Home Cookin’ (Away From Home)


When I’m home in Maryland, I eat about half my dinners at my restaurant (Firestone’s Culinary Tavern), and about half at home, where I’m my own chef. I do this for variety (good as it is I can’t eat restaurant food all the time), and also because I like to cook.

I do about the same thing on vacation. The local restaurants around Carmel, and in the Carmel Valley where I’m staying are good, but it’s fun (and cheaper!) to whip something up at my temporary “home” some of the time.

The biggest problem with that is finding where everything is. Jim Haxton, the owner of the house I’m renting for a month, has a very well equipped kitchen. It’s nicely organized, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to figure out where everything is. It takes me about a week. Of course, when I use things, I’ve got to remember where I got them!

I don’t follow recipes, but just rely on experience or experimentation. I look to see what’s there and try to put it together. For example, the picture above is the result of putting together a meal from two other meals. I had fettuccine one night and a turkey burger another night, and left over ingredients from both. So, I cooked the pasta, sautéed ground turkey, put them together with leftover baby kale for color, threw in a little half and half to make it a little juicy, seasoned with salt and pepper and some fresh thyme I happened to have, sprinkled ground parmigiano-reggiano on it, and there I had it! It was delicious, especially with a little Sauvignon blanc.

Another favorite is seafood, of which there is plenty around here. A local seafood store is piled high with fresh product. They have everything you can imagine. Two of my favorites are Pacific coast specialties: petrale sole, and sand dabs. Both are flatfish, smallish, with the sand dab smaller, and they provide nice meaty fillets, sweet in flavor, that are great when sautéed and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. (I would put a picture here, but I haven’t figured out how to do it!)

I’m not a pro, but I have fun!

Here’s to good food,



Carmel Valley




My history in the Carmel Valley goes back to 1952, when my Stanford fraternity held it’s annual “Spring Fling” overnight party here. I probably didn’t behave myself very well at that party, but maturity was not my strong suit in those days. Now, 65 years later, my behavior has improved.

I’ve always had a fondness for the area, and for the last three years it’s been my January escape from the frigid winter climate in Maryland. Other than enjoying the normally pleasant weather, I can do things I normally don’t get to do much of at home: I can visit with my kids and grandkids; I can play golf; and I can get greatartichokes, great seafood, and great cheese.

Two places in Carmel are my go-to spots. One is Flaherty’s Seafood Grille and Oyster Bar, and the other is the Carmel Cheese Shop.

The former has been open for more than 30 years, and was a favorite place to go with my dad when he lived in Pebble Beach. Packed into a small space with a white marble bar and closely-packed wooden tables and chairs, in the heart of Carmel, the big attraction here is clam chowder. Served with sourdough bread, a little creamy but not too thick, it’s always on the menu and it’s always good.
They’ve got lots of other good stuff, too.


The Cheese Shop is a cheese-lover’s paradise. On walking in, one is confronted on the right side by a wall of cheese wrapped in clear plastic, and right next to it a refrigerator case loaded with various blue cheeses. Somebody  behind the counter will almost immediately offer you a taste of something, and then pull out anything else you want to try. In the back of the shop is a huge wlwction of wine, and on the left wall are crackers and other cheese-related paraphernalia.


Well, I’m struggling to format this post cuz I haven’t done it in a while. I’m going to try and publish this, and hopefully do better next time.

Here’s to good food,





Anybody There?


In this picture I am peering through the hole we made in the brick wall separating the restaurant from what was to become our new Raw Bar.
We had about a year’s worth of work yet to go.

It also symbolizes my search for the tools I need to get this blog working again. How do I acquire new photos and put them where I want them? How do I get the right font? How do I keep a draft I’ve done from disappearing? How do I do all this with a new iPad that I’m not familiar with using?

Does anybody but me care?

I’ll work on it.