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Low Hanging Fruit

Dear Chef Bourdain;

Quite a lot of your recipes call for ingredients that are hard to come by. My brother-in-law-to-be is having his birthday this weekend, and I’ve been invited to contribute a dish or two to the celebration. He’s a good guy, so I figure I ought to do something pretty good, rather than just phoning in an apple pie or something. So instead, I’m going to work on a couple of recipes from Les Halles, to keep on schedule.

But Tony – can I call you Tony when I haven’t been drinking all the cooking wine? Tony, seriously, there are no vegetable recipes in this book. Does no one in bistros eat veggies? Or is it just that they’re such a given, a little olive oil, sauteed, a bit of sea-salt, that the recipe isn’t called for?

So, I wanted to try for one of the more ambitious dishes, since I have the weekend to prepare. But I still haven’t found a proper butcher here in LA, and when I ask the guys over at Whole Foods or Gelsons for stuff like caul fat, they look at me like I’ve just asked for a cake with baby in it. Funny story, that happened once – I was trying to get King Cake for Mardi Gras a few years ago, and I asked the woman at the bakery counter at a supermarket if they had it. Her English wasn’t very good, so she wasn’t sure what I meant. So I clarified; “King Cake – you know, the cake with the baby in it?” She looked utterly horrified and said “With BABY in it?”

I left it at that, it was clear they didn’t really have it there, so far more amusing to let her explain to her coworkers some mad cannibal was looking for cake. Anyway, trying to get the more esoteric cuts around here is about like asking for cake with baby in it.

So I’m going with low-hanging fruit – apple tart with custard and potatoes au gratin. But I have to stop with the easy stuff, and get working on tracking down the harder stuff locally. If anyone else who’s reading this – both of you! – knows a good butcher or meatmonger of any sort in LA, let me know.

Happily, some of the harder recipes involve cooking with wine. I like that. Let’s do more of it!



Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 3, 2010 at 7:19 PM


    It’s right near where I work… no clue if it’s any good

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