Sprouts on a Camp Burger

This year in Truckee on the first afternoon of my annual Donner Lake dads and kids camping trip it rained; hard; grey skies turning black.  Fortunately, it was only a 1/4 mile into town for some sausage pizza.  Glamping?  No.  But coffee runs to Starbucks every morning – yeah, maybe.

Although, even on a glamping trip you need to know what you’re doing, kinda.  Just remember, sprouts do much better than lettuce in warm temperatures.  Especially if your cooler runs out of ice.  Also, when you substitute the young stalks of a bean plant for something considerably more bland, you actually get a better tasting burger.

On the ride home to LA we were kinda pressed for time so I peed in a cup.  Not pulling over to go to the bathroom got us to an important birthday on time.  I will do anything for my kids, except when it comes to gourmet burgers vs. regular hot dogs.




Almond Brittle Pork Belly Family Style

There is a big part of Santa Barbara that is all about family style, and it was good for me.  I went up there last weekend to visit some old family friends that I had not seen in far too long.  At dinner both restaurants we went to recommended that we order a variety of items and share everything.  But family style both gastronomic and otherwise has never been my greatest strength.  Although, for a lot of reasons that is starting to change.  In regard to the actual food on my plate, I have always been a little like Joseph Francis Tribbiani Jr.  Not because I can’t stand for anyone to touch my food, but if I get lucky and order the best thing on the menu I had a hard time sharing.

I spent the week prior to the trip researching Santa Barbara restaurants, and decided to have the pork belly at The Lark.  It was the one menu item at the all restaurants in the area that really stood out: 1) first they cured the pork with a recipe that included chili flake and clove: 2) then they smoked it with apple wood: 3) and for the confit they used duck fat: 4) after that a light-fry with some other fancy ingredients I forgot to write down; 5) then they rolled it in a blackberry sauce, sprinkled on almond brittle, pickled jimmy nardello chile, and chicharron.  Either this thing was going to be a mess or one of the best things you’ve ever tasted.

Of course it turned out to be the best thing on the menu, making it a meal potentially difficult to share.  But this time was different.  Coming into the dinner already somewhat more open to experience life uninhibited for various reasons, when someone suggested the octopus I got on board.  We had the pineapple & habanero glazed Spanish octopus with zucchini,​ fingerling potato, coriander-lime yogurt, pickled carrot, mezcal.  Generally not something I would have order for myself.  But you have to be reasonable when going family style.  Because when you are part of a family that’s what you do.  And the second best part was that the octopus was outstanding.  When it came time for the pork, I no longer felt like I had to eat the whole thing by myself.  I could have, but I wanted to share.

Moby Cat & the Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is a hell of a boat.  She ruled the north Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967.  Last week my buddy (the yachtsman – because well, he has a yacht), and I took the kids for a little stay over on her for a dad’s weekend.  There’s all kinds of things to do on that boat docked off the California coast in Long Beach.  They even have a haunted ship excursion, but the kids were too scared for that.  What they really wanted to see was the lego exhibit.  But the lamb in the dining room at Sir Winston’s was calling.

The boys were on their best behavior, and by boys I mean the yachtsman and myself.  We were setting a good example by not drinking too much.  Just a few cocktails and some water.  But then the sommelier showed-up and ruined everything, for the kids anyway.  He made us drink a full bottle of wine between the two of us.  After that the kids were trapped between the yachtsman and I regaling each other with our maritime adventures.

The next morning we went to the Shipyard room where they have a 600 lb. replica of the QM.  The stewards there play a little game with the kids. They hide a small white Lego cat on a big white part of the Lego ship, and the kids try to find it.  We hunted for the white mammal.  All of us.



Cleaving from a Distance

Last night I dined on the Bistecca, a 50 oz porterhouse, it was like the feeling you get from hitting all 5 clays from each of all 5 firing positions – blindfolded.  The space was even as warm an inviting as hunting lodge.  I was at chi Spacca with my buddy El Carnicero.  We call him the butcher because he buys natural cows in bulk.  He get them from vineyards in Northern California once they have run their course supplying fertilizer for the grapes.  They are completely farm raised as they graze on grass all day, and taste almost as good as the Bistecca.

But before the 50 ouncer we started with the elusive white pie.  There really is no Focaccia di Reccos that can compare.  And you can only get it at chi Spacca, they don’t even serve it in their two other sister restaurants next door.  Legend has it that it took the priorietor if this establishment four years to prefect.  It’s super gooey, and even the crust is melty.  It’s a pizza that even a seasoned Venezuelan hunter would eat.  It had been a while since I had seen El Carnicero. I think the last time was over bison burgers at the Oak Tree Gun Club, trap shooting with the kids.

We picked up right where we left off talking about hunting, but this time it was different.  The day after we went to the range, an 8 year old girl in the mid-west at another range, accidentally shot and killed her Uzi teacher.  Beyond the conversation about what kind of guns anyone needs to hunt was a further thought about whether one can even hunt in the US anymore.  The great irony of it all is of course that those who sought to preserve it may now have destroyed it.


72 horas en Yucatan

Barbacoa empezo en el caribe mexicano con los indios quien cocinaron lentamente el chivo sobre fuego de llena o bien por fuego en un agujero cobrado con hojas de maguey.

Gracias a Dios y el poder de buena comido se imigro a Mexico donde yo me encontro en El Restaurante del Belmond Maroma Hotel que no tiene nada que ver con sus raises indios pero sale igual de Rico.  AY mamita es este que quema.

Con una adventura de solo 72 horas en el Yucatan, visite tres lugares en la biblia del viajero (1000 lugares de conocer antes que muere) con saldo corriente de 4000. Cumpleanos importante con 600 mas que me llama antes de despedirles. La meta puede ser impossible lograr con 47 anos en este mundo. Este viejo gringo seguira peleando como merecia victoria. Lo esencial es el viaje no solo El destino en este caso: Maroma – Hacienda Katanchel – Chichen Itza.   El plan es vivir bien a pesar de que no sabemos para tanta tiempo. Quizas como los Maya. De todos modos estare sonriendo en las sombras.  Suerte con sus metas dejando su marca propia.