Jul 12, 2009

Trippin' and toppin'

Only a few days left on our California vacation, but I thought I could share a few ideas before returning to full time blogging. Just to keep your appetite awake, I thought I could share a few new culinary notions I recently learned in the Big Country:

There's a great ice cream place called Scoop du Jour in East Hampton that is best known for it's donuts than the newfangled cold stone gelato+topping kneading technique. Crowds flock here, and it is one of the best family owned businesses that still exists in town and you can smell the frying ciambellas for miles. The famed artisanal donuts are made with this amazing contraption here:

The pastry dough is kneaded in a funnel like container that at the open end has a ring-shaped opening, it is forced through this and dropped into the scalding oil selectively, so when one donut is dropped to the left, the machine automatically shifts to the right side of the receiving tray to drop the next one. The donuts float sideways on a conveyor belt to a cooling station where they are then fished out and topped with powdered sugar or cinnamon. They are eaten hot, provoking loud moaning sounds by the lucky consumers.


When will I think bruschetta from now on, I will never again be snobbish about topping it with anything other than rubbed garlic, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Chopped heirloom tomatoes used to be the only exception, but my stepmom's avocado recipe from Carmel Belle made me broaden my crispy bread horizons. She lightly drizzled olive oil on thin slices of ciabatta or sourdough and broiled them for 3 minutes. She then thinly carved a ripe avocado and topped the warm toasted bread with it. One last thread of olive oil, a generous dust of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and we all devoured the California bruschetta while still hot, alongside a chilled and fashionable Pinot Grigio.


California Pizza Kitchen is always fun for take out dinner and a good movie after a day of scampering around the coast, plus it gives me a chance to put a twist on the usual pizza I have in Italy. So tonight we shared the CPK's
Thai Chicken pizza, topped with pieces of chicken breast marinated in a spicy peanut-ginger and sesame sauce, Mozzarella cheese, green onions, bean sprouts, julienne carrots, cilantro and roasted peanuts; and one Original BBQ Chicken, the chain's most popular pizza, introduced in the first Beverly Hills restaurant in 1985. This curious pizza is topped with barbecue sauce, smoked Gouda and Mozzarella cheeses, cubed barbecued chicken, sliced red onions and cilantro. The Chardonnay's sweetness matched the pizza's quirky flavor combos to perfection.


Here's a flower I saw in Capitola this afternoon, while taking a leisurely stroll down the small Riverview Avenue path that flanks the canal.

The owner of one of the many pretty yards that dotted the narrow path was watering his patch as I stole a snapshot of a very interesting looking flower, the likes I had never seen. The kind gentleman asked me to take a sniff and to my surprise the deep burgundy colored Cosmos smelled of... chocolate! I was in heaven. A beautiful flower that smells like chocolate? Being the passionate flower and choc lover that I am, this particular Nature's creature was perfect under every aspect. The kind man plucked one of his aromatic flowers and gave it to me with a smile. I took a few steps and making sure he didn't notice...
... I took a small bite.

It didn't taste like chocolate. Alas.


  1. ha. eating the flowers. love a doughnut shop that makes them right in front of you...oh i wish we had one. glad to hear you vacation seems to be going well. squeeze every last bit of fun out of it. travel on. smiles.

  2. People go on about French cuisine but after your post - and a few holidays in California - I've got to say that I prefer the West Coast food. Your post made me drool - not a pretty sight.

    Enjoy the last bit of your holiday


  3. You can find wonderful things to eat anywhere you go. Very inspiring! Wave as you fly over Iowa - you are going to miss our sweet corn season.

  4. Hello Lola, so good to hear from you.
    I plant chocolate cosmos most years, it won't winter over in my zone. It is so delightful. So chocolaty.
    It sounds as though you are eating your way through your vaction. That is always the best way to travel.

  5. Sounds like you are having a lovely vacation :) i had a similar revelation with bruschetta. isnt avocado and crispy bread wonderful?!

  6. Ciao darling,

    So glad to hear you are having a great time! Would you believe i've never been to CPK? haha! I bet E loved it though.
    Stop eating flowers ☺ heehee...


  7. Ah! I was thinking...."Will she eat it?"....Ha....and you did.

    Been thinking of you.

  8. Missed you lots Lola - I am thrilled to see your post and to know you are OK. Bet you are treating your dad to lots of your culnorary delights.
    As for me my appetite is satisfied knowing you are OK - Eddie x

  9. Hi, glad to hear from you and your encounters with tasty treats. Hopefully, you get to share more.

  10. It sounds like a sweet tasteful culinary experience!
    I have to try that avocado delight.
    Chocolate aroma flowers interesting :)

  11. You tasted the flower??? You are a die-hard foodie for sure! LOL!

  12. I really like Cosmos too. You find many varieties here in Minnesota. Sounds like you are having a lovely trip.

  13. As someone who just eats and seldom thinks about the time and trouble gone into making a dish, you have really opened my eyes.

    CJ xx

  14. The avocado bruschetta looks delicious! I wish I had it here now, for my lunch!

  15. And I am fucking starving. That bruschetta looks deliciious.