Sunday, September 23, 2007


Jose Ortega y Gasset, 89
Tel: 91-401-2228

Hands-down, the best in town!

Of course, I've told you this before. But the chicken vindaloo with roti that I had for lunch today compels me to re-confirm.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I've never understood why nobody in Spain makes or sells pies.

Adding to my confusion is the fact that the good people of France--a nation that borders Spain to the north--will dump just about anything into a pie shell, bake it and snarf it.

Having meditated on this curiosity for nearly eight years, I can only assume that the Spanish don't bake pies because they're using all of their pie plates to make paella.

Determined to lead the Spanish populace by example, I bought two Pyrex glass pie plates during my last trip to Chicago and brought them back here. My assumption, however, was that they would sit unused in my cabinet until such time as I moved back to the US or my home was burgled by a Frenchman--whichever came first.

But then I got a call from my neighbors yesterday suggesting that my daughter and I join them to pick wild blackberries.

Whoa! I saw an opportunity. Having recently picked MacIntosh apples with friends in Michigan, I was feeling quite in touch with my inner Grizzly Adams. Plus, I knew that six cups of blackberries would be enough to make a blackberry pie. So Pumpkin and I accepted the offer.

Little did I know, however, that picking six cups of blackberries is a task requiring six hours' labor and two pints of blood loss.

But we did, in fact, return with six cups of blackberries and today set about baking a pie--the first pie that either my daughter or I had ever attempted.

Now, I consider myself a pretty above average cook--especially when the menu is heavily skewed in the direction of dead animals. But baking has always been the weakest link in my armour. And today's project was a fitting example.

I used the pie crust recipe of a Polish-American grandmother whose baking skills I can vouch for--from third helpings of first hand experience. She makes a pretty mean czernina, as well.

But, unfortunately, her recipe was for one layer of pie crust and I needed two.

Simple enough, one would assume. Just double it.

Yes...but for me, doubling a recipe is a form of math. And for a lawyer who really wanted to be a gym teacher, math of any kind is fraught with danger.

And so it was that in the process of doubling this kindly Polish-American grandmother's cherished pie crust recipe, I remembered to double most of the ingredients--but not quite all of them. And to make matters worse, the ingredient that I forgot to double was milk.

Our end product was a gorgeous, gooey, deep-purple berry filling encased in...a sand castle.

Oh well. As I've so often told my niece and nephew, you have to screw up a recipe three times before getting it right. I've got two more shots at this pie crust before I'll get it right.

And when I finally get it right, who knows? Maybe I'll just dump a bunch of czernina into it, bake it and snarf it.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I planted a fig tree in my yard four years ago. To date, it has produced nothing but fig leaves.

Now don't get me wrong. Fig leaves are lovely. I'm told that some folks have even used them to make clothing.

But as my Poppie used to say, "If I can't eat it, I don't want it growing in my yard."

I couldn't agree more, and had begun contemplating what pulled pork would taste like if smoked over smoldering fig tree chunks.

But just as I was about to pull the string on my chainsaw, I saw it. I mean, them. That seemingly infertile fig tree was bursting with figs.

Tonight, I harvested a basket--a mere fraction of what's still hanging from the branches.

Yeah...I'll take the fresh figs with jamón iberico and a glass of fino sherry.

You take the Fig Newtons.