You Say You Want a Revolution

Well, you know we all want to change the world. This is the hope of Jamie Oliver, his food “champions” and all of us who want to see a change to healthy, affordable, accessible, enjoyable and yes, easy to make meals.

Now, you all know I love Jamie, but after last week I definitely have a deeper appreciation of how much he and his team are striving to bring healthy food awareness to the world. My friend Jenny and I had a chance to take a cooking lesson during Jamie Oliver’s Big Rig tour in Los Angeles. While I knew that “the man” would not be there showing us proper knife skills, I was very excited to finally attend one of his Food Revolution events. On a Friday afternoon, we headed down the 110 to the 105 to an area we don’t tend to frequent – Compton. Pulling into the parking lot of the King-Drew Medical Center, the Big Rig was hard to miss. It is a huge trailer that is kitted out inside with four cooking stations, two wash stations and a large demo station. The instructors, or Champions as they are called, were all so friendly and enthusiastic that you couldn’t help getting caught up in the excitement.

Our meal was a basic risotto and a side of multi-colored cauliflower with a homemade vinaigrette. After a brief demonstration, we divided up in to small groups to get some hands-on cooking experience. My group consisted of Jenny, a mother, her seven year old son and an elderly gentleman. It seemed that almost everyone there, except Jenny and me, had attended several classes already and were signed up for the next week’s classes as well. It was really inspiring to talk to the mother who was taking these lessons because she and her husband had made a commitment to eat healthier for the sake of their son. We all got a chance to chop, stir, pour the broth and of course, clean up.

The lesson was fairly basic but having had a few risotto disasters in the past (mainly stodgy ones), I was happy to have a good refresher on just how simple and easy it can be. As well, someone in our group couldn’t have dairy so it was easy to pull a bit aside for him before the knob of butter and the generous helping of parmesan was added at the end. So there you go, vegan for Clive and cheese-filled for me!

A big thanks to all those who are volunteering their time to reach out to the community and help educate and improve health.

Viva la Revolución

Get involved in Jamie’s Food Revolution Day!

Or donate to his cause at 

Big Love!


Click here for Jamie’s Risotto Bianco recipe


Cooks County

My yet-to-be-named restaurant club dined at Cook’s County recently.  Circle of Trust is the unofficial name that seems to have stuck since we eat freely, drink freely and talk freely at our dinners, but only the food and wine talk is shared beyond the table.

Cooks County is another restaurant that serves small plates.  I know Evan Kleiman and Jonathan Gold often discuss on “Good Food” how every restaurant these days seem to specialize in this.  I am not sure if they think it is a good thing or a bad thing.  But I think it is a very good thing indeed.  If I could spend my life just eating appetizers, that would make me happy.

Cooks County Menu

We wanted to order a nice wine but couldn’t decide on the bottle.  Our waitress brought over several tasters to help us and we chose the 2007 Muga Rioja. I think this is an incredible thing that restaurants will do.  My husband’s best friend was visiting from the UK and we went to a restaurant that has an enormous, eclectic beer selection.  He was shocked when the waiter brought over several small tasters to help him make up his mind.  “That would never happen in the UK, mate.”


We started with the “Snacks” portion of the menu:  Cast Iron Bread & Farmhouse Butter, Fried Cardoons with Parmesan, Sage & Spicy Aioli, Market Radishes & Lemon Meyer Butter and Braised Local Squid with Red Wine & Cannellini Beans.  I know some people balk at paying for bread & butter but when it’s this good, it’s worth it.  So worth it we got a second order!  Cardoons, for those of you who don’t know – including us because we had to ask our waitress – are artichoke thistles. Butter on anything makes it better but, butter on radishes is divine.  The squid was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful.

Then we ordered off the “Appetizers” and “Sides” menu.  We never even got to the “Mains”.  See, my kind of meal.  The Cauliflower & Romanesco Salad with Fingerling Potatoes, Hard Cooked Eggs & Mustard was as flavorful as it was beautiful.  Same could be said for the Grilled Eggplant, Fire Roasted Nardello peppers, Sheep’s Milk Ricotta & Pomegranate Vinaigrette.  Cooks County supports local farms and ranches, and we could taste this freshness in their dishes.  To see these purveyors listed at the bottom of their daily menu is really impressive.

