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In the Way-Out Kitchen With the Surreal Gourmet

May 08, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

"Boy cooking" is the term Adam and I use for his private time in the kitchen. (Not that I do all the cooking; normally we eat out.) But every once in a while, Adam gets a yen to create in the kitchen and I stay clear.

For Adam, cooking is an art project, and it's no fun until flour and salt are strewn every which way, pans are balanced precariously on appliances, and at least one ingredient has Jackson Pollocked the wall.

Hollywood's Bob Blumer, a.k.a. the Surreal Gourmet, is a kindred spirit for all "boy cooks." A former rock 'n' roll manager, he wrote his first book, "Surreal Gourmet" (Ballantine Books, 1992), featuring humorous takes on everyday meals.

"I wrote it on a whim; it was my bachelor repertoire," he said Thursday while signing copies of his third cookbook, "Off the Eaten Path: Inspired Recipes for Adventurous Cooks" (Ballantine, $20), at the L.A. bookstore Every Picture Tells a Story.

His latest creations include "shrimp on the bar-b" (chipotle chile-rubbed shrimp on a plate with a Barbie doll garnish) and the trompe l'oeil "diced fish" (shark meat shaped into cubes, decorated with black peppercorn dots).

The "extreme cuisine" section of the book instructs cooks on how to grill cheese sandwiches with an iron and steam salmon fillets in the dishwasher.

"Off the Eaten Path" is full of Blumer's surreal illustrations: a garlic lightbulb, a coconut shell swimming pool. Originals are on display and for sale in the bookstore's gallery through May. (Vida chef Fred Eric was eyeing a hand-held blender/unicycle.)

On May 25, Blumer, 38, will embark on a 30-city tour in a "Toastermobile," an Airstream trailer with a custom kitchen and two fake slices of toast popping out of the roof. Info: http://www.surrealgourmet.com.

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A word here about Eros, the gizmo recently approved by the FDA to heighten sexual sensitivity in females. Equal opportunity for women? I don't think so! A hand-held apparatus is in no way equivalent to a little blue pill. (Kinda hard to be discreet with a tube and a vacuum.)

Typical. Men get a miracle drug, and women get something that sucks.

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The new Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Sunset Boulevard near Fairfax Avenue is just a few blocks east of the famous one at Sunset Plaza, where "long and talls" chirp away on cell phones, writers labor over scripts and eternally out-of-work actor Dennis Woodruff's "hire me" car is parked in front. When I stopped in for a latte the other day, I expected to find the same high-pitched Hollywood scene.

But the new java joint was different somehow. The artist types were there, but they weren't tweaking screenplays or reading lines. They were working on U.S. Census forms.

Sounds like a great gig for show biz wannabes. Pass out a head shot here, a script there, and who knows? You could be the lucky guy who gets to track down Steven Spielberg. Dennis Woodruff should check it out.

Booth Moore can be reached at booth.moore@latimes.com.

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