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 March, 2010
In his recent piece for Time Magazine, Josh Ozersky details where we find ourselves today, the “Third wave” of coffee: buying prized lots of single-origin beans and roasting them less frequently, treating coffee as seasonal, and paying attention to slight nuances in bean selection and roasting technique. Essentially, the artisan roasters I’m about to discuss have left Starbucks in the dust.
Now, I like to sip a fine measure of Irish whiskey, for sure, but when you need to make a whole tableful of people happy with just one glass, nothing beats this Chocolate Whiskey Cake. Serving it at a recent birthday potluck, the question everyone asked after one bite was, “How much whiskey is in this??” Only a cup’s worth for the entire generously-sized cake, but a liberal sprinkling after baking gives a potent warmth to every forkful.
It is my new food crush. Yuba can be pressed into blocks, cut into noodles, fried, eaten like sashimi, and God knows what else. Loving the texture as much as I do, I was even tempted to paper my kitchen walls with it, which would have been lovely for about a day, until it started to decompose. I look forward to playing with it some more, perhaps even making my own.
And now, almost 10 years and thousands of meals later, I’m just as happy with my decision to switch to cast iron as I was the day I purchased my pans from Ace Hardware. As far as I’m concerned, the fanciest and most expensive pans can’t hold a candle to modest cast iron (well, except for an amazing large copper pan, which I doubt I’ll ever be able to afford).
Interesting enough, I was finishing Hayward’s piece as I sat waiting for a friend on the patio of Weezy’s Grass Fed Shed in San Rafael. I’d heard about this place right when they opened from a friend who worked in the area. She boasted that they served Prather Ranch beef burgers for a mere $3.00. I argued with her about the impossibility of that statement, and she assured me that it was true but that they make it all work because the burgers are small.
Okay, I’ll admit it: I watch the Academy Awards for the outfits. And for the possibility of crazy behavior on the podium, as the sudden release of mind-bending pressure makes these over-coddled thoroughbreds behave like the hundred pounds of crazy they really are. But really, will anything this year top Bjork’s swan? Or the pre-MILF Angelina Jolie smooching her brother?
So, instead of discussing the already discussed-to-death aforementioned film which, in my opinion, is only half a great film, I’m bringing you two wholly great ones: Babette’s Feast (Babette’s Gæstebud, 1987) and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie, 1972). Both films (conveniently enough for today’s topic) won Oscars for Best Foreign Language film. Even more happy-making, they both star one, particular actress– Stephane Audran.
If you’ve never heard of wheat berries, you’re not alone. When I mentioned to a few people that I wanted to write about them, I received some quizzical looks. So, for anyone not familiar with this whole grain, let me end the suspense: wheat berries are simply individual kernels of wheat (minus the hulls). They are what King Arthur and other grain companies mill to produce the many different types of baking flours, from whole wheat to all-purpose. And, just as there are many different types of wheat, there are just as many types of wheat berries, with their color ranging from light tan to a reddish brown. But the most important thing about wheat berries, at least as far as this post is concerned, is that they are scrumptious.
For me, however, summer isn’t the time I really like to cook out. I don’t buy into the convention that warm weather and clear skies should always encourage fire-building. It doesn’t make tons of sense to create heat outdoors on a truly hot day unless you’re abandoned in the wilds of rural Idaho without your trusty Vulcan range. Furthermore, I actually tend to crave the foods associated with cookouts during winter.
Many of you probably saw 7×7′s recent issue with 100 Things to Eat Before You Die. While I think some of their choices were a bit repetitive this year, it’s a fun issue and always gives me a nudge towards spots I’ve been meaning to try and dishes I need to get my hands on. While studying their inclusions, I noticed a serious omission. For those of you who have had the pleasure of eating the homemade English muffin breakfast sandwich at Mission Beach Café, you know what I’m talking about. This may be up there with my top three favorite things to eat for breakfast in the city–with or without a glossy endorsement.