Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Passero's Coffee Roasts THE PERFECT COFFEE!

I live in LA, and everyone who knows me knows I love coffee. Everyone who doesn't know me also knows I love coffee. They can tell at a glance as I happily swig from my omnipresent travel mug all day every day from 6:30 A.M. until around 4:00 P.M.

For years I've been on a quest for the best coffee in the United States. Nothing official, just a deep personal belief that I deserve to enjoy the best damed cup of joe known to mankind. I do you know...and I think you do too.

Really, the tasteless or downright acrid swill being sold as coffee everywhere should not have to be ingested. But I digress.

Recently while in Philadelphia, my husband enjoyed such a delicious cup of coffee at Passero's Coffee in Penn Center that he immediately asked the owner what the secret was. Turns out, the owner, Jeff Lincoln loves coffee as much as I do and after years of sourcing the very best beans he could find... he's now undertaken to hand-craft his own roasts and produce the ultimate coffee experience.

Hubby flew home with 3 different roasts and it was with great anticipation that I opened each of them and stuck my nose in the bags of bracingly fresh roasted beans. I was speechless. My family watched as was carried away in a sniffing, grinding and sipping frenzy. My 12-year-old was a bit freaked out and poked my husband's arm, "She's kinda scary."

First, Passero's packaging is a revelation. On the side of the 100% recycled paper sack with a compostable liner to protect freshness, are helpful notes about the roast and beans. And even more shocking...they're accurate!

The Ethiopian has a smooth lovely cherry-ness that's downright lush. 
The Tanzanian Peaberry finishes with hints of divine dark chocolate and raspberry. 
But the Kenya AB has just knocked my socks clean off. That's what my hubby tasted in Philadelphia, and let me just say, if I wasn't married to him, I'd marry this coffee.

Imagine a guy with a coffee stand in Philly being obsessed enough to artisanally roast his own coffee? Imagine that guy having a palate that can create blends that make you fall in love? I mean roasting great coffee has to be incredibly complex because most people with enough passion to buy a roaster just end up burning it, christening it 'dark roast gourmet' and calling it a success.

My experience with this Passero's coffee makes me think of that movie where Juliette Binoche moves to town and unleashes everyone's lifelong passions with chocolate. Forget Like Water for Chocolate. Like Water for Coffee!

Now why can't we have that Philly coffee stand here in LA? What are the chances that this Jeff Lincoln would open a Passero's oh, say on Pico Blvd?


Thursday, February 20, 2014


Guess what our dinner of Garden Burgers needed? Sloppy Slaw! It was a delicious side salad and a surprisingly sloppy delicious burger topper!

The ingredients are simple:

1/2 bag of shredded cabbage
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
2 Tbsp catsup
2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp poblano pepper, diced
1 Tbsp jalepeno, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp juice from pickle relish

Let the flavors marry in the refrigerator for up to an hour and serve. Yum-O!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Yeah, I said it. You know that you like corn nuts so much that you put them in your mouth and bite down with a fleeting thought to your dentist, followed by a flicker of a prayer that is something like, "I hope this corn nut doesn't crack my molar..."

Well, the other night at dinner Hudson scolded me and the girls for crunching on said offending corn product because of the list of unpronounceable ingredients listed on the bag. Hey, don't blame me, blame Bobby Flay who topped his gazpacho with them right there on Barbecue Addiction and he inspired me.

So last week when I was lunching at LA's Grand Central Market and staring at bulk giant corn kernels I got an idea. Make my own and eat as many as I want. Here is the simple and yummy recipe:

Corn Nuts

1 cup giant corn kernels, dried (they look, um, just like corn nuts, just raw)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Season salt, to taste (brand of your choice, I used Papa Cristo's)

Put corn kernels in a container and cover with water for 3 days. I put in the back of my fridge to keep them fresh. This tenderizes them and they swell slightly.

When ready to cook them, drain kernels on a towel while you heat the oil in a frying pan large enough to accommodate 1/2 of your corn. You'll fry 2 batches.

When oil is hot, place the dried kernels in the pan and move them around with a wooden spoon (or swirling the pan if you're feeling confident) for about 8 minutes. You want them to start to get lightly golden brown but no where near burned. Yes, I have had 1 kernel pop, sort of, but it isn't popping corn so it didn't 'inflate'. No need for a lid, but a splatter guard will keep your kitchen cleaner.

Remove the kernels to a paper towel to drain excess oil and season liberally with your season salt.

These nuts aren't anywhere as hard as store bought corn nuts but as they dry and cool, they do become crunchier than they are fresh out of the oil.

Tailor them to any flavor you're craving and keep your bridgework safe.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012


5630 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Neighborhood: Mid Wilshire

Oh Coffee + Food you have enslaved me with your DIRTY CHAI!  The coffee and food are key but the + is key in Coffee + Food because there are pluses everywhere in this new Melrose East joint. Crisp flavorful fresh ingredients present themselves refreshingly interpreted in surprising sandwiches, sweet breads, take-away boxes and specials.

Another + is the space is perfect
Another + is the staff rocks
Another + is the owners are cool

Went there for breakfast with my kids this morning and the space is very kid friendly with mini Etch-a-Sketchs that kept little hands busy - they even have a baby steamed milk in an espresso cup so the little ones felt very grown up. All they needed was candy cigarettes and they' look like they were French.

This place is frankly so awesome I'd love every other business in the neighborhood to take a cue from Coffee + Food so it would be a cooler place to live.

