Pata Negra Sin Lipstick

•September 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Thank you NYMag for this gem.

photo by Jeff Diesel

Guess this Dish

•September 12, 2008 • 5 Comments

Hint: it’s crispy, smoky and savory.

Here’s how I ate it:

Eating San Francisco – Slowly, Decadently, Luxuriously and with Cocktails

•September 11, 2008 • 2 Comments

Is there a better food town than SF? I don’t know. Few I’ve been to come close in terms of quality and diversity.

From my “tastes” at Slow Foods (no, I didn’t try the S’mores from the bicycle burners) including lots of charcuterie, heritage pork, prosciutto, sparkling honey mead, apple ciders of four different styles. The cheese line snaked so far out the door and down the dock I vowed only to wait in it if I ended up tall, blond and twenty. Okay, I caved. My third or fourth pass the line was only near the door…

…to Yank Sing which easily sets the new bar for Dim Sum. Peking Duck on a cart? Are you kidding? No, I’m not. Xiu long bao so delicate, a second order was necessary just to reassure ourselves that the first was not a dream.

Sushi at Ozumo – possibly one of the best sushi dinners ever (at least in the top three or so, and I’ve had it in Tokyo across the street from Tsukiji, at Yasuda, Morimoto, OYa, Oishii…)

The Ferry Market – a beautifully restored ferry landing and market. Boccalone is there, Chef Chris Cosentino’s head to tail salumeria. Hog Island oysters with Diane and a couple I ran into at Slow Foods the next day.

Vietnamese with Lia in the Tenderloin. My intro to “true Ha Noi style” Vietnamese food.

Acme Chophouse at AT & T park.

Slow Down – Eat

Our tastes at Slow and the Go and the Marketplace included: Dahi papdi chaat crispy, tart, sweet and creamy all in one; Benton’s ham biscuits; Let’s Be Frank grass-fed beef hot dogs; Pork bun from Slanted Door; iced New Orleans style coffee (with Chicory) from Blue Bottle; watermelon agua fresca, tamales. If we missed a corner of the globe, it was only because a line was too long.

The Marketplace yielded tastes and treats, too. Four Sisters, Three Twins, Happy Girl, Pan-o-Rama bread. The names alone were entertaining. New products from old favorites and new vendors altogether. Most all using local, organic, seasonal ingredients. Raw milk, organic rice, ice cream, tomatoes, vinegar. Our take-home haul included: coffee, wheatberries, Katz’ Sauvignon Blanc vinegar, Koda Farms heirloom rice.

And Drink

Slow Spirits were just allowed to “Come to the Table” themselves. , the organization, just this year allowed Spirits to join the party. Like letting them graduate from the kiddy table at Thanksgiving.

I covered the Spirits workshop for FoodBuzz (click on the sidebar Food Buzz badge or click here.) Big surprise for me was the sparkling honey mead. I expected cloying sweet, heavy. I got light, bubbly and refreshing. Note to self: talk to Howie at Bauer.

An Anniversary, of sorts

And trips like this one are why I’m so glad Caleb asked me to marry him five years ago today! Thanks sweetie – looking forward to many more meals and I’m so glad we’re back in the gym!

A Dish to Curry Favor

•September 10, 2008 • 2 Comments

Got to try this! Does anyone know the origin of the phrase “to curry favor?”

Black chickpeas add drama, flavor, protein. Click on the link (here or in sidebar) to read my whole Black Foods, Superfoods, article on Suite101.

Tonight, I added black chickpeas to a curry dish that I improvised. It was a riff on the recipe I brought to our fourth floor Indian Potluck. Raghavan Iyer’s demo in Monterey was so inspiring and fun. I requested and received a copy of his book to review. After the class and just a few dips into the boo, I know why the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) gave him the “teacher of the year” award.

