Archive for November, 2009

Day Trippin’ to Boonville

Day Trippin’ to Boonville

| November 16, 2009 | 3 Comments

I’d driven through Boonville with my Dad and my sisters once, all too briefly en route to Mendocino. We stopped at the Boonville General Store for a sandwich and sat outside admiring the coolness of the little stretch of road and the delightfully slow pace of life. All along Hwy 128 there were orchards, farm stands, hidden hiking trails, and–of course–vineyards. I vowed to come back and do some exploring.

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Primal Napa

Primal Napa

| November 15, 2009 | 1 Comment

The lamb brains, I was told, were simply smashing. Like meaty custard, in the best possible way. But the lamb brains weren’t the half of it. The outdoor tables at last weekend’s first Primal Napa event were a head-to-tail, guts-and-all celebration of going deep with meat.

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Sweet Potato Gratin

Sweet Potato Gratin

| November 14, 2009 | 0 Comments

Turkey season is upon us, and for me, that means sweet potato season! I love sweet potato in pretty much any form — baked, fried, pie’d — but in this gratin form, it is savory-sweet bliss at its finest.

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Persimmons: Fu. Yu.

Persimmons: Fu. Yu.

| November 13, 2009 | 5 Comments

If you think these fuyu persimmons seem to be looking wide-eyed off into space, you’re wrong. They’re looking into the future– namely, theirs.

Shortly after this photo was taken, they were mercilessly vivisected and consumed by me, the author of this post.

I shall be doing the same to their brethren soon on that greatest of all American days of sharing and feasting– Thanksgiving. I like to think of this as a small step in personal growth. For me, not for the persimmons.

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Lasagna Illuminated

Lasagna Illuminated

| November 12, 2009 | 4 Comments

Never in my life had I experienced such perfect lasagna. The once-forgotten dough that had languished on the counter all day was transformed into a thing of beauty when combined with the meat filling and sauces. And that ragù! If we had used ricotta and mozzarella with it, the cheeses would have blanketed our taste buds with their creamy flavors and textures. Without them, the ragù was the diva of the dish — capturing our attention and mesmerizing us.

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Thanksgiving: Turduck’ and Cover

Thanksgiving: Turduck’ and Cover

| November 11, 2009 | 1 Comment

Enter the turducken. Despite its cultish presence in the cozy Thanksgiving lexicon, the turducken is aggressively weird, an unnatural, misshapen, stitched-up Frankenstein-like thing — something that perhaps resembled a “sneetch” in life — prior to being butchered and baked.

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Jonathan Safran Foer: Video Interview and Reading

Jonathan Safran Foer: Video Interview and Reading

| November 10, 2009 | 2 Comments

Jonathan Safran Foer visited KQED’s The Writers’ Block to record a reading from his latest book, Eating Animals. He was open to participating in a spontaneous video interview and shared his personal eating preferences, where he was dining in the Bay Area, thoughts about food politics and ethics, and ideas for his next book.

Listen to the reading, Watch the video.

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Fat of the Land: Adventures in 21st Century Foraging

Fat of the Land: Adventures in 21st Century Foraging

Could Langdon Cook be a Euell Gibbons for the urban homesteading crowd? Spearfishing for lingcod within the city limits, hand-grabbing Dungeness crab out of the Sound, dodging homeless guys to harvest choice young dandelion greens near the I-5 on-ramp…if you sum it up like that, the Seattle author of Fat of the Land: Adventures in 21st Century Foraging can sound like a pretty wild and crazy guy. But does he really have the passion (and the chops) to be a renegade hunter-gatherer in a triple-latte town?

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Fall’s Ice Cream Round Up

Fall’s Ice Cream Round Up

| November 7, 2009 | 6 Comments

When I first moved to the Bay Area, I really tried to fight my passion/addiction with a variety of sugar-busting cleanses and tonics. But I’ve given in. And lately in a few of my favorite scoop shops, I’ve noticed some seasonal flavors that I can’t stop talking about. Fall has definitely arrived and there’s no time like the present to get yourself a cone before the season–and these flavors–pass us all by.

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Tarte Tatin: A Promise Kept.

Tarte Tatin: A Promise Kept.

| November 6, 2009 | 0 Comments

I had forgotten my promise of teaching him how to make Tarte Tatin, since it was about two lifetimes ago. I do, however, like to think of myself as a man of my word. So, Ron, though it’s about six or seven years after the fact, and you now live on the other side of the continent, I will do my best to answer your questions. By opening this up from a simple email into a blog post, I encourage others with more Tarte Tatin expertise to weigh in, if you like.

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Fuyu Persimmon and Date Upside-Down Cake

Fuyu Persimmon and Date Upside-Down Cake

| November 5, 2009 | 5 Comments

As I mentioned in my Fuyu persimmon post last year, Fuyus should not be confused with Hachiya persimmons. Unlike the naturally astringent Hachiya, which needs to be so ripe it should look like a bag full of goop by the time you can eat it, Fuyus are sweet and firm when they’re ready. With Fuyus, you can just peel and eat. They’re amazing served fresh in salads or cooked in couscous and tarts. My favorite new fall dessert, however, is a Fuyu and Date Upside-Down Cake.

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Saigon Street Food

Saigon Street Food

| November 4, 2009 | 2 Comments

There is a good reason why even hardened eaters like Anthony Bourdain have fallen so in love with the cuisine of Vietnam. It’s fresh, vibrant, varied, and satisfying without feeling gluttonously heavy.

And, most often, it is cooked on the spot, right before your eyes, on the street, by someone who has been making that one particular dish over and over, for years, decades, quite possibly, generations.

Here are my top 3 street food hidden gems tucked away among the side streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

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Valencia, Between 22nd and 23rd

Valencia, Between 22nd and 23rd

| November 3, 2009 | 0 Comments

Valencia is a humming thoroughfare teeming with restaurants, bars, vintage stores, galleries, furniture vendors, shops hawking expensive curiosities, construction projects, pigeons, and one small, loud street performer with a bright blue guitar. I don’t know what the street was like in the 90s, but it’s changed remarkably since I arrived just seven years ago. The blocks have built up, becoming denser. Spaces have changed hands, but fewer proprietors without public relations teams still hold court over the bike lanes, shimmering cars, and busy pedestrian paths. Notably, many restaurants have closed, and many new ones have taken their place. The climate brims with potential, yet it’s simultaneously harsh: with so many eating options tangling in such close proximity, survivors must stake out unique corners of the market — or place a premium on a convenience they provide.

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Cooking with Squash

Cooking with Squash

Sorry, greenies, there’s nothing edible to be done with last night’s scorched jack o’ lantern. But you’re not missing much: the real secret about any pumpkin, even the sweet little ones, is that they’re just not all that tasty. Compared to even that supermarket workhorse, the beige-skinned butternut, even the cutest pumpkin is all bark, no bite.

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