Oct 2nd, 2010
Oct 2nd, 2010
Aug 29th, 2010
Sometimes it’s great to stop working and just geek out at a local food festival. Oakland’s Eat Real Festival was this weekend and some voice in my head or Twitter feed told me not to miss it. Right you were!
I’ll be talking about these for a while:
1.Adobo Hobo’s chicken. So tender and perfectly seasoned.
2. Pepito’s coconut ice cream. Hello shredded coconut! They said, “It’s all homemade.” I thought after tasting it, “yeah, evidently.”
3. Boccalone’s, “Tasty Salted Pig Parts,” motto. Got my attention and had to buy their Nduja, spreadable spicy salame. I can’t wait to try their suggestion of spreading it under chicken skin before roasting. Great tip for keeping the husband happy.
4. Soul Cocina’s Bhel Puri. New to me, but pretty typical street food. I think I can say this was my favorite of the day. Newspaper makes everything taste street-ier.
If I can just find more room to eat, I guessing from the long lines that I should not miss Chairman Bao’s Buns and Homeroom Mac n Cheese.
Jul 25th, 2010
Another perfect cappuccino found at Oliveto Cafe in Oakland, made better by house-made apricot cornetto.
Sep 18th, 2008
The best reason to go to The Rotunda Restaurant: Popovers and Strawberry Butter.
I like a cooking challenge, but sometimes, leave it to the experts. The Rotunda gets their popovers flaky and deeply browned on the outside, while the inside is pillowy and moist. They are almost as big as my head, which is usually a deterrent. Portion control, people! But never-mind in this case. Two please.
Aug 22nd, 2008
I have a big “duh” coming my way. I should have known Blue Bottle Coffee would make a perfect cappuccino. I wait 30 minutes for my drip coffee every Sunday at Temescal Farmers Market, which makes my retired navy pilot father laugh with pity as he threatens to bring a giant Thermos of Navy coffee to sell to the folks in the Blue Bottle line. I assume the espresso drinks will take longer, so I opt for drip every time. My mistake. The cappuccino is flawless, as you can see.
Aug 19th, 2008
Thanks to our friends at Very Good Taste in England, we’ll take a break and play a little game. Join us? Top my 77/100?
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl – I grew up in SF for crying out loud.
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar -One of my best memories, Germany 1996, BFF, Cuban Cigar.
37. Clotted cream tea -another fine memory involving a hot English punk rocker in Bath.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal- not one of my finest moments
56. Spaetzle- with rabbit at Le Cirque. Sweet Jesus!
57. Dirty gin martini- I’m still dehydrated
58. Beer above 8% ABV- Brother Thelonious
60. Carob chips
62. Sweetbreads- I even got my previously veggie husband to enjoy them at Campton Place.
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – yes, yes, yes and yes
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe- that was a rough night in Spain, I think.
74. Gjetost, or brunost – Husband is Norwegian, so that pretty much makes me a Norwegian.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail – See my review on The Prospector
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky - Try the Pocky for Men. It’s made with Dark Chocolate.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
88. Flowers – that is so 1999
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
Aug 14th, 2008
Once you have had your life changed by a perfectly made espresso drink, it’s tough to go back to the schlock that helped you through college. Traveling to Europe only makes this inevitable snobbery worse. I think SF should be able to compete, as we do in bread, restaurants, wine, chocolate and cheese. But no, we lose. It seems like most cafes and cafe patrons are too obsessed with size, speed and bottom line (pun intended), so a cappuccino is often served in a 12 oz paper cup, even when ordered “for here,” a shot or two of espresso is poured into the cup, then a random, inconsistent amount of scorched milk is added, and then piles of dry foam sculpted like an ice cream sundae adorn the top. I don’t even order cappuccinos anymore, unless I see ceramic cappuccino mugs warming on the espresso machine and the menu does not offer large, larger and massive cappuccinos, flavored mocha’s or green tea milkshakes. And even then, I have only found two places…
Ritual Coffee Roasters (pictured) and
Are there any other Bay Area cappuccino snobs out there who can suggest another haven?
Jul 31st, 2008
Twain Harte is about 2.5 hours outside of the Bay Area and is a popular mountain vacation town with lakes in the summer and skiing in the winter. It’s like Tahoe without the attitude, crowds and prices. Thus the food scene in Twain Harte accommodates the clientele, as it should, and it’s not fancy. So, as a food snob on vacation, I go with the flow of the tranquil town and am delighted to be swept into The Prospector on a special prix fixe paella night which consists of four courses, each with a generous pour of finer wine. Sitting outside on a deck surrounded by redwoods, drinking Spanish wines, watching Bobby Martino work his magic at the wood fired oven is pure heaven.
And then the food comes. He clearly scoured the area for the freshest ingredients that day and used authentic Spanish additions. First is a chunky gazpacho with vivid flavors and colors. The bread in the cold soup has been soaked in aged sherry vinegar that complemented the garlic and tomatoes perfectly. Next comes the prawn crostini with cumin scented zucchini puree. Bobby clearly knows how to properly season and brighten his flavors because this course could have been dull but it is anything but. Then a surprise: the paella is not the shellfish variety like any good tourist will tell you about, but the original Valencian paella of rabbit and snails. Typical of paella, it’s a long time cooking, but we settle in with other local diners and a large bottle of wine and wait for the perfectly cooked entree. It’s beautifully complemented with baby purple carrots, baby corn and chorizo. He pulls off the house-made cinnamon ice cream with strawberry coulis and anisette- pinenut coca flawlessly. It was a perfect palate cleanser and sweet treat after a full meal. All the flavors were balanced and bright.
And at $32 per person, I am guessing he’s mostly doing it for the love.
You can get in on this love too, but leave your schedule and need for pampered service in the city. Rumor has it that the next paella night will be August 7 or 14th. Call to inquire and reserve. Other nights, stop by and try his certified authentic Napolitana pizza. I was not able to try it this time, but it will be my first stop next time I am up in the area.
Jun 4th, 2008
Would you say that you are against the use of any chemicals to produce your food? If so, would you swear off the avant garde culinary movement of molecular gastronomy? This debate is in full effect in Spain, as reported by Victoria Burnett in the New York Times, June 1, 2008. Chef Santi Santamaria stands firm that molecular gastronomy does harm to the reputation and purity of the local and natural Mediterranean cuisine. Ferran Adria, who continues to use such natural ingredients, has incorporated techniques requiring the use of “harmless” chemicals such as methyl cellulose and liquid nitrogen. Can we follow our hearts on a natural food system and give space for some experimenting? I think so, but I am torn. Thoughts?
Apr 22nd, 2008
There is top culinary award in my little food world. It’s called, “The Nearly Brought Me to Tears Award.” That’s tears of joy, and Incanto wins this notable award.
That’s all that needs to be said, but props can be given to the personable and professional staff, the lovely dining room, the prompt seating on a Saturday night, the inventive and risky menu perfectly executed to knock me over with flavor combinations and depth, reasonable portion sizes and prices, and the finest flourless chocolate cake which was ordered by my gluten-free dining companion. Lucky break for her.