A popular topic at Bay Area Bites, East Oakland’s Lao cuisine has been featured in previous coverage. This roundup focuses on other fine Lao restaurants located throughout Oakland, San Pablo, El Sobrante and Albany.
Archive for March, 2009
Happy (post-) Purim. I should have written this post last week but, frankly, I forgot all about Purim this year. I’m not good with dates. And I’m not a Jew, though I have been told many times by Jewish friends that I am, in fact, Jew-ish.
And that makes me exceptionally happy.
Now, I bet you are wondering, “Why the photo of the lady with the enormous décolletage and the even more enormous hat? What on earth does it have to do with Purim or those delicious, Purim-related delicacies, Hamantaschen?”
Please let me explain…
Walking through the Ferry Building recently, I couldn’t pass up locally foraged chanterelle mushrooms from Far West Fungi. Chanterelles first become available to us in the fall, being foraged from the Pacific Northwest. They arrive with the first rains, and they begin to grow closer to San Francisco as we get into wintertime and cooler, rainier weather. Because chanterelles grow as the result of a symbiotic relationship between fungus and host plant (usually a tree), they are always found in the wild and don’t grow outside of a forest environment.
First, I had to deconstruct the sublime bowl of pasta in front of me, and memorize every flavor so I could attempt to recreate it at home. The object of my obsession was the brilliantly conceptualized Maccheroni alla Chitarra, strands of pasta coated in a pistachio and lemon cream sauce.
Don’t know what to make for dinner? Come to the book party for community cookbook Bernal Eats at Red Hill Books on Sunday, March 8th, from 11am-1pm and get some ideas from your friends and neighbors. Subtitled “A Busy Family’s Survival Guide”, this collection of kid-tested, family-friendly recipes and mealtime strategies comes from over 65 Bernal contributors, including restauranteurs like Brad Levy (Firefly), Rudy Mariel and Efrain Magana (Moonlight Cafe), Michael Juarez (MaggieMudd), and Aziz Benarafa (Progressive Grounds). There will be live music from OctoMutt, lots of food and readings from local writers and contributors Michele Bigley and Karen Zuercher.
Turnovers are often forgotten in the dessert world. Tarts and pies steal the show when it comes to articles, cookbook recipes, and blogs, but turnovers are just as sweet and delicious, and portable to boot. Like their bigger and more prevalent cousins, turnovers are simply cooked fruit encased in buttery pastry dough. Yet unlike the tart and pie, you don’t need to slice them, set them on a plate, or make a presentation out of serving them. Sure you could plop some ice cream or whipped cream next to one and set a mint leaf on it, but you could just as easily wrap it in a napkin and stick it in your pocket for later. This is why turnovers (both the savory and sweet variety) are also referred to as pocket pies.
I have a problem with the word “moist.” Anyone who knows me well understands that. For me, it’s right up there with the words “classy” and “slacks.” Upon admission to another person of my distaste for these words, the three are invariably strung together in a sentence, as in “Did you get of load of the moist, classy slacks on her?” It never fails. In fact, I expect it. Still, the mental images these sentences produce are just too jarring.
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. I reported on Part I of my trip last week, which included Downtown Bakery, Willie Bird Turkeys and Matos Cheese Factory.
With spring just a few weeks away, it’s a busy day at the Sacramento Beekeeping Supplies. In between ringing up jars of local honey, three generations of the Stewart family answer a stream of questions with both patience and passion. If you’re curious about how bees make honey, which size wick to use in your candle-making, the science of animal communications or the health benefits of bee pollen, there’s no better place to spend an afternoon. If you’re already a dedicated beekeeper, well, then, you’ve probably already met Nancy and Fred, the proprietor and the talker, respectively, who run this gem of a shop.
So, all you small-time gastronomic artisans of Brooklyn, you ricotta-makers and knife-forgers, you picklers and bean-to-bar chocolatiers, sure looks like the New York Times thinks you’re all that. Brooklyn’s New Culinary Movement, proclaimed the paper, making much of the borough’s growing reputation as an incubator for small food-related businesses, the quirkier and/or old-timey, whimsical, or pork-related the better.