Nevermind

Journal

Thoughts, ramblings, and #BTS by the L&T Editorial Staff.

The Migrant Kitchen: Season 3 Trailer

Six cultures. Four cities. A world of culinary tradition.

Coming this November 7, season three of our Emmy-winning, James Beard award-nominated series, The Migrant Kitchen returns with all new episodes on KCET/PBS (and streaming online).

Join the journey, from the hectic streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown and San Diego county’s Mexican border, to Los Angeles’ vibrant Thai town and the city’s legendary Jewish delis. Break bread with the Bay Area’s Palestinian community, and step inside new kind of sake brewery. These are the stories of the chefs, farmers and producers risking everything to revive, preserve and reinvent the cuisines of their heritage. Because the stories of cultural survival, of perseverance and humanity, of immigrants and soul, those are the stories of California.

 

THE MIGRANT KITCHEN will telecast as follows (subject to change):

“The Jewish Deli”- Wed., Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET /  Tues., Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV
The Jewish delis of Los Angeles serve an important role for connecting heritage to food. Factor’s Famous Deli has been a pillar in the community for 70 years while newcomers like Micah Wexler and Michael Kassar of Wexler’s Deli bring a fresh take to classic deli food traditions.

“Sequoia Sake” – Wed., Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET /  Tues., Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV
Jake Myrick and Noriko Kamei have taken their love for namazake and created Sequoia Sake, a small brewery in the heart of San Francisco. Rooted in the traditions of Japanese sake brewing, they work to resurrect an heirloom rice in California pioneering the young but growing craft sake movement in the U.S.

“El Jardín”- Wed., Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET /  Tues., Nov. 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV
Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins opens her new restaurant, El Jardín, in San Diego. Inspired by the traditions of generations of Mexican women and combining regional heirloom ingredients from across Mexico, Zepeda-Wilkins takes a huge risk to elevate the cuisine in her hometown.

“Mister Jiu’s Chinatown”- Wed., Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET /  Tues., Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV
In San Francisco’s Chinatown, Brandon Jew walks the line between his Chinese heritage and his American upbringing with his restaurant, Mister Jiu’s. With the rapid gentrification of the neighborhood, the face of the country’s oldest Chinatown is changing while a younger generation holds on to the traditions and flavors of the past.

“Man’oushe” – Wed., Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET /  Tues., Dec. 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV
Two extraordinary women of Palestinian descent, Reem Assil and Lamees Dahbour, use food to bring their misunderstood homeland closer to Western tolerance and acceptance.

“Louis & Jazz” – Wed., Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET /  Tues., Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV
Jazz Singsanong of Jitlada Thai and Louis Tikaram of E.P. & L.P. transport the palate around the world with the complex flavors of Thai cuisine. These chefs work to bring balance to the complexity of flavors that reflect the mixed cultural influences of their own backgrounds and experiences.

Join the conversation on social media using #migrantkitchen, #lifeandthyme

Edible Adventures: Stories of Eating and Drinking on the Go

When MFK Fisher launched her extensive writing career, she wrote about food in a way that was quite unexpected of the genre. She didn’t put together restaurant reviews or criticisms. Very few recipes came from her desk. Instead, she utilized all things culinary as metaphor—for life, for love, for death, even for sex. In fact, her work was so emotional that it made some readers (and fellow, threatened writers) uncomfortable. Through that work, she essentially created a genre: the food memoir.

What began with her essays blossomed into full length narrative inspired by all manner of human experience. It was a pretty sparse category for a while there, but these days, we’re seeing nearly as many food world recollections as we are cookbooks. In this roundup, we’ve decided to narrow the focus to just a few, those that speak to the restless soul, curious about all the many things related to cuisine.

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting Pot Cuisine
By Edward Lee

Anyone familiar with Chef Edward Lee’s food, a flawless amalgamation of his influences from growing up in Brooklyn, New York and his heritage as a Korean American knows a serious amount of consideration is given to each and every dish. He’s a talented, thoughtful chef, and in this memoir, in which he traverses the U.S., stopping in cities from New Orleans to Paterson, New Jersey, Lee proves his insightful, curious and considerate nature goes far beyond the four walls of a kitchen—not to mention some serious writing chops.

