Side Bar

An article in the New York Times Style Magazine by Kurt Soller entitled, “At Restaurants, Thank You for Not Sharing:After a decade of treating every plate like a pie, individual dishes are making a welcome comeback,” caught my eye. I have been attributing a quote I read from Julia Child for at least a decade that she did not share any dish she ordered at restaurants. If someone wanted to taste something, they should order it for themselves; and not having the poor sap with merely one bite after passing it around to everyone.  For the life of me, I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it and I cannot find it online after multiple clever search queries. It seems like something she would say, doesn’t it?

The main point is that I have always agreed that one shouldn’t feel obligated to share; or if you really did just want a bite, then to ask if anyone also wants a bite.  I do feel that this has started to be more common over the last half decade.

The article goes on with “Living in the “sharing economy,” we are accustomed to apportioning cars, offices and, yes, plates of food. Lately, though, chefs and diners seem to have grown weary of the communal experience.” Seems like quite an enormous leap to lump sharing plates with the sharing economy, as even the author acknowledges that tapas and most Chinese dishes are inherently meant to be shared.  Also, an enormous leap to pronounce that chefs and diners alike are done with the communal experience, let alone sharing a plate. Yes, there is the cubicle dining experience aka Solo Dining Booth at Ichiran. I still see many a community table at new restaurants, ones short on space like Niche to massive spaces like Tetsu. I also found that ending the fluffy piece with a political discourse (socialism vs. democracy) and strung together with random dining annoyances to be neither cute nor clever. It truly bummed me out that what started out as an interesting read, turned into and ended in such a shallow way.

Like I said, I loved trotting out that Julia Child quote over the years and I thought this article would provide more cultural insights or at least a few more quotes for my arsenal.  I do think that sharing plates did seem more prevalent at one time but perhaps that was timed with an influx of casual dining overall. The point now is that sharing is just one way of eating; just a preference by some diners. Speak up if you don’t want to share and use that Julia Child quote as a shield against looking selfish!  

Mercado Little Spain

Observations from my first visit

José Andrés came onto my radar when molecular gastronomy was still all the rage and his restaurant, The Bazaar, at the SLS hotel in Los Angeles received four stars from the LA Times in 2009.  I think I visited not too long after and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t as bowled over as I was with Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago.  I followed the growth of his empire in the U.S., watched him make guest appearances on TV shows, and his tireless charitable activism.

I prepared for my visit to his Hudson Yards project, Mercado Little Spain by reading Eater critic Robert Sietsema’s early review.  

Atmosphere and design: Unlike most of the rest of Hudson Yards, this place feels warm and happy.  The food stalls are splashed with red; some walls have murals, and many of the servers wear red tee-shirts.  Also, no dark mood lighting or unfriendly fluorescence. Fortunately, the one light setting is on cheerful. Also, even when almost every part of Mercado is bustling, I can hear the wait staff and I can hold conversation in a regular voice.  

Tapas: It was before 8pm on a weekday and the Mercado was full with every seat taken and most of the standing tables occupied. Preferring not to be at a restaurant to allow for some food stall roaming, we had to make a few rounds before we spied two seats open at La Barra.  We each settle for a glass of wine (a rosé, and a white wine from Catalonia) and two tapas (very crisped bread topped with tomato seeds and sardines; and a tortilla topped with white shrimp). Tapas number one was simple and tasty, and we joked we could buy the three ingredients from the market and make a platter at home.  Tapas number two was simple but not so tasty. The tortilla is like a thin egg crepe layer which was asked to be cooked to medium; and topped with six small shrimp. I could not taste any seasoning on anything. And honestly, the soft on soft textures did not work and we did not finish this small plate. The two drinks, two tapas with tip came to $60.  

We headed to the Bravas food stall, ordered patatas bravas with aioli ($8), and sidled up to a standing table and speared the crunchy potato cubes with our toothpicks.  Hot and crispy and hit the spot.

We decided for one more drink and seeing two open stools at Vino, we took our seats on the corner.  Turns out the menu as identical to La Barra. This time we settled on chorizo wrapped in thin potato which was basically like a potato chip rolling a chorizo tootsie roll. And it tasted like you expected: spicy wrapped in crunchy. The two glasses and the tapas and tip came to about $42.

Market: This pickings are pretty small so one cannot compare it to Eataly. It is akin to a gift shop compared to someplace like Despaña in Soho.  