In the meantime, this dish is my new favorite. The nutty aroma of mustard seeds popping gently in canola oil, then the fragrant spices, the curry leaves, light coconut milk. It’s a rich, nutty, positively addictive combination.

This chicken dish rocks. (Sorry the photography isn’t so great – one reason that energy efficient bulbs are not my favorite is the light they cast!) We marinated chicken drumsticks in a fennel-cardamom-chili-garlic rub, overnight.

Then, throwing the sauce together takes no time. I used a couple tablespoons of mustard seeds (popped in oil) then added diced red onion, the black chickpeas, sambhar masala, curry leaves, a can of light coconut milk and half a can of diced tomatoes. Really the only prep work is dicing the onion. I cooked the chickpeas Saturday. You could easily use canned.

Our dinner on Sunday opened a new adventure in cooking. I can see that it must have been hell for his editor to cull thousands of pages of work down to the 800 or so here. And heaven, too. Imagine all those recipes? With 660 Curries I do feel a bit like I’ve been given the keys to a new kingdom.

The review’s coming soon, for now, check out Chef Iyer’s blog, here and just look at the pages left out!

Oh those foodies and their AP kids…

•September 8, 2008 • 2 Comments

AP = Advanced Palate

Sadly, my tainted hero slips another notch.

First, the guy who rails against all that is conventional, spitting his disdain at any of us who lack his sophistication. And privilege. No, Tony, we didn’t all vacation at our Grandmere’s near the oyster farm in France. But, even while he spews his anger at conventional society, proclaiming his position from every bar stool, or street-food stall, he shows us every so often, that he is on the inside, a real softie. I’m sure I’d get along with this guy, he’s like the guy at the party that I gravitate toward. At least, I used to. Maybe I’d just find him insufferable.

Anyway, over time, I developed this soft spot, this love-hate thing for him. I read his books (see Bobby with Orange Fingers), watch his shows (I have him to thank him for the introduction to Ferran Adria) (and my husband who found and TiVo’d that show. Occasionally, I really like him (as much as one can like an unknown celebrity.)

Then, the bastard goes and does the most predictable thing in the world. Dumps wife #1 who stood by him through all the addictions and accompanying ups and downs. Documented in his books, by his own hand. Picks up wife #2 (younger, I’m sure) and becomes a doting Daddy. Now, maybe I’m wrong and it was Nancy who dumped him and left with the pool-boy half her age. Could be.

But now that he’s a Daddy, suddenly, HIS kid has the most amazing palate in ever witnessed in humankind. It’s too clichéed, Tony. Not you. Please.

This post in Serious Eats makes me sad. Except for the one commenter (apparently the only one who’s read any child development lit) noting that this willingness by toddlers to eat anything, is nothing but age-appropriate behavior.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s lots to love about Bourdain. And, I’m not unmindful of the old wisdom that says what we find most annoying in others is what we loathe or fear in ourselves. So I’m willing to admit that my struggle with Bourdain probably says more about ME than it does about him.

But, if he starts going on about how “gifted” his kid is, I think I’ll vomit.

The Real AP Eaters

Now, if you want to know what real adventurous kids eat even when no one’s watching, when their parents aren’t famous, you have to hear what my nieces eat. (Did you like that segue Yen-Yen?) Even beyond the toddler who’ll eat anything stage, my sister-in-law feeds her daughters very healthy, and very weird, stuff. They are old enough to express preferences (beans and yogurt for dinner!) but not old enough to know how unusual their snacks are. I’m not talking about the run of the mill substitution of wheat flour-for-white. Or the fruit-instead-of-candy bar stuff. Ha! That’s for wimps. She is hardcore. Kale pancakes anyone? Smoothies will all manner of fruits and veggies.

I remember playing around with the girls at a recent family gathering when it was clearly approaching snack time. This is easy to judge by the mood of kids. The ziplock bag comes out with some dark gray-green-purply colored pancake-like things. What gave them their unusual color? Kale, among other things. The girls loved them. I went to take a bite and just as I was realizing the folly of my ways, Yen-Yen says: “Oooh, I wouldn’t eat that if I were you.” What? What are you feeding them?

