A.G. Newsletter #30: I'm Back!, The Book, More From The California Trip, My Birthday Dinner & The "It Gets Better" Book



Hey Strangers,

I feel like a parent who's slowly drifting away from his family, only in this case I'm drifting away from you, my loyal newsletter-reading readers. It's been almost two months since my last newsletter and you must've been sitting in your nurseries in rocking chairs with a little doll dressed up as me telling yourself: "Daddy Adam will write me soon.... Daddy Adam will write me soon."

Well wipe those tears away...here I am! And I'm very proud to tell you that tomorrow morning, at 9 AM, I will be cooking with the 50th and final chef for my cookbook. In case you don't remember, I'm writing a book for Artisan books where I've been traveling the country and cooking with the best chefs and home cooks all over. The number 50 has always been the target number; and since last June, I've been strategizing and scheming to get there. FIFTY CHEFS! And tomorrow it happens.

Then I have one month to finish polishing the book (right now, it's almost 100,000 words with over 400 pages) and testing the recipes (that's 150 recipes, to be exact.) So clearly, I still have my work cut out for me (it's due on Tax Day, April 15th.)

But here I am! And I'm going to make an effort to get back into the habit of writing a weekly newsletter. Let's see how I do (especially as it gets closer to the deadline.)

For those of you who haven't been reading my blog, you've missed a few things. I started collecting vintage menus to hang up in my kitchen:



My friend Luke won an Oscar! Here he is drinking a milkshake:



And I invented a dish called "French Toad-in-the-Hole" which caused some controversy because British readers insisted that "toad-in-the-hole" is something else entirely. But several others stepped forward saying they call it "toad-in-the-hole" too.



And then there was that comic-strip post about my trip to California.

Obviously, because of the nature of that post, I couldn't get into many details about my trip. In L.A., for example, this pizza at Pizzeria Mozza:



This was a sausage pizza with housemade sausage and fennel pollen. It was pretty fantastic (though I kept dropping meatballs on to the plate every time I took a bite.) The most remarkable thing was the crust: it was almost like a pastry it was so light and flaky!

We spent lots of time in L.A. at coffee shops so I could process all of the data I was collecting: the stories, the tips, the recipes from each of the chefs. Here's one in Silverlake that had a chandelier:



(I forget the name but it was very trendy.)

There was that dinner at Jitlada with Matt & Adam from MattBites:



One thing I didn't mention in my comic book post (because it wouldn't fit) is how that dinner panned out.

So Jitlada is considered one of L.A.'s best Thai restaurants with authentic, fiery Thai food (our nation's only Pulitzer prize winning food writer, Jonathan Gold, adores it.)

Adam did all of the ordering for us with our blessing and gratitude. Food started to come and we were oh so happy. Let's say we ordered 12 dishes (there were 6 of us at the table). Well we got 6 of those dishes.

And then the dishes stopped coming.

At first we shrugged and figured the kitchen was backed up a little. Then 20 minutes passed. Then 30 minutes. At 45 minutes, we asked what was up. Apparently, because they were so slammed they'd made the executive decision to stop cooking our food until every table had at least half of their food. With 30 tables in there, that meant we'd be waiting a very long while.

So we canceled the rest and left; slightly disappointed we didn't get to experience everything. But everything we did experience was so good, that we didn't really care. It was a fun night.

In San Francisco, I had to walk up this giant staircase:



And otherwise, you saw all of the food I ate there in the comic book post.

Now on to other matters....

My birthday was February 18th and I was so exhausted from the CA trip (I'd gotten back the day before) I just wanted to relax. So we went to a casual lunch at Market Table where I had this lobster roll:



Normally I'd get my lobster roll at Pearl (it's sort of a birthday tradition) but we'd been there two weeks earlier for Craig's birthday so I was looking for something a little different.

For my birthday dinner, Craig tapped into my deep love for all things pasta and took me to one of the West Village's most charming Italian restaurants, iSodi.

Here's the salad we shared at the beginning of our meal, it had crisp cabbage and a sharp vinaigrette and raisins:



Then I had their housemade tagliatelle with rabbit ragu:



Here's Craig with their signature lasagna; an amazingly light concoction with hits of nutmeg:



For dessert, we shared a tart made with blackberry jam:



It was a lovely meal; perfect for a birthday!

Finally, remember my "It Gets Better" post?

Now it's in the "It Gets Better" Book which just arrived at my doorstep!



I'm honored to be part of something so powerful and culturally significant. Definitely check it out if you see it at the store!

And that's it for this week's newsletter. Aren't you glad that I'm back? No need to go back to your rocking chair; I'll see you here next week!

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

P.S. I'm doing a giveaway on the blog right away, giving away three copies of David Lebovitz's "The Sweet Life." If you're interested, check it out here.

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Recent Food Posts

French Toad-in-the-Hole

Fusilli with Tomatoes, Bacon & Blue Cheese

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Dinner with Two Atlanta Food Critics at Peter Chang's

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Collecting Vintage Menus to Hang in My Kitchen

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