Saturday, August 14, 2010


Finding the best produce is a treat. Right now in Hillsboro, there are 5 markets -- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The freshest ingredients are at our fingertips and it's amazing. Though -- I do miss my BRISTOL FARMS market in LA --where it was like going to a produce art museum! Here's to it all.

I'm a girl who LOVES MUSIC AND FOOD. And, of course my sweetheart, Mike... and my family and friends. I have come through this amazing journey -- to find myself in Hillsboro, OR -- living the dream. Yes... after a lifetime of pursuing the most adventures any one girl could ask for -- I've settled in with my love -- and am beginning again in the Pacific NW.

Having spent the past 25 years in an incredible whirlwind of total career pursuit -- I have accomplished many things I set out to do. It is this that sometimes reminds me how very lucky I am and how i often feel as if I'm still just beginning.

With 4 albums -- 2 US tours -- and several industries experienced (Food & Restaurants, Entertainment, Production & Touring, Public Relations & Marketing, Association Management, Property Management, Private Cook, Freelance Writing, Wood Oven Cooking and Sales, Cigars & Accessories, Jewelery, Music) I feel as if the adventures ahead will only become more lovely as time passes!

Ever since I can remember, food and ingredients have been a huge part of my life. I grew up with my Grandmother -- gushing about how delicious the tomatoes were -- or my Mother cooking every meal for us -- with love and the best interest of our health in mind! As I continued the journey -- I have continued this passion (obsession) for food for the past 20 years. Having worked in the hospitality business for the better part of my life on every level -- I thought I'd share my treasures (inspired greatly by the movie Julie & Julia). So many friends have suggested I share my culinary & musical adventures... so here it goes! Here's the the LOVE of food -- and finding the greatest ingredients -- and cooking it up! Sharing a meal is truly one of my favorite things to do!


When I was in LA -- I had the true pleasure of living a few hours from El Pescador. Truly -- to this day -- one of my favorite fish markets. I could drive a couple of hours -- and find Sean fileting a HUGE Halibut -- or serving up the most tasty fish sandwich you could ever have. Everything there was amazing. This photo is also from Bristol Farms -- I just love that market. If you can -- EAT FRESH FISH! I know it may be hard for some of you from Arizona or inland... but Whole Foods often has fresh fish -- Even my little neighborhood market, Hanks carries fresh Salmon -- and It's a treat to eat it... different from the frozen fish. I also get some amazing fresh fish at the farmers market in Hillsboro. and that's another story all together! If you can eat fresh fish. It will amaze you.

Great Ingredients

As long as I can remember -- I have LOVED FOOD... cooking and eating. Writing right now is making me happy, knowing I am getting back to my blog -- and sharing the delicious things about food and cooking it. The meat department at Bristol Farms in LA is one of my favorite places to shop. Yes... some girls like to go to Neiman Marcus -- me -- it's to the grocery -- market -- liquor store - anywhere there is food and drink! thought I'd share some of these wonderful photos. Of course -- the meat at other markets is good -- it's just so amazing when you have the finest to choose from. So go out and get some Lamb Chops for dinner -- Oh yeah.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grilling on the Grill

Summer is right around the corner -- and you know what that means. Grilled food. I am really lucky now because we have an awesome gas grill. It's easy and super nice to just crank on the grill and get grilling. For years I have been using a Weber and charcoal... sometimes with apple wood chips for smoking or other woods (oak always reminds me of Black Bart's steaks -- and can I tell you there's nothing like aged beef cooked over oak coals!!) I use the weber for specialty wood grilled foods -- otherwise, the gas grill really is nice and convenient. Plus, it cleans itself when you crank it up and burn it off. Grilled vegetables are one of my favorites. Skewer them. Roast them right on the grill. Olive oil, freshly ground sea salt, cracked pepper. Delicious. The simplest foods are sometimes the easiest and most delicious. Yummy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hell's Backbone Grill

My friend Jen posted this photo on her facebook page and I was inspired. If this doesn't say artisinal bread -- I don't know what does! I'm inspired in many ways by her and her path. She's dedicated her life to her food and her garden and her little restaurant in the middle of Utah. We've known each other since we've been small... and our paths have had a similar commonality. We love food and have made it a huge part of our lives. Not only is she a revered Chef and published author -- her restaurant in Boulder, UT, Hell's Backbone Grill has received brilliant accolades from visitors and press around the globe. I'm looking forward to visiting her there someday. She was on my mind today and I wanted to share. It's this love of food that always makes me smile. I love food so much. I love making it, eating it, shopping for it, and sharing it with everyone. I'm going to get back to this blog and just continue to share what I think about food. And in the meantime... I'm going to research flights to Salt Lake City.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

