segunda-feira, 24 de março de 2014

Hearty Cream of Chicken Soup

Today I helped prepare a magnificent soup. I didn't cook it, but I was there during its preparation. It was called Hearty Cream of Chicken Soup, a long royal name since this is a queen soup.
 To make it you need cream, chicken broth, carrots, potatoes, and of course, my favorite - leek. I haven't had soup in almost a year, and this one was amazing. So much so, that I had to go with my friend pick up ingredients at three supermarkets, Ralph's, Trader Joe's, and my favorite LA supermarket Gelsen's over in Century City. Gelsen's is a bit overpriced (a kind of supermarket for the rich) but its meat, pastry, and bread selection is the best you can find in a Los Angeles supermarket.
Looking for ingredients and slow cooking the chicken was what my Sunday afternoon was pretty much all about. Then we also cooked the bread in the oven and opened a bottle of Tuella. I don't want to be nationalistic, but the Douro valley Tuella, they are selling at Trader Joe's for twelve bucks, is the best red you can find in LA right now in the quality/performance ratio. It's a solid buy that gives you the taste of Portuguese grapes and not the dictatorship of the Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet that passes by variety around here. The meal was amazing, and if everyone could eat this chicken soup I am sure there would be World Peace. Amen.

Tuella is your best wine guess in LA if you are not rich.

Chicken breasts next to the recipe book before they get added to the soup.

Hearty Cream of Chicken Soup Recipe open to make magic. A royal name for a royal soup.

The finished the product, glorious.

Good soup, good wine and good bread. May the games begin.

quarta-feira, 19 de março de 2014


The other day I was going home, and when I was changing lanes on La Brea a guy hit my car in the rear left bumper destroying it. I got nervous. I didn't know exactly what to do, but I tried to keep it civilized. We always tend to see the car as an extension of ourselves and seeing the tire of a jeep Silverado destroy my Honda's bumper was like being hit in the face. I told the guy to pull over and I asked politely for his name and insurance. He was a tall black guy, between 18 and 20 probably younger, and acceded to my requests. He said his name was Timothy Thompson, and I photographed his insurance with my phone and also gave him my name and phone number.
As I drove away the guy texted me saying he could fix the damage on his body shop, and I told him it would be better to leave it with the insurance companies. I reached out to "Timothy's" insurance company, and I was told his policy was not active, meaning the guy had no insurance. I called him, but he didn't answer. So I went to the police to warn them there is someone driving a black Silverado with no insurance. The police answered that driving with no insurance is not a crime.  Surprised, dear reader? I will repeat it. In the United States unlike Europe there are no friendly declarations, meaning if a driver has no valid insurance that is not a crime. However driving without a license is a crime. Well, it must also be said I didn't ask for his driver's license which was particularly careless of me.  But after Timothy's stunt, all I could charge him with was giving me false information, and that might take weeks to get solved.
In the meanwhile, Carmen, my former landlady stepped up to the plate and introduced me to Luis, an amazing mechanic who fixed my damaged car in one day. I paid Luis for the damage caused by Timothy Thompson and so much for compensation.
In the United States kind people, amazing kind people like Carmen (and all of us), have to step up to solve the short comings of an ever smaller state and a system that gives out 300 dollar tickets for jay walking but considers an uninsured driver something normal. This seems to be a country for the Timothy Thompson's of the world and not for the Carmen's. Sic transit gloria mundi.
The damage, that a guy who called himself "Timothy Thompson" made to my car and that I had to pay. Learned my lesson.