Tag Archives: cooking

Day 261: Chris

The VP of my department is always so thoughtful when she travels – she always brings back some wonderful little gift from wherever she was visiting. Her latest trip was to the Dolomites along the Italian Swiss border I’m guessing as I showed up to work one day and found a container of Hexensalz, salt blended with herbs and a tiny bit of chili to give it an enjoyable kick!

I rarely do this myself, not because I don’t think about others when I’m traveling but because I never know what to bring people. Somehow Chris knows what to get people. I love to cook to this was perfect.

She was out of the office today, but I left her a little thank you note on her desk.




You know me well. I love the Hexensalz you brought back from the Dolomites. I’ve already used it twice – I sprinkled some on buttered bread for a spicy aromatic snack and last night used it to season some pan seared salmon – delicious! 

You are so thoughtful,


Day 110: Matt and Erin

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can think of few ways to spend free time better than with good friends. Last Saturday evening I visited with Matt and Erin, great friends and terrific hosts who enjoy tasty food and boozy concoctions as much as I do, so an evening with them centers around their dining room table which is boiling over with homemade salty and savory treats with the likes of homemade butter and delicate Italian truffles. Their charming Woodley Park apartment feels more like 1950s France than modern-day Washington, DC.

Erin pushes food while Matt, who usually doesn’t last more than a few hours before the need for sleep wins him over, stays awake by making cocktails and assuring that everyone is good on drinks.

saffronThey had just returned from a trip to Greece and brought me a thoughtful little gift of red saffron – which I’ve never had. Saffron is a curious spice. I’ll never forget the first time I went shopping for it. I couldn’t find it and asked a store employee for help only to be told, “Oh, saffron, we keep that in the safe of course. It’s worth like a $2,000 a pound.”

I appreciate their thoughtfulness and look forward to having them over and making them something delicious with it.

Day 110

Matt and Erin,

Thank you so much for having me over on Saturday. As always, it was a lot of fun. And thank you for the Greek red saffron – that was completely unnecessary but very thoughtful and much appreciated. I’ll have to have you over and make something with it. I’m thinking this would add a delicious touch to fusilli pasta with zucchini and pine nuts.

Day 110-3See you soon


P.S. Matt, all my respect to you for staying up as late as you did – that may be a new personal best!


Day 55: Chef Marc Vetri

Chef Marc with father Sal making meatballs

Chef Marc with father Sal making meatballs

Marc Vetri, famed chef from the City of Brotherly Love, has the best recipe for meatballs on the planet. And he has shared it – it’s the equivalent of putting Prozac in the water. They will make you very happy.

The recipe was coupled with this quote from Vetri, “My father instilled three things in me: (1) Always work for yourself—no matter what, be the boss; (2) Always have integrity—you are only as good as your word; (3) Always use veal, pork, and beef in meatballs. Life really is that simple!” Good advice.



Dear Marc,

Congratulations on your recent article in the Huffington Post regarding the state of restaurant reviews in this country. You are spot on! I remember talking with local (DC) restaurateur Andy Shallal once and him saying how when his first restaurant was reviewed he woke up at like 4am to drive over to the Washington Post to get a paper and read the review. It was glowing and his restaurant was booked for months after that.

My hope is that you and other chefs continue to pour your energy, precision and knowledge into creating delicious meals for your customers, because the rest is probably out of your control.

Here's a shot of my recent batch of Sal's Old School Meatballs

Here’s a shot of my recent batch of Sal’s Old School Meatballs

A few years back I stumbled upon your recipe for Sal’s Old School Meatballs. They are the best meatballs I have ever had. Thank you, thank you, thank you – and thank your dad!

If you choose to write back – I’d love to receive another recipe that you love. I promise to try to do it justice.

All the best to you and your family – I hope to some day have the pleasure of dining in one of your restaurants.

All the best,
Reed Sandridge