Condiment Time-Travel

Who Invented Crab Louis? It's almost pink, not a pretty-in-pink pink but a sickly, Pepto pink. Neither liquid nor solid, it crawls from server to plate like lava, lava with chunks. I know what those chunks are, because I chopped and diced green pepper, green onion, and green olive to create them. Sure, I licked that spoon. But in the time it took for my palate to awaken, before I could compute the flavor and register my pleasure and approval -- the taste was right, in the certain way that a blend of wrong things can be right -- I … [Read more...]

French Dip, or Roast Beef Regret

Recently I took a short break from intense and gratifying work with 25 theater and arts critics in Los Angeles, at the NEA Institute in Theater and Musical Theater, and avoided lunching yet again at the gastronomically hypnotic Lazy Ox Canteen. Instead, I strolled on a gorgeous bright day from our Little Tokyo hotel past Olvera Street, bathed in hubbub and jacaranda light, to Philippe the Original, the not-original, post-WWII site of one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles. I had mentioned Philippe -- everyone calls it Philippe's -- to my … [Read more...]