Overall: I may try to visit one of the restaurants but my overall first impression is that MLS is definitely a fun place for drinks with nibbles. It is on the pricey side but the pickings are slim in that neighborhood. The food feels kinda secondary but it does seem like a work in progress so definitely worth another gander.

Side note: While probably not in the purview of Mercado, the access to and from the Hudson Yards shops is pretty depressing. The red carpet looks like a remnant with a few posters hanging on bare walls to provide some connection and transition.  Also, for some reason, fire drills were being conducted without notice so the very sturdy looking gate was down. This was all the more annoying because the escalators were running so you could get downstairs but were only met with a closed gate. Fortunately, a security guard noticed this and keyed the door gate to reopen, and we were met with folks on the other side wondering what was going on.

Mercado Little Spain, 10 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

Hot New Restaurant Lists: My Gripes (and Hopes)

I love trying new restaurants. I always have.  I was just musing to a friend while sitting at a counter at José Andrés’ Mercado Little Spain how I never became a ‘regular’ anywhere because I preferred to try something new as opposed to eating off the same menu over and over be it in Tokyo, Chicago, the Bay Area, or Washington, D.C or here in New York City.

Eater’s “Hottest Restaurants” and GrubStreet’s “Restaurant Power Rankings” are the lists I check regularly when I want to find a new restaurant to try in NYC.  That said, I also read Florence Fabricant’s from The New York Times’ “Off the Menu” column and occasionally, I’ll broaden a new restaurant search to include Time Out, Thrillist, The Infatuation, and The New Yorker, etc.  Yes, there are the Yelps and Zagats but they focus less on the latest restaurant openings.

What kind of restaurant news person am I?  I admit that food and dining stories are something I read on a daily basis. I will also admit that I am probably an anomaly in how frequently I check these restaurant lists but I’d like to think that means my opinions are pretty well informed. I came to mainly look to these two lists because of Eater and New York Magazine’s commitment to the food category. I trust them because they consistently put out news and I am comfortable with their main reviewers, Ryan Sutton and Adam Platt.  

But now, my overall opinion after following these lists for years and more recently, on a weekly basis, is that they aren’t that aren’t all that helpful in informing of what restaurants are “hot” or “buzzy.”

Eater’s “Hottest Restaurants in Manhattan Right Now”is updated monthly. I am not clear what criteria are using in the ranking list. I get why some of the restaurants are on the list but I really can’t find a rhyme or reason as to ranking.  I appreciate that the list can get random but it seems that the top three should be clearer? Its sister list “Eater’s 38 Essential Restaurants in NYC” also bothers me.  Balthazar was at the top of this list for seemingly years, and when it finally moved, it pretty much precipitously fell off the list.  It did not seem to me that each of the establishments are continually visited, or if they are, the new data illustrating why the restaurants should keep their ranking isn’t clear.  And what criteria are used to make the list? It seems that diversity of cuisine and atmosphere count for something but then it doesn’t make sense that there is any ranking vs. it being an alphabetized list.

As for GrubStreet’s weekly “Restaurant Power Rankings,” they are upfront about the subjectivity of their list and say criteria is mainly buzz which can certainly embody a lot of variables. I started to look at this list a bit more because it is weekly, and seems to be more of a ‘new’ list. I liked that it sems to cull through the myriad of openings and pull out ones from hot chefs, etc.  But then, I started to notice that Adam Platt’s recently reviewed restaurants could sit on the list if he liked a dish or two for weeks. It started to seem that their own buzz and cross-promotion of sister articles affected their list.

In the same way that I made peace with Pete Well’s endless two-star reviews with seemingly random anointment of one- and two-star ratings, I totally get that these lists are subjective and can feel pretty stale, or indiscriminate and arbitrary at times.  

But I am a stickler for managing expectations so I am bummed that these lists are not consistently true to their names, and are not always helpful finding the restaurants that are new and worthy of checking out.  Do I smell an opportunity?

Weekend Cooking

The weekend was a parade of rain clouds and sometimes just clouds.  Maybe that was why it was hard to do anything that required too much fussing, as well as fussing over.  

About every six to eight days, I need to make our dog, Miette, a batch of homemade meatballs. It started when she was about 5 months old and discovering she had a bit of a sensitive stomach.  We started to keep her meals to dry food supplemented with meatballs of ground chicken, brown rice, sweet potato and occasionally chopped spinach to keep her regular. It has been working so I whip up a batch almost every week.

