Four Cheese Truffle Pizza

What could be better for a quick celebratory dinner than a truffle pizza.  I got the Italian-made base from Bay Cities on Lincoln Blvd.  The cheeses and truffle came from Andrew’s Cheese Shop.  I slathered the crust with garlic-infused olive oil (smash a clove of garlic, drop it into the oil, then microwave for about 20 seconds), then sheep-milk ricotta, boschetto al tartufo (truffled sheep/cow cheese from Italy), then a vintage cheddar, and an Italian fontina.  As soon as the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, pull it from the oven and shave on fresh truffle.  Divine!

Roves Des Garrigues

As I usually do, I leave the choices for cheese courses at my dinner parties completely to the discretion of Andrew Steiner at Andrew’s Cheese Shop.  Since one of my guests on Saturday night was lactose-intolerant, the challenge for Andrew was a completely cow-free selection.  He made some remarkable choices such as the extroardinary Boscshetto al Tartufo from Tuscanny, a domestic Tommes, and a sheep and goat mix called Chaparral from Sant Luis Obispo. The the hands-down favorite was an extroardinary Provencal goat cheese, Rove des Garrigues.  According to Andrew, the cheese is produced from a native breed of goats, the Rove.  The native vegetation of the region of the Garrigues perfumes this soft and creamy cheese with scents of thyme, laurel, fennel, and citronella.  But what stood out was a strong flavor of lavender.  The wonderful richness together with the incredible flavors of Provence sent our tastebuds into the epicurian stratosphere.  You must try this cheese!

728 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403 (310) 393-3308 www.andrewscheese.com

N.Y. & C. Pizzeria & Bar, Santa Monica

Toddrickallen tried the new(ish) pizzeria on Wilshire  (in the old Toi space), N.Y. & C. Pizzeria this week (One cannot live on Mozza’s and Gjelina’s pizzas alone.)   When we arrived around 7:30, the place was crowded and noisy.  We were seated at a table but quickly discovered that talking was nearly impossible due to the din.  Luckily,  some people left and we moved to a more conversation-friendly booth.   We ordered drinks.  Those drinking  beer found a good selection, including some rarities such as Belgian lambics.  The wine drinkers were less lucky as selection left a little to be desired.  We settled on a mediocre torrontes.  The food itself was ample and satisfying.  Salads were fairly classic pizzeria affairs of lettuce, cheese, cucumber, croutons, tomatoes, and olives in vinaigrette.  The vegetable pizza we ordered was deliciously cheesy and fresh, although the crust lacked the crispiness and flavor of some other pies, such as Joe’s.  All in all, the friendly staff and convivial atmosphere created the quintessentially classic pizzeria experience and everyone left satisfied.

n.y. & c. pizzeria & bar/310.393.9099/1120 wilshire blvd. santa monica, ca, 90401

Thyme Cafe/Market

If you live in Santa Monica and have a hankerin’ for some Joan’s On Third action but don’t  have your passport and shots in order to cross the 405, then Thyme Cafe/Market is for you!  If you haven’t been yet… what the hell is keeping you?!  Thyme Cafe/Market is wonderful!  Despite the homogeneous crowds, the atmosphere is bright and airy.  They have a great selection of sandwiches, salads,  and take-away foods.  The quiches are perfectly executed.  The desserts are fantastic.  Michael, one of the managers, seems extremely intent on providing friendly service.  The other day, he overheard me asking about how the brocolli was prepared.  Later, a plate of it appeared on our table.  This place is definately a new fave!

1630 Ocean Park Blvd.   •   Santa Monica   •   310-399-8800   •   Monday – Saturday 7am-7pm

Cut in London?

The Puck empire expands!  Last night we had dinner at Spago Beverly Hills, (Beet layer cake, chestnut agnolotti – ask them to hold the chicken stock), and the consumate palm-presser, Wolfgang Puck (whom I am convinced has cloned himself because he shows up at every one of his restaurants we eat at) was working the tables.  A few days ago at LAX, I saw him getting off a plane from London so naturally I asked him about his trip.  He replied that he had been in London working out a deal to open a Cut restaurant on Park Lane beside the Dorchester!  He appeared very excited about the prospect.   Great news for London’s carnivores.

Gorwydd Caerphilly

Still working on the UK posts, dear Readers!  Trying to include a few of the treasures we encountered along the way.  On our last evening in London, in our room at the Connaught, we had an interesting cheese from Wales called Corwydd Caerphilly, purchased at Harrod’s.  It was creamy, smooth and salty, buttery but not sweet with a distinct meadow flavor.  Coupled with a glass of Kistler chardonnay, it was a perfect way to toast a perfect trip!