The book reads as a sort of state of the union as told through the fabric of U.S. food, thoughtfully demonstrating that American will not likely ever become a single blanket culture, but a quilt of many.

The Monk of Mokha
By Dave Eggers

When author Dave Eggers heard the tale behind Mokhtar Alkhanshali’s coffee importing business, his storytelling radar must’ve gone haywire. He made it his mission to tell the tale, one of a Yemeni-American man that became possessed by the idea of reviving the and restoring to its former glory the coffee growing industry of his ancestors. The journey to doing so was so fraught with logistical and sociopolitical complications, corruption and mortal peril that at times it reads more like a modern war novel than a food and beverage biography.

Alkhanshali’s dogged determination and obsessive pride in his heritage make for an exhilarating, energizing adventure—caffeination not required.

By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail
By Thad Vogler

Vogler is a San Francisco legend behind some of the city’s institutional bars, like Bar Agricole and Trou Normand, known especially for inventive cocktails and meticulously curated spirits lists. In this adventure memoir, he takes readers around the world to see where he sources those magical liquids, from French chateaus for armagnacs to off the grid distilleries in Havana, and other far flung spots. We get a glimpse into the world of “grower” spirits, traditions that are centuries old as well as some new ones, and get a deeper understanding of what makes those precious bottles fetch a pretty penny.

Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine
By Jason Wilson

Historically speaking, wine writing has often required a serious understanding of a very daunting and vast world. But this book invites in even the uninitiated, and by taking readers on a journey to some underrecognized viticultural areas in parts of Portugal and Austria, lesser known growing region of Italy, France and even the United States (Jersey born wine, anyone?),  it delivers as much for those with a case of wanderlust as well as the ones looking to case out some cool new wine destinations. I recommend reading up before you head to your next cocktail party; I’m not ashamed to admit that I even casually dropped the names of a few uncommon grapes into conversation with my wine geek friends, and I felt pretty darn cool for a minute there.

Meet the New Life & Thyme

Friends,

Since the launch of Life & Thyme in 2012, it has been the relentless pursuit of our team to deliver quality culinary journalism from all over the globe. Examining world culture through food, be it from our home base in Los Angeles to the drought-stricken regions of South Africa, the mountain bakeries of Morocco to the refugee camps cooking in Lebanon or the vibrant street markets of Tokyo, we strive for a dynamic, comprehensive approach to food coverage. Holding ourselves to the highest standard remains our hallmark. Our commitment to representing the people and stories of our industry is stronger than ever.

As we enter a new era for Life & Thyme (with a brand new redesign), we also embark on a mission for independence and sustainability. Delivering thoughtful, carefully researched journalism is an endeavor that requires significant resources, and yet is not easy to monetize in the modern, turbulent media landscape. That’s why today, we ask you—our readers—for support, by becoming a Life & Thyme Member.

In subscribing to our Membership Program, your contributions directly support our independent coverage of the food industry, and our dedicated contributing writers, photographers and editors who work tirelessly to explore topics that impact each of us every day. You’ll also help jumpstart future projects, like podcasts, exclusive events and other endeavors that fuse creativity, storytelling and food culture.

We intend to continue providing the reliable reporting you’ve come to expect from Life & Thyme—from longform stories and industry commentary to cinematic short films and immersive photography. And we intend to continue to raise the bar, to always be improving the quality of our content, increasing frequency and breadth of our coverage as well. But we can only do it with your help. We thank you for your loyalty to and interest in Life & Thyme from the very start, and we hope you’ll join us in the next chapter of this journey.

Welcome to the new Life & Thyme.

Eye on the Ball

Many, many moons ago when I was only a little Italian tadpole, I tended goal for the traveling soccer team in my hometown. I had a good time doing the rough and tumble thing with my teammates, and I especially liked rolling around in the dirt when I had to make a diving save. But my soccer career came to a halt before I hit high school, when my interest shifted to much nerdier pursuits like student council and drama club. My memories of the sport––rules and regulations, teams and heroes and superstars––have been reduced to those soft-edged mental images of my fellow players and I hanging out at the local ice cream shop after games. Sometimes it meant celebrating a big win, but less successful days were just as satisfying when I could wrap my sorrows up in a smooth, creamy, sprinkle-spackled hug.

