Where to Buy the Good Stuff

So, a chef returns home to no food…

Perhaps this could be the beginning of an obscure joke, but it’s actually a true story (cue violins).

When you are totally out of fresh produce, it’s actually a great opportunity to start with a clean slate and get out to your local farmers market and stock up on the good stuff.

Don’t know where your local farmers markets are? Check out the Local Harvest website.

All you have to do is put in your zip code and the nearest farmers markets will magically be displayed.

This is such a great resource to use in your hometown AND when traveling.

When I was traveling for my new show, Good Food America, Supers-sous and I would take any free time that we had to visit local farmers markets around the country and prepare delicious meals from our hotel room. (Something we do whenever we are traveling, in addition to checking out local restaurants.)

In this way, we eat fresh foods, enjoy the local seasonal fare, enjoy nutritious meals and we don’t break the bank.

Visiting farmers markets is also a great way to meet and mingle with the local community and sometimes, if you’re lucky,  you can even find double shot Latte there. Win-win-win.

 

Happy Days are Here Again!

Today, Super-sous and I tried Josef Centeno’s new(ish) restaurant, Baco Mercat.

We first fell in love with Josef’s food when he was the executive chef of The Lazy Ox Canteen in downtown L.A.

The Lazy Ox quickly became our “go-to” restaurant. When friends or family came in town, it was a must. When visitors asked where to eat, it was #1 on our list of recommendations.

However, the day came a few months ago when Josef left to open his new restaurant. As to be expected, the menu and flavors changed and as quickly as we found our favorite L.A. restaurant, we were without one.

Since we were downtown today to check out the Dwell on Design Expo, we decided to hop on over to Baco Mercat to check out Josef’s new digs.

What a happy lunch it was.

With deep satisfaction, I can say that we have found our favorite spot in L.A. again. We just love his food: creative, balanced flavors, wonderful textures, pure deliciousness, and great prices.

If you live in L.A. or are planning a visit, please, for Latte’s sake, don’t miss a visit to Baco.

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Sunny City Friday

What a beautiful day in New York City!

Not only is the sun out and temperatures are in the upper 60’s, but the 2 restaurants we shot at today are serving off the charts food and the chefs are mad talented.

Bonus? With an early wake up time of 5am, Latte has been keeping me company all day.

It’s hard to believe there are only 3 more shoot days left for season 1 of Good Food America. One more day in NYC and then we’re off to Connecticut!

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All across the U.S.A.

Today, the crew of Good Food America is in New Jersey.

We are coming to the close of shooting the season 1 episodes of the show – one more week and we are wrapped. Holy Latte – just two more states – New York and Connecticut.

There are a lot of delicious restaurants in this country and talented passionate people behind them. A sneak peek of the show will air on Veria Living on July 4th; I can’t wait to see it and share all of the fun adventures on the road with you!

Pizza to Write Home About

Chicago deep dish pizza. It’s really a must have when you visit the city. (Similar to the obligatory slice of New York pizza when in town.)

Super-sous had long been talking about our “must” rendez-vous with Lou Malnati’s pizza during our down time (from shooting Good Food America) in Chicago. I once had a slice many years ago when in Chicago (a faint memory from decades ago) and one of my friends originally from Chicago but who now lives in L.A. had even had the pizza shipped out to him in times of desperate cravings (yes, Lou Malnati’s ships their deep dish pizza partially baked and flash frozen all over the United States).

Off we went last night, after a long day of shooting. We kept it simple. Small, plain cheese deep dish pizza with butter crust.

The pizza was even better than we remembered. Each bite offered just as much mozzarella cheese as it did deep dish crust. The sauce? If they sold jars of it, I would have a couple already packed in my suitcase.

Super-sous and I made a quick trip to the kitchen to see how it’s all done. 7 pizza ovens with 6 shelves to an oven line the kitchen with a nice-sized prep area. Each pizza cooks for 30-35 minutes at 650 degrees! That’s a LONG time. In comparison, my pizza recipe  (granted, it’s thin crust) from my cookbook cooks at 500 degrees for 8 minutes. The manager told us that each year Mr. Malnati himself goes to California (yeah!) to pick out the tomatoes for their sauce. He wouldn’t reveal the crust recipe, but we did find out that it does not contain any sugar or salt.

Thank Latte we ordered a small which gave us each 2 hearty slices but did not leave us overstuffed. Had we ordered a medium we would have been beyond full, because there’s no way you can let any of that pizza go to waste.

Break!

On a mid-day break from shooting today’s Chicago episode for Good Food America

This morning we visited a 91,300 square foot Leed Platinum Certified wholesale distributor of produce for the Chicago area food industry.

This place is no joke! Family owned. 4th generation. Recycled water, their own wind turbine, solar panels and boxes and boxes of fresh produce as far as the eye can see.

With Latte in hand, I just arrived at our restaurant location and let me tell you – the menu looks delicious and the atmosphere is super sleek. Can’t wait to get into the kitchen for some cooking!

Stay tuned for some photos after we wrap up the Chicago leg.

In a couple days we are off to Wisconsin, but for now – Chicago… I’m ALL yours.

Pokpok – Notnot

Yesterday, we said goodbye to beautiful, sunny (yes, sunny) Seattle.

After a trip to Vashon island (a 10 minute ferry ride from Seattle) to film at a very special food purveyor, we made our way to Portland, Oregon.

My sous and I were recommended a place to eat in Portland from several different sources (2 of them being chefs) called pokpok – which serves Thai street/pub food. So, we headed to the restaurant for dinner last night with our Executive Producer, Garrett, and the lovely Carrie who is part of the production team on Good Food America.

The interior of the restaurant was very hip and well-designed and their sister lounge across the street was a fantastic dive”ish” bar – so we were off to a good start. Well, perhaps it was because the executive chef was not present, but the food was, unfortunately, underwhelming. Flavors masked by extreme spice (I’ve never consumed so many thai chiles), fish stock mixed with fruit, flabby eggplant – again, underwhelming and actually, unpleasant. Out of 10 dishes, we liked 3 (their famous chicken wings, a noodle dish with shrimp and pork belly, and a Brussels sprouts dish). If you have eaten at pokpok, please let me know what we missed!

We’re here for another 2 days and I can’t wait to try out Portland’s most delicious spots and, of course, there is Latte. Latte, when have you ever let me down? Answer: never. Thank Latte for Latte!

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