Miette’s Meatballs

A hearty and comforting lunch of chili was up next. Over the years, I have tried a bunch of recipes, from regional ones like Cincinnati chili, to trying different peppers like chipotle but I think I like the straight-up ground beef chili with green peppers, beans and the usual suspect spice list like chili powder and cumin the best. Maybe it’s because I like the toppings of chopped red onion, sharp cheddar cheese and the occasional dollop of sour cream, so having the chili be flavorful but overly powerful is ideal.

Two-Bean Chili with Ground Beef and Peppers

Cookies were calling our name and the original plan was to make oatmeal raisin. I busily browsed for thin crispy but slightly chewy versions. On Serious Eats, I saw a recipe mimicking Tates cookies which I thought would be worth trying. I started measuring out ingredients and was actually more than halfway through before I realized this recipe was actually for chocolate chip cookies (bad tagging it seems).  So I rolled with it as I had some Valrohna chocolate chips in the pantry. The recipe called for using cane sugar and using a food processor to mix chopped cold butter chunks into the flour mixture, which is different from room temperature butter sticks and creaming it with sugar.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Like I said, I was not up to fussing too much so using  a spoon (versus an ice cream scoop) and putting one row too many on a sheet, resulted in a batch of ‘rustic/artisan’ cookies.  They were indeed chewy and a little crisp around the edges. Glad I made only half a batch which still yielded almost two dozen cookies.  They tasted very similar to Toll House cookies but maybe more flat.

Now despite using butter and eggs in this recipe, I had actually been trying to minimize dairy use as allergy season gets going. I made some almond milk to put in coffee.

Almond Milk

Using leftovers from chorizo patatas and roast broccoli, I decided to make empanadas.  I searched high and low for a dough recipe that would not yield a tough exterior. I also did not want to use puff pastry.  I found a recipe with rave reviews with words like ‘flaky’, ‘ best,’ and ‘delicious.’ It called for vinegar which I found interesting and a few reviewers who had tried several empanada dough recipes called this specific ingredient out as being the game-changer.  

Chorizo-Potato and Broccoli Cheese Empanadas

I only had biscuit cutter rings which were too small so just hand-rolled out the dough and used fork tines to crimp them closed.  I also used an egg wash (some recipes called for melted butter but I worried that it would burn).

The results was a dozen of haphazardly shaped empanadas that were a tad too dry. The dough was not flaky but relatively tender.  I made up a mustard dipping sauce as well as a BBQ sauce to have something to moisten the empanadas. My husband pointed out that most of the empanadas he has had were dry so my batch fell in line with his expectations.  I was a bit bummed out as it was a lot of work, and that maybe just eating the leftovers would have been tastier than making them into fillings and making empanada dough. Lesson learned. Empanadas are not my thing.

Niche Mazémen

Rave reviews from restaurant critics for Chef Shigetoshi Nakamura brothless ramen from Ryan Sutton from Eater and Pete Wells from The New York Times prompted me to visit Niche (though the non-reservation policy kept me away for a few weeks and avoiding a weekend evening).  I strolled in at 6pm on a weekday to meet a friend and about half of the seats at the 14-seat communal table were open and I chose to sit closer to the glassy entrance side as opposed to the excitement of the kitchen area, which was pretty dark. It was a rare gorgeous day in April in NYC and had to go to the light.

All of the reviews have fawned over the meaty ribeye mazemen but neither my friend nor I were in the mood for red meat.  We opted for the duck magret special and the “Russ and Roe” (ramen with tarako-sauce, smoked salmon, basil, olive oil) with ikura and the temaki nori add-ons. Appetizers included the umami kombu fries and avocado crunch.  

The umami kombu fries really do look like McDonalds fries– the same super square cut and each about three inches long, the right length to evenly pack into the stubby white bag.  The best part of the kombu powder is the finish, the umami coating lingering on the taste buds. . . just the right amount of dusting to keep you reaching out for another fry.  That said, like McDonalds fries, once they cool down, they aren’t as tasty so we focused more on the sliced avocado salad with crispy balls of tempura crunch. Super simple and very satisfying. I was surprised how the crunchiness kept.