It was all ages ago. And so the advent of this year’s World Cup came and went for me with little fanfare. I knew it was going down, but I wasn’t the one getting up at five a.m. to switch on the television, or rallying the troops to relieve the corner bar of whatever drink specials were on tap for morning revelers.

But then some funny things happened. I first noticed at my local café, where I was the only patron in the place for an early lunch. The staff in the open kitchen were milling around, busying themselves with a few menial duties––I figure just trying to look busy. But the TV behind my head was what really had their attention. I glanced at the game, which was on mute, and then back at my kale salad. A few times I caught stymied reactions to what was happening on the screen behind me. It wasn’t a sports bar, and they were clearly trying to maintain some decorum in front of their customer. But about halfway through my meal, my server came over. “Excuse me, miss?” I tried to contain the forkful of greens I was stuffing in my mouth. “We were just wondering, would you mind terribly if we turned on the sound?” Of course not! I told him (with my eyes, while I swallowed like a civilized person). “Thanks,” he said. “There’s just something about watching soccer with the sound that changes the game.” He beamed, and the three dudes behind the tiny counter nodded to me, thumbs appreciatively up. A few minutes later, everyone in the place was rapt by the game––me included. Pretty quickly I found myself asking questions, taking notes and taking sides, and getting an education on what was happening in the wide world of the sport.

And from then on, it was everywhere I turned. When I came home to find the painters in my building’s vestibule huddled around an old radio shouting at them in Spanish, knuckles white around their brushes, awaiting news from the disembodied voice that had already gone hoarse from commentary. Then at my local market, while I was picking out some eggplant for dinner and the stockboys stopped emptying crates so they could stand around the tiny screen of someone’s cell phone. Customers put down their peppers and stepped away from the cheese section. We all––again, me included––made a human bottleneck of the whole produce area.

I will tell you that I still don’t know a whole lot more today than I did a few weeks ago about the game’s nuances, but I do know more about the people in my neighborhood. I know the guys at the café and where they come from. I know why they were rooting for one country over another, and maybe they even learned a little from me when I rambled on about the food customs of this one or that one.

And while I’ll never be an expert in the sport, I now know one thing for sure: soccer (football, futbol, whatever it is your people call it), is a lot like food. Both are universal languages. Both bring a little joy to what might otherwise be rote daily life. Both help us to dissolve the barriers that keep us apart on a regular basis. And in a world that feels deeply divided these days, it is through both that we can come together to celebrate a precious few things so elemental and exciting, and ultimately, unifying.

We’ve been fortunate to feature food stories from many of those countries that have participated in the competition, but to citizens of all the world, the ones watching the Cup in small cafés and in vestibules and markets around the globe, may we all observe—both victory and defeat—with something very delicious.

May I recommend the vanilla with rainbow sprinkles?

Loss Leaders

A few months back, I sent an email to Gabrielle Hamilton at Prune. It was around the time news of her second memoir was announced, and I was looking forward to the follow up to Blood, Bones, and Butter, which was a formative narrative for me. It proved Hamilton had serious writing chops—that she was not only a formidable chef, but a talented writer. It was an exciting combination in someone who had a powerful voice and platform in the industry.

Life & Thyme was running a theme around the concept of language; I wanted to discuss straddling those two disciplines, and how thoughtful words would be so important to the future of the food world. I received no response, which isn’t terribly uncommon for chefs at her level.

But as an admirer of her writing and lover of her food, I know the story I’d have likely written. About the ability of her simple style of food to speak volumes over the course of two decades in New York City. About inspiring a younger generation of chefs to be more contemplative, deliberate in business decisions (until now, she’d owned and operated only one restaurant while many of her peers have built veritable empires). About her example. About her leadership.

