I’m a city girl, for a plethora of reasons. But I daydream about what life would be like in a smaller city: San Francisco, Portland (Oregon), Seattle, Portland (Maine), Boulder. I may spend a bit of extra time pondering Boulder because it is home to one of my favorite, insanely inspiring food bloggers, Toni of Boulder Locavore, who blogs about by trying to eat as much she can of what grows within 100 miles of Boulder. Her recipes are rich and fulfilling. And her cocktail creations… wow.
Toni emailed me as to if I would participate in this “blogger unplugged” chain. For her, anything. I am interested in Toni, and I’m interested in the 5 bloggers I’ve listed below. So I’m psyched to pass this on, and welcome them to continue the thread if they choose!
The other night on my way home, I tweeted that I wished I had someone to drink a Manhattan and play chess with me. Toni immediately responded with loveliness and cyber-friendship. So I’m adding a few questions to this little Q&A centered around what I would do to welcome her to my NYC food world:
If Toni were to come visit me in NYC, what cocktail would I shake for her? A Manhattan in Manhattan! The one above wasn’t constructed as the one I’d shake for her. It would be as local to NYC as possible with my beloved Hudson Baby Bourbon and some insane artisanal Brooklyn-made Bittermans Bitters to rock the house.
What would I serve her? Well, I’d take her down to Union Square Market during the early hours. We’d pick up some grass-fed lamb, goat cheese, arms full of vegetables, bouquets of dried flowers and sweet fruits to bake into dessert. We’d come back to my kitchen and just play! And as Manhattans are reserved in my apartment for cocktail hour only (cough), I’d serve up some wine I’ve got stocked up from the Hamptons.
Where would I take her? To the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. It’s my favorite museum in the city, and their fascinating tours track waves of immigration in NYC through the families that lived over the decades in a building on Orchard Street. Then maybe a walking tour of the area. We’d stop by a bar nearby for some local beer (or at least look at them while we ordered a gluten free one). I’d probably take her into Carroll Gardens for a stroll into By Brooklyn, where everything in the shop is made in that singular borough. Depending on how long she was out here. we’d drive to my friends in the Hamptons and sit outside on the vineyards.
In short, I’d want to show her what I most love about my city.
Here are the five bloggers I tag.
- Kym at Free Spirit Eater. We met writing for Bromography, and so have worked together several times in “real” life. She and her fiance are on a healthy new kick in preparation for their wedding, and I’m so psyched by the journey they’re on: while frustrating I’m sure, I bet these two trained chefs have a load of delicious discoveries to share with us!
- Kelly at Eat Yourself Skinny: I don’t know Kelly well. But on her “About” page she has pictures of a winery, tomatoes and a dog that Mitra would probably fall in love with. Her posts are energetic and full of positive energy. And, heck, who doesn’t want to eat herself skinny?
- Stephanie at Clockwork Lemon. I recently discovered her through a Pinterest photo that had blown up the boards. Colored fondants she made from marshmallows. Check her out.
- Nick from Frugal Feeding. I should take more advice from Nick as I’ve practically fallen into bankruptcy from the amount I spend on groceries. His food always look amazing, he’s incredibly creative, and I don’t know enough about him.
- Carrie from Wheat Free Mom. In making food for her family she has to deal with allergies, diabetes and low blood sugar complications. I can totally sympathize. I love how Carrie blogs about such a wide scope of the food world. Very inspiring.
And now… to yours truly…
What or who inspired you to start your blog? When I got over my last bout of Lyme disease I was exploring alternative therapies, experimenting with healing foods and developing gluten, dairy and sugar-alternative recipes. Friends were asking for advice constantly. And so I started an extremely casual, unstructured blog called “I Am A Whole Human Being”. It helped me celebrate all I could ingest despite my “restrictions”. A bit of experimenting, observing my passions and trying to combine my theatrical experience with food, a took a little “rebranding” and voila! The Dusty Baker was born!