Christmas Eve Dinner

Our Christmas Eve dinner is a veg extravaganza of choice items gleaned from our recent trip to the UK.  We’ll start with stilton canapes, the stilton from Fortnum and Mason topped with a lovely boxing day chutney from Harrods.  Then we’ll tuck into dinner of Cheese and Parsnip Roulade with Sage and Onion Dressing from Delia Smith’s cookery book, Happy Christmas.  This will be accompanied by roast brussells with lemon and pecan, roast fennel with thyme and lemon, roast parsnips with sage and white balsamic, stilton yorkshire puddings, carmelized onion and wild mushroom gravy, and cranberry chutney.  To finish, I’ll steam a Harrod’s Chrismas pud, set it afire and serve with brandy butter.  May your Christmas create wonderful memories for you!

The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop

We ended up in Bakewell, a pictoresque village in Derbyshire, UK. Well of course we had to have the famous bakewell tart… until we realized that it is a common misapprehension that Bakewell is famous for the bakewell tart. It is in fact famous for the bakewell pudding, an entirely different pastry. Apparently three different bakeries claim the authentic recipe. We chose the Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. According to the menu, the puddings were an accident created by a misunderstanding between the owner of the White Horse Inn (now the Rutland Arms) and her cook. Instead of stirring the egg and jam into the pastry, the cook spread it on top. The recipe however, is a closely guarded secret, although it appears on tea towels all over town, minus one concealed ingredient. We made our way to the small 17th century tea room above the shop and ordered our pudding. It arrived with the ubiquitous custard. The tart was set in a puff pastry. The filling was eggy, sweet, not unlike flan, and to me, tasted slightly of almonds and liquor. I thoroughly enjoyed it but the rest of our table disliked the texture. It is definately worth a trip to this charming town in this beautiful part of England to taste this unique pudding. Cheers!

 

Rowley’s Restaurant

We met friends for dinner at Rowley’s Restaurant, a charming little place set in an old pub in Baslow, Derbyshire.  The staff were extremely friendly and the whole exprerience couldn’t have been better.  I had an eggplant and grueyere  mille feuille with a flavorful ratatouille and potatoes, but it was the pumpkin ravioli starter that impressed us; surprisingly, it was more of a salad with rocket and a wonderfully comforting sauce.  The flavors were exceptional and Chef Rupert Rowley was certainly accomidating.  A lovely find!

www.rowleysrestaurant.co.uk

St. Pancras Station, London

After a long and exhausting plane ride to Heathrow, we finally arrive at St. Pancras Train Station for our voyage to Derbyshire and the Peak District.  St. Pancras has been thouroughly redone (for a cool $100 million)  and is magnificent as the new departure point for the Eurostar.  Many delightful and interesting shops line the interior of the station .  I particularly loved the rustic cheese and produce market that reminded me of Oxbow in Napa.  There, the delighted shopkeep was thrilled that I knew what Stichelton Cheese was.  Having only read of it, this attempt to return to Stilton’s roots via unpasteurized milk was an exciting find.  The flavors are far more complex than Stilton…More earthy, sweet, with a complicated finish that left a distinct taste of the pasture on one’s tongue.  I was blown away.  As eventuallly the jetlag overtook us, we settled in for a plate of creamy, welcoming scrambled eggs, English mushrooms, and whole grain toast washed down with bracing latte.  This was going to be a perfect trip…

Dinner was a Smash Success!

We started dinner at 8:00 and ended at Midnight! It was one of those dreamy evenings where every course was just as I imagined it. But by far the star of the show was the egg ravioli. It was perfect: My homemade pasta, the freshest sheep milk ricotta infused with lemon, lemon thyme, nutmeg, and the egg all glistening with a butter/truffle sauce. Cutting into the ravioli released the unctous yolk which then cooked slightly in the butter sauce to create a gentle custard that begged for a crust of bread to lift it to everyone’s watering mouths. One of the guests, my upstairs neighbor, actually wiped away a tear upon cutting into it, a memory I shall never forget!

Truffle Dinner Tonight

Tonight, we are hosting a dinner for an executive from an investment company and her world-travelling explorer husband.  They always take us out to the best restos on expense,  but insist that they come to our house for dinner because they love the experience.  Tonight we have settled on a truffle dinner focuses around a large, aromatic black truffle from Perigord, France, purchased at Andrew’s Cheese shop on Montana Ave, in Santa Monica.  The menu is as follows:

Goat Cheese and Balsamic Onion Toasts with Champagne

Roast Cauliflower Soup with Truffle

Ravioli with Sheep’s Milk Ricotta and Egg in Truffle Butter

White Salad of Shaved Fennel and Artichoke

Grilled Haloumi and Roast Potatoes

Cheese Course

Deconstructed Black Forest Cake

 

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl5326KuGBc]

Welcome to Toddrickallen!

This blog is about presenting you, the reader, with the finest  in vegetarian living.  Based in Los Angeles, together we will travel the world in search of the absolute best in dining, fashion, and lifestyle.  Offering tips, recipes, addresses, and information, Toddrickallen is your passport to best the world has to offer.