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.
This month, I had a reason to make minestrone for the first time. A few days before my mother-in-law flew out for Thanksgiving, I recited the contents of our Mariquita Mystery Box to her over the phone. As soon as she heard we were getting butternut squash, baby leeks, and chard, she told me I should think about making Alice Waters’ fall minestrone from The Art of Simple Food. She even brought me a Ziplock bag of the necessary sage, rosemary, and bay leaf fresh from her Virginia garden.