By Irene Lacher 07/01/2011
I first discovered that oenophiles had found their match in oil-ophiles for passion and precision when I attended a Spanish olive oil tasting at José Andrés’ much-admired Bazaar restaurant last fall.
An olive oil producer and expert had flown in from Madrid to lead a room of novices through their tasting paces --- inviting us to slowly consider small sips of oils made from various olive
varieties and determine whether they could be described as floral, fruity, green or peppery. Just when I thought my palate was scoring A’s at Wine U., here was yet another language I had to master if I was to be a self-respecting sybarite. Not surprisingly, California has leapt ahead of the rest of the country in olive oil production, just as it led the way in wineries. See why in Steve Coulter’s report on what Homer called “liquid gold.”
Speaking of wine, Michael Cervin examines how Arcadia’s Paul Kalemkiarian keeps his nearly 40-year-old Wine of the Month Club humming along, even in this age of easily accessible wired wine reviews and stores. This month’s food issue also takes on pizza, with Dining columnist Bradley Tuck considering the contest between New York--style thin-crust pizza and its gourmet cousins. Bettijane Levine talks to Pasadena’s Andrew Cherng about his vast Panda Express Chinese fast/casual food empire, No. 1 in its field, and his reported plans to bring coals to Newcastle (or perhaps orange chicken to Shanghai) by expanding into China. And Kitchen Confessions columnist Leslie Bilderback surfs the zeitgeist with a look at the 21st century’s new, improved and more expensive versions of the icy summer treats of her childhood.