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September 4, 2004

Buns Across America

Dropped everything to get right on the story. Pennant races, MVPs, Kobe, you name it.

This just in off the sports wire. The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council reports that Americans will eat 24 million franks this year, enough to link them from Dodger Stadium to Camden Yards, assuming Randall Simon is distracted at the time.

Sparing no expense in research, we went to acclaimed SoCal foodie, writer and baseball aficionado, Diane Scalia of Grand Slam Gourmet to talk L.A. baseball scarfing.

BaseballSavvy: Phillipe’s (1001 N Alameda Avenue) for me, pretty much before every game. Beef, ask for it “double-dipped,” with American, slaw, and pickle slices.

"Chef Di": Ham, lamb and turkey dips are great too. Pickled eggs and beer. I love the pre-game atmosphere, with fans decked out in their Shawn Green and Paul Lo Duca jerseys.

BS: Oopps.

Di: Coffee for a dime. I always wanted to slap ten dollars on the counter and say, “coffee for a hundred, on me.”

BS: Palermo’s (1859 N. Vermont Ave.), fun place for pizza after a Saturday night game. The free jug wine eases the wait, served up by your charming host, Tony, who reminds me of a gay Chico Marx.

Di: Eagle Rock Italian Bakery (1726 Colorado Boulevard) is one of the finest Italian bakeries and delis in the land. Phone in your sandwich orders early in the day to get the wonderful fresh homemade rolls, and pick them up on the way to the game. Great Italian pastries and cookies too.

Di: If you’re lucky to sit there, my friend Travis Kamiyama, of Kamiyama Sushi, is the sushi caterer for the suites. Really special.

BS: Chop stix?! Grilled Dodger dogs for me. You’ve written a couple books, right?

Di: My new novel, Spicy Home Plate, out next year, serves up a delicious combination of food, family, romance and baseball, with intrigue and Italian recipes. When I gave Tommy Lasorda a copy of my cookbook, Angel Food, he said: “The only angels in baseball are in heaven, and they're all former Dodgers."

BS: And you have a Robin Ventura-inspired dessert recipe.

Di: Yes. There’s no “I” in team, but there is one in Grand Slam Brownies. Imported chocolate - Valhrona (France), any Belgian or Swiss chocolate - or Scharffen Berger (from Berkeley) yields the best results. Or check out imported chocolate bars available at Trader Joes.

  • 1/2 cup chopped European bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 (1 oz) square unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp butter, cut up
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup each: milk and white chocolate chunks

    Preheat oven to 350; coat 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

    In a double boiler over simmering heat, melt bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates and butter, stirring until smooth; remove pan from heat.

    Cool slightly, then whisk in sugars and vanilla.

    Add eggs one at a time, whisking until mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in flour and salt until just combined.

    Stir in chocolate chunks.

    Spread mixture evenly in pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tested done.

    Cool brownies completely before cutting into 16 squares.

    V. Hilts


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