Secretary of State Tillerson Would "Likely Approve" Kate Green's Rumored Passport Application; Many in Congress Protest

Breaking with the policy of five previous presidential administrations, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is said to be leaning toward approving a passport application  Kate Elizabeth Green is rumored to be applying for this summer, sources said. 

Tillerson, speaking in Moscow, said that approving the passport and thereby allowing Green to leave the country "might be good for America."  When CNN's Anderson Cooper asked him "how?", Tillerson replied, "We all love Kate Green, but a little break from her might not be such a bad thing."

That singular comment drew the ire of many on both sides of the congressional aisle, including Adam Schiff, (D-Calif) who blasted Tillerson for even considering such a move. "We are at a crucial moment in history in terms of the perception America gives to the rest of the world. Do we really want Kate Green traispsing around western Europe, drunk, flirting with every other man in sight. and talking shit about her own country?  I sure don't."

Green, who was born in Modesto in 1985, first applied for a passport shortly her 3rd birthday during the last full year of Ronald Reagan's second term.  

Reagan was the first president to publicly announce he would not allow Green to leave the country.  Speaking at an impromptu press conference on the White House lawn, Reagan said "Look, I've seen a photo of her throwing Watts gang signs. She's three!. Do we want her in Europe representing America. Well, friends, I don't."

Reagan's successor, George H W Bush, followed suit though rarely spoke about the issue in public.

When she 13 and 15, Bill Clinton rejected Green's passport application both times.  In their tell-all book about Clinton, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote "Bill told us he rejected her application twice, but, and this is a direct quote 'If she ever wants to intern for me, I'll sign on the dotted. line.  Move over, Monica'."

In April, 22, 2003, on her 18th birthday, George W. Bush said that "approving a passport for Kate Green during our liberation of Iraq could send out a mixed signal to the rest of the world that we, America, are all about debauchery . That's not right message at this time."

Barack Obama was rumored to be leaning toward approving Green's 2014 passport application, but in the end vetoed it. Washington insiders have long suspected the president's wife, Michelle, urged him to approve Kate Green's application simply because she didn't want Kate Green in the country. "Michelle didn't trust Barack to be alone with Kate Green..She still hates that photo of Barack with Kate Green and the Mozza staff at the Hancock Park event.

Meanwhile, Tillerson, with the full backing of President Trump, told a group of reporters that there is only one obstacle to Kate Green obtaining a passport.

"President Trump and I agree there is only one impediment to Miss Green getting her passport," Tillerson said. "The only thing keeping her from going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, from walking through the rubble of Fallujah, or from simply having lunch at Osteria Francescana is Kate Green herself."

Kate Green plots a trip abroad

Kate Green plots a trip abroad




Nancy Silverton Unveils "Super Ca-Racker" At Turin Auto Show

The longest line at the Turin Auto Show this year was not to glimpse the track-only  version of LaFerrari, nor was it the Merecdes W196 that Juan Manual Fangio raced to victory in the epic 1957 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.  It was not at a booth showing a bootleg of a 1951 "cinema provocative" starring a 16-year-old Sopia Loren, nor was it at the first time viewing of Julius Caesar's personal six-wheel chariot. 

No,  the longest line at the Turin  Auto Show was at a small food stand near the Jaguar booth where Nancy Silverton was handing out "Super Ca-Rackers" ( see below).

Silverton has not released the ingredients, but several noted food experts believe it was comprised of some kind of cracker, topped with some kind of cheese ( likely a bufala mozzarella from Tenuta Vannulo in Cappaccio Scalo in Campagna ), then  topped with some kind of ham, (likely culatello di Zibello from Massimo Spigaroli at Antica Corte  Pallavincina) then crowned with some British Racing Green sauce Nancy made. 

Although formal records of the statistical ratings of crackers in recorded history no longer exist, those who have had the Nancy Super Ca-Racker all say there likely would be no accurate comparison to it.  

Super Caracker

The Ground Breaks At Mud Town Farms In Watts

Grape Street and baby kale are about as synonymous as Secretary of Defense James "Mad Dog" Mattis and the Peace Corps.

Yet Wednesday afternoon in Watts, baby kale - along with roasted brussels sprouts, grilled eggplant and red and yellow bell peppers  - starred in a buffet lunch at the groundbreaking ceremony of Mud Town Farms, a 2 1/2 acre plot near 103rd and Grape streets designed to be a model for the working urban garden. Mud Town Farms will have a mixed fruit orchard and a wide variety of crops, the first of which could be ready to harvest this summer.

"This is a dream project that was not supposed to happen, but it is happening," said Janine Watkins, a community activists whose family moved to the area in 1921. "This is a gift to the babies of one of the poorest  and most maligned communities in our city."

