The Majestic Yosemite Hotel in all its majesty.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA — There may not have been snow here last week, but there was plenty else to ignite the senses.
A bevy of celebrated chefs took to the stage and kitchen in the 34th annual “Taste of Yosemite” at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (ahem, yes, the Ahwahnee to sentimental folks like myself).
I was thrilled to be the guest moderator/host at the first two sessions of this winter-time bonanza that features cooking demos and grand gala dinners.
Chef David Bazirgan of Bambara in Cambridge, making a return to California, where he cooked for 13 years.
Chef David Bazirgan’s tasting of hummus, eggplant puree, and cashew romesco.
For 34 years, the event has taken place throughout January. But look for the 35th one to break tradition.
The whole duck confit at Cosme that takes four days to make.
When planning this trip to New York, one of the places highest on my list to dine was Cosme.
A couple of years ago, while attending the “Worlds of Flavor” conference at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone campus in St. Helena, I had a chance to try a little of Mexico City-chef Enrique Olvera’s innovative cuisine.
Ever since, I have been hooked. And craving more.
Complimentary purple tortillas and Marcona almond dip.
This is not your standard tacos and burritos taqueria. This sleek establishment is all about modern Mexican cuisine with star power. The prices reflect that. Yes, guacamole is $17 here. It’s a beautiful bowl of deeply rich smashed avocados strewn with micro herbs and served with huge purple tortilla chips that you break apart to scoop.
If you’re already balking at that price, then this isn’t the place for you. When you walk through the doors, you have to vanquish the notion that Mexican food has to be cheap in order to be worthwhile.
The smoked chicken sandwich at Roberta’s.
The iconic New York pizza may be a huge, greasy, foldable slice. But Roberta’s in Brooklyn is where true pizza connoisseurs flock.
At this funky place, you enter this cement fortress of a building through scuffed wooden doors to a alpine-lodge-like dining room crammed with long, wood communal tables.
A bird-eye view of the pizza making.
The dining room at lunch time.
The massive wood-fired pizza oven is to your right. You get a clue as to how much attention they pay to the pizzas here when you see a pie go into the oven. It’s never left alone for long. The cook is regularly rotating it, and lifting it, leaning the edge of the crust toward the flames to kiss it with char before turning it again and again.
Behold the Triple Black Donut at the new Supermoon Bakehouse.
Wacky. Weird. Wild.
At Supermoon Bakehouse, you’ll find some of the most mind-blowing baked goods you’ve ever laid eyes upon.
But then again, they are the the handiwork of baker extraordinaire Ry Stephen, the creator of the Cruffin and co-founder of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco.
What luck to have it open its doors in the Lower East Side the week we were in New York, too.
At this place, there’s a sense of fun in everything they do.
Pastries displayed on a long counter make photo-taking easy.
You’ll find Cruffins here, and a whole lot of other unique pastries that sport a strong foundation of crisp, buttery, airy layers — then go wild with imaginative fillings, colors and designs.
Newport, OR. — Dungeness crab would surely be part of my last meal, if I was given a choice. Sweet, fluffy, and succulent, it beats lobster any day in my book.
Though I’ve enjoyed it countless times, I’ve never fished for it.
On a recent trip to the lovely central coast of Oregon, my fellow food writers and I, who were guests of Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, were treated to our own private excursion through Yaquina Bay aboard the family-owned Marine Discovery Tours boat.
On a picturesque 70-degree morning, we boarded and set sail. Just be forewarned that the waters can get choppy the farther out you go. But none in our party — even a few who were extremely prone to motion sickness — were done in by the effects.
The dock area in Newport.
You may be richly rewarded for braving the waters, too. We saw whales. Well, at least their blow holes, if not their tails breaking the waves. Still, it made for an unforgettable moment.