Dana Slatkin

Honeydew Cucumber Gazpacho

honeydew cucumber gaspacho soup

Photo credit: Audrey Slatkin

The other day, my daughter and I caught some girl time, while the boys happily stayed at home, glued to their respective screens. We ended up in Hancock Park, where she attends the same high school I went to. With its stately old homes and charming mom-and-pop stores, it’s a neighborhood I’ve always felt at home in. I remember fantasizing about living there some day…when I became a grown-up.

Larchmont Boulevard, the neighborhood’s main drag, where I used to loiter after school with my classmates, is still home to some of my favorite eateries. There’s Chan Dara, for excellent Thai, and Le Petit Greek, which got me hooked on spanakopita in seventh grade.

And there’s a new mainstay, Café Gratitude, the all-organic vegan restaurant that has become a watering hole for the young and hip (plus a few ol’ timers like me). That afternoon, the thermometer in my car hit 98 degrees. We were starting to wilt. But I wanted to treat my girl to an encouraging lunch to bolster her for the looming grind of the school year.

When our ebullient server skipped over to our table and mentioned gazpacho, we both jumped at it. This unusual version — made with honeydew melon, cucumber, and coconut — was so refreshing, it deserved a straw. Lush and green, with a fruity tang and a kick of chile pepper, it was a cinch to recreate at home. It’s a soup to make and enjoy year-round…a post-summer cheat when good tomatoes are scarce but we still need to keep cool.

In between slurps, my daughter and I shared our goals for the year ahead. We each had big projects and great expectations, mixed with doubt and skepticism. But we helped each other to purge our trepidation and fill up on conviction. We licked our bowls clean, thanked our gleeful waiter, and headed back into the sweltering day.

What are your aspirations for the year ahead? What’s holding you back? Life’s too short for excuses. Share your dreams with someone you love. Work towards them every day. And, as I always tell my daughter, don’t be afraid of the heat.


What are you doing this Sunday? Come tour the best eateries on Abbott Kinney for an afternoon of fun, feasting, and philanthropy at Taste Of Venice! Proceeds benefit P.S. Arts, one of my favorite charities that supports arts programs in public schools around Los Angeles. For details and to purchase tickets, click here…and thank you in advance!


There are still a few spots left for my Stress-Free Holiday Cooking class on November 13th. Sign up here! My September and October classes are sold out. If you would like me to put your name on the wait list, please e-mail me.

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