We are so glad to have food genius Bill Webb write about his vast knowledge of all things food for AT LA. This week he tells of his rather controversial art of finding dinner.
The great thing about Maine is you can practically eat for free for days. Mussels are gathered when the tide is low, blueberries are found on hikes and for a small fee you can get a clamming license for digging up clams in muddy beaches. In New York a free buzz can be gotten most Friday nights at gallery openings and (if you have the patience) poetry readings and book signings. Here in Los Angeles the best free food can be found in the front yards of most neighborhoods.
This early morning's stealing brought me limes, oranges, tangerines, rosemary, lemons, mint and lavender. The limes, mint and lemons quickly became drink for the week. The oranges and tangerines I will have with lunch and the rosemary is going into a chicken. The lavender is for the table.
Stealing from yards is a bit of an art. You don't want to take too much and you don't want to visit the same tree too often. Best also not to steal on the street where you live. (It's like pissing where you eat, that sort of thing.) West Hollywood has good trees, so does the neighborhood below 3rd, just west of Fairfax. Santa Monica is loaded with citrus. (Hancock Park is best for stealing flowers, especially hydrangeas and roses. But burglarize gardens at night or very early in the morning. Lot's of joggers and loud dogs around Larchmont.) So satisfying to steal food. It's like being an urban farmer or having a naughty secret. Very generous of gardeners all over Los Angeles, to not hide all of the good stuff in the backyard, practically there for the taking. (It is!)