Category: food

Tricked-out Halloween treats on the KTLA Morning News

By Krista,

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:

Attending a Vegas wedding catered by the Top Chef Masters

By Krista,

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!


Exploring the unique cuisine (and caves!) of Belize at Ka’ana

By Krista,

Xunantunich ruins in the Cayo District of Belize

What seems like ages ago, I traveled to Western Belize to report on the cuisine, caves, and culture of the region for We hiked through ruins, spelunked in ancient burial sites, rode across local farms, and ate (and ate and ate!) to get a sense of the unique fusion that exists in the Cayo district.  Here’s the full story, and a couple shots to whet your whistle.

Garifunos sere, a West African dish made with local white fish, prawns, coconut milk, and plantains

Collen Clark of Travel + Leisure and I did warrior yoga on the steps of Xunantunich

Get the dirt on this season of Top Chef Masters

By Krista,

Curtis Stone, James Oseland, Krista Simmons, and Francis Lam on the red (errr grey) carpet for the TCM season 4 premiere

Want the inside scoop on what happened on this season of Top Chef Masters? Be sure to check out my blog over at the Bravo site every Thursday morning for all the behind the scenes deets. Here’s my recap of the first episode. And don’t forget to tune in every Wednesday at 10/9 central to see me do my thang!

In other news: This happened. Someone please pinch me.

Curtis Stone goes in for a kiss for the cameras. I know he loves his fiance and baby Hudson, but a girl can dream, right? 🙂

My favorite outdoor dining picks for KCRW

By Krista,

As a native Angeleno, I’m a sucker for the sunshine. Given the opportunity, I’ll almost always dine outdoors —  even on those borderline days where it might result in catching a chill. Thankfully SoCal summer has finally arrived, opening up the opportunity for prime patio lounging.

KCRW’s “Good Food” asked me to contribute to their outdoor dining piece, and because I’m a huge fan of Evan Kleiman, I agreed. (I have to say I was quite flattered by the headline they gave the story!) Read on to see where the likes of Jonathan Gold, Lesley Bargar Suter, Dana Goodyear, and I like to dine al fresco.

I’m going to be a judge on Top Chef Masters in Vegas!

By Krista,

Life has presented some tasty morsels as of late, and I plan on devouring them with a vengeance. First and foremost, it was finally announced that I’ll be a regularly-occurring judge on season 4 of Top Chef Masters. Holy what! Do you have any idea how hard it was to keep that one quiet all this time? Considering a few years ago I was a minion at the L.A. Times showtracking the Top Chef empire, the whole deal is kinda surreal. The first episode airs July 25. Here’s hoping that I don’t end up looking like a total dope!

Secondly, I’m taking on a new role at LAist, where I’ll be resident Food Editor for the month of June. I’m stoked. Between this and my columns at Grub Street, it’s all food, all the time. Please read me over at LAist and let me know what you think.

In the meantime, happy eating!

The spoils of dining single + a poem from Daniel Halpern

By Krista,

As a single young woman that spends a good deal of time on the road, I’ve gotten used to queries as to why I don’t come equipped with a dining companion — or a husband, for that matter. My answer is usually served with a side of smugness, as most simply don’t understand the spoils of dining single: the quality people watching, a lack of awkward conversation, the moments of introspection, the extra attention from the front of the house. It surprises me that folks still look at dining alone as a punishment rather than an indulgence. My personal stance is that treating yourself to a nice meal and a good glass of wine can be just as gratifying as splurging on a massage or mani-pedi.

I addressed this issue in my recent Department of Deportment column, asserting that being a party of one can indeed be a party if done properly. And as it turns out, there’s mounting evidence that spending time alone can actually make us better people too, both cognitively and socially.

A recent Boston Globe article cited research that “certain tasks and thought processes are best carried out without anyone else around, and that even the most socially motivated among us should regularly be taking time to ourselves if we want to have fully developed personalities, and be capable of focus and creative thinking. There is even research to suggest that blocking off enough alone time is an important component of a well-functioning social life — that if we want to get the most out of the time we spend with people, we should make sure we’re spending enough of it away from them. Just as regular exercise and healthy eating make our minds and bodies work better, solitude experts say, so can being alone.”

And you certainly won’t be alone in your alone-ness. A piece in the April issue of the New Yorker stated that over thirty-one million people in the United States are living single, a fact that author Nathan Heller jokes, “may or may not prove a useful thing to know on certain Saturday nights.”

Of course, there’ll be moments where you want company. But don’t be so quick to connect with a rando creepo from OK Cupid just because you’re scared of flying solo. Being alone doesn’t have to mean that you’re lonely. Just take it from poet and publishing guru Daniel Halpern, who graciously shared these off-the-cuff couplets in response to my column:


A table in the corner of the room, my table, 52,

beyond the new electronics, dinner alone all the way through.

For a moment.  For an evening.  If it’s true the price of fame

is the loss of anonymity, goodbye applause, goodbye acclaim,

I’m welcomed back to my seat in the neighborhood restaurant,

a plainly clad waitress and the missing maître d’,  just a pleasant

welcome back, the specials a few chalk marks on the blackboard

leaning against a badly painted wall.  Tonight it’s the grilled sword-

fish, Mussels in Cast Iron and Brussels Sprouts Carbonara.

I have the company I need – a novel and recent emails are a

Happy evening’s entertainment.  Solo, nothing to dialogue,

Only my plate and me, sustenance, some wine and monologue

Between self and soul.  It’s pretty fucking grand sitting here

In the corner at table 52, just me and me, unpardoned and clear.

Traveling to Todos Santos for New York Magazine

By Krista,

Clockwise from top left: Leatherbacks hatching; Hotel Casa Tota; Baja Bean's roasts; dulcerias in Todos Santos; lunch at Caffe El Triunfo; damiana in Todos Santos

Guess what ya’ll?!? My first travel feature for New York Magazine just got published! The piece was a detailed  5-Point Weekend Escape Plan to Todos Santos in Baja California Sur, a lazy little surf town with a whole lot of style. The region’s unique cuisine, stunning wildlife, groovy accommodations, and pristine coastline totally blew me away. And it’s just a short 2 1/2 hour flight from LA.

I went down to Baja in March with L.A.’s reverse coyote, Bill Esparza, but I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. In order to get to Todos, you’ve got to fly into Cabo San Lucas — the banana boat bro capitol of the world. But Bill has lead around the best (do the names Andrew Zimmern or Anthony Bourdain ring a bell?), so I took a leap of faith. My other south-of-the-border sherpa was Jim Pickell from Jim is an extensive world traveler that’s lived all over the place, so it says a lot that he and his Italian wife have decided to finally settle in Todos. He showed us all sorts of gems, from killer breakfast spots to deserted beaches and the releasing of the leatherbacks.

Bill spotted this awesome little lunch stand. Best refried beans and pork ever.

And some fresh fruit juice paletas for dessert from a stand down the way. So yum.

Huevos rancheros for brekky. Yeah buddy.

Watching the nearly-extinct leatherbacks head to sea with local nonprofit Los Tortugueros

My time in Baja California Sur was truly memorable, and totally my speed being a former Santa Cruzer. I have to admit that it’s taking every last ounce of self-restraint to not book a flight as I’m posting these photos. What I wouldn’t do for a tipple of damiana– Baja’s native anise-flavored herb infused with vodka — right about now. Or a swim with my sea lion buddies. That was one of the coolest travel experiences to date. Look at how friendly they are! I can’t wait to go back.

Swimming with the sea lions at Los Islotes

Saying goodbye to Baja, but not for long!