What to buy in a Scottish grocery store

What to buy in a Scottish grocery store

It's really no surprise that we bring foodstuffs home from all our travels. It's not just that we love reliving taste memories. There's a practical side to grocery shopping on the road. We live in a small space and we don't have to commit to long-term storage (or dusting) of nifty food items that we buy as souvenirs. Even the lovely city of Glasgow (above) couldn't tempt us with durable souvenirs. Consumables also make great gifts. Much as we enjoy prowling specialty food shops, even a chain supermarket can yield a shopping basket full of goodies for yourself and your friends. That's just what we did at a branch of Britain's largest retailer, Tesco, on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. Here are a few of the...Read More
Willow Tea Rooms perpetuate a grand tradition

Willow Tea Rooms perpetuate a grand tradition

We look forward to the ritual of afternoon tea wherever we land in the British Isles. Stopping in a homey tea room for an afternoon “cuppa” is such a genteel tradition that it's hard to imagine that it was once at the forefront of a social revolution. But in the mid-nineteenth century, tea rooms were one of the few places where women could gather and socialize. Miss Kate Cranston was one of the pioneers of the movement when she opened her first tea room in Glasgow in 1878. She went on to operate four tea rooms in the city before she retired in 1928. Miss Cranston proved to be a visionary as well as a shrewd businesswoman. To provide her patrons with an uplifting experience,...Read More
When life gives you lemons, make limoncello cakes

When life gives you lemons, make limoncello cakes

Executive chef Kathryn Kelly (above) tells her culinary class aboard the Marina that lemon is as important to a chef as a knife. Instead of adding salt to food to enhance the flavor, “use acid." Kelly is such a believer in gastronomic acids that she builds an entire cooking class around the signature tart fruit of the Mediterranean: the lemon. She calls the class “Amore—Love of Lemons,” and it's a zinger. In two hours, up to twenty-two students learn to make egg-lemon soup, limoncello, preserved lemons, fennel salad with preserved lemon, lemon risotto, chicken scallopine al limone, drunken limoncello cakes, and lemon-basil gelato. When Oceania Cruises ( decided to make food the centerpiece of their voyages, the founders knew they needed more than good fine-dining...Read More

Scrigno del Duomo serves food fit for a treasury

From the outside, it would be easy to think that the restaurant called Scrigno del Duomo is at least as venerable as Le Due Spade (previous post). The building dates from the 14th century and has some faded frescoes to prove it. It was built as the treasury for the cathedral across the plaza. The restaurant, however, is much more recent. It opened in 1999 and quickly became one of Trento's favorite establishments. The strategic location on the main plaza helps, no doubt, but the kitchen stands on its own merits. Many diners at Scrigno del Duomo opt to eat at the wine bar. The bar menu focuses on the local sausages and cheeses, as well as some small pasta dishes. The local wine list...Read More

Montserrat rum cake is a deep, dark mystery

I felt pretty certain that most of the folks on Montserrat would have given me the shirt off their backs if I had needed it. But even during the high-spirited days of the week-long St. Patrick's Day festivities, that generosity only extended so far. No baker, it seems, is willing to part with her recipe for rum cake, the Montserrat version of the dark West Indian cake that is so different from the paler, less robust spirit-soaked fruitcakes that Europeans and Americans make. I had my first taste of the dense, almost fudge-like treat in my hometown of Cambridge, Mass., supplied by Bernadine Greenaway, one of the many Montserratians who live at least part of the year in Boston. Bernadine makes cakes for family and...Read More

Say cheesecake in Kaimuki

With its bright red and yellow exterior, Otto Cake (1127 12th Ave., Honolulu; 808-834-6886; is one of the most colorful storefronts in Kaimuki—and proprietor Otto is easily one of the neighborhood's more colorful characters. Otto, who uses only one name (“like Sting,” he says), plays bass in the band 86 List and is a cheesecake maker extraordinaire. He opened his shop in Kaimuki in 2013 and tempts customers with nine different flavors per day from a total of 270 that he has developed. On any given day he might draw from the flavors of the island for haupia (coconut milk) or lilikoi (passionfruit) cheesecakes or for a combination such as macadamia-pineapple-coconut. Less subtle choices might include chocolate peanut butter, orange chocolate chip or Chinese...Read More

Exploring KY cooking with top Lex chef Phil Dunn

When England's horse-loving Queen Elizabeth first visited Lexington, her personal chef was Phil Dunn. We don't know what dishes he served to the Queen, but we do know that Dunn favors gourmet meals and enjoys exploring international flavors. He's particularly fond of making European pastries—and anything with pasta. A gorgeous display kitchen at Architectural Kitchens & Baths (345 Lafayette Ave., is the perfect setting for Dunn's popular half-day cooking classes. We attended a recent session and learned that Dunn is equally comfortable with down-home Kentucky cooking. He makes familiar dishes his own through refined technique and a penchant for turning larger plates into finger food—perfect for parties in this most social of cities. Dunn makes a spicy version of Kentucky Beer Cheese (a cracker...Read More

King Cake for Easter

If Mardi Gras has a signature food, it has to be the king cake, which is actually more like a big, braided cinnamon roll than a cake. It's topped with white icing and dusted with colored sugar, usually in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. The cake was originally served at Epiphany, but was so tasty that cooks kept making it through Mardi Gras. I found a knockout version this year at Sweet Olive Bakery (251-990-8883;, a European-style artisanal bakery in Fairhope, Alabama. It's located in the Windmill Market (85 N. Bancroft St.), an old car dealership and service garage that has found new life as a foodie destination (other occupants include a great barbecue joint and a locavore market)....Read More

PEI potatoes make rich cake for dessert

My gastronomic adventures on Prince Edward Island were not limited to shellfish. PEI is famous for its potatoes — the tiny island grows more than a quarter of the entire Canadian crop. Chef Ilona Daniel of the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown consults for the potato board, which was handing out all kinds of recipes at the PEI Internaional Shellfish Festival. Most of them were predictable — potato gnocchi, potato pancakes, potato pizza, etc. But Daniel came up with this delicious cake that uses mashed potatoes and Greek yogurt to create a dense, moist texture that keeps for days. She was giving away samples, and once I tasted it, I knew I had to get the recipe. I cut the recipe to one-quarter of...Read More