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Posted by on May 8, 2013 | 2 comments

Farm to Table: Spring Salad Greens

Farm to Table: Spring Salad Greens

May is the month of salad days. The G.W. community garden in Del Ray where I’m a member is awash in salad greens right now, so I’ve been enjoying green salads every chance I get. This spring salad has a classic vinaigrette dressing my neighbor Elin made with an extra dash of something sublime, truffle salt. Some of the greens growing in abundance in the garden are from a packet of mixed greens with seeds for frisee, arugula, mustard greens, and swiss chard. I washed this day’s harvest carefully in a colander. And another friend, Jen, added some of her homegrown sunflower sprouts. We also tossed in some herbs from my patio that had overwintered — thyme and oregano. And here’s how Elin prepares the perfectly paired salad dressing. She chops some garlic… And uses specialty olive oil and balsamic vinegar, in the magic ratio of 3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar. She stirs in about a teaspoon of brown mustard. This is when having a homemade mustard on...

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Posted by on May 7, 2013 | 2 comments

The Art of the Coffee Cupping at Swing’s

The Art of the Coffee Cupping at Swing’s

I went home after my coffee cupping at the new Swing’s coffee roastery and soon-to-open cafe in Del Ray with coffee grounds stuck to my nose, completely unaware. Even though nobody told me at the cafe (embarrassing!), it was worth it. Mark Warmuth (at right in the photo below), Swing’s president and CEO, and Neil Balkom (at left), their buyer, trainer, and coffee quality control guy, filled me in on the cupping process as well as the nearly century long history of coffee selection and roasting at Swing’s. Cupping, for the uninitiated like me, is the process  of evaluating different coffee beans, comparing and contrasting their characteristics, which can vary according to country and region and farm. Neil does cuppings all the time to discern which beans earn the Swing’s label. At each cupping, which the public can attend in the cupping lab every Friday at 10 a.m., Neil sets out six small bowls of coffee beans. On one side, he selects three coffee beans that represent different varieties from all...

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Posted by on May 3, 2013 | 0 comments

Playing the Celebrity Party Game

Playing the Celebrity Party Game

Maybe you’ve heard about the party game called Celebrity. (It’s for grown-ups. I think I should add that point since we most often write about kids’ parties.) I’ve now played it at gatherings a couple of times and it really is a blast. Next time you’re hanging out with your family or a group of friends, it’s a perfect time to bust out the game. You don’t need any special equipment — just your brains, a timer, some slips of paper and pens, a bowl, a scorekeeper, and a willingness to act silly. I first experienced the game on New Year’s Eve with friends and then we played last weekend with family and neighbors outside after a BBQ picnic. I like that it’s a game you can play anywhere. Here’s how it works: You divide up into two teams. Either way, everyone writes the names of about eight celebrities on slips of paper and puts them in a bowl. The celebrities can be dead or alive, real or fictional. People...

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Posted by on May 2, 2013 | 2 comments

Del Ray Café Rotisserie Rendez-Vous

Del Ray Café Rotisserie Rendez-Vous

On DIY Del Ray, we love to share great deals around the neighborhood. So we’d be remiss if we didn’t share one of the best deals in town, the rotisserie chicken dinner from Del Ray Café. Before Del Ray Café opened a year ago this month, we followed the progress during the renovations, eagerly awaiting the promise of croissants, freshly baked baguettes and delicious French cuisine. And once they opened, we especially grew fond of their to-go rotisserie chicken dinner, the answer to mid-week meal-planning quandaries and a welcome break from our normal dining routines. Last night was Del Ray Café chicken night at my house. I fancied up our outdoor meal by serving it on a platter, garnished with some sprigs of rosemary (c’est magnifique!), borrowed from a neighbor’s garden. The chicken, juicy on its own, comes with gravy, roasted red potatoes and a baguette. I supplemented the carbs with some sautéed Swiss chard we already had. Plenty of food for our family of four. Like the sign outside Del Ray Café says, this...

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Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 | 3 comments

Del Ray’s Signature Speakeasy

Del Ray’s Signature Speakeasy

When Katie and I heard there was a speakeasy right here in Del Ray, we knew we had to investigate. The word “speakeasy” brings to mind images of glamour, intrigue, suspense — something new and exciting for our sleepy little neighborhood. Through a mutual acquaintance, we tracked down Tim and Kari, the couple who run the Midget Inn, “Del Ray’s Signature Speakeasy.” We succeeded in getting ourselves invited as “press” and set off one night with my husband Matt for what would become a very interesting evening. Tim and Kari provided the address and said “look for the neon open sign.” (There really is a neon sign.) Such intrigue! We tiptoed in with a bit of trepidation, but when we got inside, Kari welcomed us with open arms. It felt like a basement, but the coolest basement renovation you’d ever set foot in. Kari escorted us to the bar to see the list of that night’s special cocktail choices. We pulled out our wallets to pay, but they insisted on treating us....

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