The past few weeks have felt like a whirlwind of packing, unpacking, eating, and then packing again. My daughter and I spent the last two weeks of 2014 in Los Angeles, spending time with some of my family, attending a dear friend’s wedding and what else: eating. And we got the chance to eat some pretty great stuff.
On of our most important goals in LA was to sample some divine donuts, and I can happily say, we were successful. One of our favorite spots? Donut Friend in Glendale that features largely vegan doughnuts. I was skeptical, but they were delicious, beautiful to look at and the flavors were very creative. We even got to try a vegan “bacon” doughnut made from coconut bacon chips.
I got to spend a glorious morning chatting, noshing and baking with Nosher contributor Jennifer Stempel right in her Los Angeles home. Our goal, in addition to talking all things food and family, was to try and re-create the guava and cheese pastries from the famous Cuban bakery Portos. It was such a fun exercise and in the end, we got incredibly close to remaking the original. It also inspired a new recipe from Jennifer for a savory version of her beloved pastry, manchego and quince turnovers. Yum!
Here we are taking a selfie in her kitchen. We are pretty adorable.
Other LA highlights? We visited the famous Canter’s Deli, which opened its doors in 1931! My brother wanted to go because the eatery is featured in an episode of Entourage. I was all about their mish mosh soup, which included matzah balls, kreplach, noodles and rice. I will now only only serve soup in this way. We also hit up a newer spot on the recommendation of several friends called Eggslut, a breakfast spot in Grand Central Market in downtown LA. Doughnuts, matzah ball soup and egg sandwiches: an all around successful trip.
And this week? We are lounging and eating from the beaches of Turks and Caicos, an island in the Caribbean. The views, weather and lowkey pace down here have been definite highlights, and we’ve had a few great eats though mostly we have been cooking and grilling from home. Fresh coconuts right from the trees outside mean lots of coconut cocktails.
The best thing I have eaten on the island? Would you believe, of all things, it was a doughnut! The custard filled doughnuts from Caicos Bakery in Grace Bay was one of the best doughnuts I have ever eaten. Perfectly fried and with a dusting of sugar, I would have liked to eat several in one sitting. But I stopped at just one.
Next week I am looking forward to being back home, unpacked and working on some new recipes from my own kitchen again. But for now I think there is a coconut with my name on it. Maybe a doughnut too.
Last week at this time my husband and I were busy scrambling to get our suitcases and 7 month old out the door as we departed on our first proper vacation since she was born: we were headed to St. John, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, for 4 days of relaxing in the sun.
It was lovely – beautiful weather, gorgeous aqua colored water, friendly people and an exceptionally well-behaved little girl. Everything was great, except for one thing: the food!
Someone once said to my husband that normal people travel and enjoy eating along the way, but that he travels with the purpose of having good food. And to a certain extend that is true for both of us. One of the happiest days on our honeymoon was spent hopping from bakery to bakery all day in Venice sampling each local version of the “fritte venezia,” or the seasonal fried donuts they serve before Carnivale. We might have also sampled some espresso, pizzette and other pastry along the way…
There was nothing bad about the food we ate in St. John, in fact there were a few fantastic morsels – cinnamon bun bread pudding, plantain-coated mahi and a refreshing blood orange margarita. And one of the stand-outs was a coconut rice cake made with chunks of fresh coconut that I am eager to recreate this weekend!
But the majority of the food was geared towards American tourists – club sandwiches, chicken caesar salads, hamburgers and french fries – items you could get at any restaurant here.
This most recent vacation was not about eating or even traveling persay, but about taking a break from our busy lives to rest and relax together as a family. And so it was a success! But I know we look forward to planning our next trip where will food will place higher on the agenda.
Stay tuned next week for a recipe for the coconut rice cakes we had on St. John and also for a guest post from Arielle Singer, who is recently back from her latest trip to Israel where food was top of the agenda!
Shabbat Shalom, and happy eating wherever you are this week.