Pool Food 🍹
Seared Scallops with Broccolini, The Return to Blair's, and Lots of Links.
Shed a tear for me, if you must, but I just got back from a rejuvenating five days in Palm Springs. Craig was truly a shell of his former self after shooting a movie for four months, so he really needed some real R&R and that’s what we got in California’s famous oasis in the desert.
We stayed at The Villa Royale, a hidden away little gem that’s dog friendly with three separate pools and no loud DJ to startle you away from your book. (I’m currently reading Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, which I highly recommend.) Winston came along for the journey too, though he mostly stayed in the room because the hundred degree heat is hard when you’re in a fur coat.
In the meantime, other dogs tried to hit on us at the pool.
We mostly took our lunches poolside — hence the title of this post — and the food at The Villa Royale is top notch. We ate guacamole and chips, a grilled cheese sandwich with some kind of crispy ham in it, and a beet and orange salad so good, we got it twice. We also tried their roasted cauliflower, not really a pool thing, but it somehow worked.
If there are any lessons to take away from this trip, in terms of your own pool food journeys this summer, here’s what I can say: (1) always offer some kind of crispy, salty chip to go with a very cold drink; (2) if possible, blend your very cold drink into a slushie (see: the prickly pear margarita in the top picture); (3) also offer something refreshing and light… if not a beet and orange salad, then maybe some grapes… you can even freeze them to make them extra refreshing.
As for our other Palm Springs meals, my favorite was at that old classic, Mr. Lyon’s, where we drank martinis and ate filet mignons with peppercorn sauce.
A few days before we left for P.S., I had to work on my pool bod, so I made a very light dinner of seared scallops with sautéed broccolini with lots of garlic and red chili flakes.
The secret to scallops, I’ve learned, is to buy the dry ones (they shouldn’t be sitting in liquid), to pat them very dry before you season them with salt and pepper, and then to sear them in a very hot METAL skillet with a splash of olive oil. I say metal, because you get a better crust that way and you know they’re ready to flip when they naturally detach (I use a spoon). Just cook ‘em on one side until you get a gorgeous color, then flip them over and cook just until the whole scallop goes from translucent to opaque.
As for the broccolini, I riffed on Ina Garten’s recipe; blanching the broccolini in salty water for two minutes…
…shocking it in ice water, then heating lots of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet, adding lots of chopped garlic (about five cloves), a pinch of red chili flakes, then all of the broccolini and sautéed until all of that garlic got absorbed. It was delish.
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Finally, Craig’s favorite neighborhood restaurant has always been Blair’s in Silverlake and last night we went back for our usuals: the deviled eggs and the Caesar salad (which inspired my Caesar salad video).
For our entrees, we both got the trout with quinoa, roasted cauliflower, and yogurt… a too-healthy combination that somehow feels decadent.
Now for some links to fill your coffers:
The Best 25 Restaurants in NY, according to The Infatuation (The Infatuation);
Helen Rosner makes smoking meat sound easy (The New Yorker);
These colorful spring recipes do, indeed, look colorful! (The Guardian);
In praise of pomegranate molasses (Eater);
Joel Kim Booster’s Grub Street Diet (he goes to my gym!) (Grub Street).
That’s all for today, folks.
See you back here tomorrow for a brand new podcast all about Pyrex.