Category Archives: Food

March 26, 2015

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Wearing bowling shoes purloined from the long since torn down Pickwood Lanes across the street, Debbie and I went to the Apple Pan on our first date together. We found two empty seats on Gordon’s side of the counter and ordered cheeseburgers, fries and coffee. Gordon is gone, Manny is gone, Isaac is gone but Victor is still making burgers behind the grill. He’s been there for over forty years making burgers for Carlos Castaneda, Don Knotts, and Davey Lopes. With every kid we’ve had our frequency visiting the Apple Pan has diminished- our family would take up 1/4 of the restaurant. We tend to go there in batches with Debbie and I taking one or two of our boys, or a friend taking one of our kids as a birthday present. But every time we stop in Victor takes a break and we chat. It’s small talk for sure but there’s something more to it then just that. There is a comfort in the endurance of time that we all acknowledge and respect but know it can’t last forever.

One Sunday I stopped by with my camera and Victor was there early to start his shift. I asked him if I could shoot his portrait. He got a big smile on his face and said, “Really!” We talked about where the hell the time went, he even dropped the “F” bomb. We talked about Manny who passed away a few months after he retired from the Apple Pan, we talked about our kids growing up and how he gets a kick when Sam comes in with one of his friends and says, “Hi.”

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After I was done I said to Victor, I’ve never seen you without your hat- would you mind?” And he did-

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September 15, 2011

Langer’s in Los Angeles may have slightly better rye bread, but when it comes to the whole “Pastrami Experience” there’s not better place then Katz’s Deli on Houston  & Ludlow. If you have lunch here (and you’re not a 250 lb. fireman or a petite SVA student who hasn’t had meat in weeks) don’t plan on being hungry for dinner. Oh yeah, don’t forget your ticket on the way out!

Clown Time at Katzs

Hail The King

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September 9, 2011

As the saying goes, “I just flew in on the red- eye and boy my arms are tired!” So, I can think of no better way to get rid of jet lag, lessen the shock of just being on Kauai for 6 weeks or just embed myself under the skin of New York City, then having lunch at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station and dinner at The Corner Bistro.

Bistro Burger- rare

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April 16, 2011

It’s really difficult to go out with Debbie these days. Spring break started a couple of weeks ago for Simon, Sam’s started this week, and Henry, Theo and Ollie’s starts next week. That means a month of at least one boy at home every day of the week. That means no time for Debbie and I to actually have any time to ourselves. So, with Sam having an AP study group with his English teacher downtown, Simon hanging out with Sookie, Ollie at Emile’s house followed by a hot dog and moon bounce birthday party at Kenai Jennings and with a little help from my mom and Debbie’s mom, we had about 3 hours to ourselves in downtown Los Angeles. We went to Cole’s French Dip.

The Pork Dip

Besides the fact that we got there at 10:30 and Cole’s didn’t open till 11:30 and that Debbie had to wait over a 1/2 hour for her Bloody Mary to be made, just having a few hours alone with Debbie was wonderful.

Bloody Mary with spicy pickle


Coles has been around since 1908 and claims to have invented the French dipped sandwich to cater to the older clientele with soft gums or no teeth at all. Philippe’s, a few blocks away, also lays claim to have created the French dipped sandwich, is our usual French dipped sandwich place. They are both great. Philippe’s is perhaps a bit more institutional in look, feel and taste is perhaps a bit more kid friendly and the perfect place to stop before a Dodger game.

A Rye Buck- my grown up drink

Coles pork (we get pork dips of course) dipped was perhaps a better cut then that of Phillipe’s. It had light smokey flavor and the pork was sliced nice and thin. Great bacon potato salad, so so cole slaw and a great cocktail bar. When the same Aerosmith record started playing again for a second time around I asked the waiter if it was possible to put a different record on. He said, “No problem.” and put on a different Aerosmith record.

Time to go, time to start retrieving our children from around town. We get a couple of French dipped sandwiches for the boys who are always hungry and think it’s “NO FAIR” that we got to go out to lunch.

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August 27, 2009
Gekko Taking a Shower

Gecko Taking a Shower

Not only did I see the Milky Way and a meteor while taking an outdoor shower in the rain, I also saw a gecko when I turned on the light. This is one of the few photos I’ve taken while naked.

Theo, testing out Halloween costumes

Theo, testing out Halloween costumes

Sam Sleeping

Sam Sleeping

With only 8 days left till we go back home we find ourselves thinking about our last meals, what books we can finish and how many times we need to go into town. I haven’t been anywhere in weeks or worn shoes and a shirt in just as long. What to be for Halloween has been looming large on the kids’ minds as of late as well.

Our friends Kim and Keoki have come over to visit from Maui. Kim was Sam’s kindergarden teacher in Santa Monica and now teaches parent toddler classes at the Haleakala Waldorf School. It’s always great catching up with them. The kids all love Keoki’s stories like “Eddie and the Barracuda”, “Eddie and the Pig Hunt”, “Keoki Kills the Car”, “Keoki and the Ghost and the Wallet”, and “Uncle George and the Hammerhead”. Usually we surf together, but this year Keoki’s shoulder has been acting up and after he leaves Kauai it’s off to Oahu for shoulder surgery. Can’t wait till we hear “Keoki’s Shoulder Surgery Story”. I’m sure it will have a happy ending. Good Luck Keoki.

