Profile

Leah Greenstein

I'm a L.A.-based food & wine writer with 12+ years experience managing & working in some of the nation's top restaurants. I have written for the SF Chronicle, Tahoe World, Tahoe Quarterly and am currently the author of SpicySaltySweet.com.

  • Website
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Favorite foods: I love balance! Whether in wine or food, I enjoy dishes and drinks where all of the ingredients work in harmony, like roasted fruits with aceto, black pepper and mascarpone: spicy, salty and sweet!
  • Last bite on earth: It changes often, but it might just have to be the egg and guanciale pizza at Mozza in Los Angeles or ramps with prosciutto butter like I had at 'Inoteca a few years back.

Hot Drinks, NY: The Happy Jack at Jack's Stir Brew

I spent every morning warming the windowsill or chilling on the park bench in front of Jack's when I lived in NYC. What I missed the most was their Sweet Mary, a blend of chamomile tea, honey, cinnamon and steamed milk, it was the perfect way to take the edge off a cold day and no one can seem to duplicate it.

Market Scene: Pick a Peck of Peppers in Hollywood

Thanks Paul. Will do.

Market Scene: Mar Vista Farmers' Market, Los Angeles

Thanks for the good wishes and welcomes! Stay tuned for more from the West Side!

Market Scene: Boysenberries, Figs, and Pluots the Cure to L.A.'s June Gloom

Burkharts berries are among the best... I used them for this Blackberry-Ginger sorbet recipe last year. The Seascapes are good too, though I found them a bit watery this year.

Market Scene: Spring's Grand Entrance in Hollywood

Simon- Awesome, what are you going to do with them?

Dimsumikeithot- Oh, man. I missed yesterday's market - was up in SLO. Hope they're still around next week. Who had them?

Pizzeria Mozza Just About as Good As You've Heard

As a former Mozza manager, I can assure that the current manager was not lying about how long it can take for pizzas at the resto. They can only cook 7-8 pizzas at a time because of the size of the pizza oven and, during dinner, have more than 20 tickets on the line with multiple pizzas on each.

Cook the Book: 'Simple Italian Snacks'

I love white bean bruschetta with rosemary olive oil, arugula and a little bit of saba. They were a big hit on the appetizer table this Thanksgiving!

Market Scene: Thanksgiving at SoCal Farmers' Markets

I'm not sure where you live joan, but they're not nearly so expensive at L.A.'s farmers' markets; I think less than a dollar per pound. Perhaps they're not grown locally?

Market Scene: Thanksgiving at SoCal Farmers' Markets

Thanks for catching my typo. Will fix that. - Leah

The Hungry Cat, a Seafood Restaurant Serving a Great Burger in Hollywood

Zindh, I'm not sure if they've made a correction since you posted your comment, but it looks to me like Damon got it right.

Great review, Damon! You're writing made me very hungry for the Cat. I might need to skip tonight's sunchoke puree experiment and indulge.

What should I smoke?

Vintage Candy Monday: The Charleston Chew

I may not eat much candy these days, but this is still my favorite! I love 'em frozen like I used to get them at camp when I was a kid.

Menu: A Multi-Cultural Rosh Hashana

Islandchild: I read that eating fish heads is a common sephardic practice, because they represent the head of the year. Unfortunately I didn't come across any recipes to cook them.

Fresh & Easy? Not So Simple

The folks at F & E say that the produce is packaged in plastic, like Trader Joe's, for easier traceability and freshness (those packages are date stamped).

-Leah

Fresh & Easy? Not So Simple

Mangabanga-

Apparently other F&E's sell beer and wine--they even have private label wines--but the Hollywood and Highland location has had trouble securing the appropriate licensing. If you like the store, keep your eyes peeled.

Leah

What should I smoke?

Pork loin! Here's an easy recipe for sage-crusted smoked pork loin adapted from the glossies. There's an easy, homemade mostarda to go with it. Yum. I'm hungry again just thinking about it. Good luck!

Finally, figs!

As an appetizer, fig bruschetta with homemade yogurt cheese or ricotta is delicious. Just toss the figs in a squeeze of lemon juice, spread the cheese on grilled bread and drizzle with honey! And since I can't get enough figs in the all-too-short season, I live to make this spiced fig jam .

Buon appetito!

In Videos: Little Gordon Terrorizes Like Gordon Ramsay, But Is Way Cuter

Come on people! Have you ever seen or read about any of Gordon Ramsey's antics? It's satire for goodness sake. And it's funny. No it's not appropriate to talk to people the way G Ram does, but that's the whole point.

What are your coffee shop expectations?

Take a cue from my favorite coffee shop in the country, Jack's Stir Brew in New York's West Village: Great coffee and a sense of community are what makes for a great place. Don't have too many choices, keep things fresh and treat your customers like family!

Market Scene: Tomatoes, Melons, and Figs in Los Angeles

Haha! As someone who despised fresh tomatoes until five years ago I can understand both sides. What finally converted me was eating an in-season grape tomato that had very little of the tomato "gel" in it and it wasn't mealy. The tomato was just a burst of tangy sweetness that I could not get enough of. Now I love tomatoes. In the end though, for all those people who don't like tomatoes, it just means more for those of us who do!

Served: On (Not) Knowing What We Want

As a former manager of a restaurant that only served Italian wine I found great joy in helping my guests find something they really liked that they'd never heard of. Of course, it always helped when they were willing participants in their experience, working to tell me what it was that they did or did not enjoy about what I poured them. On the other hand, I found it frustrating when someone asked for, say, a pinot noir, and when confronted with the fact that we didn't pour pinot by the glass, scoffed at me when I asked whether they enjoyed California pinot, Oregon pinot or Burgundy, to try and find them something in a comparable style. Let servers do their jobs, which is guiding customers through menus and wine lists that they are trained to know.

homemade pasta: worth the time, trouble and storage space?

I use the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer about once a week--it was well worth the investment and makes making fresh pasta so fast that it's almost mindless. I use a simple recipe from the Italian bible, aka the Silver Spoon. 1 1/2 cups flour (I use Italian 00, but AP works too), a pinch of salt and two lightly beaten eggs. I don't have much counter space so I've ditched the well method and have moved on to the paddle attachment on my mixer just until the dough comes together, then I knead it with the dough hook for 10 minutes. Then I let it rest for 15 minutes and start rolling. If you don't have a mixer, you can make pasta by hand, with a cutting board and a rolling pin. Just as easy, just a little more time-consuming. And the best part? For $10 I can make fresh ricotta and enough ravioli to feed 6 people. You can't buy anything as good for that price.

How do you tip?

Wow! I wish all you Serious Eaters had been my guests back when I was waiting tables. Like many, I think I tip better having worked in the industry--always giving at least 20%. Sometimes I tip better for bad service, too. We've all had bad days that throw us for a loop and you can usually tell. A good tip, while risking rewarding bad behavior, can turn soemone's day around entirely.

I always tip post-tax and after wine or cocktails, because I know that my server will have to tip out a substantial percent to a bartender or sommelier regardless of whether or not I've tipped on those items. I also try to leave cash rather than putting the tip on a credit card; it means better money for the server.

Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads

What a great picutre, Jen! The colors really pop. Did you blog about this?

what kind of knives do you have and how do you sharpen them ?

I love my Wuestoff Classic chef's knife (10-inch) and offset serrated. They've got great heft and balance and cut clean. I keep them sharp with a steel, but would really love to learn how to use a stone.

Heirloom Tomato Tart

omato season has officially begun and I’m a woman obsessed. All of the delicious, funky-looking heirloom varieties scattered across the tables at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market last Sunday tempted me like Tribbles...

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