It’s 5 o’clock, and you’re leaving the office in search of some post-work libations and snacks before dinner. You could go the traditional happy hour route — where you’re limited to a few drinks and small bites within a short window of time — or you could up the ante and visit a Japanese izakaya.
Archive for October, 2008
Today is, as I have been informed, Halloween. Well, okay then. Boo. Life can be rather ghoulish– especially now what with Presidential elections, hunger, global warming, terrorism, people who think that inserting discriminatory amendments into the California constitution is a good idea, home foreclosures, and Dancing with the Stars filling our mental goody bags with more tricks than treats. You get the picture. I suppose we might as well have a holiday to celebrate. In contrast to all this unpleasant scariness, I have decided to dedicate my post to one of the sweetest, most innocent desserts to ever cross my path– The Baked Alaska.
Restaurant Parcel 104, a restaurant specializing in seasonal, farm-fresh American fare will be holding a Cheese and Wine Dinner, featuring local artisan cheeses from around California on November 8th. Renowned Bay Area chefs Chris Schloss of Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos, and Mark Dommen from One Market in San Francisco, and Arthur Wall of The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards will each develop a course inspired by a specific cheese.
Thanksgiving is a huge business in this country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 45 million turkeys are purchased for Thanksgiving alone. Most of those turkeys are raised in confinement, on large factory farms, and are types which are raised for their large, white breasts. In the Bay Area, we have access to many types of sustainably-grown, free-range, and heritage variety turkeys that you may be interested in considering for your dinner table.
Hideaki Nishikura, a baker at Wild Flour Bread, took our intrepid New Yorker and me, along with a doting grandmother and a giggling son, on a personal tour of his hometown, Sebastopol. I feel privileged to have this insider’s peek into a little known community and hope to inspire a few of you to take the trek north to visit the town during this time when autumn’s colors and flavors are at their peak.
But American canned beer? Bah! Once again, I am so happy to be proven wrong. On every trip home to Minneapolis for the past few years, I have been tempted to tour the Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, MN. The name of the company alone was enough to intrigue me, but then I got a load of the beer names: Furious, CynicAle, Bitter Brewer, and Bender. Just add Grumpy, Sleepy, and Dopey and they could be the Seven Drunk Dwarfs of beerland.
This September, KTEH invited people to audition for their chance to be the next cooking show star in their live December special, KTEH Cooks with Garlic.
Thirty-eight people of all walks of local life got up enough nerve to send in their video recipes and on November 1st, you, in all your I-could-have-done-that-so-much-better smugness, are invited to vote for your favorite. Do yourself a favor and watch them.
October is the official start of pumpkin bread season in our house. While other families wait for the December holidays to kick into gear before making this quick bread, our patience is limited. As soon as the pumpkins start appearing on porches for Halloween, everyone in my house knows pumpkin bread isn’t far behind. The smell of baking bread with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through the house is our clarion call for Fall.
Fallen Fruit identifies where you can find free fruit that has fallen and encourages public consumption. The movement began in Los Angeles but public jam making events take place in various locations. At YerbaBuena Center for the Arts you an will bring your own fresh fruit and clean jars and learn to make jam with the folks from Fallen Fruit. Fallen Fruit will also lead a discussion about the basics of jam and jelly making, pectin and bindings, the aesthetics of sweetness, as well as the communal power of shared food and the liberation of public fruit.
As I’ve mentioned here, October is Eat Local Month around the nation. While I tend to concentrate on local eating throughout the year, October is a fun time to renew my efforts and find new local products. Toward that end, I shopped at the Sunday San Rafael Farmers Market this weekend.
Now that Namu is taking a break from serving lunch, to focus on opening a new deli at Balboa and 3rd, their outpost in the park, Happy Belly, has been receiving lots more visits from yours truly. The next time you’re strolling from the Conservatory over to the DeYoung or taking a break from Lindy in the Park, stop at this modest little hot dog cart and read the menu carefully.
When I mentioned to a few friends that I was making caramel apples, I got the same response every time. “Yum! Can I have some?” Caramel apples are one of those treats both kids and adults love. There’s something about sweet and sticky caramel coated over a crisp and slightly tart apple that is truly a match made in heaven. These treats are great all year long, but fall seems an especially perfect time for to indulge. Maybe it’s because apples are in season, or perhaps it’s the promise of more sticky sweets on Halloween, but October has always seemed like the ideal time to make candy apples.
I love figs. They’re on the short list of my favorite things, so I have always had difficulty with the phrase “I couldn’t give a fig.” The meaning of the phrase, of course, is that to give a fig is to care little. To not give a fig means to care even less. Of course, the true purpose of the word “fig” in that phrase is commonly thought to be as a replacement for another, unprintable-on-this-website “f” word. And that depresses me. It’s given the fig a bad name.