Anna Mindess

My passion is exploring the connection between food and culture. I write regularly for Oakland and Alameda Magazines and Berkeleyside's NOSH. My blog, East Bay Ethnic Eats, gives me an excuse to track down the only Bay Area baker making fresh filo dough or learn to stuff a dried eggplant with help from a Turkish immigrant. Culture is the thread that ties together my several careers. As a sign language interpreter, educator and author, my study of Deaf culture has taken me around the world, where I fell madly in love with seed-strewn Danish bread, attacked platters of French shellfish with a small arsenal of tools and sampled a Japanese breakfast so fresh it wiggled. I'm also an epicurean concierge for Edible Excursions Japan town tours (that I lead in either English or ASL). And when I conduct in-depth cultural trainings for foreign workers being transferred to the Bay Area, I am sure to discuss the delights of doggie bags and the mystery of American restaurants serving ice water in the dead of winter. I can be found tweeting @EBEthniceats

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Anna Mindess's Latest Posts

5 Halloween Food Myths Unmasked

5 Halloween Food Myths Unmasked

| October 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

Think you know everything about Halloween? It was not always candy-centric. Are Halloween sadists real? Pumpkins, apples, and candy corn have surprising histories. Find out the truth behind 5 common Halloween food fallacies.

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Chocolate Tour of the Mission Unwraps More than a Taste of History

Chocolate Tour of the Mission Unwraps More than a Taste of History

| September 15, 2014 | 3 Comments

Chocoholics of the Bay Area, rejoice! A new tasting tour from Edible Excursions takes you behind the scenes of 5 Mission District chocolate hot spots, shares the neighborhood’s history, plus samples of drinking chocolate, chicken in mole, a cacao smoothie and exquisite hand-molded confections.

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Handmade Tofu and Mochi Keep Traditions Alive in San Jose’s Japantown

Handmade Tofu and Mochi Keep Traditions Alive in San Jose’s Japantown

| June 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

Get it quick before it’s gone! Handmade tofu and mochi sweets in San Jose’s Japantown. Two devoted husband and wife teams have been quietly keeping tradition alive for more than 25 years with the sweetest results. No preservatives, no automation, just loving hands and hard work.

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This Lunar New Year, the Horse Gallops in with Traditional Foods of Tết

This Lunar New Year, the Horse Gallops in with Traditional Foods of Tết

| January 30, 2014 | 1 Comment

Tet, the Vietnamese celebration of Lunar New Year, encompasses a range of traditional foods: from thick wedges of sticky rice filled with peppery pork to candied kumquats and nutty cookies. For the Year of the Horse, Son Tran, owner of Oakland’s aptly named Le Cheval Vietnamese restaurant, shares details of these essential holiday dishes and other cultural traditions.

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Don’t Poison the Guests: Advice on Food Allergies, Intolerances and Sensitivities

Don’t Poison the Guests: Advice on Food Allergies, Intolerances and Sensitivities

| December 26, 2013 | 0 Comments

Wheat, nuts, fish, dairy–seems like everyone is allergic to something these days. What’s a host to do? An illustrated guide to the difference between intolerance and allergy. And tips for cooking for those with these conditions (and having them leave sated –and alive.)

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Cheese Class: Making Chevre with the San Francisco Milkmaid

Cheese Class: Making Chevre with the San Francisco Milkmaid

| October 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

Louella Hill is a San Francisco, modern day, milk maid, who views cheesemaking as an art form that embraces the microbial world and can’t be rushed. She teaches classes around the SF Bay Area in how to make goat cheese, brie, ricotta, mascarpone and more.

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Frighteningly Easy Halloween Bentos: Tips and Tricks for Healthy Treats

Frighteningly Easy Halloween Bentos: Tips and Tricks for Healthy Treats

| October 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

Eerie, severed fingers made of chicken sausages, a Frankenstein avocado sandwich, a cheese-wrapped mummy — it must be Halloween and you can make these quick, creepy food creations to fill lunch boxes in the Japanese bento tradition.

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Icy or Spicy?  Cooling Foods Across Cultures

Icy or Spicy? Cooling Foods Across Cultures

| October 1, 2013 | 2 Comments

While the Bay Area doesn’t get the swoon-inducing heat and humidity of Japan, Peru, India or the Philippines, we can still partake of their edible solutions for cooling relief. Some like it cold and icy with mounds of shaved ice doused with syrups, while others turn to peppers and spice to induce a natural cooling response.

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Watch Master Fruit & Vegetable Carver Jimmy Zhang Make Melons Bloom and Carrots Fly

Watch Master Fruit & Vegetable Carver Jimmy Zhang Make Melons Bloom and Carrots Fly

| June 18, 2013 | 1 Comment

Want to carve a rearing horse out of taro, tropical fish from carrots or a roaring dragon out of giant radishes? Watch Chef Jimmy Zhang, Master of the Chinese Art of Fruit and Vegetable carving in this video as he fashions an exquisite watermelon rose and shares the secrets of this ancient craft.

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How to Make Kombucha: An Illustrated Mother/Daughter Tale

How to Make Kombucha: An Illustrated Mother/Daughter Tale

| May 21, 2013 | 4 Comments

See how a dripping blob of bacteria and yeast makes fizzy, homemade kombucha and bonds a mother and daughter. Liberally illustrated with drawings of Kombucha Killers, Vessel Guide, Friendly Add-Ins, Dangers Signs and Brewing Steps.

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Sip. Savor. Share! Food Photography Show in SF Opens May 9

Sip. Savor. Share! Food Photography Show in SF Opens May 9

| May 6, 2013 | 1 Comment

Feast your eyes on the images in Sip. Savor. Share!, a local food-filled photography show sponsored by the urban art collective Femme Cartel. The show opens May 9 and runs through May 26 at the Mission’s Roll Up Gallery.

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Heard the Buzz on Backyard Beekeeping?

Heard the Buzz on Backyard Beekeeping?

| April 17, 2013 | 5 Comments

Do you dream of harvesting your own super-local honey to drizzle on your breakfast bread? Wonder how hard it is to keep bees and how to start? Bay Area Bites interviewed some East Bay beekeepers and collected a swarm of resources.

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PBS Wants YOUR Stories for New Film “Asian Chops”

PBS Wants YOUR Stories for New Film “Asian Chops”

| March 29, 2013 | 2 Comments

PBS is soliciting ideas, characters and locations for a new documentary by filmmaker Grace Lee with the working title “Asian Chops,” that aims to discover the changing landscape of Asian America as seen through a food lens.

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Chef Nico Vera Shares Peru’s Unique Culinary History

Chef Nico Vera Shares Peru’s Unique Culinary History

| March 18, 2013 | 0 Comments

Peruvian personal Chef Nico Vera shares his recipe for Lomo Saltado, a Chinese-Peruvian beef stir-fry that exemplifies Peru’s rich culinary history incorporating the flavors of five cultures: Inca, Spanish, African, Chinese and Japanese.

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