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 September, 2009
Just a mile from the skyscrapers of downtown Pasadena lies a tiny plot of land that has become the heart of an urban homesteading movement. The raised beds of the Dervaes family farm cover 1/10 of an acre. Imagine the area from a football field’s goal line to the very first 10-yard mark, or if you’re an average suburban homeowner, scan your backyard. Now, imagine harvesting 3 tons of organic food from this short span of soil every year.
Everything on television is deliberately orchestrated, of course, but many of the common signifiers of male chefness — the cursing, the drinking, the fighting, the screaming, the preoccupation with large pieces of meat — whether expressed on camera, in memoirs, or reputation via third-person anecdotes — endow a traditionally feminine role with coarse, conventionally masculine trappings. Producers want men to feel safe watching their shows.
Every Tuesday morning, the class visits the SF Ferry Building. We teachers gently prod our shifty little charges into the loose winding semblance of a line and lead them, meandering along the sidewalks, dashing through crosswalks.
Skordalia. Skor-dahl-YA. Please say it with me, because it is a word one should know, use, and use often. It is from the Greek skordalia, in case you were wondering.
Made from potatoes, olive oil, garlic, and more garlic, skordalia is a puree that may be served as a dip for bread or, even better, as an accompaniment to fried fish or roasted beets.
So a few years ago — after being served the soggiest bread-crumby fish I had ever encountered (and paying close to $15 for it) — I decided to make my own fish and chips. I was happily surprised to find that making truly decent battered fish is both incredibly easy and straightforward. And, as is the case with all home cooking, you can control the results: want it really crispy, fry a little longer; interested in smaller pieces, cut them up; in the mood for a hearty batter, use dark beer.
Set up every Sunday from 1-3pm at the Parque Niños Unidos at 23rd and Treat Streets in the Mission, the Free Farm Stand is a joyful place. Anyone can come to pick up some free, locally grown organic produce, and all different people do: determined grandmothers and families pushing strollers, clusters of effusively grateful British girls in tiny halter tops and oversized sunglasses, eco-hipster Mission couples in vintage dresses and ironic t-shirts, neighborhood activists sharing recipes.
Pork is a constant at Oliveto. The menu revolves around it. On any given day, prep chefs can be seen breaking down a hog into various cuts –shoulder, loin, leg — and then processing them into porchetta, pancetta, scallopine, sausage or salumi.
It wasn’t until I started my own tradition of Rosh Hashanah dinners that I realized, with great liberation, that as an adult with her own kitchen I never had to serve, or eat, honey cake again. Instead, I would make gingerbread, baked with an upside-down layer of sweet apples or pears in a buttery caramel.
Sometimes, things have a way of just happening to you. When I woke up one morning several weeks ago, I found myself looking forward to a lazy Sunday afternoon, followed by an evening of cocktails, theater, and dinner with a few friends. If I had any plans apart from those, they were small ones– like wandering down the street to get coffee or sending off a few emails. Not once did I think to myself, “I think I’ll go get horse whipped by a severe-looking woman in a vinyl bustier and a Betty Page haircut.”
It’s disheartening to see that the obese population is numerous states is over 30%, with other states close behind. Yet, although I appreciate Mr. Boustany’s commitment to healthy choices, I don’t think providing “incentives for wellness care and prevention” is realistic without first implementing legislation to make healthier foods accessible to everyone — rich, middle class and poor.
Office workers are captive diners. Since people will pay more for convenient bad food in the middle of the day, lunch spots charged with feeding the downtown drones know their registers will ring regardless of how good their wares are. For every self-described foodie frantically mining for diamonds in the roughest of roughs, there are a dozen people who, at least for an hour or so, don’t care.