A.G. Newsletter #72: The Park, Time-Life Food Books, Osteria Mozza, Asafoetida, Gastronomico & An Oreo Cookie Cookie

Hey there newsletter friends,

I have three words for you: THIN MINT MILKSHAKE. Click and find yourself transported to a world where milk, vanilla ice cream and Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies blend up into something sublime. (Based on an idea by The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.)

Also, last week I unveiled my Pinterest Page: click there to see all of my recipes laid out for you visually. I think you'll have fun clicking around.

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My latest obsession, as revealed in this post, is Echo Park. Just past Silverlake on Sunset, Echo Park isn't as gentrified as Silverlake; it still has an interesting mix of cultures and a vibrancy that I enjoy. Last week, I parked in a lot behind a bookstore on Sunset and did lots of walking around. First I walked to a place called The Park that my friend Ryan told me about:

As I walked in, the place reminded me of a cute cafe you'd find near a college (like the original Flying Biscuit in Atlanta). I didn't have super high hopes for my tuna sandwich and coleslaw; but, I was pleasantly surprised:

The bread was toasted, the tuna was well-flavored and the coleslaw was light and fresh and crunchy without being too drenched in mayo. Well done, The Park!

On my walk back towards Echo Park, I found a cute General Store on Sunset and wandered in. Immediately, my eyes settled on a series of Time-Life food books on a shelf; I'd heard about these for a while, but had never actually seen them. I loved the covers--especially the one on Scandinavian cuisine:

Needless to say, I bought two of three of them (at $8 a pop)---French & Scandinavian--leaving behind the one on British food. Only, when I brought home the two and put them out on display, I realized it needed that third; so the next day I went back and bought it. Now I have three very cool Time-Life books out in our living room on top of our bookshelf-thingie. (And I spent some time reading the French one, which was written by Pierre Franey with Craig Claiborne, so clearly it's authoritative. And the pictures are so far-out; come over, some day, and we'll flip through them.)

Last Wednesday, we went out to dinner with someone in the film business named Erica (she's working with Craig on a project) and she took us to Osteria Mozza. My pictures from this meal are so dark, they're almost pointless, but the food--as to be expected--was wonderful. I started with a baby kale salad with anchovies that was incredibly garlicky, in a wicked, breath-be-damned kind of way:

For my entree, I had a primi (a pasta course)--Celery Root Cappellacci with Wild Mushrooms:

It's hard to see, but these were basically little hats stuffed with a celery root puree. Not a huge portion, but so rich (I'm sure there was lots of butter whipped into that puree) as to be incredibly filling.

For dessert, we shared olive oil rosemary cakes with olive oil gelato and a pretty sculpture made out of sugar:

Thanks, Erica, for a great meal!

On Thursday, I popped into the Spice Station in Silverlake (seen in this post) with my friend Diana, who'd never been there. While sniffing around, I stumbled upon a jar of Asafoetida from Afghanistan:

People, this stuff smells AWFUL. The woman behind the counter acknowledged it; but, she assured me, if you can't eat onions or garlic and add it to a dish, you get a similar effect. I'll have to take her word for it!

Gastronomico, in Los Feliz, remains a curiosity to me; a hidden-away nook of a restaurant that serves fancy-pants food next to a laundromat. I go there for lunch and eat food that feels way too formal for the environment, but that's kind of what's fun about it. So this dish of seared fish (a Mexican fish, I forget which) on a puree made with chickpeas and smoked paprika and served with kale was incredibly tasty:

One night, I'll check it out for dinner.

Finally, Craig and I wandered around Melrose on Saturday (I bought a shirt and a bow-tie to rock a nerd chic look) and at ink.sak, we tried this Oreo Cookie Cookie:

So, um, that's a giant chocolate chip cookie with Oreos broken up inside it. Meaning: it's outrageously delicious. Dangerously delicious. Not Girl Scout cookie dangerous, per se, but dangerous nonetheless.

That's all for this week, folks!

Until next time.....

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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