A.G. Newsletter #48: Julie at Malo, Greek Salad, A BAD BAGEL & The Hollywood Farmer's Market



Hey there newsletter friends,

I know it's not sexy to start this newsletter by saying that I recently made a cake with spelt, but...well, I recently made a cake with spelt! Last Friday, in fact, a Spelt & Olive Oil Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate from Kim Boyce's "Good To The Grain." I just blogged about it, so follow that link for the recipe.

Now then... a funny thing happened last week!

Remember how in my last newsletter I'd mentioned I'd gone to Malo with my friend Zach and how our waitress, with red hair and glasses, was comically pushy about drinks? Turns out her sister READS THIS NEWSLETTER and forwarded it to her. I found this out because Craig and I returned to Malo last week with two different friends and the waitress, whose name is Julie, totally called me out on it!

But she was very sweet about it--she found it funny--and even posed for this picture:



So thanks, Julie, for being a good sport and for laughing every time you asked if I wanted another dragon fruit margarita. (Sidenote: the dragon fruit margarita at Malo is pretty fantastic). We'll see you again soon! (And if any of you go to Malo, ask for Julie.)

Zach Brooks of Midtown Lunch LA (who I hung out with recently in this post) made fun of me once for ordering a salad at Golden State, a place famous, apparently, for its burger. But that salad--a chicken Caesar--was really good! So when I went back to Golden State last week, I decided to aggravate Zach again by ordering another salad. This time a Greek one:



And this was really tasty too, perfect for lunch. Lots of feta, lots of vegetables, and a bright, zesty, lemony dressing. I dig Golden State; plus it's really close to Commissary, a great coffee shop on Fairfax.

And now a sad story.

This New Yorker, who was raised on bagels on both Long Island (mostly from Stuff n' Bagels in Oceanside) and then in Florida at places like Bagelworks (which I once celebrated in a post here) made the enormous mistake of ordering a bagel and lox at the 101 Diner here in L.A.

Let me start out by saying how much Craig and I like the 101 diner. It's got a great atmosphere and if you get a booth in the window, it's a sunny, happy place to be on a weekend morning.

The food is just ok (Craig, who never sends back anything, once had to send back his over-easy eggs for being almost completely uncooked). And so it was probably a bit foolish, a bit irresponsible of me to order a bagel with lox yesterday morning knowing what I knew about the food at this place. But I wasn't prepared for the horror that arrived on the plate:



Oh the horror! THE HORROR!

That bagel. That bagel is why the word "OY" was invented.

I don't want to throw strong accusations around lightly, but I am fairly convinced that this bagel came from the freezer section of a Costco somewhere. It wasn't just bad to eat, but it was insulting, disgraceful. There's absolutely no reason to have a bagel on your menu if you're going to serve a bagel like that. Imagine if you recently moved to America from Bombay and you were at a diner and they had this obscure and very specific curry that you grew up loving? And then, when you ordered it, not only was it bad, it was SO bad it made you wish you'd never experienced curry in the first place so you didn't have to withstand such vivid disappointment. That's how I felt at the 101 with that bagel. Let's not talk about it anymore, it's too upsetting.

On to happier things!

So I blogged last week about the Santa Monica Farmer's Market which took me an hour to get to. Turns out, that was totally unnecessary; I live a short walk away from the Hollywood Farmer's Market which I visited on Sunday and liked even better!

As you walk there from my apartment, you walk on the Hollywood walk of fame so you see all the stars in the ground. I even saw Neil Patrick Harris's new star. And then you see this:



Doesn't look like much, but once you walk in, the thing is huge!

And they've got great stuff. I saw chanterelles which made me nervous because they're so expensive and so many food writers adore them, I felt like I should buy them but chickened out:



Don't worry, I'll buy them next time.

Check out these tomatoes and tomatillos:



And multi-colored radishes:



I ended up buying heirloom tomatoes, mini-cucumbers, Haas avocados, potatoes, a red onion, cauliflower and a bunch of assorted herbs:



And then I made a really delicious dinner by chopping up those heirloom tomatoes into cubes and adding them to a bowl with two cloves of finely minced garlic, 1 minced jalapeno, a big glug of olive oil, a glug of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper:



Then I simply boiled up penne in salted water until totally cooked through, added it to the bowl with the tomato mixture, stirred it all around and added a huge handful of chopped herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, parsley). It looked like this:



And boy, did that taste good. Like a huge explosion of summer at the end of September. You guys in cold weather states are going to be so jealous when I'm eating like this in November! (Though I'll be jealous I'm not shivering and warming up with hot apple cider and pumpkin bread.)

Well, folks, that's it for this week's newsletter. See you back here next week!

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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