Now onto the mazemen. A popular pasta dish in Japan is mentaiko-spaghetti (there are flavor packets you can buy at the grocery store!) and it’s usually topped with shredded nori.  I love that dish, and it drove me to order the seafood dish and added the nori. . . and I couldn’t resist the thought of juicy ikura bursts so added that too.

Now, the nori on the add-on list is specifically listed as ‘temaki nori’ and I learned that the chef recommends that you use them to make handrolls, so we rolled up the saucy noodles, salmon and ikura as instructed. The nori adds much to the overall flavor profile but I don’t know if making a handroll made it better, just unusual. I think I would probably shred the nori on top of the ramen next time and dig in.  I may also lose the ikura as they just didn’t stand out as the noodles are chewy so somehow the special-ness of getting a juicy burst is lost.

The Duck Magret dish was more straightforward and did not have any of the topping that would be found on the meat dish, e.g. spinach so the dish just looked monochrome brown. The duck was very nicely prepared and flavorful.

I will admit that I come from the school that a bowl of ramen is expensive at $18, and these bowls beyond that. So, while I overall enjoyed the meal, with the tab for the two appetizers, two mazemen with a few extras, and 3 glasses of wine coming in at almost $150 (with tip), I think Niche is not *that* good or unique enough to put into my regular restaurant rotation.

Supper Club: April and Life’s Work

Spring is officially here but the weather has been mixed.  For April’s Supper Club with M and T, I looked through my pantry and fridge, and decided on an Indian menu.  My friend had given me a loads of Indian spices and this best-selling cookbook by Camellia Panjabi, 50 Great Curries of India.

Menu: I had a butternut squash that I was anxious to use so decided on a soup, and I have always been a fan of chaats, and of course thought a curry would be mandatory.

Indian-Scented Butternut Squash Soup
Chickpea Chaat
Shahi Paneer with Basmati Rice

Drink: Sauvignon blanc

Dessert: Royce chocolates

Conversation: Changing careers mid-career

“How did you get to where you are?”

When I was working in television entertainment, I often tell the story about how students from my alma maters would ask how I got my job as a digital executive. My response was that I just followed my passions and trusted my instincts. I studied history as an undergraduate; worked in publishing in Tokyo; moved to Palo Alto for grad school; and moved to New York to join a start-up in fine art e-commerce (that went bust), then worked for Esther Dyson, and married my love for music with a gig at AOL; and then landed at Bravo where my other loves for food and fashion and pop culture were able to be fused with my by-then-kinda-long career in digital. But after many years making a living in the digital space, I hungered to get back to basics and knew that food was the direction I wanted to face. I took courses at the International Culinary Institute, and learned about plant-based nutrition and plant-based baking from Matthew Kenney Culinary. And now I am trying my hand at writing about my love of cooking, eating, and dining.

Not exactly a normal career path.

My Supper Club friends have been working all their lives but have also taken seemingly non-sequitur turns in their careers. When I met M in Tokyo, she was a news television anchor, and then went to business school, and started her career in finance. She’s looking to fuse her background with more pro-social causes now.

And T was and still is a fashion designer, producing beautiful natural fiber pieces, but she also went back to school and got her MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History from Christie’s as well as an MBA. She is now a private art advisor and curator, as well an educator.

Also, not exactly normal career paths.

We talked about the challenges of making new moves in our careers. You end up spending a lot of time explaining the shifts and weaving the right narrative to those parties who are not used to non-traditional career journeys. And we look to each other for advice, guidance and recommendations in our respective next steps. Just having open non-judge-y ears is so refreshing.

Life teaches us much and I feel that if we are truly paying attention, we would bend and grow in different directions throughout it.

Side Bar

I enjoy keeping abreast of restaurant and cooking news and on occasion, I parrot off the topline to my husband, and follow that with my two cents on the matter.  Here are a few recent articles that I had something to say about:

Three Courses, 20 Euros: The Affordable Dining Renaissance in Paris

This appeared in The New York Times’ Travel section on April 10 (for some reason, it’s not cross-indexed under Food even though the article is as detailed as many restaurant reviews).

Affordable dining is not unique and I am not sure if the claim  that “…the comeback of the city’s bouillons — those working-class restaurants that thrived in Paris during the 19th century” is necessarily true but the notion of a delicious 3-course meal at a price point under $25 resonated with me.  Certainly, the news of a global economic slowdown alongside the ostentatious opening of Hudson Years in New York where restauranteurs cater to the nano-1% (Shake Shack does not count) made this story on affordable dining both timely and appealing.

