Archive for May, 2009

Event: Dirt to Dining

Event: Dirt to Dining

If eating is an agricultural act, as Wendell Berry so famously said, then what better way to celebrate the connection between food and farming than at Dirt to Dining? Here’s your delicious chance to hang out in a Bay Area chef’s lush backyard garden, drink organic wine, and chat with the farmers who grew the stuff you’re eating.

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Nduja? N-Judah?

Nduja? N-Judah?

| May 30, 2009 | 4 Comments

Boccalone is a store that is located in the Ferry Building, and is the brainchild of Incanto chef Chris Cosentino and his business partner Mark Pastore. It has been open less than a year, and attracts great attention in the Ferry Building with its pristine meat slicers and case of hanging meats. In addition to their delectable porcine products, Boccalone also offers sparkling water (like what is offered at Incanto) — I love filling up my bottle on farmers market days before I battle the crowds.

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Bourdain: Eat, Ink, and Be Merry

Bourdain: Eat, Ink, and Be Merry

| May 29, 2009 | 0 Comments

Anthony Bourdain does not come off as a man easily rendered speechless — but he may have met his match.

His talk on Thursday night at Flint Center brought out an eclectic crowd of spirited and often rowdy foodies, many of whom seemed quite capable of getting into a bar fight over the relative merits of Anderson Valley Pinots versus Amador zin. Fortunately no fists flew, just steady waves of enthusiasm at Bourdain’s dynamic dissertation of Food Network gossip, friendly bashing of Alice Waters and Rachel Ray, and tales of his culinary philosophy and many testicle-eating adventures.

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On My Shelf: The Food of a Younger Land

On My Shelf: The Food of a Younger Land

| May 29, 2009 | 0 Comments

From Mark Kurlansky, the author of Cod and Salt, comes The Food of a Younger Land (Riverhead Books: 397 pages, $27.95)– “A portrait of American food before the national highway system– before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation’s food was seasonal, regional, and traditional– from the lost WPA files.”

That’s quite a mouthful.

Reading this book at a time in history when eating local, organic, seasonal food in an urban setting like San Francisco is either a genuine passion, a fashion statement for those wealthy enough to afford it, or somewhere in between, it’s a pleasure to find a book that chronicles a time when eating in such a manner was not a matter of choice or politics, but rather one’s only option.

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Meyer Lemon Tart with Berries

Meyer Lemon Tart with Berries

One of my favorite spring and summer desserts is a lemon tart with berries and whipped cream. This is one of those pastries where everything melds into the perfect balance of flavors and textures — the lemon’s tartness nicely contrasts the sweetness of the berries and the luscious cream ties it all together. If you have Meyer lemons, so much the better as they are sweeter and have a more complex citrus flavor the standard variety.

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Banana Boats

Banana Boats

| May 27, 2009 | 5 Comments

The season of BBQs is officially upon us. At your next open grill fest, whip up this ooey gooey, no-fuss dessert, and polish off your barbecue on a sweet note.

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Pregnant Pause: The Chronicles of Nausea

Pregnant Pause: The Chronicles of Nausea

| May 26, 2009 | 4 Comments

The most valuable thing I learned was that the nausea was a result of a blood sugar drop — explaining why it’s worse in the morning and therefore given the totally fallacious name of “Morning Sickness” — so as long as I had enough food in me at all times, I’d be okay. In order to stave off what was for me 24-hour nausea, I had to eat every two hours.

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Arepas: Homemade Flatbreads

Arepas: Homemade Flatbreads

| May 25, 2009 | 2 Comments

A staple in Venezuela and Colombia, arepas fill the workaday cook’s most important need: foods that are easy to make and easy to use and never boring.

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Forum: Mark Kurlansky discusses “The Food of a Younger Land”

Forum: Mark Kurlansky discusses “The Food of a Younger Land”

| May 25, 2009 | 0 Comments

In a pre-recorded but never-before-aired program, Mark Kurlansky joins us to discuss his new book, “The Food of a Younger Land.” It examines the diversity and variety of pre-war American cuisine. Using abandoned documents from the Federal Writers Project, Kurlansky looks at a forgotten America where food varied greatly from city-to-city and state-to-state.

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Drinking with Mr. Pink

Drinking with Mr. Pink

A person who embraces pink wine is a person who’s not afraid to get a little girly. It means he or she is a hey, why not? sort of person, happy to take a little vacation from the hopped-up IPAs and tannin-slugging Cabs to sip on what your aunt Cherrie would call a “swimmin’ pool wine.” So what’s worth pouring this weekend as you huddle around the grill for warmth?

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The California Report: Urban Food Foraging

The California Report: Urban Food Foraging

| May 23, 2009 | 0 Comments

Are you ready for the next food trend? First it was organic, then local. Now, a new food movement is sprouting in California: urban foraging. We scoured the local landscape around San Francisco to harvest this story.

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Check, Please: How to Pay without looking like a fool or making everyone uncomfortable.

Check, Please: How to Pay without looking like a fool or making everyone uncomfortable.

| May 22, 2009 | 4 Comments

For most diners, paying one’s bill at the finish of a restaurant meal is a simple, uncomplicated process, a no-brainer. Or should be. Sadly, it never fails to amaze me just how many people screw this up.

The ideal execution of bill getting-and-paying should be a near-non-event. The only words exchanged should be those of thanks between the payer and the server, and from the recipients of the evening’s generosity to one giving it.

This should be obvious to most of you out there. Hopefully.

Here are a few handy tips on how to pay a restaurant bill with grace.

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Getting to Know Broccoli Rabe (aka Rapini)

Getting to Know Broccoli Rabe (aka Rapini)

Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is one of those vegetables people seem wary of cooking at home. Whenever I buy a bushel, it seems there’s always someone standing next to me asking what it is and how I’ll cook it. They usually have a curious yet skeptical look on their face, as if to say “that looks mildly interesting, but I’m sticking with the chard.” If you only shop in a grocery store, you may never have even seen it for sale as it’s mostly available at farmers’ markets and Asian produce stores. But if you find yourself in one of those places, I highly recommend buying a batch. Just look for the plant with dark spiky green leaves, small florets (often with tiny white flowers) and medium-sized stalks. It looks a bit like a dandelion greens / broccoli hybrid.

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Yats: New Orleans Po’ Boys

Yats: New Orleans Po’ Boys

| May 20, 2009 | 5 Comments

Yats: this hidden gem tucked inside a bar pays homage to New Orleans style po’ boys and other absurdly delicious comfort food like steak fries and mac-n-cheese.

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