Earliest food-related memory from childhood: Growing up with a Greek mother, food is in almost every memory that I can recall. Our house revolved around the kitchen and it was always bursting with homemade goodies of some sort. I think some of the most poignant memories I have were with my siblings in our huge backyard garden picking tomatoes, green beans, carrots and strawberries and climbing our cherry and apple trees. My mom would work magic on the fruit and veggies we harvested and would whip up some of the most amazing meals and desserts. To this day, I have never tasted a pie or fruit crumble that has held up to my mom’s.
Favorite food: Without hesitation the one food I could absolutely not live without is not technically a food but rather a liquid. Coffee in all forms is my kryptonite – espresso, brewed, with milk or without, served hot, cold, or room temp. I love the diversity of flavors in coffee and how the acidity and earthiness can add a surprising element to dishes when used as an ingredient (try adding coffee into a chili or barbecue sauce and your mind will be blown). I also have a lot of memories wrapped up in coffee – early morning political theory classes in college, mid-afternoon people watching from a café in London, or a quiet moment before a big day at the office. I remember the best espresso I ever had was a caffe viennese where the milk was steamed with cinnamon and honey. It was such an amazing cup of coffee that I remember distinctly what I was wearing, the weather outside and the music that was playing in the café. I also have a deep appreciation for the true art that goes into growing, harvesting, roasting and brewing coffee, which is why I think it’s so special.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Please see my short novel I lovingly call “An Ode to Coffee,” above.
Favorite local restaurant: One of the most amazing things about living in California is the incredible access to the freshest ingredients around and the resulting community of innovative chefs. Since I grew up in New Mexico, the concept of just-off-the-farm produce is still a novelty for me, so I try to make a point to go to any place that focuses on seasonal and local ingredients. One of my favorite places here in Sacramento has to be Tulí Bistro on S and 21st where I had the most amazing Bolognese with handmade pasta and my first introduction to panzanella with backyard-grown tomatoes. Match that up with a fantastic wine list and an intimate atmosphere, and Tulí is a place that never disappoints.