The Traveler’s Dishlist: 5 Things You MUST Eat In Barbados

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Mount Gay Rum is a staple in the rum shacks around the island. We got a tour through the sugar cane fields, and I even got to harvest some myself and eat it fresh!

You might know I’m the Food Editor at LAist, but did you know that our parent site just launched Gothamist Getaways? I’m contributing all sorts of culinary travel stories to the site, including my new column called The Traveler’s Dishlist.

In all my globetrotting, I found that there was a real lack of one definitive resource to see what the absolute must-trys are in a region. Enter The Dishlist. The whole idea of the column is to tell you what the top 5 local dishes are for a given region, how to say it like a native when necessary, and where to find the best. To kick it off, we’re starting with the ultimate snowbird location, Barbados.

You can read the full story there.

Cooking North African-Inspired Citrusy Sweets On The Queen Latifah Show

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I first fell head over heels with rose water backpacking through Northern Africa. The delicate floral flavoring is used around the globe in many applications from Middle Eastern candies like Turkish delight and baklava to Southeast Asian sweets like bandung and Indian rice puddings. When used sparingly, it adds a subtle aromatic quality unlike any other. And it’s particularly wonderful when added to sweet dishes using winter citrus, like my orange rosewater polenta cake.

So when Curtis Stone rung me up to come cook my favorite citrus dish for the Queen (Latifah, that is!), I happily obliged and went to my exotic cake. I mean, she’s on fire right now with the Grammys and the Super Bowl appearances.

Though I’d love to take credit for being the first to bake using rose water, it’s been utilized in baked goods for quite some time now. In fact, up until the 19th century, bakers across the globe commonly used rosewater before vanilla became popular. It also is a nice accompaniment to citrus, so we decided to riff on an old recipe from Gourmet Magazine to make something truly unique for the Queen and her court.

You can find the recipe here. And of course, be sure to watch the show Tuesday on CBS!

Talking Cocktails on KPCC Radio

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Want to know more about how the classic cocktail scene gained so much steam here in L.A.? Or maybe you just want to know what types of drinks you need to be able to mix to wow the pants off a your date. No matter what your motives are, you’ll definitely enjoy my segment with John Rabe that aired today on KPCC’s Offramp .

I went on panel with a bunch of other cocktail experts like Javier Cabral (LA Times Food, KCET Food, Saveur, etc.); Daniel Djang, who founded the blog Thirsty in LA; and Naomi Schimek, beverage director at Spare Room Hollywood and VP of the LA chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild at the Virgil to talk all about the history of the classic cocktail renaissance, and where the scene is going from here.

You can check out a portion of the segment at KPCC here. Or just listen below.

My Best Bites of 2013

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The flying fish cutters from Cuz’s fish shack in Barbados were one of my favorite bites of the year, bar none. Especially with that bangin’ Bajan hot sauce. Can’t wait for more travels in 2014!

For us crazies in editorial-land, the end of the year only means one thing. No, it’s not holidays or parties or even mistletoe (dang it!), though those are fun too. It’s time for LISTS! Lot and lots of lists. Honestly creating these can get exhausting, but as evidenced by good ol’ Google analytics, people love ‘em. They’re serviceable for readers, and quite frankly, useful for me as a writer. Especially one like this, which serves as a sort of diary of all the awesome things I’ve seen and eaten this year. More importantly, it reminds me of all the inspiring people who created these awesome bites that stand out so strongly in my mind.

Because I’m the Food Editor at LAist, My Best Bites of 2013 piece is based here in L.A., however I  was able to sneak in a few honorable mentions from around the globe at the end there.

Posting this here is also the start of more frequent posting of my work here on my personal site. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me in the new year. But for now, enjoy your holidays. I’ll see you in 2014!

Judging “Knife Fight” with Elijah Wood and Ilan Hall on Esquire

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Judging cooking shows is a pretty rad gig, as you can imagine. But it’s not all glamorous; like most things involving cameras there’s a lot of magic — and waiting around — involved. Honestly though, one of the funnest sets I’ve ever been on was “Knife Fight,” which is currently airing on the new Esquire Network. I seriously scored and got to judge two episodes with Elijah Wood and Ilan Hall. Elijah is a real deal food fan, and Ilan was a hoot. Plus, as you can tell by the photo, there was beer. A lot of it.

If you didn’t get to catch the episodes on the first run, never fear! They’re replaying them on the Esquire Network quite frequently, and you can of course watch some of the exclusives online here.

Juicing 101 with the KTLA Morning News

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Anyone who knows me — or who has been reading this blog — can tell you I’ve been on the juice for a loooong time. (No, not the MLB kind. I’m talking fresh-pressed fruits and veg, people!) But it’s be come a real trend as of late, so this Monday I went on to the KTLA Morning news to share the three different points of entry to the juicing world: the cold-pressed juice cleanse, whole fruit juicing, and centrifuge juicing. You can watch the segment below. Also, be sure to check out all of our coverage of juicing on LAist.com here. And on that note, please do read LAist.com/food for all my regular writing. Cheers to good health!

Talking food with CBS Sunday Morning news


CBS Sunday Morning gave me a buzz to talk about how food has infiltrated pop culture, and naturally I obliged. We met at one of my favorite spots in L.A., Handsome Roasters, to talk about why Gen Y is so consumed by food. Check it out:

Tricked-out Halloween treats on the KTLA Morning News

KTLA anchor Jessica Holmes and I toasted with  Witches’ Brew from Lexington Social House

I had so much fun going on the KTLA Morning news with Jessica Holmes this week. Though I always love doing on-air gigs, the best part was styling the set. It really helped me get into the Halloween spirit.  Here’s the segment:

Video: talking turkey testicles, tasting menus, and ‘Top Chef’ with Young Hollywood

A few weeks ago I taped this segment at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills with Young Hollywood. Nikki Novak and I had a blast talking about turkey testicles and “Top Chef,” and then we got to sample one of my favorite desserts in L.A., the kitchen sink! Check it out.

Attending a Vegas wedding catered by the Top Chef Masters

Anyone who knows me could tell you that I am obsessed with weddings and the shows that feature them. Maybe it’s because I’m a planning-oriented details person, or perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a sucker for love. Whatever it is, I can’t get enough.

Since I’m pretty much married to my career at this point, the Vegas wedding that was thrown for episode 2 of “Top Chef Masters” was about as close as I’ll be getting to narrowing down a wedding menu anytime soon. Nitpicking set aside, all of the Masters did a bang-up job catering a 200-person event in a matter of mere hours. I was so bummed to see Debbie Gold go (and she has some bones to pick with my critique), but in the end someone had to be cut.

Seriously, this job is not easy. I take criticism on a daily basis as a writer, and sometimes it still smarts. It’s all a part of growing and finding where you fit in though. I know that I’ve learned a lot from the experience of being on Masters, and I hope she did too.

Anyhow, here’s my commentary on the episode for Bravo. I won’t be on next week’s episode, but you should check out my homie Francis Lam getting his judge on. I’ll be back on August 22. Til then, bon appetit!