Vegetable Dumplings & New Year in Chinatown

 In case you missed The Los Angeles Times writer/author/ethnic-eats guru Jonathan Gold's recent article about dumplings in Chinatown, read.  The Lunar New Year begins February 8.  While you may or may never achieve the delicate balance of soup inside a handmade dumpling made famous by the restaurant Din Tai Fung that Gold profiles, you can ...

Sachertorte mit globalism in Vienna

I know, I know...Vienna has always been a cosmopolitan city.  But we approached it as a dessert capital - a singular exemplar; a province of old-world excellence. If other discoveries awaited us in this city, we didn't care. While Vienna delivered on its culinary promise, we could not ignore how it asserted itself as a ...

Beckoned By Black Forest Cake in Berlin

Seriously, this was a business trip. We HAD to find a quality slice of Black Forest Cake even though it was sought only by old-fashioned, German-language-less tourists like me. Most people seemed oblivious to the fact that this cake was born in Berlin. Where was its memorial? Where was its shrine? Susie@Berlin Wall We got distracted ...

Drum Beat to Budapest

Can a person be in love with a cake?  I think I am in love with the Dobos Torte - a rich, multi-layer stack of brandy-drizzled almond cake filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with distinctive caramel wedges. Dobos Torte (or "Dobos Torta") and I have a long relationship. I have made it for my birthday ...

Red Carpet, Red Velvet in Hollywood

Just a few miles from Hollywood's red carpet bonanza is the other side: my neighborhood of Silver Lake where you can eat fried food, wear shorts and be certain that no one cares about taking your photograph.  Is it a beautiful city, this Hollywood - east side or west?  Nope.  But it has pockets of ...

All Wrapped Up in Quebec

Toy soldiers, trains, presents, chocolate, bows - all fine stuff of childhood.  Mass-marketers understand this and often sell us charmingly quaint packaging with nothing but chalk-like chocolate inside.  In Quebec, roadsigns led me up a steep hill to a mini-chocolate factory guarded by this guy: I feared the worst. Chunky sentry like these are cherished by ...