Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bacaro LA Wine Bar

Bacaro, dear Bacaro, how do I count the ways I love you? Now people, I’m not usually prone to hyperbole but Bacaro LA Wine Bar is the Ryan Gosling of L.A. restaurants. There, I said it. It’s nice to look at, yes; but visually isn’t as stunning as, let’s say…Johnny Depp.  But beneath the unassuming exterior lies so much more….much, much more. A swirling tornado of creativity? A bubbling caldron of passion for the culinary arts? Mountains of the kind of kitchen confidence that only grandmothers wielding 100-year old cast iron skillets possess?  Although Ryan Gosling may answer “yes” to the first question, Bacaro gives a thumbs up to all three. Continue reading

Recipe: Spring Vegetable Frittata

I hate to start off a Sunday afternoon post with a rant, but I just have to get it out. I’m done paying money for bad meals and mediocre food. Just done. It seems I’ve had some bad luck especially when it comes to breakfast or brunch outings (there have been a few dinners as well, darn it!), and I guess it’s partially my fault for trying to tweak a scramble so it’s made with egg whites or to ask for “easy cheese.” Maybe I should just order an omelet the way it is without adjustments. But even as I type that sentence, I’m not totally convinced that trying to eat relatively healthily at a restaurant is reason enough for a bad plate of food. What restaurant these days doesn’t offer a “substitute egg whites” option anyway? They all do, right? Grrrrr….. Continue reading

Breakfast: Bagels, Coffee Cake and My Favorite Scramble

Just a quick post to catch you up on what I’ve been making lately.  Sorry to have not posted in a week, but it seems all I’ve been making are those Peanut Butter Crispy Bars which I’ve already blogged about twice!  I did take some quick pics of other things I’d made, so although a proper post is coming up, I wanted to fill in the gap with these breakfast items.

Mexico City: Friends, Food and Stink Bugs

Ok, you’re probably wondering what the stink bugs are all about.  Let’s just say there is a first time for everything, and my trip to Mexico City last weekend contained many firsts, including eating the tiny little critters as part of a fantastic tasting menu at Pujol.  I also had Mexican wine- several different kinds- for the first time and it blew my socks off – it was THAT good.  My friend R said it’s still almost impossible to get it here in the U.S. but I hope that changes soon.  There is some amazing wine being made there and it’s about time the world got a chance to taste it!

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Broiled Branzino Steamed Artichokes

Broiled Branzino, Steamed Artichokes and Panzanella Salad

Oh boy. Again with a post revolving around something beautiful purchased at McCall’s Meat & Fish Company. You must think I’m getting bribed with free slabs of Argentinean beef or some jumbo lump crab in exchange for multiple posts about this artisan butcher/seafood shop in Los Feliz, but I promise you, my love for their stuff is the only reason why I can’t seem to stop talking about them. Besides, if you met owners/butchers/fish mongers Karen Yoo and Nathan McCall, you’d know they’re honest, hardworking people whose main desire is to have their customers experience truly fresh and delicious food. Not only do they have the best stuff, but they’re always available for cooking advice or menu ideas, and best of all, they are two of the friendliest people around…which is saying a lot for a couple who work about 280 hours a week. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration but the truth is pretty close.

J and I decided that we’re going to try and buy our weekly supply of protein from local shops instead of the grocery store; ditto with our produce from farmer’s markets instead of a neon-lit supermarket. Food just tastes better when it hasn’t been forced to grow quickly or plumped up with chemicals, and we want everything we put into our mouths to taste great! Plus supporting local businesses and farmers is putting our money where it really counts.

Since we were buying for the entire week, I came home from McCall’s with a whole chicken, a tub of fresh non-GMO all natural handmade tofu (which I can’t WAIT to spoon into!), a pack of herbed smoked trout and two whole branzino. I felt like I hit the lottery as I carried my goodies home.

Initially, I was going to save the branzino for tonight (Monday) but they looked so damned pretty that I couldn’t resist cooking them up for Sunday dinner. Inspiration hit and before long, I had an exact menu in my head and it came together very quickly. Here’s what we had:

Steamed artichokes- I bought these gorgeous specimens at the Eagle Rock farmer’s market but then J pointed out that I’d probably end up heating up our already warm house (our poor, vintage floor-unit A/C can’t really compete with 95 degree heat) and since artichokes take awhile to steam, I almost decided to scrap the idea. Then I remembered my handy dandy Japanese rice cooker which also steams! Woot! I trimmed the tops, cut out the chokes, cut them in half (in order to make them fit into the rice cooker) and let them steam, insulated, for an hour. Easy!

The branzino was pretty much perfect as is, so I seasoned the outside and inside with salt and pepper, stuffed the cavity with lemon slices and flat-leaf parsley and drizzled a bit of olive oil on top before broiling for five minutes on each side (thanks Karen, for the perfect cooking time!). The skin got nice and crisp, and the flesh was flaky, tender, moist and utterly delicious. I made some salsa verde out of lemon juice, parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper to drizzle on top but the fish didn’t really need it. I think J and I ate every available piece of flesh from each fish.

