Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A visit to In-N-Out Burger with our favorite food critic.

        Beats me why anybody would go to California and not head straight to the first In-N-Out Burger you can find.  My son tells me it’s really a cult – and he’s not just talking about the food.  In-N-Out Burger has the distinction of paying its personnel significantly more than minimum wage.  They’ve also been known to publish Bible verses on their wrappers and bags.  (No sign of them on our visit, however) There's even a 'secret' menu of things not on the list but it's pretty easy to find online at  In-n-Out is not a franchise but instead owns all its own stores – somewhere near 240 of them, all in the West.  So we headed over to the nearest one which, coincidently, is pretty close to Irvine, where the family-owned company is headquartered. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

When I lived in Rome as a student, I ate this rich cream-sauced dish at least once a week.   It was my introduction to pancetta and a Roman specialty that, at the time, was rarely found on this side of the water.  A wonderful little restaurant called Grappolo d’oro, which was very near the Campo dei Fiori, featured it in on its menu and, much to my amazement it’s still there (, and Carbonara is still on the menu.  But all that cream and butter, pancetta and cheese put Carbonara on the endangered list once we reached a certain…size.  But the memory lingered on and a recipe for a very much lighter version caught my eye and I cooked it. I'm posting it today on the off chance you may have some Easter Ham sitting around that you can easily substitute, cubed, for the pancetta or slab bacon. And I think it’s well worth sharing with you because it’s very quick and delicious and you can probably get dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.