||Sunday, May 31, 2009
A perfect day for a garden party at M&Z’s. Passed hors d'oeuvres, drinks and a delicious buffet of snacks and sweets.
We chatted the afternoon away and left with a party favor of home made limoncello.
||Saturday, May 30, 2009
Today’s Urban Luau at Dashe Cellars:
... had more than wine glasses swirling. A 160 pound pig made the rounds:
... as we paddled over to each tasting island to sample the fantastically floral 2008 Dry Riesling and the strawberry scented 2008 Vin Gris.
The 2008 Zinfandel l’Enfant Terrible was neither terrible or childish. We enjoyed this newly released, peppery premium potion before raspberrying ourselves in the 2006 louvauble Zinfandel Louvau.
Steel tanks were filled with music:
... as well as wine:
... at this Dashe do.
55 4th St.
Mark your Calendar
Bill Corbett of Michael Mina, Michelle Polzine of Range, Jessica Sullivan of Boulevard and Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake and Orson are among the top pastry chefs rolling out for the Dessert First event on June 7th.
This Project Open Hand benefit at the W Hotel includes a VIP reception with a top mixologist competition from 4-5 p.m. and sweet tooth satiety until 8 p.m.
Ninth Annual Dessert First
Sunday, June 7th
VIP Reception and mixology competition 4-5 p.m.
Dessert First! 5-8 p.m.
Tickets $65-$125 each
W Hotel San Francisco
181 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA
||Friday, May 29, 2009
Drinks shoots and leaves
Tea has a steep learning curve, but we cured our budding curiosity during this evening’s presentation by the staff of Teance.
Winnie (the owner and tea buyer):
... discussed her latest line of leafy loot providing details of the regions, people and culture to put the tea in terrior.
Winnie illustrated her journey with pictures and, of course, the bounty of brewed beverages:
... (that she brought back from her beat around the bush.) We savored gorgeous greens and outstanding oolongs as she answered questions to drain our confusion with infusions.
There are more upcoming tea-vents for those with a fondness for fresh foliage. Check their site to pour over the schedule.
1780 4th Street
Mark your Calendar
Cochon 555 returns to the Bay Area on June 14th at the Fairmont.
5 breeds of heritage pigs will be hogging the old spot-light with 5 chefs competing for the title of “Prince of Porc” as guests enjoy the laborious fruits of 5 family-owned wineries.
Ryan Farr (Mr. Chicharrones) of 4505 Meats, Ravi Kapur of Boulevard Restaurant, Nate Appleman of A16/SPQR, Staffan Terje of Perbacco and Peter McNee of Poggio Trattoria will pull out all the porky stops. With all this culinary talent, we anticipate that the victor will win by a nose.
If you are trimming the fat from your budget, enter “baconbits” as a discount code.
Cochon 555 - San Francisco
June 14th, 5 p.m.
Tickets $145, enter “baconbits” as a discount code for $110 price
Advance ticket purchase required
950 Mason St.
San Francisco, CA
From our Bunrab email bag, Aaron writes:
I hope you guys are aware of the chaos going on at Monterey Market. Bottom Line: Bill is essentially being forced out of his position, but is officially resigning June 3rd. Without his presence, the market-an institution that is vital to the East Bay food community- will simply not be the same. Please visit http://savemontereymarket.blogspot.com/ to sign a petition that expresses what Bill's absence would mean for the future of the market. I think you guys are absolutely great, and I hope that you might spread the word.
As fans of both Monterey Market and Bill Fujimoto, we are sorry to hear about this upheaval.
||Thursday, May 28, 2009
Cibo (pronounced “chee-boh”) Café opened up a few weeks ago and is serving up Blue Bottle coffee in their modern mound of mortar in Sausalito.
The smoked salmon panini ($7.95):
... had a nice crunchy crust with a sweet filling of caramelized red onions, with herbed marscapone and arugula. The ingredient distribution (an important issue for sandwiches) was even throughout these triangles that were polygone right away. The pickled garlic, peppers, cauliflower and onions:
... were good but are only for those who enjoy a strong vinegar element to their crunchy vegetables.
This counter service breakfast and lunch spot:
... has a display case laden with coffee friendly snacks to take to their indoor and outdoor tables. We’ll have to come back to check out some of their baked goods.
Mark your Calendar
Dasche Cellars’ Spring Open House takes place this Saturday and this year it’s a luau complete with a whole spit roasted pig.
They will be pouring wines including their 2008 L’Enfant Terrible and 2008 Dry Creek Grenache with the added panache of live music. So get out that Hawaiian shirt and hula over to Oakland.
Spring Open House
Saturday, May 30th 1 - 5 p.m.
