How do you cook in a submarine? When you're in a wheelchair? Or in a tiny Chinese restaurant? Fascinating solutions. Plus what I've been eating in LA.
At the moment I’m in a rented house in Los Angeles and the kitchen is driving me crazy. It’s not that it’s badly appointed; in fact, for a rental, it has a surprising amount of excellent equipment. It’s just that everything is in the wrong place. Emptying the dishwasher is an exercise in frustration, and the simplest task - making coffee - takes far more time than it should.
Every time I cook I’m reminded of this article which forever made me change the way I think about kitchens. I spent time on a submarine, with a woman in a wheelchair who had the use of only one hand, a very tall architect who asked why all kitchens are designed for 5’6” women and a minuscule Chinese restaurant kitchen that turned out a ton of food. Finally I spent a day in a kitchen designed to save motion in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
Thirty years later, when I designed my own kitchen, I took everything I’d learned while researching this article very much to heart. If you want to see the results, you can do that here.
This isn’t an old menu. It’s the menu from the dinner Nancy Silverton and I held at her house two days ago to raise money for World Central Kitchen in Ukraine.
Like just about everybody else in America, we’re appalled by what the Ukranian people are going through right now. Wanting to help, we decided to try to raise a lot of money in one night. Still, we never anticipated the outpouring of generosity: this one dinner raised more than $150,000.
The need is huge - and ongoing. And WCT is doing an incredible job feeding the refugees fleeing the war 24 hours a day. If you’re looking for a way to help, this is a great place to start. The link is here.
I’ve been reveling in being back in Los Angeles, eating out every day. Here are a few of my favorite dishes of the week.
Fresh sea urchin on the half shell at Connie and Ted’s. And, of course, the fried clams. And if you’re there on Wednesday, don’t miss the bouillabaisse.
Hard to pick a favorite dish at Rossoblu because I loved every single dish I tried at this impressive downtown restaurant. But this eggplant - a kind of deconstructed eggplant parm transformed into a salad - is surely a contender. I can’t wait to eat it again.
Bean and cheese burrito at Yuca’s.
Skewers of gizzard and chicken cartilage at Tsubaki. All about the texture.
Tuna handroll at Sushi Tama, which has the best lunch bargain I’ve encountered. 10 pieces of pristine sushi, this handroll - and real wasabi for $30.
Warm flat bread filled with 15 herbs at Zhengyalov Hatz. It’s the only dish they make - and they do it perfectly. Utterly addictive.
Guava creamcheese empanada at Socolo. The perfect combination of crunch and sweetness.
Fish with green peppers at Chengdu Taste. There’s one at almost every table. For good reason.
Boat noodles at Saap Coffee Shop. You want it spicy - and with all the various innards. (Wimps order it without the liver and tripe.)