Matzo Ball Soup{Worries Go Down Better With Soup}

New York City, fashion mecca and land of the Bubby.  As long as my memories go back, I have had this very hazy picture of eating corned beef, and not just any corned beef. . .corned beef from the deli promised land, nay the deli center of the universe, the Carnegie Deli.  Where the words “extra lean, half sour, and Russian dressing” float through the air on smooth currents of “chopped liver”.  Every grey haired man here was a potential grandpa or perhaps a not so distant relative of your great uncle’s cousin, Sheila.

So you sit there, and as you wait you feast on pickled tomatoes and other briny delectables from the pickle spectrum.  And then, sheer glee, my five year old life was complete! In front of me appeared, as if by magic, the most luscious ruby layers of warm corned beef stacked mountainously high between two rye encrusted cushions.

Oh yes, Bubby’s favorite color just might have been black, and she also may have slept in curlers, and she may not have let me play with the little glass boxes on her side table in her living room, but the food in Bubby’s city really had some  panache! Read the rest of this entry »

Sylvester J Pussycat{Absinthe, What the Heck is it?}

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder? Absinthee ballot? Leave of absinthe? Absinthe without leave? Thuffering thucotash!!!

No, I’m not Sylvester the “puddy tat”.  I’m talking about Absinthe, the anise-flavored (licorice-esque) spirit derived from herbs, including the flowers and leaves of the herb Artemisia absinthium, commonly referred to as “grande wormwood” of course!

Great news! This multitasking plant wonder is not just used for flavoring in various spirits and wines, including bitters, vermouth and pelinkovac. If you happen to get a cut, it is also used medically as an antiseptic.  And as an additional plus, after you have disinfected, and while you are getting a bit  schnockered, you can sprinkle some on your lawn to act as a natural pesticide and weed killer! Read the rest of this entry »

bld {Breakfast}

It was an early Sunday morning when my body decided that sleep should merely be optional.  I casually made more of a ruckus than I usually do in getting dressed.  You know, things like slamming doors,  sitting down violently on the bed to put on socks, or letting the cat in the bedroom to meow loudly until he is fed because we all know there is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast!  And what a coincidence, my Fiance woke right up! The early morning hours of the weekend, by the way,  are the best time to take a drive around Los Angeles, precisely because you can do exactly that, drive. Read the rest of this entry »

Smoke House SignWhen you walk through those double doors, you disappear through a time warp.  The bright California sun outside, a distant memory.  The heavy wood beams, brick, and red vinyl carry you back.  Back to the days when music was not electronic, but rather a cool croon from a talented vocalist with brass and strings as backup in dim comforting circles of light.  Where a Hollywood starlet and her beau  would dine on steak and potatoes rather than iceberg lettuce and saltines or the new fad raw diet.   Where is this place? The answer, is Burbank, and with a heavy heart I acknowledge the Smoke House Restaurant as one of the disappearing classic American eateries. Read the rest of this entry »

Gorilla Chef{Guerrilla Not Gorilla}

I constantly find “reasons” aka excuses to enjoy good food out on the town.  It’s sunny out. . . time to celebrate with a gourmet meal!!  It’s Tuesday. . . time for haute cuisine!! So, what is the logical thing to do when your friend adopts a kitten?  Celebrate at Ludo Bites of course!

We tend to get many of our dining ideas from the various food programs we watch on T.V.  So, it’s no surprise that this outing was inspired by the episode “Offal Tasty” of the program Top Chef: Masters.  One of the chefs on the program, Ludo Lefebvre, happened to have an LA hot spot that we just couldn’t pass up! Our reservation was set for 8:00 PM on Friday, July 10, 2009 and we were raring to go!
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{Once Upon A Mythological Time. . .}

Cyprus-Aphrodite RockOn the picturesque coastline of Paphos, Cyprus; where the aquamarine waters caress the alabaster sand, our story begins. There lived a great king, ‘Uranus’ (Ouranos (Οὐρανός), the Greek word for sky).

And as individuals in a position of power often do, he made a tiny, little, teensy weensy mistake that may or may not have been influenced by his extreme greed.  He hid his youngest children away from their mother, Gaia.  This was no small feat especially because one child was the hundred-armed Hecatonchires and the other was the one-eyed Cyclopes. . .and they were gigantic.

So, needless to say, Gaia got pretty pissed off when she found out who was to blame for her missing kiddies (and when I say pissed off, we are talking Lorena Bobbit pissed off).  She created a great adamant sickle (or, in plain English, a really sharp and really strong knife) and gathered together several of her other young sons to seek revenge in the form of castration. Cronus, one of these sons, happened to be extremely jealous of his father, and he was quite willing to, shall we say, ‘swing the axe’. So, Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in a hiding spot to ambush his unlucky father. Read the rest of this entry »

paris-cafe-1925{Snapshot}

You are cozily situated  in a Paris café in Montmartre or perhaps Montparnasse with a warm cup of the most delicious, rich, robust coffee you have ever had.  It’s nestled in a chalice between your palms.  The steam rises up into the cool air with a heavenly aroma that would surely rouse the most sound sleeper out of bed.  On your little table, a flaky, warm butter croissant perches on a glossy white plate just slightly to the west of the Venus Di Milo of coffees. The city buzzes all around you but instead of a car horn you hear a muted trumpet.  Instead of a police siren, a café piano. And that motorbike, a french crooner… Read the rest of this entry »

‘How do we eat our soup? We skim our spoon delicately across its surface, as if we were sending a ship out to sea, then bring it to our lips and silently sip.’ Marjabelle Young Stewart, Commonsense Etiquette, 1999

Pretty Soup

Not so fast Marjabelle Young Stewart! When we talk about table etiquette we are talking about rules that do not picnic blanket the entire human population. Rather, they govern a particular society or portion of a society according to the norms and conventions established therein.  So, to put it simply, while I may think it improper to slurpity slurp my soup, the Japanese man sitting next to me may feel quite the opposite. He may be wondering what about the soup was so off putting that it evoked such sipping silence, as slurping in Japan typically indicates approval and appreciation for what is being eaten. Read the rest of this entry »

facadeFriday, May 29, 2009 was the first date night that my Fiancé and I had in quite some time.  So the plan was to make it good . . . really good.  (Unfortunately in LA, really good can often come at a price, but we nodded our heads in agreement when we decided upon the perfect place, and easily happened to “overlook” the prices on the tasting menu.)
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Welcome to The Cupboard Mouse!

I began my education in linguistics, and through my many travels I came to realize that  in order to even begin to understand a new language, an individual must look beyond the grammar and vocabulary of that language, and become socialized into its culture. The culinary intricacies of a particular ethnic group, society, or even small enclave of individuals breathe life into a particular culture.

The Cupboard Mouse Gets Philosophical
The Cupboard Mouse Los Angeles restaurants
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