HOT OFF THE STOVE / notes, comments, observations and links about any and all things food related


By Larry Levine –

FEBRUARY 23, 2018 -Something new at Asanebo tonight. The Omakase Course B has left me feeling uncomfortably full the last few times. So, tonight I constructed my own meal, with a big assist from sushi chef Mark. I had a mix of raw and cooked dishes. One highlight that Mark suggested was octopus with caramelized onions and tomato in a delicious broth. Koji’s ankimo (monk fish liver) was extraordinary as always. The very seasonal leather fish is a treat. The bill came to the same number as when I have the Omakase, but I felt much more comfortable at the end. One upside to Omakase is that Mark does all the thinking.

JANUARY 13, 2018 – Tough start to the year. First there is a tooth infection and a dentist who doesn’t seem to know what to do about it. Our dentist of 30+ years retired. We’ve been through three since then and I’m not looking for number four to deal with this tooth. Anyway, eating has been a bit restricted. It’s the back tooth, top left. Can’t chew back there. On top of that, I’ve gotten neck deep in an election campaign and haven’t been home in time to cook all week. We did get a dinner at Panzanella, which always is a treat. Tonight we had spaghetti with a new batch of homemade marinara and meatballs. One of my better marinara efforts.

DECEMBER 27, 2017 – Note to self: Next time you go to Sacramento, take a cooler; talk to Suzzane at Formoli’s Bistro about where they source their pork and go buy some to bring home. The pork chops at Formoli’s are consistently excellent.

DECEMBER 24, 2017 – Cooked the baked ham from Jacques Peppin’s Heart and South in the Kitchen for Jennifer, me and family friends Trudy and Jill. It the second time I’ve done this ham recipe. It’s one of the few recipes from which I do not stray. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better ham than Peppin’s. That was the unanimous opinion at the dinner table. Served it with yams, sweet potatoes, and grilled fresh pineapple rings.

DECEMBER 17, 2017 – Brisket dinner tonight at Lloyd and Edie’s. I was sidelined again, just like at Thanksgiving. Lloyd made the entire meal.

DECEMBER 16, 2017 – Wonderful dinner tonight at Formoli’s Bistro in Sacramento with son Lloyd and daughter-in-law Edie. I had a double cut pork chop that was tender, tasty and cooked perfectly pink. Formoli’s serves about the only pork I can find these days with flavor. I have the names of their two purveyors, neither of which ships. On some future trip I will bring a cooler and brings some home with me.

DECEMBER 13, 2017 – I made “Jennifer’s Best in the World Meat Loaf” for dinner tonight at our son Lloyd’s home in Sacramento. Granddaughter Carlie, 3, loved it as did all the rest of it. It’s a recipe Jennifer evolved some 30+ years ago and it will appear in the upcoming publication of my memoir with recipes COOKING FOR A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN / the tastes and tales of a wonderful life.

NOVEMBER 27, 2017 – From my wine locker, I opened a bottle of 2001 Chateau La Fleur Bordeaux from Saint-Emilion as my everyday, drink-at-home wine for the next few days. Live can be good.

NOVEMBER 24, 2017 – Dinner tonight with Jennifer, son Lloyd and daughter-in-law Edie at Biba in Sacramento, my favorite restaurant in all of California.

NOVEMBER 23, 2017 (LATER) – For the first time in nearly 50 years, I cooked nothing for Thanksgiving. We used to have as many as 25 people at our home for the holiday and I would cook the entire meal. Now the torch is passed. Son Lloyd did everything – turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie and daughter-in-law Edie made the cranberry sauce. I spent the day playing with our granddaughters and nervously wondering what was going on.

NOVEMBER 23, 2017 (THANKSGIVING DAY) – Don’t know what happened, but a month’s worth of posts in Hot off the Stove seem to have vanished. In that month I’ve posted about dinners we have at Panzanella in Sherman Oaks, CA, Le Sanglier in Tarzana, CA, and Asenebo in Studio City. Also, there was a post notifying readers that Kendall’s at the L.A. Music Center is once again open for lunch. For dinner last night, I cooked one of our favorites – orange marmalade coated chicken parts with currants and dried apricots in an orange juice and apple juice sauce. We are in Sacramento for dinner tonight with son Lloyd, daughter-in-law Edie and granddaughters Alise and Carlie.

OCTOBER 29, 2017 – Time is running out. If you want a last shot at the famous First Monday Fried Chicken dinner at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills, you better grab it the first Monday of November or December. Chef Keller will be closing the bistro, the bar and the bakery the end of this year, according to his PR representatives.

OCTOBER 27, 2017 – Tonight it’s the other half of last night’s roast chicken. I’ll make a mushroom gravy and heat the chicken in the gravy. To do this requires that the bird not be marinated to start with so it doesn’t carry an unacceptable flavor into the second night.

OCTOBER 26, 2017 – It’s no easy task to roast a whole chicken and not have the breast turn out dry or the leg and thigh to be under cooked. Think about the difference in the cooking time for each of these. I roasted a bird tonight – 400 degrees for 1 hour after coating it in olive oil. Turned out fine.

OCTOBER 25, 2017 – Todd Murakami has been cutting fish for me at sushi bars for 29 years. I missed a few innings of the Dodgers – Astros World Series to have dinner at Todd’s restaurant – Murakami on Melrose Ave. in L.A. – with my good friend Amanda Susskind.

OCTOBER 23, 2017 – After a very nice, and very hot da, at the Safari Park we went for dinner at the Argyle Steakhouse at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad. We each had the hanger steak and whipped potatoes. Jennifer and I are not really steakhouse fans and we don’t eat much beef. We enjoyed the ambiance of Argyle and the steaks were good. It was a nice place to relax after a good day together.

OCTOBER 22, 2017 – Dinner tonight with nephew Bryan, his wife Lisa and their daughter Cassidy at de’ Medici Cucina Italiana in the Gas Lamp District of San Diego.  I had my traditional Perfect Manhattan to start the evening. Then we shared a Cesar Salad, made tableside with a real coddled egg yolk. Some of the waiters are hesitant to do it this way and want to use egg beaters. But I insisted and the owner gave his approval. Then I had veal piccata with a side of spaghetti with olive oil and garlic. This was the meal I had the first time Jennifer and I dined here in 2008 and probably three quarters of the time since.

OCTOBER 20, 2017 — Rich on rich on rich. That was dinner tonight at Vivace at the Park Aviara Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA. I started with an appetizer portion of state tartar. Then it was a wonderful portion of seared foie gras. followed that with an excellent lobster risotto. Love the food and ambiance of this excellent restaurant.


About the Author

Larry Levine is the founder and host of and Table Talk at Larrys. Read his full biography by clicking here.