Keoki and the youngest Catanzaro Boy

Keoki and the youngest Catanzaro Boy

Group Shot

Group Shot

This shot was a toughie. Ollie threw a football point blank at Debbie, knocking the wind out of her and reducing her to tears, Ollie ran away, it started to rain and Simon started to cry.

Soaking Skewers

Soaking Skewers

So, what are are last meals you ask? The possibilities out number the remaining dinners,they are:Ahi burgers, cheese burgers, fish stew, sushi, Kalua Pig, beef and pineapple kabobs,burritos,fried rice. What will make the cut?

Garden Queen

Garden Queen

Speaking of meals, this spider has been getting fatter and fatter every day. She’s been eating bugs, flies and moths.

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The boys at dinner

The boys at dinner

The MLB All Star Game is synonymous with pizza and root beer in our house, as is Debbie going out for dinner and or a movie with friends.

an all star catch, photo by Sam

an all star catch, photo by Sam

The American League won for the 13th straight year and was highlighted by an amazing catch by Tampa Bays’ Carl Crawford. Us gentlemen made and ate 2 pepperoni and 1 cheese pizza, all washed down by bottles of root beer.

Simon chugging

Simon chugging

Don't get much better than this

It don't get much better than this

This year Henry recorded most of the game with his Flip camera Sam gave him for his birthday last month. He would download between innings and after the game while I was doing the dishes I heard him overdubbing the play by play with his own voice. I’ll try to link a clip up for everyone.

una pepperoni pizza

una pizza pepperoni

The dishes are done, Sam is playing Scott Joplin’s The Enertainer on the piano, the littler guys are asleep, Debbie is still at her Johnny Depp movie and the Dodgers are still in first place- all is well in Mudville.

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June 15, 2009

Summer is in full swing. The kids are fighting while playing Monopoly. Theo has been caught cheating red- handed trying to load the dice in order to land on and buy Boardwalk. I never liked Monopoly. I still don’t. What I do like is Pork with a capital “P”. We’ve been buying our pork at Costco. I know it’s a huge warehouse store and it’s driving smaller stores out of business, but a pork loin roast priced at $1.85 per pound is just too tempting to pass up. Besides there’s already enough blog postings about wonderful farmers markets and small organic free range ranchers. This post is about the BIG PIG. This is a meal that stretches. Check out what we do with our big pig!

The first little piggy

The first little piggy

Pork loin braised in milk Bolognese style is what we do first. This recipe comes from “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan. It’s easy to make, cooks on the stove top and simply wonderful. First we have to cut the pork loin in half (it’s about 2 feet long) to accommodate the roasting pot. Basically, we braise the pork on all sides in olive oil and ghee (clarified butter) until it is browned, add salt, pepper, fresh sage, porcini mushrooms and simmer lazily in milk for 2 hours or so with the lid slightly ajar.

The second little piggy

The second little piggy

Next on the menu is pork dipped inspired by Philippe’s. I know it’s not the same but these dips are pretty darn good. And with Debbie’s homemade coleslaw if you close your eyes shades of Philippes run through your taste buds. Shown above with a Japanese cucumber from our war garden. In case you forgot, we are still at war.

The third little piggy

The third little piggy

What would pork be without carnitas or vice versa? The recipe is simple. Go surfing for 3 hours get real hungry and thirsty then just fry little  pork chunks in canola oil till crispy, add salsa serve on top of a flour tortilla. Drink beer and you are set.

The fourth little piggy

The fourth little piggy

Now batting forth is pork fried rice. Take out the wok satute whatever is left of the pork loin in a touch of peanut oil with a few garlic cloves and remove from wok. Then sautee a carrot, celery stalk, frozen peas, green onions, water chestnuts and whatever else you might think would be good and scramble it all up with 2 eggs. Put the pork back in the wok add cooked white rice soy sauce, touch of rice vinegar, a bit of sugar and you’ve just taken your pork loin on a journey from Costco to Italy to Downtown LA. to Mexico and finally to China all for about $15.00.

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The early birds

The early birds

Weeks before our camping trip, the emails about food start. What usually happens is 2 families are responsible for one dinner each night. Lunches are real simple, sandwiches, fruit, beef stick, cheese. This year it went something like this: Night 1 -  Catriona made a 18 or 19 bean stew served with corn bread. Johnny Sequoia made bison and pig chili.

Whiz Bang Stew

Whiz Bang Stew

I am not going to critique any cooking on our camping trip. I am grateful for any contributions to our meals but, if want want to read Sam’s Food Blog you can get a feel of what a “picky kid” likes and dislikes. I am of the school of thought that everything tastes good camping. Just read the story, The Big Two- Hearted River by Hemingway, Nick Adams enjoys a camp meal of canned beans and spaghetti topped off by a can a peaches and cowboys coffee. I believe somewhere in the story he also makes reference to a raw onion sandwich.

