It’s 5 o’clock, and you’re leaving the office in search of some post-work libations and snacks before dinner. You could go the traditional happy hour route — where you’re limited to a few drinks and small bites within a short window of time — or you could up the ante and visit a Japanese izakaya.
Archive for November, 2009
This post was supposed to end much differently. You see, we did something special at my house for Thanksgiving this year. I challenged my mom to a “Stuffing Smackdown.” Now I’m one of those people that likes to do virtually everything homemade–and my mom does too, for the most part. But she likes bagged stuffing. In my unofficial stuffing research, I discovered that most people think adding their own combination of ingredients to Pepperidge Farm bags of stuffing counts as homemade. I don’t. The challenge was on.
After a few days of turkey sandwiches, the remains of the stuffing and pumpkin pie for breakfast, what I was craving was greens: tough, raincoat-textured winter greens, steamed to tenderness and tossed with lemon and garlic and hot pepper flakes, bright with B vitamins and minerals with just an edge of bitterness.
For the past year, it has been my fondest desire to find pizza on the Peninsula that made up for the loss of my favorites in the city. Piccino, Pizzetta 211, and Pizzeria Delfina set the curve for me in terms of crust and inventive toppings, and it was going to be really hard to, uh, top them.
To someone like me, who may have the bad fortune of having holes in his pockets, but the good fortune of having nothing burning anywhere near them, it makes sense to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving holed up in order to recover from the orgy of food, wine, friends, and family.
So if you’re looking for a way to give back to your community this holiday season, or all year, here are some local volunteer opportunities at organizations offering food to those in need. If you know of a great program not listed here, please include it in the comments section.
Exempting those that kill you or make you crazy for six hours, wild mushrooms can, as most readers are very aware, be extremely delicious. Chanterelles are buttery and subtle; fresh porcini are robust and nutty, excellent roasted, or in salads with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings and pine nuts; lion’s mane mushrooms are furry and high-strung, delicate, with a mild, almost seafood-like taste — especially nice folded into an omelette. The possibilities are nearly limitless, and most dedicated eaters and chefs prize their special qualities and bountiful culinary applications.
Locally, the Bay Area could host a similar show. A great many chefs have tattoos, and interestingly (although not surprisingly)–many are food related. I set out to take a closer look and found that, while tattoos in general are often thought of as the ultimate form of self-expression, the following food personalities are proving that their alimentary tats are more than that. Part immortalizing a favorite dish, part business inspiration and contract, part celebrating personal success–they all prove that they’re in it for the long run.
So, I’m reading Nora Ephron’s 1983 novel Heartburn — I think I’m the last person in America to realize that Ephron was a foodie long before Julie & Julia, Ephron was a foodie — and the book is filled with love and longing and heartbreak and food. Lots of food.
I’m a sucker for a great Caesar salad. Call me old school, but there are few things that can beat it in my book. Garlicky, lemony, cheesy, and anchovy-y, if there is such a word. If there isn’t, there should be.
Sadly, a great restaurant Caesar salad has eluded me in this city of ours.
But pumpkin pie can be more than the standard fare of pureed pumpkin mixed with cream, sugar, eggs, and spices in a butter or graham cracker crust. I mean, honestly, do we all need to make the same pie every year? So this holiday, after a lifetime of eating traditional pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, I decided I was in the mood for something a little different.
Like espresso, Vietnamese coffee is deep and rich, and a little goes a long way. What makes it really stand out though is its incredible buttery aroma and flavor. Add a generous drizzle of sweetened condensed milk and you have a habit that will be hard to shake.
Sometimes, the homiest dishes — foods without pretense or artifice — are most revealing about the cultures from which they spring, and inspire the most debate amongst their devotees. However, from countless regional Mexican renditions — like white sauces in Sinaloa and Guadalajara’s polenta-like cazuela cook-downs — to American adaptations that echo Tex-Mex migas, all chilaquiles aim to soothe — regardless of a particular variation’s provenance and claims to authenticity.