To Do List: May 2011


I simply cannot believe that all 31 days of May have come and gone. Did someone cut the month short? Because it seems like I was just writing last month’s mood board. Mental time lapse aside, the end of the month is upon us and as such I give you my May mood board. This month I logged lots of family time – including Mother’s Day and a family trip for my Dad’s 70th birthday – a fair amount of r&d (revelry and dining), and enough food adventures to skewer on a stick. Here are my favorites:

COLLECT:  My cookbook’s photo shoot is just a few weeks away so I’ve got visions of food photography constantly dancing in my head. Though there will be a whole crew at work, I can’t help but ensure my love for antiques is well represented. So, when I made it up north to wine country, I spent an entire afternoon searching out treasures like a jadeite place setting and a milk glass platter.

SHOP: If you’ve been paying attention to the food world at all, you are probably already aware of Gilt Taste. If not, go there now. It’s an online marketplace paired with editorial content from food media rockstars I’ve long-respected like Ruth Reichl and Francis Lam. At the launch party, I got my hands on a few of the wares and my fave so far is the chamomile-infused Noble Tonic Matured Maple Syrup.

READ: Even if you don’t know my friend Matt Armendariz by name, you’ve likely encountered his photography. Matt’s food photos are stunning enough to get a fasting man to eat, not to mention he’s hilarious and knows how to have fun with food. That said it’s only natural that his first book would be an irreverent book like On A Stick, which honors foods that are, well, on a stick. He’s seemingly managed to skewer every popular food from chicken and waffles to spaghetti and meatballs, but it’s the simple genius of the Elvis on a stick (bacon, chocolate, peanuts, on a banana) that’s got me in stitches.

CLICK: I’m not a big eater of cakes – I’d prefer a chocolatey, chocolate dessert any day of the week – but the photos and ideas on Sweetapolita are so whimsical that I can’t stop gawking at them.

LISTEN: To me, My Morning Jacket is the egalitarian band because, regardless of music taste, everyone I know – from reggae loyalists to folk music mavens – jams when MMJ comes on. I’ve been listening to the album preview on KCRW for days on end.

COOK:  Apparently I was into sweets this month as I tasted and tested all kinds of sweets. Though my mother was very into her mother’s day ricotta tart, my favorite was this earthy, nutty, sweet, green tea-black sesame shortbread.

SHOP:  The only thing that’s trumped my sweet tooth this Spring is rhubarb. It’s hard to find in Los Angeles, but when I do find it, I buy it buy the armful for use in everything from drinks to this savory preparation from my friends at CHOW.

SIP: Dates in a shake. For date lovers like me, it’s a must have. While road tripping through the Southwest en route to IACP (more on that later), I insisted we try the date shake at the Palm Springs Fudge and Chocolate Shop. It was the perfect way to beat the extreme heat. Only thing I’d change? Throw some bittersweet chocolate chunks in the mix to make it officially my favorite milkshake of all time.

DRINK:  Bubbly Riesling. I’ve heard my wine dork friends wax romantically about how great it is, but I’ve never had the pleasure. That changed when my Riseling—loving sommelier friend poured me some von Buhl Riesling Sekt Brut. It was slightly effervescent, citrusy and bright, and it got me thinking we’d all be better off if we drank more Riesling.

BUY:  It’s hard for me to go even a day without professing my love for coffee. My adoration began when I tried to master the art of the Italian stovetop espresso maker, the Moka, which has since become my Achilles heel of coffee preparation. To celebrate this classic coffee maker, and motivate me to improve my skills, I now have this limited edition print hanging above my grinder.

Photos via CHOW, Sweetapolita, Gilt Taste, and MengselDesign

To Do Lists are monthly lists where I share my favorite discoveries of the last 30 days with you.

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