She said Mud Town Farms will help people of Watts form a special bond with the land that for many, if not most, has been missing.

"When you disconnect with Mother Earth, Mother Earth forgets who you are," she said. "Let's make this suffering ground come to life. Put down your cell phone and pick up a shovel. This dirt right here is Watts happening."

The Los Angeles City Council was represented by Councilman Joe Buscaino of the 15th District which includes Watts. He called Mud Town Farms the "re-imagination of 103rd and Grape Streets," as he thanked,  among others,  gang interventionist and social architect Aqeela Sherrillsand chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson whose restaurant LocaL is a half block away. 

Tim Watkins, the CEO of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, the non-profit that owns the land, looked at the chain link fence separating the farm from the Jordan Downs housing project and announced it would be replaced by "an edible fence", overflowing with fresh vegetables.

"People from the neighborhood will be welcome to come to the fence and pick what they need," Watkins told crowd of 150. "They won't have to sneak in at night.  If they take a little more than they can use, that's okay with me. It's here for them,  And if they want to get a little more involved in the garden, they can come inside the fence."

All the speeches went on. chef Eugene Johnson was at the grill, getting the buffet ready; The eggplants, the chick peas, the balsamic pomegranate vinaigrette, the tahini, the pumpkin seed pesto and, yes, the baby kale.  


A Man And His Flour; Franco Pepe's Respectful Return To Mozza

The  most profound moment during a long Sunday of pizza making at Mozza's Chi Spacca in Los Angeles occurred when Franco Pepe, the quiet, nearly mystical pizzaiola from Italy, started talking about his beloved flour, a special blend he developed.

"The flour is the most important thing," said Pepe, whose pizzeria, Pepe in Grani, located  in the ancient hilltop town of Caiazzo in Campagna, is widely considered to be the finest in all of Italy and is officially rated the second best pizzeria in the known world after Nancy Silverton's Pizzeria Mozza. "The flour is more important than me. If I were here without the flour, it would not be a special meal. If the flour was here without me,  this meal would still be special."

How respectful. How refreshing.  Here was a chef, a breed that traditionally needs their ego feed more than my dog Zeke at a burger bash,  relegating himself secondary to his ingredient.  But, it makes sense. Senna without wheels, Brando without a script, Sinatra without a sheet, Michelangelo low on marble.

Franco Pepe without flour?  It'd just be a bunch of toppings. We're all pro-toppings, but, in the end, they're just toppings.

Before Sunday's feast began, Nancy  brought Franco and his crew a few pastries and a couple chocolate chip cookies from our coffee spot, Go Get Em Tiger.  As the event came to an end nearly 14 hours later, Franco raved of those cookies. 

This morning I picked up five more cookies and took them to Franco at the house he was staying at on Beachwood north of Franklin. He appreciated no little.

"I'll come back for these cookies," he said through Luciano Furia, a photographer and his translator. "And for Nancy."


This is the story that helped establish a friendship between Nancy and Franco.

Last year there was drama as the flour went missing.









Nancy Silverton Reacts to 50-Foot Border Wall; Unveils Plans To Build 51-Foot Ladder With al Pastor Tacos, Paletas, Umbrian Reds

Nancy Silverton, the only person ever to win the James Beard Award for both outstanding chef in America and outstanding pastry chef, unveiled her most ambitious project yet Thursday morning; a 51-foot " Moveable Feast Ladder " that can be placed wherever there are walls designed to keep out people seeking a better life.

Silverton, standing before an artist's rendition of the ladder, said what will distinguish the "Moveable Feast Ladder" will be the quality of the cuisine offered at various steps along the way to the summit and - hopefully - to that better life.

"Most ladders the food is not that good," Silverton told a jam-packed press conference at "The Corner",  aka Highland and Melrose in Hollywood South. "Yeah, you can sometimes get a decent sandwich on a ladder. maybe a beer, but nothing memorable. My ladder is going to be the first ladder with a Michelin star." 

The first Moveable Feast Ladder ( MFL) will likely be located somewhere near either Ciudad Juarez or North Tijuana.   

Reached via E-mail, storied chef Mario Batali said the project will revolutionize ladders and lead to a new word; 'ladhospitality'..

"Nancy Silverton has always led the pack in new hospitality, starting back with the invention of the panino in Los Angeles in the 80’s and the invention of mozzarella on Melrose in the early part of the 21st century," Batali said. "This new 'ladhospitality' is the next step in providing delicious food where the people actually are, and these ladders are where the people will obviously be."

