A Summer Feast

Plus: The "Summer in Sardinia" Bagel, Dinner at Mirame, My Parents are Here, and Steve Sando on Lunch Therapy.

Hey everyone,

It’s feeling very summery in my kitchen right now. I went to Cookbook in Echo Park to buy some stuff for a dinner party last week and wound up buying the gorgeous tomatoes, dahlias, and basil you see above. Shopping, in summer, is basically 90% all that you have to do to make a great dinner. Just buy the good stuff: the peaches, the tomatoes, the corn.

This dinner — my summer feast — was a bit star-studded, with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Justin Mikita, Colin Hanlon, Chelsea Peretti, Natasha Leggero, Ben Mims, and J in attendance — and it all kicked off with some caviar and blinis (which I wrote about in my Thursday newsletter).

The trick of it all was that I was really testing recipes for the Broadway cookbook, but nobody knew any better. So the entree, a chorizo Mac and Cheese, just seemed like something I whipped up for fun, instead of something that I was tweaking for future book buyers.

(The verdict? Most excellent.)

As for the summery part, I served up this heirloom tomato salad with lots of basil, spring onions, olive oil, white balsamic, and za’atar.

And fresh corn with lots of lime and cilantro and a little Aleppo pepper on top.

Here’s everyone enjoying their food at the table:

For dessert, Ben brought a lovely bundt cake with plums and berries:

A grand, summery time was had by all.

On Saturday, I brought Winston with me on a field trip back to Courage Bagels, site of the best bagel I’ve ever had in my life (and the best bagel Ed Levine ever had in his life). Winston found it very hot there and a nice woman brought him ice water:

As for the bagel, I ordered “The Summer in Sardinia” which came on a mini everything bagel and was topped with sardines, spring onions, olive oil, tomatoes, and parsley.

It was surprising because there was no cream cheese (I must’ve missed that part in the description) but the lack of cream cheese made it so summery and refreshing and dammit if that bagel isn’t the best I’ve ever had in my life. It’s so light and fluffy but deep and oh so flavorful.

On Friday, I went with my friends Ryan

…and Ben…

…to Mirame in Beverly Hills.

Mirame is a Mexican restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Joshua Gill and wow was it good. The Caesar salad, which people forget is a Mexican dish created in Tijuana, was mind-blowing with squash and goat cheese and little blobs of strawberry gel. Somehow it all worked.

The beef cheek tacos were spicy and rich:

And the lamb barbacoa quesadilla was comforting and filling all at the same time.

But it was the dessert — brown butter mochi — that had us really swooning. The flavors, the textures… it was everything.

In parent news, my parents are visiting again. We already hit a bunch of spots, but here’s a cute picture of them at Salt & Straw in Larchmont Village.

Finally, in Lunch Therapy news, I have Rancho Gordo founder Steve Sando on the podcast this week.

We talk everything BEANS: from how to cook them, when to salt them, and how to deal with their after effects. We also cover Steve’s childhood in Sausalito, where his dad went diving for abalone and his mom shot Pop-Tarts at him with the toaster, how Steve felt like an outsider, and how he channelled those feelings into running a multimillion dollar heirloom bean company. CLICK HERE to listen. And if you like it, please leave a review!

Here are some links that caught my attention this week:

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Until next time….

Your friend,