Well, it’s all healthy stuff, so why not. These are not kids who will reach adulthood unaware of what a brussels sprout tastes like. They might, however, think one is meant to drink them.

Could be worse, I guess.

Hello! My Name is Irony and I’m an Alcoholic.

•September 2, 2008 • 7 Comments


I waited for the final session of my first Slow Food event here at the Fort Mason Center. I was covering the session for the FoodBuzz community.

As I sat and shuffled paper, perused programs and checked voicemail, more than one person gave me a robust “Hello!”

I watched as a couple people were milling about, smoking cigarettes, chugging on Vente Lattes, joking with friends. One gentleman, a little older than me or the others, came over and said “Hi, are you one of us?”

I said, “Oh, I thought that’s what was happening. No, I’m not, but I get it. I’m here for another workshop. But thanks!”

Few minutes later I walked into the building and was again greeted heartily, “Hi! I’m Jill, Welcome!”

I said “Hello, I’m Jackie and I’m actually headed to a different meeting, but thanks.”

So the AA meeting was happening on one floor and just above it, the Slow Spirits workshop. Irony, defined.

While we tasted libations sustainably produced, sipped artisanal cocktails and shared stories of drinking, I thought about the other meeting. One guy in our class even shared a bit too much and left in embarassment, perhaps he found the other meeting. At least they were nice, unlike the jerk in Slow Spirits who felt compelled to make a joke at the expense of the learned if lubricated participant in our class.

Way to build community, dude.

More soon on the whole weekend – including some pretty funny moments in and outside of the Slow Food events.

City Style Shellfish Shindig – Oysters, Quahogs, Steamers, Oh My!

•August 25, 2008 • 2 Comments

Follow that Man!

Imagine all that shellfish and no bridge traffic!

In honor of the hard working shellfishermen and women who harvest the Bay State’s
coastal waters, Massachusetts Aquaculture Association (MAA) is uniting a group of local shellfish farmers to celebrate its first Shellfish Shindig. The growers hail from Cape Cod and the Islands, the North and South Shores and Southeastern Mass.

Bay State Farmed Shellfish will be served to seafood enthusiasts

When: Noon to 5 p.m. on
September 14, 2008,

Where: at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain.

“Shellfish farming is one of the most sustainable fishing methods, and the Shellfish Shindig is a way for New Englanders to meet area shellfishers, enjoy delicious food prepared with seafood grown in the clean, cold waters of Massachusetts.

Come learn more about the eco-friendly harvesting practices the aquaculture industry uses in our own backyard,” says MAA President Bob Tourigny.

The Shindig will boast local oysters, quahog clams and steamers by the bucket, prepared in the shellfishermen’s favorite styles, whether raw, fried or steamed in beer.

Highlights for the fall fest include:

  • Local chefs and shellfishermen will demonstrate shellfish preparation, cooking methods and shucking techniques
  • A variety of Samuel Adams brews will be paired with each dish to showcase the complementary flavors of craft beer and shellfish available locally
  • Rowan Jacobsen, award-winning author of A Geography of Oysters, will host a book signing and discussion
  • Chef Will Gilson from Garden at the Cellar will also be there with his grass-fed mini-burgers!

Admission is $10.00 per person and includes tastings of Samuel Adams beers. All food is sold separately by local shellfish farmers. To buy your tickets in advance, click here. This is a CASH ONLY event open to everyone. Proper identification is required to purchase alcohol. Non-alcoholic beverages are being generously supplied by Nestle Waters of North America. Due to limited parking, public transportation is strongly suggested. For more information, contact Bethany Walton at 508-934-9753 or

The Shellfish Shindig would not be possible without the generous support of Samuel Adams, Edible Boston and Nuestra Culinary Ventures.