Who is your foodie inspiration? Every chef, passionate blogger, food writer, farmer, shop-keeper, barista, barkeep and eater I meet.
Your greasiest most batter splattered cook book is? In the gluten-free field, Rebecca Reilly’s Gluten Free Baking. I took a short pastry course with her in NYC a few years ago. It’s a classic, creative, comforting book I highly recommend to use as a base for experimentation.
The best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it and what was it? Definitely caracas (barnacles) in Ribera Quente on the island of Sao Miguel in the cluster of Azorean islands off of Portugal. Have fun getting there. It’s the island my father grew up on, and my favorite foods are still there. These incredibly sweet bits of shellfish are steamed and you pull them out with a tiny fork from big chunks of rock. Can’t describe them better, sadly! But they’re like what seafood would taste like in hypothetical heaven. Portuguese food is incredible. In Furnas, the town next to my father’s, there are hot springs constantly boiling (the islands are volcanic) and the ground is hot, so they boil corn from nearby fields in the boiling water and sell it on the street, and there’s a park that you can have pots of food buried in the earth. It cooks away while you picnic with your large brood. Ach, I could go on about food on Sao Miguel for a long time…!
Another Food Blogger’s table you would like to eat at? Can’t pick one. I think if I could pick a table of people to eat with together it’d be cocktails and veggies and yummy local meats with Toni (Boulder Locavore), Mari (The Unexpected Harvest), Lindsay (Rosemarried), Christianna (Burwell General Store), Chef Dennis and Bruce (Cakewalker), with one of his insane cake creations. They’re all bloggers who I’ve met within the past year and think incredibly highly of, yet I’ve never met a single one of them in the flesh. But I have a feeling we’d share a particularly splendid meal, either one that we all made together (oh MY that would be fun!) or one over many hours in a dimly lit, family-run joint.
What one kitchen gadget would you like Santa to bring you? (if money were no object)? I honestly have all the gadgets I feel like I need. If I could pick a cooking environment I don’t already have, though, the ability to smoke meats outdoors or an outdoor brick oven to bake bread like my Avo.
Who taught you how to cook? My parents are both incredible cooks. Actually, everyone in my family makes pretty insane meals, down to many of my cousins. We’re a food family. Food, good cheap wine, coffee, laughter and love. I’m a lucky gal. I had a decent basis to work from when I had to start cooking allergy-friendly for myself.
I’m coming to you for dinner, what is your signature dish? Hmm, no signature. But for special occasion for friends I make a spicy stuffed lobster. And of course something sweet.
What is your guilty food pleasure? I’m on board with Toni that I don’t like to equate food and guilt (or food and reward, for that matter). But I guess I can admit that I feel both extremely shamed and indulgent when I get a decaf soy cappuccino in a throwaway cup. I usually carry a reusable stainless steel cup with me and hate waste, but there’s something that feels so luxurious about those stupid red holiday cups from Starbucks. Same thrill I get from taking taxis home all the way up the island after a long night of drinking and eating yummy things.
Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn? I had to resort to my roommate about this. She was surprised that I love horror movies. Love ’em. Having American Horror Story as a TV show made me actually independently start following a TV show (I usually just tag along what the roommate is watching).
Oh, and speaking of fear, I’m very afraid of dying underwater. My mom wants her brood to join her on an Alaskan cruise for her next big birthday. It took her a second to understand why freezing waters and a large boat might make me nervous. She promised she’d never let go. Ha! I’ll go with them, no doubt, but it may take me a few little white indulgent tablets and a few cocktails to get me through. But WHALES! Those I can’t wait to see.
So, that’s me! And speaking of cocktails, now here’s a classic, untainted, locally made Manhattan, for Toni.
The Manhattan Local
- 2 oz Hudson Baby Bourbon
- 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
- a few dashes of Bitterman’s Bitters
- Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with at least a cup of ice and shake it like a polaroid picture. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a cherry or (my preference) a twist of orange.