What makes a better gift than DIY cocktail supplies? This kind of gift is cute, unique, and way more useful than another pair of hand-knit socks. Best of all, it’s surprisingly easy to make the components of one of my favorite cocktails, the Manhattan. Well, all of the components except for the rye whiskey. That one, I’ll leave to the experts.
Archive for January, 2009
One way winery owners get good press is to invite writers to join them for lavish meals at chic restaurants, and then pour, pour, pour their newest, oldest, and best bottles.
It’s hard to stay objective as the candles glow, and the wines and good food have their effect, and we wine writers struggle to keep our asbestos firewalls intact to protect our editorial integrity.
That’s my full disclosure for this posting, because I’m writing about tasting wines from Rocca Family Vineyards, with owners Mary Rocca and Eric Grigsby, and their winemaker Paul Colantuoni at Fleur de Lys restaurant in San Francisco.
Tangy barbecue sauce dripping over slow-cooked pork on a bun. Yum. I freely admit that I am a fan of all things pork. I love pork chops, bacon, and roast loin, not to mention all those sausages. But there’s something astonishing about taking one of the least expensive cuts of pork you can buy and turning it into one of the tenderest and juiciest sandwiches you can eat. Ah — the miracle of pork.
Feeling crabby? On the West Coast our crabs are the Dungeness variety, as opposed to the soft shell crabs or Blue crabs found on the East Coast. They are considered a “best choice” for sustainability according the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Dine at local restaurants in February and enjoy special crab dishes and tasting menus. Use your Signature Visa card and receive a commemorative cookbook feature over forty prominent chefs and restaurants, including Chris Cosentino of Incanto, Bruce Hill of Bix and Craig Stoll of Delfina.
When I was invited to a pig roast by some good friends this weekend, I tried to figure out the perfect spicy condiment that was going to enhance the pig without overpowering the delicious flavor. I settled on giardiniera, which is a concoction of pickled vegetables marinated with spicy peppers.
Let me tell you, it’s no picnic being two months pregnant when you edit, write, or read about food for a living.
“Hm, shall I write about what I had for dinner? Because I’m sure the readers will be SO HAPPY to read about the sparkling water and handful of almonds I forced down just to keep from booting this evening.”
I recently discovered the merits of the hot toddy. I started drinking them over the December holidays after I woke up one morning with a head cold and sore throat. Although I was skeptical that this centuries old hot drink would help me feel better than a regular cup of tea, I was happy to sip something a little different. I became a convert to its medicinal advantages, however, when after a few sips the rough soreness in my throat dissipated while warmth radiated throughout my body. I’m not kidding here. That hot toddy really did make me feel remarkably better.
This Sunday marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns, a night beloved in the hearts of the Scots, but relatively unknown to most Americans. For those of you uninitiated in Burns Night, it is a celebration in honor of good ol’ Rabbie Burns, and, in true Scottish style, it is bathed in whisky and delicious haggis, neeps, and tatties.
Daphne Miller and “The Jungle Effect”
San Francisco-based foodie and family practitioner Dr. Daphne Miller has traveled the world in search of healthy indigenous diets. In her latest book, “The Jungle Effect,” Miller imparts what she says are the health-bolstering secrets of authentic cuisines through travel anecdotes and recipes.
I spent three days exploring and tasting at the Winter Fancy Food Show, and I barely scratched the surface. How do I know? Because every time I bumped into a colleague and asked them what THEY liked, I heard about something I never even saw, let alone tasted. To put it bluntly, the show is overwhelming. Sadly, much of what is on offer is nothing special at all, but the lure of finding the good stuff keeps me going back for more no matter how tired, bleary eyed, and palate fatigued I get.
The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade put on their 34th Winter Fancy Food Show this week, allowing for exhibitors from around the world to do precisely that– exhibit themselves. Thousands of vendors and merchants descended upon the Moscone Center in San Francisco from January 18 to January 20th for a fancy food frenzy.
I’m not sure I would agree with the term “fancy”– it’s always been a troubling word. As a noun, the word “fancy” connotes a liking formed by caprice rather than reason. As a transitive verb, it is an action of mistaken belief, of pure imagination. As an adjective, which is how, in this case, it is applied, the word suggests that the food exhibited at the show is “of particular excellent or highest grade.”
Today, I will be ushering in the inauguration at the Civic Center with throngs of San Franciscans who want to watch history together, in a collective group.
The sustainable food community has high hopes for an Obama administration. Food security, organic farming, dialing back of subsidies, and support of small farmers are all on the collective wish list for discussion. In October, Michael Pollan wrote an 8000-word letter to the incoming President-Elect outlining the policies that he hoped the new President would take into consideration.
Along with 4 million other people in Washington, I’m trying to figure out how to keep warm and dry while waiting (and waiting…) to witness history in the making. Fuzzy boots and mittens with hand warmers and puffy rain pants are my own fashion statement for this inaugural ceremony. And while the 44th POTUS settles into his luncheon, enjoying “A Brace of American Birds” beneath a painting of Yosemite Valley, I’ll be making my way very very very slowly back up to Tenleytown…to a crock pot full of warming chili.
Okay, are you ready for this, world? Because this idea is the CHEESIEST!
Fellow Bay Area Bites blogger Jen Maiser sent me this receipt from the recently-opened Venissimo Cheese with the note, “Thought you’d be interested in seeing this receipt from a new store in Long Beach.”
(First of all, can we have a little side conversation of how flippin’ awesome it is to receive receipts in the mail that might be “of interest”? It’s like our food geekery knows no bounds!)
Now take a look at that receipt and see just how much bang you get for your buck.