However,  almost immediately, critics of the MFL began denouncing it, with many saying the ladder  was a blatant attempt by Silverton to thwart the efforts of President Donald J. Trump ( did I just type that?) to stop the influx of Mexicans into his beloved California.

"First of all, most of the Mexicans in Los Angeles work at Mozza anyway, so,  for Silverton, the more Mexicans here, the larger the worker pool," said Betsy DaVos, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education. "And doesn't that silly woman realize if she puts food on a ladder that potential grizzly bears would be attracted to it?  I sure the hell hope she has armed guards on her stupid MFL."

Others scoffed at the notion the food would be good enough on the MFL to garner a Michelin star.  One vocal opponent was Kelly Anne Conway, who, at this point, doesn't need much of an introduction. 

"I seriously doubt Michelin would rate a ladder - even with one terrific food -  because they don't give out stars to restaurants or ladders that move," said Conway. 

Dismissing critics, Silverton said the 51-foot high ladder would be an-even-more impressive 15-feet, 5 inches wide. The plans are for steps to be placed at a 4 inches attitudal  progression  and, therefore, be a 153-step affair. 

At step 36 ( 12 feet elevation) there will be a relatively small "Mezza Landing" featuring  "Dips of the World" from Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Chechnya, Mexico and others nations known for their dips.

At Step 90 ( 30 feet elevation ) the headline grabbing "Taco Station" will featuring primarily al pastor in both tacos and occasionally quesadillas with tortillas provided by Burritos La Palma in El Monte.. In addition, there will be weekly specials from guest chefs including Chris Feldmeier, Dominique Crenn, Elizabeth Falkner, Suzanne Tracht, Dahlia Narvaez, Ryan Vito Denicola, Jonathan Waxman, Suzanne Goin, Jose Andres, Bryant Ng, Massimo Bottura and Chapo Guzman's personal chef, Luis Ramirez.

Just three feet above at Step 99 will be the Wine Platform which will featuring reds from Silverton's native Umbria including her beloved Montefalco di Sagrantino Pagliaro of Paolo Bea and the stunning Vermino vermouth of David Rosoff.  As of press time, there were no plans to serve hard alcohol or beer or even white wines. However, a source close to Mozza said Silverton's aide-de-camp, Kate Elizabeth Green, is currently in negotiations with renowned Chablis producer Jean-Marie Raveneau. 

Silverton would neither confirm or deny rumors that for the grand opening renowned restaurateur Caroline Styne would donate a Nebuchadnezzar of 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc. 

Near the summit, at Step 141 ( 47 foot elevation) at "Top Pops", Nancy will be offering paletas made from primarily from Chino Ranch fruit. 

There will be no charge for food or wine for those who go over the wall as, in Silverton's words "Those dreamers will need every buck they can to figure out how to get down on the other side".  If patrons simply go up the wall for the food and wine, and come back down, there will be a $100 charge, service not included.

At the press conference Silverton was confronted by an reporter from Fox News who asked "What good will your 51 foot ladder be once they figure it out and make it a 70 foot wall?

Silverton smiled and said "Not a problemo. When they go high, we go underneath.  Tunnels, my amigo, tunnels."

artist Mike rembrandt's rendition of Nancy Silverton's Moveable feast ladder.  (LaFerrarri and P1 mclaren drawn to scale)

artist Mike rembrandt's rendition of Nancy Silverton's Moveable feast ladder.  (LaFerrarri and P1 mclaren drawn to scale)








Two Michelin Stars Awarded to Restaurant in San Escobar Owned by Ex Delta Force Commando

When outsiders think of San Escobar they usually imagine rolling waves lapping onto white sand beaches. the soothing warmth of the sun hovering like a quilt and a quaint main street with colonial architecture, diagonal parking, a hardware store run by the same family for 85 years and a movie theater that shows one film a week and sells popcorn tossed with freshly-churned local butter for $3 a carton.

And that's exactly what recently former United States Army Special Operations Forces Sgt. Murray Rubinstein discovered two years ago on his first trip to the island country of 13,000 people  that - until last week - was somewhat of a "secret island nation",  located 100 kilometers off the coast of east Belize.

"After what I had been doing for more than a decade, San Escobar was paradise found, so I decided to move here and open a little restaurant," Rubinstein said via Skype early Sunday morning. "Who knew?"

What Murray was "who knewing" about was the news that broke Saturday that his "little restaurant", 'il Pierogi Palace" had been awarded two coveted Michelin stars, the first restaurant in the Southwest hemisphere to be so honored by the prestigious guide.

"I thought it was a joke when I got the Skype call from Michelin," said Rubinstein. "He looked like a drunk and sounded like a comedian doing an over-the-top French accent. But, then, just when I was about to disconnect, Joel Robuchon stood next to him and I knew it was for real."