And now, I’d be looking back at the piece with a whole lot more questions. Because last week, Hamilton decided to extend a bailout to Ken Friedman, who has been accused of sexual harassment, and been one of the key figures at the center of the food world’s #metoo movement.

We in the food media have a lot on our minds lately. Most of us have barely had time to catch our breath between reports of disturbing allegations and accusations that have leveled empires and left gaping holes at our highest levels. And now The Spotted Pig fiasco has us all arguing amongst ourselves, second guessing figures we once considered future legends. Even heroes.

I had a chance to sit down with Mario Batali years ago, and as Babbo was perhaps the first restaurant with which I had a real love affair, it was a bit of a dream come true. The piece I subsequently wrote was as much about the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes as it was about the man who popularized it in New York City. But now, I cringe when I recall the contents. It was an honest work and I was proud of it, but what I once considered a solid piece has been removed from any samples I share. I cannot allow words—even ones once carefully chosen—to elevate the image of someone with such contemptible associations.

And I’m not alone; in this industry, we’ve loved our leaders and demonstrated it liberally. In everything from television shows to documentaries to weekly think pieces, we exalt the work of chefs around the world. We’re a business that has long enjoyed a lighter side of life. Certainly food and feeding people has always been tied tightly to complex politics—it’s not a business of total fluff, of course. But many of us are having the kind of crisis of faith that befalls worlds more accustomed to the corrupt or disenchanting—or (and to use a term that perhaps isn’t being used enough in conversations about sexual assault) the criminal.

It got me thinking about idolatry. And in our society, we love our idols. There’s a reason superhero movies dominate the box office. We’re a culture in search of heroes. Of action. Of leaders. The food business is no different. Ancient societies looked to these godlike figures to explain away mysteries, to help them understand the inexplicable. But do idols still have a place in our world? And is it too much to ask mere mortals to do the right thing?

What are we to do? We’re losing our leaders, and we’re losing them to behavior that poisons—or at the very least, pits us against one another, and against ourselves. Do we still have dinner at the Pig if we don’t agree with the new ownership structure? Do we try to support the staff there, who may have genuine intentions and are simply trying to make a living? Do we boycott a restaurant that once served as a setting for despicable actions? Do we still take anyone’s word that their dream is to just feed and nourish their community, provide a little joy in their lives, and a place for families and friends?

Our industry, perhaps more than other artistic disciplines, has experienced a dramatic amount of change in a short time. “Celebrity” is younger and newer to those in this business than many others, and those who have it now should recognize their responsibility.

Some of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of the food media as well. As our industry grows and faces more serious challenges, as professionals at our highest levels go from simply supporting their families or a small staff to literally hundreds of people, our coverage must become more discerning.

As journalists, we always do our best diligence, but along with questions about culinary philosophy and the latest sous vide technique, we must also consider what’s necessary to liberate such skeletons from the coat-check closets of fine dining restaurants and beyond. Not every chef profile needs to be an exposé, but it’s our job to hold those in positions of power to the standards of integrity any industry would demand of its upper echelon.

Because whether or not you put faith in idols, this is a business about human beings. And what we need right now are leaders. To inspire. To provoke positive thought and engagement, rather than the attention of local authorities. People who step up with the right intentions, with their feet on the ground. It’s time we take them off their pedestals and put them in a driver’s seat, where there are consequences if they take a wrong turn, steer under the intoxicating influence of ego or blind ambition or power—or something far worse. And remind them, they’re not piloting some flashy sports coupe, but a vehicle packed with people who rely on their every move.

Thank you, Anthony.


Anthony Bourdain was the voice of a generation. Of chefs and cooks, writers and readers, food lovers and diners, adventurers and daydreamers—and anyone with a curious and compassionate bone in their body.

His was a voice that encouraged us to learn, to step outside our comfort zones. One that made us both laugh at his playful bullying of Chef Eric Ripert, and ponder cultures foreign to our own. One that allowed us to live vicariously on a global scale from the safety of our own living rooms. Anthony Bourdain had the best job in the world. How do I know? Because he said it. He once was quoted that he had “the best job in the world, there’s no doubt about it.”

