Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Archive for January, 2010
KQED is seeking guests for Season 5 of Check, Please! Bay Area. Potential reviewers who would like to tell the Bay Area about their favorite local eatery–anything from a four-star destination to your local cafe or street food from a traveling truck–are encouraged to complete the online application. Applications must be received by Thursday, January 21, 2010.
I don’t much feel like being clever today. My thoughts are 3,286 miles away in Port-au-Prince– a city I have yet to visit.
Perhaps it is the fact that I live in a city that has been devastated by earthquakes in the past and will be, undoubtably, devastated again that the earthquake in Haiti has taken up so much of my attention. The thought of those people I love most in the world killed, or trapped alive by fallen concrete and steel is something I wonder if I would have the strength to bear.
Fortunately for us, we have strict earthquake-driven building codes. We have support and money and infrastructure– what little of that the people of Port-au-Prince had is destroyed or severely crippled.
Haitians need food, they need shelter, they need clothes, and they need medicine.
And, no matter what Mr. Limbaugh says, they need our sympathy and our money.
Food on a cruise ship comes in many different shapes and forms and from a variety of locations. For the most part, the food is free (well, it’s included in your passage price), and other than soda and alcohol, plus a couple of restaurants that charge a moderate fee for a finer dining experience, you can graze to your heart’s content (or detriment) at no additional cost. There are large buffet areas with everything from tri tip and beef pot pies to Indian curries and salad bars. Near the pool on the Lido deck sits a pizza and hamburger counter, an ice cream and smoothie stand, and a regular mixed drink bar. There are then numerous other bars set throughout the ship, plus six or seven sit-down restaurants. You can even have food delivered to your room. Basically, it’s impossible to starve on a cruise ship.
You see this dish at a lot of Chinese wedding banquets or New Year celebrations. As is customary for many Chinese foods, there is a special symbolism to this dish. The white chicken symbolizes happiness and purity, and if it is served whole, it symbolizes family as well.
Out-of-town visitors always want to know where to find a good burrito. By the time they get around to asking you, you’re wiser, over the course of weeks and months, a true aficionado. You come to understand that, while there are many very good burritos in your neighborhood, seeking out the perfect specimen is a impossible undertaking.
If you haven’t been to Sol Food, it’s owned by Sol Hernandez, an enterprising San Rafael native who decided to bring Puerto Rican food to Marin. She lived on the island for quite awhile with her boyfriend and his mother and spent her free time learning how to cook the local dishes.
Sometimes, you don’t want the hard-crusted, rip-and-tug Euro-styled country loaf that’s become the city’s default daily bread. Sometimes, you and your jam want a bread that holds up to slicing and toasting, a bread without gaping jelly-dripping holes, ready for butter and honey or peanut butter and banana sandwiches, in short, a bread you can only have if you make it yourself.
As my mind turned to thoughts of lunch for the week, I couldn’t make up my mind as to whether I should make a batch of chicken salad or egg salad. The annoying old chestnut “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” came to mind? Frankly, I had no idea. It’s a frustrating scientific/philosophic question that has no business complicating my luncheon plans. But I thought about it some more.
Once you taste those tacos you know why, in a city full of food, people stand in line for their lunch here. I started with the smoked marlin taco, which is served in a gorgeous red sauce that wakes up the tongue and makes it dance. I then went on to the house specialty: fish tacos. These are, in essence, perfect. Dorado covered in the simplest of batters, fried to perfection and then set inside a tortilla fresh off the grill with a topping of crema and cabbage.
Calistoga is a small, sleepy town in the Napa Valley that literally sits on top of thermal hot springs, so its famous for its mineral waters and fortified mud (and thus, many resorts and spas have cropped up around the area). I hadn’t been to Calistoga and was pleasantly surprised that a lot of the pretension of restaurants and wineries in the Napa Valley is noticeably absent.