The last small plate to arrive was the Pan-Roasted Clams, Shaved Fennel, Pickled Chili & Garlic Rubbed Toast.  This was one of those dishes where you wanted to spoon up the incredible broth as soup.  This dish is why we ordered that second round of Cast Iron Bread.  We had to have something to soak it all up.

Pan Roasted Clams with Garlic Rubbed Toast

We had a big debate over the dessert but since it was close to Jenny’s birthday, she got to choose – Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brown Butter Sugar Cream & Pumpkin Seed Brittle.  I had my doubts but this dessert was delicious.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

However, looking back over the dessert menu now, I am sad we didn’t throw caution to the wind and also order the Sugar & Spice Donuts with Sour Plum Jam & Muscovado Sugar Ice Cream as well as the Apple Turnover with Huckleberry Compote & Brown Butter Ice Cream.

Another incredible evening dining out in LA.

Our Table

Son of a Gun

So I love food and I love eating out. Unfortunately my British husband is more of a “food is fuel” type of man. He would happily eat a batch of what he calls his “10 Day Curry” … for literally 10 days in a row. In desperation to save my gastronomical senses, I enlisted the girlfriends who appreciate food as much as I do to hit the city’s best restaurants.

It wasn’t too hard to convince my sister Kim and my friend Jenny once I told them the basic outline of a monthly splurge on amazing food and amazing wines at fabulous eateries. We haven’t come up with an official name yet for our unofficial dining out club, but on our first, and slightly booze-soaked, venture we tossed around “Marmalade and Moonshine,” which I love but don’t really think it has anything to do with our club. “Circle of Trust,” only because we used the meal as a bit of a therapy session. And “Twirly Birds Special,” a play on the fact that we will probably always end up dining around 6:30 pm since it is right after I get off work and we should be able to get a table, even at the most popular places since no one in LA dines that early. We thought “Early Birds Special” made us sound old, hence the “twirly.” Anyway, it is obviously a work in progress, but regardless, our first meal was a smashing success.

Jenny started with the Buggy Whip Punch and I went with a Moscow Mule

Jenny started with the Buggy Whip Punch and I went with a Moscow Mule

I picked the first restaurant and so we went to Son of a Gun on Third Street in Los Angeles.  I have been wanting to go there for awhile and was not disappointed. The place is small and welcoming. The staff was incredibly friendly, especially our waitress who offered great suggestions, let us try out wines to see if we liked them, and didn’t rush us off, even as the restaurant started to fill up. And how was the food? Divine. It is a fairly small menu of small plates with a variety of culinary origins. 

We started off with the Smoked Mahi Fish Dip with Celery, Radish and Crackers. It was amazing, especially since smoked fish rillettes and dips are my favorite right now. 

IMG_2121 Edit copy

Smoked Mahi

After that, the plates just kept rolling out: Gem Lettuce with Pickled Beets, Creme Fraiche & Bread Crumbs (the crunch of the tiny breadcrumbs made the dish); Dungeness Crab with Daikon, Melon & Yuzu.

Dungeness crab

Dungeness Crab

Blackened Rock Fish with Tomatillo Salsa and Crema:

Blackened Rock Fish

Blackened Rock Fish

Fried Chicken sandwich with Spicy B&B Pickle Slaw & Rooster Aioli (the chicken was so tender and the sandwich was so tall, we almost didn’t know how to eat it); Uni with Burrata, Button Mushrooms & Yuzu. Yes – I tried Uni which I now know is sea urchin. It was interesting, especially with the Burrata since it has the same texture. Not sure if I will have it again, but I am glad I tried it once and the flavors were very good.

Normally I am not a dessert orderer, but since these nights are going to be about trying something new and fully experiencing the menu, we figured that we would have to indulge in dessert. Especially since they had something on the menu called an Italian Hamburger, which is a scoop of hazelnut ice cream covered in caramel on a sweet brioche with a dusting of Maldon sea salt and powdered sugar.  


Italian Hamburger

Needless to say, we practically licked the plate clean. (and I am sure this dish would have even lured my husband out of the house).

 It was a fantastic night, the start of many wonderful meals. Thanks to my dining companions for helping me indulge in my foodie side.


Originally posted on