J and I’d eaten at Barbrix in Silverlake last week, and my favorite thing was a panzanella salad made with beautiful heirloom tomatoes. I did my best to recreate it with the heirlooms, cucumbers and arugula I’d bought (again, farmer’s market) and toasted up cubes of La Brea Bakery multigrain bread, then tossed it all with a simple vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The soft, juicy tomatoes combined with cool, crunchy cucumbers and slightly chewy, crisp bread soaked in the dressing is a lethal texture/flavor combo.

Every time we eat like this, I just remember that quality ingredients require little or no manipulation and shine on their own, which is the perfect way to cook (or not cook!) during these hot summer months. Food just tastes better when it’s fresh!

Maui Bound…………..

J and I are doing something we’ve never done: take a domestic vacation for a whole week and hunker down in the same spot for the entirety of the trip. We’ve taken lots of trips before, but they usually involve a 10+ hour flight, bouts of jetlag, currency exchange and weak attempts to speak a language we are not very good at all while hopping from city to city. So we decided to do what millions before us have done- go lay on a beach in Hawaii and fahgettaboutit! We’re off to Maui tomorrow, so hopefully I will return with many tales of delicious meals, blue waters and snorkeling adventures. Since we plan to hit Plantation House, Lahaina Grill and the Hali’imaile General Store, I’m pretty sure the delicious meals part is covered.

If you have any recommedations, I’d love to hear them!


Please be patient……South America reports coming soon!

I took about 600 photos during my trip to Bogota, Buenos Aires and Santiago so please be patient as I sort through them to find the most blog-worthy ones. In short, I ate lots of delicious food, made a lifelong friend in Bogota, rode two sky-high gondolas in two different cities and drank my first pisco sour.

Posts coming shortly!

Tuna Toast Ten

This week, the lovely Nicole Landau joins us to tackle the questions on everyone’s mind (or maybe just mine?), The Tuna Toast Ten. Nicole is a very talented artist and incredibly adept baker who specializes in scones. Art and yummy eats? Sign us up!

Name: Nicole Landau

Occupation: Artist
City, State of residence: Los Angeles, CA
Website/blog/thing you’d like to pimp: This weekend, join me at Affaire in the Gardens Art Show in Beverly Hills. Between Rodeo and Rexford on Santa Monica Blvd. October 18th and 19th from 10am to 6pm. 200 Artists. Wine. Food. A beautiful day in the park.

1. The best restaurant meal I’ve had recently is:
Farfalla. They have the best homemade spinach and cheese ravioli I have ever had! My mouth waters just thinking about it. The seafood salad is perfectly seasoned with olive oil and lemon. And who really drinks Chianti? But their house Chianti is perfection.

2. If money wasn’t an issue, I would want to eat at:
Katsuya all the time.

3. The food I eat most often is:
Sushi if I go out and vegetarian if I stay in.

4. No great meal is complete without:
Good wine

5. The best cheap eats in my neighborhood:
The Alcove. Not exactly the cheapest, but the atmosphere on the patio is great!

6. There’s no way in hell I’d ever eat:
Foie gras. Why would anyone eat the liver of a tortured animal? I think it is bad karma. [Ed note: guess I'm doomed to be struck by lightning then!]

7. My go-to dish I’d cook for guests is:
Shrimp Ceviche & Goat Cheese Tomatillo Potato Tacos with homemade Mango Salsa. Homemade scones or lava cake for dessert. [Ed note: Uh, I'd like to be a guest at your house!]

8. Man can’t live on food alone, so my favorite libation is:
The Burning Mandarin at Katsuya. That slice of Serrano Chili Pepper will have your lips tingling and on fire.

9. My favorite guilty food pleasure is (c’mon….be HONEST!):
Lucky Charms. Yummy! [Ed note: they are magically delicious!]

10. My favorite food-related website/blog is (no obligation to list TT, we’re completely objective over here!):
The Food Network website is really my go-to website. I am always looking for new recipes to make my own. I like to see what Bobby Flay and Giada DeLaurentis is cooking.

We’re back!

After an extended break, Tuna Toast is back with a new site design and a promise to keep the posts coming on a more regular basis. Hopefully the 2 ½ readers I had before are still with me (hello….?) and you’ll tell your friends to tune in for some new adventures in cooking, eating and everything food-related.

Tomorrow will kick off a new weekly feature called The Tuna Toast Ten- 10 questions about food answered by some well-known bloggers, musicians, unknown people who are known to eat and just random citizens sharing their thoughts about food with you. Could I get any less specific?!?! Anyway, hopefully you’ll enjoy it as I always love to hear about people’s favorite restaurants, best recipes and food stories.

Special thanks to Rameniac for introducing me to Sheen who totally revamped the site for me. Extra special thanks to Sheen for actually doing the work as I am not the most tech-enabled person on the planet.

Here’s to many more posts on food, wine and good times!