Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not Eating (Much) in LA

"I'm never going to do this again," huffed Big Dog, pulling out another box of produce from the truck.

We had just gotten to LA and were unloading what we had brought from the ranch, which in my case is always boxes and boxes of produce. (Big Dog's haul was his giant tripod, a rolled up sheet of foam we use for bedding when we "camp" in the Victorian and laptop.) Most of the produce he had given away to his family during our one-night stopover in Antelope Valley, but I still had a bag of peaches and nectarines and a box of vegetables. It always irritates him when I bring my own food supply from the ranch. I have no idea why. For me, it's produce that's NOT rotting away at the ranch and it gives me a few extra days before I have to start buying produce in Los Angeles.

"Just take your own stuff! Leave my junk alone!"
"We can't be dragging all this food around all the time!"
"Well, then, next time I'll stay at the ranch and you can come here on your own!"

We were getting testy. We were in LA.

Big Dog has no idea just how much I miss going out to the garden at the end of the day, picking what's ready and making dinner from whatever we have. (This year, we have really nice lemon cucumbers, too. Great for cold summer soups. Wish there were more ready when we were leaving. The few we had, we gave to his family since they are so delish.) He has no idea how much I dislike going to a supermarket for produce. (I must get my bike up and running again so I can to the Santa Monica farmer's market.)

I can think up all sorts of yummy things when I'm at the ranch. The last Sunday Night Ranch Dinner (a semi-regular event) turned into a spontaneous mini-chutney festival with my mint-ginger-chili chutney and peach chutney (for tandoori chicken) and T's plum sauce (for roasted pork.) We dipped garden-fresh veggies in the chutneys and when it came time for dessert, T put the leftover peach chutney into his plum sauce and we poured that over cheesecake for the most outrageously spectacular dessert sauce ever. It was sweet and sour and spicy and gingery and the perfect complement to the rich, creaminess of the cheesecake.

"I normally don't like cheesecake, but this sauce makes the whole thing completely different and really good!" Even Big Dog voiced a rare compliment.
"We should definitely market this!" enthused JD, the Master of Spin.
"But to an upscale market..." interjected JF, Master of Style from her tv craft show days.

But here in the condo, my drive to create has disappeared with my appetite. Am I like the painter who can't be inspired unless he has all of his paints in front of him? I sit in front of my laptop, instead, feeding my head with other people's creations, other people's dining experiences.

Here are a few of my favorite culinary bloggers. I don't know any of them personally, but they inspire and entertain me.
The Kitchen Wench is a hip, funny Korean-Australian lady. She's also an inspiration for all us non-professional photo buffs for the cool shots she takes with a little point-and-click cam.

I love blogs with great photos and Lucy is a professional photographer, but it's more than just pretty pictures. She's able to capture everything I love about France. Ooh lala!

I was impressed with Teenage Glutster's hunger for knowledge. He reminded me of a friend's young son who was a fan of the Food Network. When we got together, he'd ask me all sorts of food questions and would tell me what he was dying to try. (At 11, his #1 was caviar, I think.) I am sure it's my own strange bias, but I think many male food writers are too full of themselves. It's so refreshing to hear from one who is so honest and down-to-earth.

Ms. Oishii (who I am assuming is Asian-American) has great photos and seems to be part of an LA foodblogger's circle. (Is Teenage Glutster, too?) Her blog's about food AND travel.

Alice makes me homesick for Japanese food, but then I finally get off my butt and make myself a zaru soba. If only I could find a bit of yuzu... (My konbu dashi is good so the dipping sauce is tasty, but I am still craving real handmade soba noodles. Not the dried stuff that come in bundles. Ahh, my next challenge?)

SoCal fine dining?
Now... and then...

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