And just as he had no doubt of that fact, I have none that his work—as a writer and a documentarian—will always be remembered as a critical catalyst in jumpstarting a new wave of culinary storytelling, far beyond the reaches of any studio kitchen.

He inspired innumerable careers, including my own. He was a pioneer in his craft. Like a modern-day Indiana Jones, his hunger to uncover answers about society, and searching the deepest labyrinths in the farthest corners the world to find them, was a testament to the power of food. He was Bourdain being Bourdain. And he set the gold standard.

To Bourdain, food was merely a conduit for discourse. And that discourse wasn’t always about food—but it was always about humanity.

Photo by Former White House Photographer Pete Souza

Off the Menu: Issue Eight

Editor’s Note: Each week, Life & Thyme contributors are trotting the globe, taking in the sights and turning over all kinds of culinary stones for future stories. In our new weekly Off the Menu series, we ask for their favorite food-related finds from all over––and share them here.

Antonio Diaz, Life & Thyme Founder (Los Angeles), Antonio on Instagram

Friends of L&T and the music-meets-food podcast, Snacky Tunes, are throwing their first live show on March 13, 2018, at Los Angeles’ famed El Rey Theatre. There will be performances by soul singer-songwriter NIIA, Dave P x 2 (Making Time/This Is Who We Are Now) and Russell Alexander (Babilonia). There will also be an interview session with Chef Micah Wexler and Michael Kassar of Wexler’s Deli. Snag some tix here: http://bit.do/snackytuneslive

Stef Ferrari, Senior Editor (New York City); Stef on Instagram

I could not be more obsessed with this book, which chronicles the story of Yemeni-American coffee entrepreneur Mokhtar Alkhanshali. As a coffee nerd and bookworm, it seemed like a no-brainer. But with deep dives into science, chemistry and biology, history, world politics, culture and events through the eyes of a narrative hero you feel you can really get behind, The Monk of Mokah by Dave Eggers gives sorely needed context to so many subjects, and has changed the way I appreciate every sip of my morning joe. This is a perfect example of how we can learn so much about the world through what we eat and drink on a daily basis.

Ask your indie bookseller about this one. And be sure to have a strong cup primed for pairing.

Lauren di Matteo, Photographer (San Diego); Lauren on Instagram

Standing’s whole animal butcher shop is the the place to go for ethically raised, pastured meat. The quality and sheer deliciousness of it makes a weeknight meal taste like a special occasion—hello bacon cheeseburger sausage! I’m hoping to make it out for their upcoming beef butchery demo and tasting March 24th.

 

Anne Watson, Photographer (San Diego); Anne on Instagram

I just discovered the most amazing coffee product that launched this month – Dripkit for Pourovers-on-the-go. These magical little biodegradable packets of ethically-traded coffee (sourced from a family-owned farm in Guatemala) are designed to unfold & fit over your coffee cup – so all you need is hot water and you can have delicious gourmet coffee anytime, anywhere. They’re perfect for travel, or tucking into your desk at work, or just when you’d love to have a great cup of coffee at home and don’t want to brew a whole pot — I’m already addicted! So good.

Jim Sullivan, Photographer (San Diego); Jim on Instagram

Just picked up the WD-50 cookbook shot by my friend Eric Medsker. Beautifully shot! Love seeing my friends doing big things 🙏🏻😍

Off the Menu: Issue Seven––Valentine’s Day Special

Editor’s Note: Each week, Life & Thyme contributors are trotting the globe, taking in the sights and turning over all kinds of culinary stones for future stories. In our new weekly Off the Menu series, we ask for their favorite food-related finds from all over––and share them here. This week’s edition is all about how to treat yourself on a day that is all about love.

Carly DeFilippo, Writer (NYC); Carly on Instagram

I’ve always been a big fan of cooking-at-home on Valentine’s Day…and nothing tends to get my nearest and dearest more excited than homemade macaroni and cheese.

Of all the recipes I’ve tried, my favorite is Smitten Kitchen‘s adaptation of a New York Times recipe, which doesn’t require you to pre-cook the pasta. Cooking the macaroni directly in cheesy liquid yields a great texture…and if you add in some swiss chard or kale, you’ll feel even better about helping yourself to a second serving.