For the love of the MARKET

Some people like to shop for clothes. I like to shop for food. My discovery in the markets here is simple. Great. Fresh. Clean. and Farmers abounding. There are so many farmers markets here in the Portland area you could eat fresh picked produce every day! I can't wait until they start up again... I've been cooking a lot since I've been home (Currently on the hunt for the full-time job!) It takes my mind off of being unemployed and is something I just love to do so much. The smells, the sounds, the TASTES! I'm also appreciating the way my food affects the ones I love. Sharing music and food is really my favorite thing to do. La!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For the love of food... and drink

Last night I met up with a friend who is equally as passionate as I am when it comes to the pleasures of food and drink. It was a great night spent talking shop over tasty treats -- crispy calamari -- and a simple plate of hummus and pita. One discovery. Creme de Violet. Mmmm. I will need to look more into this. Happy to continue to eat well -- thanks to my sweet pals who treat me so nice! A cooking highlight of the week (I know it's only Tuesday) was a last minute lunch -- Zucchini -- cut thin like Angel Hair pasta with napa cabbage, cilantro, thai basil, spinach, daikon and cucumber. Dressing with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds, lime and soy -- with a splash of Ume vinegar. Delicious. My friend loved it and I was happy. Off to Equinox on Mississippi this Friday for some treasures and looking forward to what Chef Scott will create for my ever craving palete. Cheerio.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Love Affair with CHEESE

It began at an early age, my love of cheese. It was the all around snack. Cheese & Apples. Sometimes Cheese & Peanuts. This was my staple food from the time I could eat it -- and in truth -- to this day it is one of my favorite things to eat. Now, as I've adventured throughout the world -- Cheese has become a part of my life and a passion I share with many of my friends. In college, I would buy Brie, and serve it to my friends, thinking I was at the pinacle of sophistication -- it wasn't about Cheddar anymore people... I was onto something! Upon moving to Chicago -- I met David Donnavan from the House of Glunz, who hired me to pour wine at his wine tastings. He would have a nice spread of some artisinal cheeses with thinly sliced Genoa Salami and I loved it. Then, I really discovered cheese. My friend Jake from Miami would spend a small fortune at the Epicure market and we would drink wine and eat cheese for hours! Stinky ones too. But soooooo delicious. It was a decadance beyond belief and I was able to partake as my budget would allow! Then, Chef Randy Z came over one day with a little care package. He had a half-loaf of fresh baked Sourdough, an Apple (That he cut so paper thin, I couldn't even believe my eyes -- this was also the first time I'd seen someone use a knife like this!) and he introduced me to more beautiful cheeses that they featured at Norman's restaurant in Coral Gables. I encourage you to get into cheese if you have the $$. Worth every delicious, stinky, creamy, bold moment. This photo is of the incredible array of cheeses at ANDROUET in Paris, France at the market with Gene & Christi in 2006. The other photo is from Bristol Farms' Cheese Selection in LA

The Best Things In Life

I dedicate this blog to my friend Chris Valterza. His contribution to my life since I've been 17 has helped to create and nurture my love of food and wine and service. Way back in the day he came to my apartment (while we were at NAU) with his mom's famous red sauce recipe and it was the first time I had used FRESH HERBS! He later introduced me to the delights of a perfectly cooked steak (Ruth's Chris) and great glass of wine. He and Grobstein treated me like a princess when I was a mere marketing assistant in Chicago -- by taking me out to extravagant dinners like I'd never seen before! He taught me about eating in courses and many elements of great service that have stayed with me. He always kept -- and continues to keep me near the best things in life. He moved to Chicago and is now one of the owners of the 3rd Coast -- one of Chicago's best and most legendary cafe's (25 years and still rocking). When I moved to Portland, he took me to the Coast (the Oregon Coast) for a pep-talk, built a big bonfire and we talked for hours about our mutual passion for food and libations and ingredients and cooking and every other element that is associated. He continues to keep me encouraged and inspired with his everlasting friendship, love, brains and ideas.