I know that there are many restaurants in New York that serve amazing fare that are not as expensive as the Tak Room or The Grill, and not a takeout slice either. The problem is that most of these places still have a rushed vibe and I loved the comment from one reader of this article who recounted a story where she profusely apologized for being late to a restaurant in Normandy and was told not to worry because their table was booked for the evening, not for 90-120 minutes.

I know many don’t want to linger or event want to eat dessert anymore but I like how a 3-course meal feels like a special meal these days. I also like how that special feel can be had for $25. I mean, that is the cost of a Seamless order.

I thought about how New York has Restaurant Week where select restaurants offer lunches and dinners at a pre-fixe rate of about $30 for lunch and $40 for dinner.  Of course, this does not include tip or tax, and a glass of wine is not $5 as noted in the article.

That said, unless the restaurants are operating at a loss (which I doubt), it makes me wonder why this cannot be more prevalent all year long?

How Lucky Lee’s Could Have Gotten an ‘American Chinese’ Restaurant Right

I have been following the Lucky Lee debacle over the last few days. Esther Teng outlines the mini-horror show in this Eater article.

What I like best about Teng’s piece is that she is not shrill and saliently lays out the offense and where today’s “clean” eating movement can often be a bit too ‘holier than thou.”  Some choice snippets:

-Haspel has applied a goop-like element to her marketing strategy, further compounding her insult of American Chinese food.

-Their recipes were adapted for the American palate — for instance, adding sugar and frying more items — creating a new culinary genre in the process. And because Chinatowns were considered “slums,” Chinese food acquired its still-present reputation as dirty. That needs to be acknowledged and respected in its historical context: American Chinese food evolved into what it is today because white people were its primary audience.

– . . .the way [Haspel] voluntarily described her food was only in relation to how it’s a better version compared to everything that came before it.

I will note that all of this bluster back-and-forth has nothing to do with the actual dishes being served.

My take in reading Arielle Haspel’s comments and responses is that she really doesn’t get it, still.  She cannot get out of her back-handed insult cycle because she cannot understand how her language is infused with “Goop-minded” arrogance, e.g. “There are very few American-Chinese places as mindful about the quality of ingredients as we are.”

I think back to a conversation a friend and I had when she was recounting a dinner party where an Asian guest asked why “some Asians get offended or are overly sensitive when [insert offense here]?”  We talked about how it difficult it is for anyone who has not been made to feel conscious of their identify, or the heat of shame to have empathy for others in certain situations.  Usually economics (and hence social standing) has shielded them from racism and belittlement. They just don’t get it, and it will be hard for them to ever get it because they are protected from seeing and feeling it.  I feel like Haspel falls into this category.

I sometimes say, it’s best to just keep one’s mouth shut and let your work do the talking.

Weekend Cooking

Some of the most fun I have in the kitchen is when I have focus, or purpose. This may come from concocting something from ingredients I want to use up in the pantry or fridge, or when I have a specific audience to cook for.

Bananas, so many bananas

I had never ordered bananas from Fresh Direct before but had placed a large grocery order in anticipation of my nephew’s stay over his Spring Break.  Of course, I ended up guessing at what he would like and ordered breakfast goods across the spectrum–yogurts, breads, granola and fruit.  And as for fruit, I figured bananas would be a safe bet.

The price for a single order was about $2 so I figured I would get about 3-4 bananas but what arrived was a bunch of over a dozen!  The week came and went. I was left with more than ten bananas.

I had a bag of vegan chocolate chips so decided to look up plant-based baked goods using bananas and chocolate chips and decided upon a recipe by Chloe Coscarelli. The recipe originally was for bread but I decided to make it into a bundt cake.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bundt Cake

So that used about three bananas.  I froze the rest of them to use in smoothies in the future. The vegan banana chocolate chip bundt was tasty but far too much to keep and so made some gift packages for friends.

Brownie cravings

The chocolate chips kindled a craving for more chocolate, specifically a chewy brownie. Instead of making the usual small tray, I decided to make mini bites.

Mini-Brownie Bites

These brownie bites are convenient as single bites but also easy to halve and spread a healthy layer of ice cream.  I have always loved ice cream with cake crumbs or in this case, brownie chunks. I prefer the larger cake crumbles to grainy cookie crumbs, sort of like the difference between panko to old-school sandy breadcrumbs. The texture is completely different!