 

Oren Peleg, Writer (Los Angeles); Oren on Instagram

The basement-level dining room of Sotto is one of the moodiest (read: sexiest) in Los Angeles. When I feeling like treating myself, I head there to order a delicious plate of pasta and a cocktail. This is the Dream Within A Dream, a fragrant play on the gin martini.

Anne Watson, Photographer (Southern California); Anne on Instagram

I’m a woman of simple pleasures and although I know chocolates are more traditional, my palate prefers salty flavors. So my ideal Valentine’s treat is a big ol’ stack of extra-crispy Niman Ranch Uncured Double Applewood Smoked Bacon & a chilled bottle of one of my favorite dry bottles of bubbly, Comte de Noblens Cuvée Rosé Brut.

 

Jackie Bryant, Writer (Southern California); Jackie on Instagram

I’m in Spain and Catalunya right now, researching for stories and visiting my husband’s family. Whenever I’m here, I like to sample the latest and greatest of Catalunya’s natural wine. The pink color of Partida Creus’ Sumoll pét-nat made me think nothing could be more appropriate for celebrating Valentine’s Day!

And the second is from a few days ago. I was in Andalucia, visiting with arguably the best jamón ibérico producer in Spain, Cinco Jotas. Nothing says love like a plate of jamón ibérico de bellota.

Katrina Frederick, Writer & Photographer (Los Angeles); Katrina on Instagram

This Valentine’s, I decided to pre-make a batch of Botanica’s caraway date pumpkin seed granola so (the babe and) I could enjoy a leisurely morning in bed. The time saved not making a pile of pancakes or stack of waffles means more minutes sipping coffee (that the babe contributed) and reading cookbooks published in the 18th century. That early romantic light sure helps set the mood, too!

http://botanicamag.com/recipes/caraway-date-pumpkin-seed-granola/

Jim Sullivan, Photographer (San Diego); Jim on Instagram

So for Valentine’s Day rather than “treat myself” I was able to treat my beautiful wife to this fantastic dessert from Chef Lori Sauer and Crafted Baked Goods. A Vanilla Mousse with Strawberry, Raspberry, Finger Lime and White Chocolate. Attached is the before and after shots :)

 

 

Off the Menu: Issue Six

Editor’s Note: Each week, Life & Thyme contributors are trotting the globe, taking in the sights and turning over all kinds of culinary stones for future stories. In our new weekly Off the Menu series, we ask for their favorite food-related finds from all over––and share them here.

Jackie Bryant, Writer (San Diego); Jackie on Instagram

I paid a visit to the subject of one of my Life & Thyme stories, Hog Island Oyster, during a visit to see my closest friends who live in San Francisco. We had grilled oysters, raw oysters, cheese, charcuterie, craft beer and a few bottles of Sancerre.

https://hogislandoysters.com

Jim Sullivan, Photographer (San Diego); Jim on Instagram

I am frequently in San Francisco for shoots and always need to stop in to see my fam at Liholiho Yacht Club. Chef Ravi’s food is a direct reflection of his heritage and use of the best ingredients. Pictured here is the octopus dish currently on the menu. Pure Aloha!

www.liholihoyachtclubs.com

Carly DeFillipo, Writer (NYC); Carly on Instagram

The vibrant Balinese food at Selamat Pagi in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. From the rich, tender Beef Rendang to the vegan lentil and coconut cream-topped Bali Bowl, each colorful dish offers an exciting depth of flavor. Photo courtesy of Selamat Pagi.

http://www.selamatpagibrooklyn.com

Anne Watson, Photographer (Southern California); Anne on Instagram

This weekend I was craving chocolate cake (like ya do…) and was searching the internet for a recipe that was simple enough I could make it with ingredients already in my pantry. That’s when I discovered the most amazing chocolate cake recipe ever by Arizona-based food blogger Melissa Stadler of Modern Honey. Her recipe is called “Love at First Sight Chocolate Cake” with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting, and it’s incredible––definitely love at first bite, too.  So good, in fact, you’ll likely find yourself eating a slice for breakfast the next day with your morning coffee like I did.