Grilled lamb burgers

Grilled lamb burgers

Saturday night was Mediterranean Night at Long Meadow. Grilled Lamb burgers encrusted with mint, drizzled with yogurt and dill sauce. Humus, string cheese and pita bread accompanied the meat.

Debbie unties the string cheese

Debbie unties the string cheese

Dessert on night 2 was a Ben & Jerry ice cream caked brought up packed in dry ice by Beth and John to celebrate Sam’s 15th birthday.

Sometimes homemade beeswax candlesare hard to stay lit

Putting another candle on his birthday cake

Some new faces around the campfire this year were a couple of guys named Weber and Kinsford. Weber was John’s BBQ that he graciously schlepped up the hill from Santa Monica. I know you are supposed to grill in the great outdoors on a camp ring but, have you ever grilled for 24 people while squatting on the ground, with no air stoking the fire while Dave our fire meister throws hot coals into the fire pit and ashes onto our dinner while the sun in sinking and kids are hungry? Well I have and Weber and Kingsford were two welcome additions. Let me just say that I am in no way criticizing Dave. Camping wouldn’t be the same with out him and his massive campfires. I remember last year when the weather was so cold and wet everyone huddled around his fires all morning and all through all night. Thanks Dave.

Meet Weber and Kingsford

Meet Weber and Kingsford

Dave, riding the Mother Lode

Dave, riding the Mother Lode

This might be a nice time to pay tribute to Coleman. Coleman is our 2 burner campstove held together by love and bacon grease. We’ve had this workhorse for close to 20 years and many a meal has been prepared on her. While making coffee on Sam’s 5th grade camping trip to Santa Cruz Island I discovered a family of mice had build a nest in Coleman overnight and were a little pissed when I asked them to leave.

Chiken sausage meets Coleman

Chicken sausage meets Coleman

Our last dinner was billed as “The Mountain of Meat Night.”  The Vincent- Orths brought the mountains of meat which consisted of  2 big ole tri- tips,  Korean style ribs, and eveyone’s favorite Hawaiian boneless short ribs aka as Sookie meat. While this wasn’t my night of cooking, I am usually engaged in some capacity when it comes to grilling, as was the case on this night. I love BBQing. Every meal is an adventure and there is something about people coming over to “see what’s cookin’ which makes for great conversation. I was in charge of the tri tip.  I must state for the record that I am not to blame for it being overcooked by some peoples standards (Me included). I was give a meat thermometer and asked to cook it too 145 degrees. I actually cooked it to 140 degrees. I never use a meat thermometer and felt in my heart that it was done a good 5 minutes before I took it off.

Peter manning the mountains of meat while Theo looks on

Peter manning the mountains of meat while Theo looks on

So that’s the dinners. One breakfast always features Wendy’s griddle cakes. They are out of this world earthy good and go well wrapped around a chicken sausage. Everyone brings home the bacon camping and I usually cook it on my Coleman. This year Catriona had a great idea to use the Weber to BBQ the bacon.  As soon as the bacon flared up I would over it cover it and the bacon continued to smoke and smoke and smoke. I think I cooked 7 pounds of bacon on this particular morning and as a result was left with a slightly cooked hairless right hand.

A day without pork is like a day witout sunshine

To quote Debbie, "A day without pork is like a day without sunshine."

X marks the spot

X marks the spot

Let’s see what else. Oh yes, what could a camping trip be without Johnny Sequoias’ home granola? I’ll try to get the recipe into this post soon.

Granola anyone?

Granola anyone?

Sookie enjoying a mellow moment

Sookie enjoying a mellow moment

Nobody goes hungry in our camp. Next year we are planning to stay an extra day just to have a leftover night Dinner.

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Simon

Simon

Now that I’ve got your attention with this post title, here we go… Parenting tip #1, actually parenting toddler tip#1, well actually parenting toddler/ dad tip#1, no wait, Dad who has a toddler boy tip#1- When going into a public mens room and  should you give your toddler the option to use the toilet or the urinal, be alert. The other night when I gave Simon that choice he shouted “URINAL!”  bolted for it, and stuck his hands right in. I wasn’t quick ,my scream of NO was in slow motion and I looked on in horror as Simon held up the splatter screen in his hands. My advice to dads is this, when giving a toddler a choice, be prepared to move fast.

huli huli

huli huli

I love the word kosher. It means it alright, no worry and it’s all good. I love the word (words) huli- huli. It means spin spin in Hawaiian. It means Kauai is only 5 months away. Last night I made huli- huli chicken. In other words chicken on a spit. I use a dry rub of Kosher salt, light brown sugar and whatever spices that are in the spice cabinet. Give it a good rub down with the mixture, stick it on the spit, turn on the barbeque, throw some wet oak bark on the flames and let it huli- huli. No worries- it’s all good.

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February 24, 2009
desayuno de campeones

desayuno de campeones

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