Category Archives: Travels

The Food52 Potluck

This particular potluck was a gathering to celebrate the Food52 cookbook’s launch, and it included an amazing cast of characters. There was Amanda Hesser, the former food editor of the New York Times, and author of the Essential New York Times cookbook. Merril Stubbs, the co-founder with Amanda of Food52, who is an amazing recipe tester and food writer, was the other guest of honor.

We gathered to congratulate the many local cooks who were included in the recipe collection, and to share food that was lovingly prepared by these fantastic Bay Area cooks. The day was such a joy–I always love spending time with people who are as crazy about experimenting in the kitchen as I am.

I mean, take a look at this charcuterie and cheese basket–this was contributed by our hostess for the day, Lynda of the blog Taste Food. She made pork rillettes, candied bacon, pate, and more. Wow! The day was fantastic, and I took tons of photos. This will be a picture-heavy post, as I’ve not got much time, but I wanted to make sure I could share some of these lovely food photos with you. Here goes!

Pickles, pickles, pickles!

Salad with pomegranate seeds, persimmons, and hazelnuts. Wow. That was one good salad!

This was a sausage and kale dinner tart–so delicious–it was a great combination of salty sausage and healthy kale. Here’s the recipe!

This was a fantastic pot roast served with acorn squash.

Desserts were lined up and ready to be put out for round two. Here are the recipes for the Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze and the Tangerine and Almond Shortbread Tart. The tangerine almond tart (on the left) was amazing–crispy and chewy, and the tangerine flavor really marries well with the almonds.

One of the other fantastic cooks being celebrated, Susan of the blog The Wimpy Vegetarian, slices her lovely apple tart.

Susan also brought her Pear & Rosemary Pate de Fruit, which was delicious with cheese!

Tiffany of the blog Still Simmering (shown in the top photo with her camera) brought incredible Pine Nut Brittle with Rosemary, which was actively in a competition on the Food52 website. She later won as the “Best Holiday Confection”, and I understand why. Yum!

We had a great time chatting with Amanda, who is in the center in grey–for someone who is a well-respected author, journalist and food entrepreneur, she is incredibly humble and genuine.

Merrill was also so sweet–she is very pregnant, and was still flitting about and meeting everyone.


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Filed under Dessert, Main Dishes, Party food, Salads, Travels

Homefries U–Palm Springs Weekend

Last weekend, I had the fortune to attend the first ever retreat put together by the fantastic team at The folks at Homefries are responsible for three of my favorite podcasts: The Joy the Baker podcast (with Tracy from, The Table Set, and The Crush. There were representatives of each at the retreat, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet these previously disembodied voices in person.

One of the most fun parts of the weekend was meeting the other folks who attended the retreat. There were legit food bloggers like Megan from, Rachel from, and Sasha from There were also lots of us who are just getting started with food blogging and wanted some inspiration, and also a few peeps who just wanted to spend an awesome weekend in the desert with some new friends. I think that all of us got what we wanted out of the weekend.

We met in a fantastic home that had a great kitchen for demos, so we all really enjoyed watching Joy and Tracy at work making everything from donuts to breakfast pizza. Above, you can see Joy twirling puff pastry into cheese straws while Tracy whips up some brown sugar-pepper bacon in the background. Yeah, it was that kind of weekend.

We also got some fantastic photography lessons from Michael, who is the technical genius behind Homefries. We learned about lighting techniques, f-stop, and other necessities for beautiful food photography. I also was inspired to use some of the photo apps for my android phone like lightbox and picplz. You can see another tip I learned from watching Joy in action–ladders give great perspective!

Whitney from The Crush podcast and Domaine LA brought  4 different sparkling wines for us to taste. We discussed the different methods for producing sparkling wines, and tasted wines from France, Italy and Spain.

Nathan from The Table Set provided many drinks over the weekend, including several champagne punches that were fantastic. He also led us in a gin tasting, from old-fashioned Genever to the modern-day Hendrick’s. I especially loved the Aviation he made for us.

By the last morning, we were all old friends, and laughed and sniffed our way through Tracy’s exploration of spices. We certainly weren’t shy with our cameras at that point, either!

This photo sums up Joy over the weekend–exuberant, moving 100 miles an hour, and feeding us amazing food (homemade donuts, in this case!). What a great experience!

If you’d like to see all of my photos from the weekend, you can visit the flickr set.

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