My First Matzo Brei
Plus: Eating with the Parents, Testing Recipes, and Kishori Rajan on Lunch Therapy.
I was nervous titling this newsletter “My First Matzo Brei” because I worried that it was a lie — someone was going to dig into the archives of my blog and find a post called “My First Matzo Brei,” though no such post exists — so I’m going to ignore the skeptics and say that this was my first.
The matzo brei in question is the matzo brei at Nate n’ Al’s in Beverly Hills, where I went with my parents on Saturday after a week of fancy restaurant meals.
I ordered the matzo brei because one of the recipes in the Broadway cookbook is for Matzo Brei (it’s a great pun, you’ll see) and I wanted to experience it out in the world before I attempted it myself.
So, if you’re not Jewish, you’re probably wondering: what is matzo brei? Well, it’s normally served around Passover because there’s lots of matzo lying around. You basically wet matzo under cold water, break it up into pieces, fry it in butter, and then add eggs. The surprising bit is that it can be sweet or savory. Here, at Nate n’ Al’s, it was served with sour cream (savory), applesauce (sweet), and cinnamon sugar (very sweet).
I really liked it because it’s a wholesome-ish breakfast — eggs and a bready thing — but, with the cinnamon sugar, it felt like a French Toasty kind of situation, but more protein-forward.
Anyway, on Sunday, I made my own matzo brei for the cookbook with Feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives (can you guess the musical? It’s takes place in Greece). It was so delicious, I almost cried “S.O.S.!”
So where else did I go with my parents?
Well we had to hit Musso & Frank’s, the classic L.A. steakhouse that’s featured in so many movies and TV shows (recently: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Here’s my dad taking a picture of his steak, just like I taught him to:
We went to Republique, which is basically the L.A. restaurant you HAVE to go to when you’re visiting. It’s housed in Charlie Chaplin’s old studios, which then became Campanile (Nancy Silverton’s first restaurant with her late ex-husband Mark Peel), and is now home to some of the best pastries and bread and butter and pasta and pretty much everything in L.A. My savory pictures came out too dark, but here’s the off-menu salted caramel chocolate cake which you simply must try.
On Thursday, we capped things off at my favorite L.A. restaurant, Chi Spacca, which my parents had never been to before.
They were surprised that it was such a cozy room (it’s a small space next to Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza), but they loved the food which is all pretty incredible — form the Caesar salad, which you see above, to the focaccia de recco:
Imagine a thin, crispy, almost croissant like dough with lots of melted cheese inside and lots of butter and salt. It’s insane.
The tomahawk pork chop was so gorgeous, I took an off-center picture, I was so excited to eat it. It came sprinkled with fennel pollen and my dad said, “That’s my favorite kind of pollen.”
(The best part was gnawing the meat off of the bones.)
Of course we got the butterscotch budino for dessert, because you simply must, but we also had this banana cream pie which was transcendent (the pastry chef, Dahlia Narvaez, is a James Beard Award winner for best pastry chef).
Would you believe that I went to the gym every day last week and drank smoothies every day for lunch and still ate all of this decadent food for dinner? I contain multitudes.
Otherwise, I’ve been testing lots of recipes for the cookbook, including this pistachio brittle:
And nachos that my friends Harry and Cris helped me eat:
This week on Lunch Therapy, I have the coolest guest: Kishori Rajan, producer of such shows as HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness and Eater’s Guide to the World on Hulu; plus she’s the VP Tessa Thompson’s company, Vivia Maude.
We talk all about producing food TV, growing up with a mother who cooks amazing Indian food, the dinner parties that she throws with her friends (she has a Supper Club), and the time she dropped an entire Basque cheesecake on the floor. CLICK HERE to listen and if you enjoy it, please please please leave a nice review. That helps a ton.
Okay, here are the links that caught my attention this week:
The truth about cast iron pans by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (Serious Eats);
Genevieve Ko offers up 20 — count ‘em 20 — sauce recipes (NYT);
Helen Rosner on the new Bourdain documentary, which uses some pretty controversial methodology (The New Yorker);
Speaking of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, here’s his new book: THE WOK (Bookshop);
Deb makes deviled eggs (Smitten Kitchen).
That’s all for this week, folks!
If you missed my paid subscribers only Thursday newsletter last week, I wrote about Planning a Trip via Restaurant Apps. I’m headed to New York on Friday, so I was working through all of my reservations, how much to plan and how much not to plan. If you want to read it, here’s a discount code for you to become a paid subscriber:
Until next time!