Salade souterraine

underground salad1There’s nothing subversive about this ‘underground salad’. It’s simply made of veggies that grow beneath the earth. Carrots, finocchio, turnips, parsnips, celeriac, beets, radishes — it’s up to you to choose. Add a few leaves of arugula or another tender green, and you have a dish that’s lovely to behold as well as crunchily pleasant to eat. I owe the inspiration for this salad to my Parisian friend Jocelyne, an aspiring vegan, and to the menu of a cool Italian restaurant where I dined in San Diego, La Buona Forchetta.

Salade souterraine / Underground salad

Yes, that’s San Diego, California. It was the last stop on our summer road trip and, as promised in July, I’ll now write a few words about California cuisine. Fresh, inventive and modern, with accents from both France and Mexico, it was a revelation for both me and my teenage daughter, although her highlights would be different from mine (see below).

Mint margheritaSome of my favorites (with recipes to follow in the weeks ahead): my brother’s gazpacho; a fig, caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza to die for at Greens in San Francisco; Tom’s mint margueritas at his ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada; the world’s best barbecued ribs at Everett & Jones in Oakland; melt-in-your-mouth skirt steak gorditas (like mini tacos) at The Cliffs north of Pismo Beach; incredible sushi (served warm) at Sugarfish in Santa Monica; and the amazing fish tacos at Duke’s in Malibu. I should mention that many of these meals were enjoyed at places overlooking the Pacific, which added a little je-ne-sais-quoi to the flavors. Just delightful.

wheyOf course, we also encountered unusual (from a French point of view) food items, which I immortalized in a series of photos. Among them: organic peanut butter balls, packaged protein smoothies and a lot of whey (whatever that is). My daughter’s favorite was a crepe called S’Mores — topped with toasted marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate kisses at a place called Crepevine in Berkeley. (I took a pass on that.)

MalibuWould we love to go back? Absolutely, although not in the immediate future. My pocketbook needs time to recover first. But I will be experimenting through the gray Paris winter with ideas gleaned along the sunny Pacific Rim. And I may just make myself a mint marguerita. Happy cooking!

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One Response to Salade souterraine

  1. Ann says:

    I love this recap and can’t wait to see California-inspired recipes! Love that you visited my home state this summer and that I visited yours. (Hey, we switched places 🙂

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