Olivia Dish

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Cheeseburger All the Way

In Restaurant, South Carolina on January 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm
The Stop Light

The Stoplight near Hartsville, SC

Why are the hamburgers at places like this always so good?  Someone else at our table asked it—but I was thinking the same thing.

These are not fancy pants Kobe beef burgers on hand-made brioche buns.  This isn’t a “gourmet” burger chain.

I’m having a cheeseburger at a gas station. And it’s hard to say how it could be any better.

Stop Light burger

Want greenery? Ask!

So is it the beef? I’m guessing not, how about you?  I think these burgers are good, one, because they’re made after you order them, and not a minute before.

Then there’s the way they put it together.  At The Stoplight, “all the way” doesn’t have anything to do with vegetables: it’s chili, mustard and ketchup.  If you want lettuce, tomato or onion, you’ve got to ask.

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Paris by Chocolate

In Paris, Sweets on January 14, 2010 at 1:21 pm
Sweet Life book

Yes, he wrote the book on Paris chocolate

If you’re going to be in this romantic city on Valentine’s Day without your true love, I reasoned, a tour of chocolate shops might help.

If that tour is led by David Lebovitz, the day looks even better.

Lebovitz is a pastry chef who trained at Chez Panisse. He’s written several books, including The Great Book of Chocolate and The Sweet Life in Paris.

What are the sweet spots for a chocolate-lover in Paris? I’d cobbled together a self-guided tour the winter before using Patricia Wells’s A Food-Lover’s Guide to Paris.  I rather smugly wondered if Lebovitz could best my DIY trek.

I’d visited Berthillon for ice cream, then walked to the Left Bank for Debauve & Gaillais, La Maison du Chocolat, and Richart.  I’d finished my mind-buzzing afternoon back on the Right Bank at Angelina—famous for its Chocolate Africain, hot chocolate made by melting a great deal of chocolate in a speck of moo juice.

Not bad, I thought–until I went on a Lebovitz tour. I was a chocolate amateur. Read the rest of this entry »

Cake: It’s What’s for Dinner

In Cookbooks, Homemade, Sweets on January 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

Turkey cake at Publix

My friend Smilen Seychees and I were talking about Cake Wrecks. Smilen, a photographer, said “I’ve got to send you pictures of two cakes I saw in Atlanta.”

And here’s the ham

The cakes were fabulous—and kind of ridiculous.  And after watching Food Network contests, seeing how much people handle those cakes, I don’t want to eat them. My ideal is made-from-scratch, for eating not ogling.  After months of craving, I baked one to start the new year.

My mother baked cakes when we were growing up.  She let us measure the ingredients, handle the mixer, spread the frosting on the layers.  I am wondering now if I grew up in some kind of golden age of cake baking.  Cake had ceased to be a political issue that could send you to the guillotine.  Cake had not yet become the guilt-laden child-killer that is banned from schoolyards everywhere.

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