Rubinstein lived in the "unreal" for many years. Born and raised in a 99.7% black neighborhood of North Philadelphia he said he had to prove himself early in life.  "Look, I grew up on 21st and Montgomery and my name was Murray Rubinstin. It might as well as been Jewy Jew. I had to fight back or be squashed. I took my share of ass whuppins', but I earned respect. I learned a lot from the corner boys." 

 After the 2001 September 11 attacks, Rubinstein joined the Army and within a year he was a member of the 101st Airborne Division. After a year in Afghanistan, he was sent for further training at Fort Bragg and was made a member of the Army's zultra-elite Delta Force.

"Dude, I can't begin to tell you what I did in Delta for a few reasons, one of them being I was drunk most of the time", said Rubinstein who has been sober for more than two years except for drinking malt liquor.  "I can say I was in Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq,  Tora Bora in Afghanistan, Benghazi in Libya, South Bangui in the Central African Republic and Watts in Los Angeles. And believe me, I was not whistling Dixie. My deployment was a never ending  "Trouble in River City",

The trouble looks like it is over now.   

Before opening Murray trained at Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles,  one of the revered restaurants of living legend Nancy Silverton.  It was from Silverton that Rubinstein learned the sweet - and savory - science of dough-making.

"Il Pierogi Palace " opened to rave reviews in the local papers and word spread to savvy foodies. His pierogis, made with both the traditional unleavened and radical leavened dough, are, in the words, of  influential French restaurant critic Marcel "Puff" Duvlaueax, "Like eating a cumulus clouds filled with earthly delights."

The most popular pierogis are filled night-caught local fish including trout, white snapper, and overweight sea shrimp.

"MIchielin stars or not, I will be the same," said Rubinstien ho vowed that half of the 35 seats of his restaurant will be for locals. "That's what? Let's see. That's 17 and a half seats for my new peeps. I believe I as born for this opportunity."




"Eh yo, Pete.... Meet Me On Grape Street" L.A. Times Op-Ed on a N.T. Times Restaurant Review

Reprinted from the Los Angeles Times Op-Ed Section, January 6, 2017. 

When chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson opened the first LocoL near 103rd and Grape streets in L.A., they weren’t grasping for restaurant-review stars. It wasn’t about reviews; it was about bringing a sense of “We’re not forgotten-ness” to places like Watts and Oakland, where the second LocoL opened at Broadway and Grand in May. LocoL’s motto is “revolutionary fast food for everyone,” and that’s about right.

But, lo and behold, the Oakland LocoL just got what it didn’t need: a nasty critique in the New York Times food section. As part of a very occasional series on restaurants not in New York, Pete Wells wrote the review

Wells was in the Bay Area, but he passed up the chance to review the French Laundry in St. Helena, or Quince, which just got three Michelin stars, in S.F., or the equally honored Manresa in Los Gatos. Instead, he went for LocoL, and he went for it with a vengeance.

LocoL didn’t even rate one star; Wells blasted it with “satisfactory.” He referred to a fried chicken sandwich “mysteriously bland and almost unimaginably dry…. The best thing to do with it is pretend it doesn’t exist.”

Choi responded with an eloquent post on Instagram: “The pen has created a lot of destruction over the course of history and continues to. He didn't need to go there but he did…. It compelled him to write something he knows would hurt a community that is already born from a lot of pain and struggle.”

In a text to me Choi wrote: “I ain’t mad at Pete. But, what he didn’t take into context is that none of our team ever had a job before. They didn’t deserve these harsh words as they’re trying their best every day. It’s like yelling ‘booooo’ at an elementary school musical.”

Maybe Wells decided that Choi’s and Patterson’s resumes — rife with awards, stars, books, even a movie (Jon Favreau’s “Chef” is based on Choi’s food truck) — opened LocoL to all critical comers. 

In highly seasoned language, I texted Choi back. He might not be mad at Pete, I said, but I’d like to give Wells the opportunity to meet several Grape Street Crips in the Juniper Street parking lot at Jordan Downs.

Some might say my offer was rude. But so was Wells’. What Choi and Patterson went looking for in Watts and in Oakland — and what they found — is resolve, pride and hope. LocoL exists as much to support and employ these communities as to feed them. That’s what revolutionary fast food means. 

In my experience — I’ve eaten at the Watts LocoL about 40 times, I’d say — the food is good. How good? Jonathan Gold, in this newspaper, ranked it No. 58 in his 2016 listing of the 101 best restaurants. I live with chef Nancy Silverton, and most of her office staff at Mozza yelled at me recently when I brought back LocoL take-out for only one of them.