I want to drink and eat here. You will too.


Thursday, November 3, 2011


Maggie and Barney Treadway's inspiration for Wine & Cheese was their own riff off of the Parisian cafe experience. Lucky for Denver -- they hit their mark and then exceeded Paris in a spectacular way. Hey, I love Paris and rent apartments there for extended stays whenever I can, but I honestly have never come across an establishment like this in the City of Light.

Maggie's extraordinary palette makes every single plate that comes out of her kitchen something to savor. She's your personal cheese guru so you don't have to be intimidated by unfamiliar offerings because she's taken all of the guess work out... every single cheese is delicious. It's true that Murray's Cheese Shop on Bleeker in Greenwich Village is my personal Toys 'R Us and my husband calls them when I'm not answering my cell... but there have been times when I make a mistake and buy a cheese that is a bit off from the last batch that a dairy offered -- but when Maggie makes the selection for you, you've got an expert who eliminates the possibility of a dissapointing slab of cheese that could harsh your mellow. Maggie is usually at the restaurant whipping up home made soups, sauces and extravagant fondues -- so ask if you can say "Hi". If you have a good joke, there are few things in life as fun as hearing Maggie laugh so give it a try.

Barney's passion for wine is inspiring, and he goes a step further as your personal sommelier, he hunts down wines that you may not have heard of but will have you heading next door to his wine shop to buy a bottle to enjoy at home.

What a wonderful place to relax in on a day of shopping for a late lunch, or bring a date and share a cheese and charcute plate, or chill out while traffic is at it's height on I-25 with wine, artisan panini and a salad so fresh you know it's healthy.

Next time I'm in Denver, I'm heading right from the airport (conveniently minutes away!) and I'm going to enjoy one of their 'wine flights' and the pate & cheese platter pictured here with my hubby.

Lucky Denver... I envy you because I haven't found anything like Wine & Cheese in LA or Manhattan.

Oh! And even if you don't have to go... check out the bathroom...I don't know why every restaurant doesn't copy W&C's restroom experience. I'm just saying'.

See you there!


Saturday, June 11, 2011


I returned to Los Angeles from Greenwich Village NY and THE CUPBOARD was still staring me down. No prob. In LA we're experiencing "June gloom" which I love and makes me want to snuggle, curl up and be warm. I opened the cupboard and was confronted with a 24 oz can of whole tomatoes, a box of whole grain penne pasta and I immediately thought of a cozy night in front of the TV with Hudson and seconds or third helpings that are guilt free because they contain fresh vegetables. See? Virtuous. Follow my logic

Hudson had gone to the neighborhood farmer's market and gotten ripe tomatoes, fresh garlic (so fresh the skin hasn't become paper), onion, and a lovely eggplant. OMG! This is cupboard recipe is going to be SO GOOD!


1 lb WHOLE WHEAT PENNE PASTA, cooked 3 min before al dente

1 head of garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 med eggplant, cubed
6 small fresh tomatoes, blended
1 TBSP olive oil
5 oz Regiano Parmiggiano grated
Salt, Pepper & red pepper flakes to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a lager pot of water over high heat, bring to a boil, add a Place a pot over medium heat, add oil, onions, eggplant, garlic, salt, pepper, pepper flakes. Saute until fragrant and tender. Add Canned and fresh tomato sauce and break whole tomatoes apart with spoon into small chunks.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Tonight I had like 8 minutes to jump into the challenge to feed Hudson and his staff working long hours in our home office. I squared my shoulders, put my arms straight up overhead, bent my knees slightly and dove head first into The Cupboard. LA is enjoying June Gloom now that it's June 1st, we call all cool days that. I figured that something hearty would be appreciated. I sprang out of the 5 walls of the cupboard with a jar of Ralph's Pizza Sauce (grabbed that for pizza night months ago but Hudson turned his nose up at it), a can of white Kidney beans and a small can of corn, red pepper and jalepeno. Why not transform the pizza sauce with chili spices?

Why not indeed. I can make chili with cut-rate jarred pizza sauce and Hudson won't know better. I'll make Ralph's brand name sound Mexican and everyone will salute me for the great ''South of the Border" meal.

Ralphael's Pizza Chili
11 oz can Corn, Red Pepper, Jalepeno
14 oz jar Ralph's Pizza Sauce
15.5 oz can Ralph's Kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper, fresh grated
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Tobasco sauce
3 dashes liquid smoke
3 scallions, chopped
Corn chips for dipping

Directions: Dump corn mix and kidney beans into pot on Med heat. Add seasonings and gently stir into corn and beans. Pour pizza sauce over seasoned ingredients and when bubbles appear, turn down to low and cover while chopping scallions. Stir chili and add scallions and cover till bubbly and hot. Spoon into bowls and add chips for dipping.

The result i\was tangy sauce that spoke up unapolgeticaly and said "CHILI, yes! With an 'I' not with an 'E'. The chili powder, garlic powder, liquid smoke and onion powder transformed the sauce into a really lovely meal. We spooned up the crisp corn, subtle peppers, tender, creamy beans + tangy sauce that I'd all chili'd up. Dang, I'll totally make this again! But maybe with a salad to pump up the virtuous feeling of healthful dining... you know, to counteract the canned/jarredness and the corn chips.

OOH! I could totally White Trash this recipe out with Fritos and Cheeze Wiz! Can you imagine a sporting event where I served this piping hot with Wiz-Frito garnishes? Shut UP!