Stef Ferrari, Senior Editor (NYC); Stef on Instagram

My pick this week is for any of the amazing organic chocolate bar flavors from Santosha Chocolate in Asheville, NC. I can be a bit of a chocolate snob, and I have rarely come across a more perfect product. This chocolate is vegan-friendly, non-GMO, raw, real, and ridiculously satisfying. Plus, they come in these conveniently packaged portion sizes, ideal for a single person in a single sitting (okay, so sometimes maybe I spring for more than one––but come on, who can seriously be expected to decide*?!).

*My fave is Mint & Maca when forced, but seriously––they’re all delicious.

http://santoshachocolate.com

Off the Menu: Issue Five

Editor’s Note: Each week, Life & Thyme contributors are trotting the globe, taking in the sights and turning over all kinds of culinary stones for future stories. In our new weekly Off the Menu series, we ask for their favorite food-related finds from all over––and share them here.

Jim Sullivan, Photographer (San Diego); Jim on Instagram

The dumplings from Din Tai Fung are out of this world. The recipes come straight from their Shanghai location with the same attention to detail given to each dumpling. Just might be my favorite bite of food I’ve had in quite some time.

http://dintaifungusa.com/locations_us/

Carly DeFilippo, Writer (New York City); Carly on Instagram

The sticky bun at Tulie bakery in Salt Lake City! Flaky dough, crunchy caramel and toasted pecans. An addictive, just-sweet-enough treat for those who typically skew savory.

http://www.tuliebakery.com

Anne Watson, Photographer (Southern California); Anne on Instagram

If you love authentic Kansas City Style BBQ & find yourself in Santa Ana, California, then you definitely want to stop by Native Son Ale House (305 E. 4th Street #200) starting this Thursday, Jan 4th when Kanas City-born Chef & Marine Veteran Derrick Foster takes over the kitchen full-time with his award-winning Ember Barbecue. It’s hands-down some of the best BBQ I’ve ever tasted. In addition to traditional slow-smoked meats, he’s also created an awesome “snack menu” that includes his signature “Hogchos” (photo attached) which are his take on traditional nachos, using chicharron in place of tortilla chips, topped with pulled pork, smoked cheese sauce, pork jerky, pickled onion, sour cream, jalapenos and his housemade BBQ sauce. So amazing!

Ziza Bauer, Writer (Nashville & Los Angeles); Ziza on Instagram

Pasticceria Scaturchio in Naples, Italy. A classic little place near the Piazza S. Domenico Maggiore where you can stuff your face and love every minute of it.

http://www.scaturchio.it

Katrina Frederick, Photographer (Los Angeles); Katrina on Instagram

I have been reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson––an historic narrative of the planning and execution of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. I love the inclusion of menus from elaborate dinners to celebrate the occasion, many of which have courses devoted to cigarettes and cigars.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Off the Menu: Issue Four

Editor’s Note: Each week, Life & Thyme contributors are trotting the globe, taking in the sights and turning over all kinds of culinary stones for future stories. In our new weekly Off the Menu series, we ask for their favorite food-related finds from all over––and share them here.

Antonio Diaz: Founder (Los Angeles); Antonio on Instagram

Brunch at Los Angeles’ Republique. Chef Walter Manzke is a genius with local ingredients and I don’t know any other chef in LA that personally visits a different farmers market every single day.

www.republiquela.com

 

Jim Sullivan: Photographer (San Diego); Jim on Instagram

Brunch at the James Beard Award-winning restaurant The Workshop in Palm Springs, California, is outstanding. A great way to spend Sunday morning with family and friends.

http://workshoppalmsprings.com

 

Anne Watson: Photographer (Southern California); Anne on Instagram

This year our family discovered The Wagyu Shop, an online source that just launched in 2017 for buying some of the world’s best beef, delivered straight to your doorstep. Both American Wagyu primal cuts (like the Flank & Tri Tip pictured below) as well as Japanese A5 Wagyu steaks. We indulged in the Tri Tip for our family’s Christmas dinner at The Watson Ranch this week — prepared sous vide & then seared, it was sublime.  The marbling on every cut of this beef is unreal – melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  Perfect for anyone who loves & appreciates good beef – and great for special occasions. They deliver via FedEx Priority Overnight, so there’s even time to still get some before New Year’s!

