CHEAP EATS Call came at 10 at night. I remember where I was. I was sitting at my new desk, deciding between not doing this thing I needed to do, not doing that thing I needed to do, or just going to bed and not being able to sleep because I had so many things to do. It was the perfect time for the phone to ring.
How shocking, shocking to learn that frozen seafood being imported from China is so likely to be tainted with pathogens, antibiotics, and even (according to the fastidious New York Times) "filth" that our very own Food and Drug Administration felt obliged to issue an alert about it at the end of last month. Read more »
Although my subscription to Annals of Wine Pornography has lapsed, I still glean the occasional fetishistic detail from other press outlets in particular, obsessive accounts of how this vintage of that winemaker's reserve pinot noir pairs brilliantly with a particular kind of sheep's milk cheese, left at room temperature for an hour, then smeared over some kind of heirloom fig that's been grilled, cut side up, over a medium applewood fire for six to eight minutes while the grill chef recites poetry.
This sort of elaborately specific pairing remind Read more »
War, although unfortunate in almost every way, can pay some ex post facto dividends in foodland. (Emphasis on post.) Would we have the Slanted Door today if misguided policies founded on ignorance and false premises a half century ago had not led us into Vietnam? War creates refugees, and if the war is an imperial one, the refugees allied with the imperial power tend to seek refuge in the home territory of that empire homeland is the homey term we use today often bringing with them little besides culinary knowledge. Read more »
CHEAP EATS Florentina Morales Espanola, 88, is going to pray for me every day for the rest of her life. She showed me where she goes to church and told me the name of it, but I forgot. She has 63 grandchildren in the Philippines.
I came down for the weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Mountain, and we did everything on "Indian time," which means you get there when you get there, according to Sam. And sometimes not even then, according to me. You take the scenic route, the coast, the trees ... places where time turns into time. Read more »
CHEAP EATS Turns out I have an aptitude for accidental deletion. My most recent masterpiece entailed the loss of three weeks' worth of all-day, every-day home recordings, 11 songs and about 10 gigs of GarageBand files: gone and unbacked-up. In fact, to illustrate my flair for spectacular failures, it was in the act of attempting to back up the files that I deleted the whole folder.
In other words, I've spent the last month neglecting my friends, missing deadlines, and annoying the bejesus out of Weirdo-the-Cat for nothing. Read more »
Oh irony: summer meaning August, fog, cold wind has arrived weeks ahead of schedule, and the bluster has slammed shut the grilling window. We huddle around the stove instead, warming our hands over bubbling soups and stews. Additional irony: tomatoes are starting to turn up at the farmers market. Luckily, the Provençal seafood-stew recipe I've been using for years calls for tomatoes. Irony overload averted.
What to serve the stew with or over has long been an issue. Rice is an obvious choice, while mashed potatoes are nice and wintry. Read more »
The name "Anne Gingrass" carries a certain magic in San Francisco culinary circles, but it's a name that will no longer do. Gingrass was the Spago-trained chef who, with her then-husband, David Gingrass, opened Postrio in 1989, as a prelude of sorts to launching their own place, Hawthorne Lane, six years later. Somewhere along the way, the marriage broke up not an unfamiliar story among restaurant couples and earlier this year Gingrass remarried. Read more »
CHEAP EATS Some week for the chicken farmer. Starts out in the city, my hand in a late-night pot of boiling water, fussing with unthawable frozen tamales, and ends in moonlight in the woods, digging a very sober hole for a very dead chicken.
Foxes have found me.
In other news, there's a spot on the back of humans, below the neck, below the first few vertebrae, between shoulder blades, the soft, special niceness of which will haunt me now for the rest of my life. Read more »
If children should be seen but not heard, and writers should be read but neither seen nor heard, what does this tell us about restaurant signage? Certainly that it should be seen and, ideally, read. Signage isn't everything, but it tells us a lot about a place even before we step inside. If signage is going to be conspicuous, it ought to be stylish, as at Dosa and Ziryab, and if it's going to be inconspicuous, as at many of the highest-end places around town, then the place had better be so good that we'll find it despite the lack of a beckoning beacon. Read more »