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 April, 2010
After months and months of driving slowly down 4th Street to access the evolving storefront, Arizmendi San Rafael is finally open and already drawing in crowds and attracting a new set of faithful customers. I explored the new location one morning to see what they were doing differently in San Rafael. You’ll see many favorites, from the Cherry Corn Scone to the Wolverine Rolls–and, of course, that pizza. San Francisco and East Bay Arizmendi fans would approve. This is the real deal.
Spring has sprung and with it arrives our little diva princess, the strawberry. And let me introduce her BFF, tart to her sweet, rosy pink to her ruby red. Yes, I’m talking about rhubarb, the prettiest pink stalk you ever did see, ready right now to be turned into strawberry-rhubarb preserves for your spring table.
My copy of Lebovitz’s book is already stained (with coffee) from just looking at it. It’s the best type of food porn available: high production values (great recipes and gorgeous photography by Maren Caruso); a cast of stars (Chocolate Orbit Cake, Kumquat Sticky Toffee Pudding, Apple-Quince Tarte Tatin) that are hot, but not out of reach; and a writer who supplies, if not a story line, then enough anecdotes to keep me interested (The Racine’s Cake recipe was, after all, found written on a men’s room wall). It’s one sexy book.
I haven’t made a coconut cream pie or tart in years. After discovering Tartine’s velvety indulgence, I figured what was the point. How could I replicate their flaky crust topped with a layer of dark chocolate and caramel (and, I think, a few flecks of fleur de sel?) and then crowned with a rich coconut pastry cream? And then something happened. I began to crave coconut cream but was too busy and lazy to drive across the bridge to purchase one from Tartine. So, with Easter only a few days away and a holiday dessert in order, I decided I would create my own coconut concoction — something that reminded me of the sweet perfection available across the bay, but different enough that I wouldn’t constantly compare my tart to it.
John Waters said that he thinks of himself as a “Filth Elder” more so than the “Pope of Trash” nickname he received from William Burroughs. Waters’ elder reference is perhaps his way of acknowledging that he is in his sixties. I emailed The Filth Elder last week to find out the food-centric spots he likes to frequent when he lives in San Francisco. Aside from his picks in the post, you can also plan on catching Waters at his City Arts & Lectures appearance happening on May 25th for his Role Models book tour…San Francisco is the first stop on the tour.
Nonetheless, the organized mopping up of waste, the gardens and the webs of community activity materializing amongst these efforts — they coincide with a cultural shift — certainly in the Bay Area, and, to some extent, nation-wide, in large cities — pushing back to a time when food production was not industrialized, when pathways from farms to tables were clearer, more straightforward and less harmful to the environment.
It was faintly powdery– more like a rice cake than a piece of the Son of God. I had somehow imagined it would take on the some Everlasting Gobstopper-like ability to taste like something other than it was. But I had no time to be disappointed– I was too filled with awe. And God.