https://www.wagyushop.com/

 

Stef Ferrari, Senior Editor (New York City); Stef on Instagram

While it’s not a book about food, per se, yoga teacher* Andrea Marcum’s Close to Om has been high on my anticipated reads list for some time. Everyone, everywhere, in every culture seems to be talking about mindfulness these days, but this book actually makes it seem like balance is an achievable thing, and that extends to the way we do everything––including eating and sharing meals with loved ones. Packed with useful, practical information, written with plenty of wit and levity, it’s a great start-the-year-right read, whether you’re a yogi or not.

Close to Om: Stretching Yoga from Your Mat to Your Life by Andrea Marcum

*If you happen to live in L.A., seek one of Marcum’s near-daily yoga classes.

 

Off the Menu: Issue Three–Grab & Go Gifts

Editor’s Note: Each week, Life & Thyme contributors are trotting the globe, taking in the sights and turning over all kinds of culinary stones for future stories. In our new weekly Off the Menu series, we ask for their favorite food-related finds from all over––and share them here.

This week’s edition is all about last––last––minute gifts.

Stef Ferrari: Senior Editor (NYC); Stef on Instagram

Subscriptions! At the last minute, there’s nothing better than being able to purchase a subscription for someone and have the gift in your inbox instantly. I usually try to dress up the presentation, print out a confirmation/explanation of the service and still have something to wrap up. For example, a coffee subscription paired with a mug, or an olive oil subscription tied to a loaf of good bread with a bow.

A few of my favorites:

Nudo Olive Oil: Allows you to actually adopt an olive tree in Italy, from which oil will be produced and delivered to your recipient throughout the course of the year!

Saloonbox: For the boozers in your brood. This subscription sends mix-ready ingredients and instructions for a new cocktail every time.

Mistobox: Sleep in––let the professionals do the work. Varying length subscriptions of hand-selected, roasted-to-order coffee.

And see below for awesome wine options from Pour This…

Katrina Frederick: Assistant Editor; Katrina on Instagram

I’m putting bulbs of black garlic from Obis One in my food-loving family members’ stockings. A nice alternative to coal!

Anne Watson: Photographer (Southern California); Anne on Instagram

I’ve recently fallen in love with Made In Cookware. This line of American-made premium stainless cookware launched this fall and is an affordable option for home cooks who are looking for professional-grade pots and/or pans at home-cook prices. I particularly love my 10″ fry pan for searing meats as well as cooking vegetables. A great last-minute gift idea for anyone who loves to cook.

https://madeincookware.com

Jim Sullivan: Photographer (San Diego); Jim on Instagram

My favorite cookbook of 2017. A great addition for any foodie :)

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables

Carly DeFillipo: Writer (NYC); Carly on Instagram

The peak ice collection from W&P Design*. These silicone ice trays (with stabilizing steel frames) bring high-quality cocktail bar ice to the home freezer. What’s the most fun is that even your foodi’est friends likely haven’t made this purchase, and it will instantly upgrade all their drinks—from seltzer to stiff cocktails and beyond. (They even sell them on Amazon for a truly last-minute shipping option!)

*Transparency / Disclaimer: I work for W&P Design…but I’m also giving these to all my friends because I think they’re such a great gift.

Ashley Ragovin: Writer* (Los Angeles); Ashley on Instagram

Pour This is for sure the greatest wine membership on planet earth, and your mom / brother / impossible sister-in-law / boss / neighbor who loves good wine will really appreciate bottles from actual farmers and passionate people around the world. These wines are rooted in community, pleasure, and people. Shameless plug, yes! But great gift idea nonetheless!? Also happy to offer Life & Thyme readers 10% off their purchases with the code LT10.

https://www.pour-this.com/pages/gift-membership

*Ashley is the curator/proprietor behind Pour This

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