Still, LocoL’s cooks and workers aren’t culinary students from the Cordon Bleu. They haven’t worked at Spago, or even at Popeye’s. As Choi said, before LocoL, many of them hadn’t worked at all.

Over a year ago, at Pizzeria Mozza, I had to do a double take at table 70. Was that Ready and Nardo from Grape Street? I know them from my reporter days (and nights) in Watts covering gangs. I didn’t expect to see them at Mozza. (A little background: In a three-star gang like the Grape Street Crips, if your name is Ready, when it comes down, you’re there.) 

They were at a table with Choi, who had already hired them for LocoL and wanted them to see the way Mozza functioned. A month later, when the Watts LocoL opened, Ready moved about the place like he was the maitre d’ at Valentino. Transformations like that is what LocoL is all about.

If you want stars, go to Providence or Melisse, or if you’re in the Bay Area, go to Atelier Crenn or Saison. If you want to feel good, eat way-better-than-usual fast food and brag to your friends about being in on a movement, then go to LocoL in Oakland or Watts.

By foodie standards, LocoL’s “satisfactory” rating was bad news. But, you know, that’s the only thing I can’t fault Wells on: LocoL satisfies.

Grape Street

Osteria Mozza Staff Lunch Chicken Soup by Chef Sal Takes "Commanding Lead" in 2017 Soup of the Year Competition

It didn't look special. In fact, many who walked into Osteria Mozza at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday expecting the famous staff meal chicken thighs  - featured in Nancy Silverton's new cookbook "Mozza At Home" -  were disappointed to see a large tray -  yes, tray - of soup.

Until they tasted it.

Although 2017 is not over yet, the Chicken Soup made by legendary day kitchen manager Salvatore "Sal" Jamamillo has taken such a commanding lead in the prestigious national Soup of the Year (SOY) competition that several bookies in Las Vegas announced this afternoon they will no longer take wagers on the award.

"It's over,' said a influential member of the SOY committee who spoke n the condition of anonymity. "Unless Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin come back from the dead and make Creme of Heroin soup, this years SOY is over."

Dahlia Narvaez, Mozza's James Beard award-winning pastry chef, had three bowls of the chicken soup. 

"Big shot wins an award and thinks she can hog the soup," said a Mozza line cook who begged that his name not be used. 

The soup's recipe was not immediately released to the public. However, if the soup does make it to the final five, as most experts expect it will , the recipe will, by law, have to be released.

"That's foolish," said Sal's right hand man chef Raul Ramirez. "We don't have no recipes back here. We just cook until it's just right."


Obama Calls Osteria Mozza's Sommelier Andrey Tolmachyov "A Great Somm, Lousy Spy"; Won't Deport

When new broke Thursday that President Barack Obama had had ordered 35 Russian spies posing as diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours, wine professionals in Los Angeles immediately began texting each other. The subject of their messages? One Andrey Tolmachyov, the highly-regarded sommelier at Osteria Mozza on "The Corner" who has long been suspected by the FBI of spying for the Kremlin.

"Will Stoli Rocks be deported?' many of the texts wondered, using a Tolmachyov's endearing nickname.

Friday afternoon, the White House released a statement clarifying what has become known as "The WineSpyGate Matter". 

"To set aside rumors, President Obama asked me to clarify the issue of Andrey "Stoli Rocks" Tolmachyov,"  said White House press secretary Josh Earnest who then read from a prepared statement. "The question is not if Andrey Tolmachyov is or is not a spy. Tolmachyov is, indeed, a Russian spy. No doubts about. However, he is such an inept spy that we feel it is in the best interests of the United States to keep him here. Let him spy badly and report - inaccurately -  back to Putin. Another reason he should stay is Tolmachyov is actually a superb sommelier. He turned Michelle on to Giacosa's Falletto Riserva and now that's all she talks about. And after hearing her talk policy for years, that's a good thing."

According to a high ranking member of the Central Intelligence Agency, Tolmachyov would send top secret encrypted wine labels to Moscow. (See below) "But, he would be so fucked up, he would invariably put in bad information which is fine with us," said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity..  

Tolmachyov's boss, Nancy Silverton, is in a remote, internet-less village in Italy and could not be reached for comment.

However, Kate Elizabeth Green, Silverton's spokesperson,  said "Nancy could give a fuck about spying. As long as he keep pouring that good vino rosso, that's all that matters. And Stoli Rocks can pour, believe me."

Calls to Tolmachyov, who is actually from Kazakhstan, were  not returned. His girlfriend, Regina Volk, a native of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is said to be in hiding.