Tag Archives: la jolla

HIGH CONCENTRATE

I will rarely slavishly follow a recipe’s directions — it’s just not my style, too fussy and doesn’t feel me – but in the case of a big, British, uber-traditional roast beef, I knew had to get it right.

It all began on a recent trip to NYC, where we bought a used copy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s weighty tome The River Cottage Meat Book. It’s not perfect — his long-winded rhetoric could definitely use a judicious round of heavy editing — but there are some gems buried in all of the redundant technical chatter. For one, he presents a near-flawless argument for dry-aging meat, and his menu for roast beef looked particularly tantalizing (admittedly because of all of the tasty side dishes, including my favorite: Yorkshire pudding).

So, we decided to do it. Exactly by the book. (One link to the recipe can be found here). And after plenty of research, we decided to buy a hefty five pound roast — dry-aged no less than 30 days — from La Jolla’s butcher, Homegrown Meats. It wasn’t cheap  (I’ll spare you the knowledge of just how much it cost), but the rich, deeply concentrated flavor of grass-fed, dry-aged beef is utterly indescribable. As a once-in-a-lifetime thing, it’s worth doing.  

Naturally, I was in charge of the Yorkshire pudding (surprisingly easy, and results astonishingly moist) laced with glistening roast beef drippings, pan-fried leeks with shards of kale, buttered peas with torn mint, and hand-folded horseradish cream (made with creme fraiche and fresh horseradish root, be super careful when you shave it up, it cleared my sinuses rather furiously). I also made a quick appetizer of mashed potato croquettes (in homemade breadcrumbs with parsley), which was pared with Adam’s sauteed lobster tail. On his part, Adam was in charge of the wine (definitely the most important task), sauteed mushrooms, thick red wine gravy, as well as jointly keeping an eye on the roast.

British food, in my opinion, is not one of the world’s…. greatest cuisines, but this meal — so quintessentially English in nature — happens to be one of my very favorites.

BURRITO HOMECOMING

Ah, the breakfast burrito. Pannikin’s iteration isn’t the best or most authentic, but it was pretty damn good. I like mine with lots of hot sauce, too many double espressos, one halved, toasted pumpkin muffin (more like cake), and the latest issue of Wire (good Invisible Jukebox with William Bennett).

One of the best parts of coming home is eating proper Southern Californian-style Mexico food. We already gorged on the overwhelmingly large ”Surf ‘n’ Turf” burrito from Lucha Libre (basically a California burrito — that’s tender carne asade and avocado with salty french fries nestled adjacent — but with sauteed shrimp thrown in the mix), and next on our list is the requisite trip to Marisco’s for their unbelievable $1 fish tacos (though it’s hard to not make a trip to the Normal Heights truck and not walk away having tried half the menu).

THIS IS HOW WE WALK ON THE MOON

If you’re ever in La Jolla, you’d be remiss to skip the killer Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. As a little girl, tracing my fingers in the sun-kissed tide pools and gazing at the ethereal jellyfish were among my favorite things to do ever. I would trick or treat at the aquarium on Halloween and take summer camps there every year. I dreamt about kelp and shark teeth and chambered nautilus. So last week, I made a long overdue visit. It was better than I remembered.  It’s amazing how much sea life reminds me of space life, both in the way things float and unfurl and jet about but also in the way things look so completely, utterly, overwhelmingly alien.  It was very Avatar. The last photo – of these insane sand worms – are pretty much what I imagine the surface of Hades to look like.

OH MY STARS

After 6 years of being semi-blind with my woefully outdated glasses, I finally bought new ones. I have rested my poor eyes, saved them from the domination of contact lenses, and worn them all day for 3 days in a row. Vision revived!

Last night was a full moon (btw the first full moon of the calendar year is called a ‘wolf moon’) so yesterday aftertoon I scavenged for shells and pebbles at the beach, where the tides were so low that all of the hidden tide pools – and their secrets within - were exposed. It was insane.

The low tides exposed about 200 extra feet of beach.

Dream house.

This starfish was tenaciously gripping these rocks with its tiny suckers. This was HARD to lift up. The combined weight of the rocks must have been double that of the starfish! Why do startfish do that??? It’s like holding on to a teddy bear, or sucking your thumb. Safety. 

Can you believe that smiling rock? I am in love.

These rocks reminded me of brownies, the kind that get cream cheese swirled into the chocolate at the end. The holes in the rocks are like how I obsessively stick toothpicks into the brownies to see if they are done or not.