Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Archive for February, 2009
I have always been mildly troubled by cupcakes. I understand their immediate attraction– they’re cute, individual packages of utensil-free eating. It’s cake on-the-go for busy people who like such things. I had once thought they were adorable for (small) children’s parties, but I am no longer convinced.
I just don’t care much for them. Not that they aren’t occasionally delicious. I just don’t like what they stand for.
I should have known that when my ultimate food friend, Melanie, invited me to her house in Cloverdale this weekend that the days would be filled with chowing my way through Sonoma County. When not hanging out at her house chatting by the fire and drinking delicious wine, we were cruising the county having nibbles and bites in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Cloverdale and the surrounding areas.
The 2nd Annual NorCal Regional Grilled Cheese Invitational was held this past Saturday at Dolores Park.
In college I was always broke and ate very little meat. Ironically, I spent my freshman and sophomore years working at a prime rib restaurant called, of all things, The Gentleman’s Choice. As I couldn’t actually afford the beef dishes we served, I usually ate a free house salad and bread while escaping the cigarette smoke in the kitchen during my breaks. Since serving slabs of prime rib at The Gentleman’s Choice, I have eaten at a prime rib house only twice. This is partially due to the fact that I try to eat only grass-fed beef, and there’s nary a prime rib house that does that, and also because steakhouses aren’t my cup of tea.
Things are tough all over. This isn’t exactly news. I can’t think of a single person I know who hasn’t been hit on some level by the mess our economy is in. Everyone, it seems, is scaling back on spending.
And who can blame them?
In a city that prides itself on it food scene, San Francisco’s restaurants have taken a very hard hit. With fewer people lunching and dining out these days, many places in the city have either laid off staff or cut their hours. Some once-favored haunts have decided to close their doors for lunch, some have chosen to to hang out the “Now Open for Sunday Brunch” sign (which is usually an indicator of fiscal desperation), some have been forced to shut down permanently.
As a professional waiter, I consider myself very lucky to be working in a popular and (blessedly) busy restaurant. Hell, I consider myself lucky to have a job. Period.
Given the whole pregnancy thing, I’ve been sourcing non-alcoholic alternatives to my usual alcoholic libations. Cocktails aren’t too hard to fake with mocktails, because while you may miss the satisfying bite of the gin or the underlying sweetness of rum, at least you can still make it a tasty drink with high-end mixers, homemade syrups, fresh herbs, and fruit, right?
Though I am getting some of the recipes straight — I can make a mean cocido and my albondigas are coming close — my every day cooking tastes very different than grandma’s. Until I had a revelation recently. For most any dish that I make, I cut up fresh garlic and use it along with any fresh herbs, alliums and other flavor builders. The other day, I was completely exhausted so I made a very fast pork stew by tossing the pork with salt, pepper, and something I never use: garlic powder. I had a small container that I had purchased from Penzey’s for a particular recipe or two, and that sits in my cupboard mostly ignored.
We all have our go-to, dirt cheap, hole-in-the-wall Indian spot. This is not it. And thank goodness for that. No, Sultan is doing something different here — something exciting yet familiar. Step inside and hardwood floors, sleek tableware, flattering dimmed lighting, and soothing earth-toned walls meet the eye. Meanwhile, the nose is met with scintillating aromas of spice and good things to come.
As someone who’s been kicked out of countless grocery stores, camera in hand, I especially enjoyed the contraband video that Carl Willat, a San Francisco-based animation director, recorded with his humble Treo. Although the chain has stopped carrying some of my favorite products — oh sweet, spicy ginger gelato, where did you go?! — I still stop by their SoMa store before any major baking session. Nuts and dried fruit for me, unpasteurized orange juice and onion rye bread for my husband.
It’s muddy, it’s rainy, it’s cold…so what better way to come together on a wet winter weekend than in celebration of a big wood-burning oven? The Headlands Center for the Arts is hosting Brick Oven Lovin’ Again, a night of dinner and music on Saturday, February 21st, at 6pm. All donations go towards recouping the costs of renovating the center’s massive wood-burning brick oven.
So after the last Pregnant Pause post about food making me sick and now with this one being all about not drinking, you’re probably asking, “Um, isn’t this supposed to be a food blog?” It’s a fair point, but I think you’d much rather read stuff like this instead of cooings about the purple unicorniness of pregnancy and how gestating is like sitting on a cloud of cotton candy. (Because it’s not, and there are no unicorns, purple or otherwise.)