Cooking lunch for the boys

Our friends’ sons were on their own for a few days and we got the call that they come do lunch on Saturday.  Of course, in high school time, lunch happens at 4:30pm.

I thought a bento favorite, chicken katsu would be easy, tasty and filling.  The usual accompaniment would be steamed broccoli but decided to roast them instead.  This, along with some Tamaki rice (my favorite brand) and a big bottle of bulldog tonkatsu sauce, completed lunch.  

Chicken Katsu

Brisk days

Spring has been struggling to emerge, and many days are still brisk and cold.  An easy go-to lunch soup is creamless tomato. I made a big batch to enjoy and to freeze for another chilly day, which would no doubt be far off.

Creamless Tomato Soup

Traci Des Jardins and the Closing of Jardinière

This morning, I read the New York Times article “Jardinière, a Pioneer of High-End Dining and Design in San Francisco, Will Close” with the subhead “The chef Traci Des Jardins says she’s ‘tired of fine dining’ and wants to focus on Mexican food.” I felt a little blue and a sort of melancholy stuck with me throughout the day.

I first experienced Chef Des Jardins culinary prowess at Rubicon in San Francisco in the mid-90s. Rubicon was Drew Nieporent’s first foray into the bay area and Des Jardins won the James Beard award for Best Rising Chef. I was new to the area and was taken by her dishes grounded in French tradition and incorporating fresh California flavors.

In fact, she was the reason I bought this cookbook called “Great Women Chefs” published in 1996.  I still have it. Check out the old-timey cover.

Book cover to Great Women Chefs: Marvelous Meals & Innovative Recipes from the Stars of American Cuisine with an introduction by Alice Waters

I tried my hand at her recipes and made the apple tarts for practically every dinner party I had for several years.

Traci Des Jardins is the first chef profiled in the book

I knew she was pivoting towards Mexican cuisine with the opening of her other restaurants. I spend a lot of time perusing recipes when I make a new dish and was pleasantly surprised when I came across her recipe for carnitas tacos. Search over. I found my recipe.

Des Jardins, for me, was unique in her standing amongst the male chefs of her time. She helmed a fine dining restaurant that was successful, though to be frank, I had a sense that her male peers received more backing and started to build their empires.  

And while I respect the move away from a white linen dining experience as I know that I myself seek out those kind of restaurants less and less, I feel remorseful.  Why can restaurateurs like Danny Meyers or chefs like David Chang and Tom Colicchio have high/low places but not someone as talented as Traci Des Jardins?

Weekend Cooking

Weekends are my favorite times to cook and bake. I had a burst of productivity and cranked out all sorts of dishes.  

A friend came over for dinner on Friday night, and relied on making a menu that relied on ingredients on hand (pantry items, ground beef in the freezer and veggies in the crisper): North African-inspired meatballs, cinnamon-scented tomato sauce, roast broccoli/okra/radish and toasted basmati rice.  We started off with some fresh tortilla chips and tomatillo-chipotle salsa and ended with rasberry and apricot rugelach. My husband made it official with a menu.

Friday Dinner Menu

Of course I forgot to take pictures of most of this but I did made so much rugelach that I got a snap.

Rasberry and Apricot Rugelach

I have become a fan of cold-rise pizza dough so I made a ball early Friday morning  to get ahead for either Saturday dinner or Sunday lunch.

I was able to make a run to 8 Hands, a local farm and market, and picked up some freshly baked sourdough boule, eggs and I picked up a few links of chipotle sausage which I thought would be tasty on one of the pizzas.  The market was pretty active for a Saturday morning which gave me time to browse through all the prepared soups. I ended up grabbing a quart of lentil and root vegetable soup as well.

We awoke on Saturday to a light dusting of snow on the ground so I thought a warming soup would be ideal for lunch. I had various root vegetables on hand and ended up making a carrot-daikon soup sprinkled with chipotle chilis (for a bit of kick).

Carrot-Daikon Soup with Chipotle Chili Flakes
Pizza sauce using crushed tomatoes, garlic, as well as garlic and onion powders and a spoon of sugar
Crumbled Chipotle Sausage, Red Onion and Olive Pizza
White Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Garlic and Herbs

Sunday was a day of rest and leftovers!