As a Korean-American foodie who resides in West Oakland, I’m lucky that there’s a slew of fine eateries not too far from our home all along Telegraph Avenue in Temescal.
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).
Weeks before starting my internship at Oliveto, I began researching the knives I would need to be a swashbuckling chef apprentice.
I owned an old set of Wustof knives, but like a lot of home chefs, I had mistreated them. New knives were essential. They needed to be sharp. They needed to be versatile. They needed to feel comfortable in my hand.
My first step was to consult Paul Canales, the executive chef at Oliveto.
Some people look forward to Christmas all year. They start designing their Holiday cards before the dye on their Easter eggs has even dried. Thanksgiving isn’t treated so much as a reflective day spent with friends and family, but rather as an appropriate time to start dragging out the Holiday decorations.
I know people like this, but I am not one of them.
My favorite December day happens to be today, known in the Commonwealth countries as Boxing Day or, more religiously, as the Feast of St. Stephen.
In brief, Boxing Day custom dictates that those of the privileged classes give something back to the little people– those folks who spend the year cleaning their toilets, corraling their children, and fetching them lattes. Little tokens of thanks are offered, like thoughtful long distance phone cards, cash, and things generally gone unused and unwanted by the rich. A dear little tradition, if you ask me.
Upon first hearing about the holiday without actually knowing anything about it, I thought the name implied either the much-looked-forward-to boxing up and putting away of Christmas decorations. Upon deeper reflection, I decided it was a day spent putting unwanted Christmas gifts back in their packaging to be returned at the soonest possible opportunity.
Although I didn’t make it Saul’s Deli this year for their annual Neverending Latke sidewalk fest, a lingering craving for piles of crispy potato cakes convinced my husband to brave the task of grating and frying.
He more or less followed a straightforward recipe from Gourmet and managed to deliver, with his first try, a most excellent feast.
I have a really amazing circle of friends and family. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for great gifts that are easy on the wallet, and that hold to my buying philosophy: buy from mom-and-pop shops over chain superstores whenever possible. While I definitely have some San Francisco stores that I frequent in order to find unique gifts, my obsession lately has been Etsy.