Kindred Spirits

I dedicate this blog to my friend Jules. We met back in the day at NAU and for the past two decades she has been a source of inspiration in my life in every way. She encouraged my move to the Pacific Northwest by offering up her home to me until I settled in. Not only was she the first to take me to the top of the San Francisco Peaks on a Snowboard and give me my first push down the mountain... (which defines our fearless nature) but her brilliance in sharing everything from personal endurance mehods to marketing and public relations expertise continues to make me who I am. We cook and drink wine together in Portland and I always look forward to walking into her house and smelling the mouth watering aromas from her kitchen. I mean... when your friend greets you at the door with a big glass of Rex Hill Reserve Pinot Noir (Oregon) you can just imagine what comes next! She continues to add to my life in a way I will never be able to explain. This photo is from Jules appearance on the Food Network with Chef Tyler Florence.

Life as a private cook

I dedicate this blog to Chef Amy Gilbert. A woman who hired me (a passionate home cook) to assist her with no prior professional food or cooking experience. She taught me the art of Macrobiotic, Vegan and Vegetarian cooking and techniques that have enhanced my life beyond my wildest dreams. She knew that my passion was true and we spent 5 of the most amazing, hard working months of my life creating beautiful and delicious food for an incredible family. The opportunity to cook for 8 - 10 straight hours every day sharpened my knife skills (pun intended!) and taught me how to cook without measuring cups and spooons! Everything we did was with love and powerful positive energy and I will be forever greatful for the knowledge I gained in the short time we spent together. Her patient, calm and caring ways and personality also inspired me in my own personal life and many of the dishes you will see in this blog came from the time we spent together cooking in Beverly Hills. I included the logo from the Kushi Institute here -- as this is where Amy received her culinary training.

My Culinary Mentor

I dedicate this blog to my mentor in the kitchen - Chef Randy Zweiban. He introduced me to the brilliant levels of food, cooking and service with the finest and most exotic methods I had ever seen. He continues to inspire me in every way when it comes to food and wine and service in every way. I will always be greatful for his unconditional friendship and support, passion for "THE VERY, VERY BEST" ingredients and techniques the knowledge he has shared and continues to share with me. In this photo I'm just finishing an incredible birthday dinner at Randy's restaurant Province in Chicago.

My Best Friend

I dedicate this blog to Marilu Lannon-Rice. My dearest friend and inspiration. A woman who came into my life and changed it in an instant. A woman with so much passion and love for food and cooking it you'd have to meet her to believe there even is such a person in this life. I will write about her and our adventures here and you will come to know her. Her love for me and encouragement to follow my dreams and my heart and my passions in every way has unbelievably defined my path. We created countless extravagant dinners together with our friends every Sunday when I lived in Miami and I treasure those experiences so much. We would criss-cross Miami to find the freshest fish, crustiest bread and sweetest produce and she single-handedly changed my life and introduced me to so many things that have made me the person I have become. In this photo, we are in the open air Market in San Ysidro, Costa Rica, 2006

My Mama

I dedicate this blog to my Mama -- who had me in the kitchen with her from the time I can remember. Friends would come over and we would bake cookies as a past-time. We constantly had company and guests over for dinners and brunches and good times and I was always included in preparing (even if it was my bed-time before the company would come!) My mom had me stirring something, setting the table or getting the house ready for guests. She cared so much about cooking and feeding us and it has inspired me in more ways than she'll ever know. The photo (circa 1977) is my sister and I proudly holding snow peas we grew in our garden.

This is me

I love life. I always have. Blessed with the truth and love of a brilliant family and incredible friends I continue this path and sometimes can't even believe the lovely things that have come my way. Cooking has always been a love of mine as far back as I can remember. I had the honor to work with some of the best chefs and food writers in the world when I was a restaurant and food publicist in Chicago and will always be greatful for my culinary moments with Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongrichten, Randy Zweiban, Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto, Mark Bittman and the countless other chefs and culinary leaders from whom I have learned so much. Moving to Portland has opened the most incredible doors to my heart as I discover organic farms and farming, local markets, the most beautiful Wineries and the best and freshest ingredients and tools at my fingertips. Here's to the adventures.

I love food and cooking it.

WELCOME! I finally did it. Thanks to the incredible world of "Blogging" I've been given the opportunity to share my LOVE OF FOOD AND COOKING! I recently saw the movie Julie & Julia and was so inspired I said -- I have to have a blog of my own to share the lovely things about food and cooking that I love. So here it is. Enjoy!