Tickets $25 advance, $30 at the door
55 4th St.
The local dirt:
Kids are going to beg to have their mouths washed out with soap once Boccalone’s peppermint scented sudser is released. It’s going to be molded in the shape of a winged pig (not that it will need any assistance in flying off the shelves.) Another week or so and we can porcure these porculiar pork products. Until then we will have to follow the cycle of products for internal use only.
May 31st, is the kickoff of Incanto’s Cucina Povera, a 3-course menu for $30 (add $9 for wine pairings) that will take place on Sunday and Monday nights through August 31st. Each week will feature a different region’s home style cuisine. Check their website for all the deets.
1550 Church St.
San Francisco, CA
||Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Friends coming by for dinner provided the perfect excuse to check out Joyce Goldstein’s new Tapas cookbook.
This roadmap to Spanish snacking demystifies the regions and history as it puts the “bravas” in the patatas and has you cooking with albondi-gas.
We made her garbanzo recipe as a vegetarian dish (omitting all of the ingredients listed as optional) and it was delicious. The fragrant cumin seeds made this dish sing.
Garbanzos con Espinaca
Chickpeas with Spinach
1/2 pound (1 generous cup) dried chickpeas
7 cloves garlic, peeled
1 onion, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 small ham hock (optional)
About 1 1/4 pounds spinach, tough stems removed, rinsed, and coarsely chopped (about 10 loosely packed cups or 1 pound after trimming)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 slice country bread, crust removed
Generous pinch of saffron threads, warmed and crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant and finely ground
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1/2 cup coarsely flaked cooked salt cod (optional)
1/4 cup diced cooked ham if using ham hock or 1/2 cup if not using hock (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of sherry vinegar, as needed
4 eggs, fried sunny-side up, or 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped (optional)
- Pick over the chickpeas, discarding any misshapen peas or grit, rinse well, and soak overnight in water to cover. The next day, drain the chickpeas and put them in a saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches. Tie together 4 of the garlic cloves, the onion, and the bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and add the sachet to the pan. Add the optional ham hock only if you will not be adding salt cod later, and then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, adding 2 teaspoons salt (less if using the ham hock) after the first 10 minutes of cooking, until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 hour. Remove the pan from the heat, and remove the sachet from the pan. Leave the chickpeas in their cooking liquid. Discard the ham bone. Untie the sachet, discard the bay leaf, and reserve the garlic and onion.
- Place the spinach in a saucepan with only the rinsing water clinging to its leaves and cook over medium heat, stirring and turning constantly with tongs, until wilted, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain well in a sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon. If the leaves seem stringy or too big, you can chop them a bit more. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bread and the remaining 3 uncooked garlic cloves and fry, turning as needed, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender or small processor, add the saffron, and pulse until pulverized. Add the onion and garlic reserved from the chickpeas, the cumin, paprika, and 1 cup of the chickpea cooking liquid and purée until smooth.
- Add the purée and the spinach to the cooked chickpeas along with the salt cod or the ham, whichever you are using. Place the mixture over low heat, stir well, and bring to a simmer. If it seems dry, add a little water as needed so the stew is spoonable. Season to taste with salt and lots of pepper. Taste and balance the seasoning with vinegar.
- Transfer to a serving dish. If serving with the optional eggs, top with the fried eggs and serve hot, or with the hard-boiled eggs and serve warm.
Reprinted with permission from Tapas Sensational Small Plates from Spain by Joyce Goldstein copyright © 2009. Published by Chronicle Press.
Cookbook cover photo credit: Leigh Beisch© 2009
||Tuesday, May 26, 2009
There was a lot of excitement on Market Street this evening both on the street:
...and on the plate. We joined our pals A & B at CAV:
... for this evening’s annual fall mushroom dinner featuring the King of Mushrooms (aka Todd Spanier’s) fungal foodstuffs. Chef Michael Lamina cultivated courses for cap connoisseurs (as well as for funghi free freaks.)
Hamachi crudo ($11.00):
... with sweet bits of roasted watermelon, celery lime water and sea beans was a fresh marriage of flavors.
The forest mushroom ragout ($11.00):
... with fava beans, asparagus and gruyere was so delectable that we immediately placed a second order.
A wonderful green curry ($13.00):
... was strewn with prawns, clams and mussels with turnip batons twirling with enokis in this complex culinary choreography.
Perfectly grilled, pristine, Artic char ($19.00):
... with morels, favas and crayfish was both earthy and seay.
Gambone mushrooms were the tent poles for the intensely delicious duck breast ($19.00):
... with a rich red wine sauce, peas and carrot ribbons.
