aloette: diner heaven

the counter at aloetteA jersey girl knows her diners. I spent a lot of late late nights (aka early, early mornings) sitting on a stool eating fried eggs, drinking milk shakes and sobering up.They were all over the state. Diners have their roots in horse drawn lunch wagons and were particularly popular in the northeastern US. The iconic shape that defines diners to me, dates from the 20’s. A long counter, kitchen in the back, a couple booths and fixed spinning stools.

charred chorizoPre-fabricated, they were long and narrow for easy transport by truck or train. They were also an inexpensive way to start a business. A quintessential symbol of America they were often family run, owned by immigrants and open 24 hours. They are the hangout of after school teenagers, shift workers looking for a meal at odd hours and people who aren’t quite ready for the night to end. Continue reading

my favourite things: BOGOTA

welcome to bogotaold town churchBOGOTA is where I want to die. Colombia is my new favourite country and Bogota is its capital. This city has it all. Fascinating history, over the top culture, bad traffic and lots of edge. Great food is endless: restaurants creating haute cuisine, cafes pouring hot wine (odd but true) and stalls serving delicious empanadas. People are friendly; the weather is perfect; women are stunning. It a great hub for exploring the rest of the country. I felt safe everywhere; have never even been offered a single drug. I can’t wait to get back. Continue reading

killing it in the kitchen

my scallop. before the skirting was removed!Who knew hanging in a Michelin kitchen could be so much pleasure. No drudgery here. This was all fun!  Tasting. Giggling. And a smidge of learning. Pied a Terre’s Kitchen Experience turned out to be the most incredible London adventure.getting a lesson

At 9 am sharp, I was opening my first scallop. Pretty gooey. This was seriously hands on. And a great way to discover just how precisely a professional kitchen is run.  Nothing goes to waste. Everyone has their station and expertise. And it is surprisingly calm. Well-oiled machine is the cliché that springs to mind.

On my morning, I was one of four fellow explorers (the maximum is five). Strangers when we began, we were friends by the end. We all cringed when the lobster went into the pot but had no trouble enjoying him later after seeing him quickly shelled, cleaned and plated with cannoli, flamed corn and a saffron cayenne mayonnaise. We kneaded sour dough to be turned into bread the next day… it has to sit overnight. Continue reading