Just back from my annual visit to family and friends in Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and Santa Barbara. It was a foodie time. Not least because my sister Gai Klass, before she retired, was top caterer in LA (according to me and the Zagat Guide); my 3-year-old great-nephews are following in the family tradition; my friends in Costa Mesa came on my Advanced Salumi Course last year and are ace picklers, aficionados of Mexican cuisine and blossoming norcini (curers of pork); my friend in Santa Barbara is a private chef (who did a personalised tour with me several years ago); and the rest are great cooks and lovers of good food.
I report the latest trends.
Armies of pigs have invaded delis, restaurants and antique shops. Everywhere I went pork, from ears to ribs to tails, was on the menu.
Local pork butchered on-site and fermented food served picnic-style at outdoor tables in Solvang
Bacon & Brine artwork
Emperor for a day at a deli near Solvang
Piggy banks at Angels Antiques, Carpinteria
Wild boar bowl at Angel Antiques, Carpenteria
As expected wine held sway even in the loos in the Santa Ynez Valley, best known for its Pinot Noir.
If only opticians were so creative
But craft beer was running a close second (as it does now in Italy)…
Old West saloons surely were never as good as this.
…and came first on Main St, Venice (CA)
Must tell them about Garfagnana 100% farro beer (wheat).
…and in Carpinteria.
How did I get on the wrong side of the tracks from this brewery tap house?
Sardinians on Main St, Santa Monica, produce one of Italy’s best exports.
American vehicles queue up for artisan gelato (saffron and hazelnut were a surprisingly good pairing).
And everyone was getting on the buy local and gluten-free band-wagons.
But does it taste good?
In case you’re in the area, I’m sure they’d all love to see you:
Bacon & Brine, Solvang
Angels Antiques, 4846 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria,
DolceNero, 2400 Main Street, Santa Monica
For a dinner that was so good that I forgot to take a photo:
Barbareño, 205 W Cañon Perdido Street, Santa Barbara
PS The next generation gets a head start in the kitchen.
Grand-nephew Charlie bakes muffins with nana Gai.