Mother’s Day for Foodies

. 4 min read

We had so much fun this weekend on Mother’s Day. We ate so much over the weekend, it’s Tuesday and I’m still full. I thought I’d share with you all what we did, where we went, and most importantly, what we ate.

My mom came to visit from Dallas, and my sister and her family flew in from Seattle. We met up in Anaheim and spent a few days at Disneyland — which the kids very much enjoyed (the adults enjoyed it too). We spent Mother’s Day at the beach, stuffing ourselves like pigs. The next day, we tasted our way through an Indian specialty store and a restaurant supply/gourmet food shop here in L.A.

Champagne Mother’s Day Brunch at Crystal Cove

There’s a little place called Crystal Cove just north of Laguna Beach that is so quaint and adorable. We had Mother’s Day brunch outdoors — right on the beach looking at the ocean — at a great little place called The Beachcomber.

Like my mother and me, my sister is a foodie, and she’s a genius at choosing restaurants. We had Champagne, fresh fruit, grilled salmon, and Cobb salad. Everything was delicious. And there is nothing like breathing in the salt air while you sip Champagne and enjoy your lunch.

My sister and her family had to fly back on Sunday. My mom and daughter Kate and I came back to LA. The next morning we toured my garden where I’m growing fennel, lemons, grapes, two kinds of potatoes, a few different kinds of lettuce, garlic, tomatoes, lots of different herbs, and strawberries. I learned everything I know about gardening from my mother.

Healthy Chips and Rose Petal Preserves at India Sweets and Spices

After that we explored the culinary scene in my neighborhood. We went to an Indian grocery store where I found some really healthy chips. They’re made from green plantains (similar to bananas) and they are fried in palm oil. I swear, they taste almost exactly like potato chips. I bought four bags. I love chips with sandwiches — and since these chips are fried in healthy palm oil, I don’t feel bad about feeding these to my family.

I also bought some tamarind candy and gulkand, which is a preserve made from rose petals. I want to use it to make paan, which is a traditional Indian digestive. I’ll post more about that in the future. (First I have to find betel leaves!)

You can expect to see some Indian food recipes on my blog in the near future. Seth and I both love Indian food, and it’s great to introduce to a toddler’s palette early. I want Kate to get used to eating all the different flavors. I really want to learn to make Indian curry and tikka masala and naan and chutney and saag paneer. And there’s a dessert recipe I want to try made with gulkand, ghee and ricotta cheese. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Stinky Cheese at Surfas Restaurant Supply

After the Indian store, we headed to Surfas so I could show my Mom the best restaurant supply store in Los Angeles. She loved it! They have everything from industrial mixers to pizza peels and stones to foie gras and duck fat.

I paid $17 for the most wonderful cheese. Yes, expensive, but this cheese is the closest thing to French Époisses that I’ve been able to find. And Époisses is my very favorite.

Napoleon was a particular fan of the cheese, and the famous epicure Brillat-Savarin himself classed it as the “king of all cheeses”.
Its odor is so strong that reportedly it has been banned from French public transport. Source: Wikipedia

The cheese I bought is called Red Hawk and it’s made by Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma, California. Unfortunately, it is pasteurized — the silly laws we have in the U.S. prevent them from selling unaged raw milk cheese.

The man who sold it to me said to let it age a week in the fridge to let it ripen — and it will taste even better. I can’t wait to eat it — I am counting down the days.

I also bought a wine decanter and I plan to open one of the good wines I’ve been saving — maybe a Sea Smoke pinot noir — to go with this cheese. Maybe I’ll bake a loaf of crusty sourdough bread to go with it. I just got some sourdough starters in the mail from Cultures for Health so I’m excited to bake bread.

I also bought Seth’s favorite Dijon mustard, some oregano, and various kinds of sugars: palm sugar, sucanat, maple sugar, and muscovado. My mom and I did a taste testing when we got home.

And I got some corn husks. I’m going to try my hand at making homemade tamales from my homemade masa. I think I’ll do beef tamales and also black bean and cheese tamales. Maybe some banana and chocolate tamales, too.

Lastly, I picked up two gourmet Italian syrups: lavender and cassis (black currant). The cassis I’ll use to make Kir (French apéritif made with white wine). Not sure what I’ll do with the lavender but it will be fun to invent some new cocktails… and maybe sorbets and ice creams. And maybe I’ll make some lavender-infused vodka.

I couldn’t have asked for a more fun-filled Mother’s Day weekend. I’m so very grateful to have family members who share my passion for food. Thanks, everyone, for a wonderful weekend.