Road Foodie

Some people drive simply to arrive.

What A Boar

Posted By on March 10, 2010

I am standing underneath a scarred, ancient oak tree on an isolated ranch far to the west of Paso Robles, in central California, with a dead body, a blond woman, and a strange man—I first laid eyes on him five minutes ago—who is holding a very, very sharp knife. “It’s a surgical blade,” he says, […]

Chasing the Champignons

Posted By on January 18, 2010

The phone rang at 8:26 am. “What are you doing right now?” I overheard the female voice asking my husband. “Can you be here in five minutes? This isn’t going to last for long.” I cocked a sleepy eye over the top of Stella’s smooth, warm head at C, who has been sleeping late during […]

Gentle Dreamer, Part Two

Posted By on January 13, 2010

When our gentle hero from Part One, Cosimo, began to amass an estimable collection of wine—his own, plus some of the top labels and vintages in the world—it became clear that he needed somewhere to put them. The bespoke cellars that adorn the West’s redundant crop of McMansions run into the “mid five figures.” (Can […]

A Gentle American Dreamer

Posted By on December 28, 2009

(Part One.) It’s worth noting, as we wend our way toward a new decade (new decade? What the Hell happened? You have a glass of wine and a few olives and all of a sudden it’s been ten years since the millennium!), that there are many versions of the American Dream. Often, the rags-to-riches model […]

Another Wine Country

Posted By on November 29, 2009

I’ve never required much motivation to hop into the car and drive toward wine, food, and fire. But when the lure includes soft, rolling hills bristling with closely-ranked vines, olive trees waving silvery foliage, and lavender puffs busy with visiting bees—why, then, I’m like a randy tom-cat with one simple agenda. Even after five years, […]

Now That’s Rich

Posted By on November 23, 2009

In case anyone has a doubt about this, I’ll just go on record and say that a two-month separation is not good for any couple. One month apart, or a couple of weeks, can be invigorating. Any longer, and the culture of the partnership begins to sound and feel different. Having said that, we had […]

Braised in Tears

Posted By on October 17, 2009

Brentwood, California Twenty-four hours before arriving in Los Angeles I landed a book deal—welcome indeed, but brutal in its timeline. (Hey—be careful what you ask for, and when.) As soon as I calculated the number of recipes into the days remaining before deadline, unpacking the trusty, insect-flecked Toyota took a backseat to a trip to […]

Meet the Meatheads

Posted By on August 26, 2009

Although concealing it well (I was yocking it up with Julie’s new and rather younger-than-me buddies), I was petrified by the prospect of grilling the three very expensive porterhouse steaks on a gas grill. Hardwood charcoal is my fuel of choice, always. I’d scored a meat thermometer from Ronda, and had a plan, of sorts, […]

Meet the Meat

Posted By on August 11, 2009

It seems like the last time my friend Julie Benz and I chewed the fat together was a lifetime ago. In reality, though, it was in 2005, when we shared a big rambling house in the hills of Chianti for a few weeks of the glorious Tuscan summer (see The Chicken-Head Incident, at left, for […]

A Tale of Two Marfa Eateries

Posted By on March 14, 2009

Borunda’s Bar and Grill is Marfa’s oldest restaurant (opened 1887). Cochineal is Marfa’s newest (opened May ’08). Between these two restaurants and their respective restaurateurs lies a gulf as wide as the Texas sky. Much about the quixotic nature of Marfa may be understood by taking a look at them both. Originally called Tula’s, Borunda’s […]