellota ham.  The taste is subtle and sweet, rich and not over-smoked, in familiar James-style restraint.  It almost feels like slicing a miniature spanish ham.  With some early season cherries and a glass of Gamay, it's pretty much the perfect snack. Which reinforces what I often think, that if I were to leave France, I'd miss several things, but mostly the snacks.

The cellar at Bones restaurant
Suckling pig for sandwiches at the bar, a table at the restaurant proper

 James in the Bones kitchen, stools & shelves I made for the bar

43 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac
75011 Paris
+33 9 80 75 32 08   

Open from Tuesday - Saturday for dinner

post by Adrian Rubi-Dentzel
photos by Danielle Rubi-Dentzel

May 19, 2014

Lunch at Au Passage in Paris

It was one of those weekends in Paris where the sun was hot, the mood was mellow and our son fell asleep at all the right times. In this post, I will share the outstanding lunch we had, while Anton was fast asleep, at one of our favorite restaurants in Paris, Au Passage.

Asparagus in a 'beurre rouge' sauce, a buerre blanc style sauce using red wine
Ceviche with Red Mullet
Terrine of foie gras on toast with pickled peppers
Bavette steak with sweet onions and potato purée
Veal tartare with fried black olives crumbled on top, piment d'Espelette, and all the right fixings
Strawberries with rhubarb sorbet, meringue crumbs and white chocolate mousse

Au Passage
1bis Passage Saint-Sébastien
75011 Paris, France

Lunch and dinner, Monday-Friday; dinner only Saturday; Closed Sunday

tel: +33 1 43 55 07 52

April 13, 2014


Ingrid and I were were walking the streets of Paris one recent afternoon and quickly decided on having an evening at home with beef tartare, artisanal potato chips and champagne for dinner. Ingrid Pankonin, a private chef visiting from Berkeley, California, has been popping up in Paris over the last 5 years. We have enjoyed many beautifully crafted meals together.  From road trips to Piedmont, Italy and city escapes to the french countryside, when Ingrid is in town, so is laughter, grub and champagne.

We spent the afternoon collecting ingredients around my neighborhood, while ducking out of the rain and filling our market bags bit by bit. We hit rue de Bretagne and went to my local market to get organic veggies, Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris. Next to the market, and along the food shops of rue de Bretange, we went to Fromagerie Jouannault, one of my favorite cheese shops, and lastly stopped at the Boucherie du Marais to pick up our beef to hand cut at home for the tartare.

This type of apron on a butcher my quality default check for Parisian butchers, it is the old Les Halles style of wrapping 2 waist aprons with a specific knot used to tie the shoulder stap. This style of apron shows a prideful butcher.

by Ingrid Pankonin

Equipment you will need:

2-quartish bowl
Optional: A saucepan that will cradle the bowl, plus a towel - line the saucepan with the towel, then cradle the bowl in it for a non-slipping bowl. Also optional: a microplane, or mortar and pestle


1 egg yolk + 1 extra egg in case the mayo breaks (curdles)
2/3 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil - this is not the time for a super-green, spicy olive oil. Use a mild extra virgin or even start with 1/4 cup of neutral vegetable oil and finish with EVO.
1 plump clove of garlic - minced, pounded in a mortar and pestle, or *shortcut* microplaned
salt to taste - 1/2 - 1 tsp
lemon juice to taste

First, make sure the egg is at room temperature!  This is my number one mayo breaker.  If you need to make mayo straight from a cold egg, fear not!  Warm the egg up in a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes, keeping in mind that the warmth needs to make it all the way into the yolk, so it may take a couple of water changes.  I think the egg should feel ever so slightly warm to the touch on the outside.

Now, let's make the mayo!  I'm calling it mayonnaise because some people would argue that aïoli has no acid (and has a TON of garlic!), but I like garlicky mayo to have some lemon in it, and it goes well with the tartare.
Whisk the egg yolk to break it up.  Start by dribbling a few drops of oil in, whisking all the while.  Add a few more drops when the first ones are fully incorporated.  How hard or fast you whisk is much less important than just making sure the olive oil is fully absorbed before adding more.  Continue drizzling and whisking… as the mayonnaise starts to grow in volume, it may become a little too thick - just add a few drops of water or lemon juice.  Now is a good time to add a first pinch of salt, too.  Also, you can start to increase the amount of oil you add each time - moving up to a teaspoon or so for a few additions, then on to a tablespoon or so for the next while.  Again - just make sure it's fully incorporated before adding more!  Taste along the way for seasoning. Keep on like this until you've added all the oil.  Add the garlic, and lemon juice and salt to taste - since the mayo is mostly oil, it'll take a few minutes for the salt to dissolve.  The garlic will also get stronger as it sits, so just taste it again and adjust if necessary.

*If at any time the mayo gets loose and looks curdled, it has "broken".  You have to just start over with a fresh, room temp egg yolk.  Then add the broken mayo in the same manner as the olive oil on the first go-around: a few drops at a time, whisking.  And so on. Store leftover mayo in the fridge for one day.  As mentioned above, cold is the enemy of a stable mayonnaise - so if you want to use it as such, let it warm up a bit.  Or, use it as a base for a little vinaigrette!  Add a little mustard, some more lemon juice or red wine vinegar, and more oil to taste, plus S+P.  Yay!

For the mayo, delicately separate the yolk from your perfect egg and begin the emulsification process.

For the tartare, finely chop up some cornichon pickles, shallots and capers and lay them out on each individual plate or on a platter, family style. Other things you can add to the fixins on the tartare table are things like homemade thousand island, ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.  For ours, we seasoned the beef and simply used our freshly made garlic mayo along with the pickles, shallots and capers. It was delicious. You can mix up your own personal fave combo.

L'Etivaz, a french alp cheese...and Paris' only local cheese, Brie de Meaux
Valencay, a goat's milk cheese... and Fleur de Maquis, a sheep's milk cheese from Corsica

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