... stuffed with a sweet filing of peas polkaed around a bowl of green dots.
We shared a tasty blackberry and strawberry tart ($7.50) with bourbon vanilla ice cream as we shot the shitake with the mushroom king:
... who told us of another of his spore-atic antics tomorrow at Sent Sovi in Saratoga.
Pamela Busch buttoned up Chef Lamina’s gilled grub with well selected wines and when we had no more shroom, it was time to forage for our keys.
CAV Wine Bar
1666 Market St.
San Francisco, CA
||Monday, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day calls for retro chow like our go to recipe for old school, easy and tastetalgic chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting from Food & Wine Magazine.
These are surprisingly light in texture with a not-too-sweet, chocolately flavor. We start checking the cakes for doneness 5 minutes before the indicated time and we don’t frost them thickly as the recipe ratios indicate, but these celebratory circles are a hit in our celebratory circles.
||Sunday, May 24, 2009
We filled our platelets with burgers bought with blood money from PlumpJack’s annual drive:
... (back in March.) We love that PlumpJack gets donors to circulate to the sanguine sedan for this quid protein quo transfusion of blood for spuds.
It would be easy to be hematocritical of this baguette bordered beef:
... but we chose to simply put our gift courses in our mouths as we plumped our stomachs with the culinary currency of our jacked blood.
Balboa Cafe Mill Valley
38 Miller Ave.
Mill Valley, CA
||Saturday, May 23, 2009
French Laundry List
In only a few weeks, Corey Lee will pass the baton to Timothy Hollingsworth who will toque over the role of chef de cuisine at The French Laundry.
We savored Chef Lee’s incredible chow over the last several years and this evening’s five and a half hour dinner was our opportunity to relish his relishes enough to Corey us through until he opens his new San Francisco restaurant next year.
The expectedly delicious champagne, gougers and salmon cornets:
... trumpeted in a Venus-worthy scallop tartare with peeled grapes and sea grapes dressed with verjus:
We could not rebuke the fluke carpaccio with cucumber, poached cherry and Marcona almond puree:
Island Creek oysters in a tapioca sabayon with white sturgeon caviar (aka “oysters and pearls”) are always a treat:
The 2007 Domaine Weinbach Riesling reeled in a big fin squid with cashews and scallion:
... and went eel-liciously with pickled ramps, smoked trout roe and Haas avocado puree:
Orange tongues of uni rowed in a sea of corn emulsion with Yukon Gold potatoes, Hobbs bacon and lovage:
The nuttiness of a 1998 Lopez de Heredia, Vina Gravonia, Crianza Blanco, Rioja went perfectly with the signature egg custard with black truffle ragu and a chive potato chip.
Pain au lait with Animal Farm and Andante butters offered a bready backdrop to a salad of white asparagus with Silverado Trail strawberries, creme fraiche infused with ginger and red ribbon sorrel:
The gnocchi and fava beans with spring onions and mustard seeds went with a 2006 Puligny-Montrachet while an Alban Vineyards Roussanne went swimmingly with Louisiana prawns, globe artichokes, green garlic and diced peppers with a Romenesco sauce.
Foie gras with a white honey glaze swarmed:
... with the honied Chateau Raymond-Lafon Sauternes. Compressed Belgian endive, apple, Dijon mustard, micro mustard greens and a salt selection with thick toasted slices of brioche de-livered the goods.
The Salmon Creek pork belly with English peas, Romaine lettuce and spring onions was spigtacular:
Snake River farms culotte de beouf with wild French asparagus, pickled ramps and morels was a meaty marvel:
The Aarauer Bierdekel had a wonderful nasal nudge to this beer washed rind cheese:
Apricot puree, watercress, aged Balsamic and braised fennel hit the mat in this delectable cow-lection.
Andante Dairy yogurt sherbet over an oatmeal cookie with rhubarb gelee had a tang and tartness with a crunchy and sweet nutty oatmeal base.
Cappuccino semifreddo with a hot brioche donut (aka “coffee and donuts”) arrested our hunger with this top cop glop.
Banana chocolate and caramel cake with hazelnut sorbet over Valrhona chocolate had a crisp wafer top over a soft chocolate cake suspending ripe banana balls.
Mignardises, chocolate truffles and coffee insured our game of tummy tetris had reached a record score.
As always, Chef Lee created unique and delicious dishes without a clunker (or even an average preparation) in the bunch. Even though we anticipate remaining full from this meal until the opening of his San Francisco restaurant, we’ll probably find ourselves experiencing a pang or two when we’ll venture back to The French Laundry to see what Chef Hollingsworth has in store.
The French Laundry Restaurant
6640 Washington St.