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Sara Deseran

The Notebook

I had a little holiday lunch with Daniel Patterson, the cerebral chef and owner of Coi, last week. We didn’t have any remotely foamy or fancy. He just sat in the tattered, faux-velvet chairs at Punjab Kebab, catching up with me and happily polishing off his very uncerebral chicken curry.

 
Daniel preparing for Madrid Fusion.

Punch Drunk Love

During the holiday madness, I find it best to find a balance between non-sober moments and some rather sobering ones.

For the latter, I recommend catching up on your reading. In particular, Michael Pollan’s very good essay, “Our Decrepit Food Factories” in last Sunday’s Times Magazine. It lays out the ramifications of the use of antibiotics in factory farming. This is one way to sober up—really quickly.

In Hot Water

As a whole, it's just been one of those weeks. But Wednesday, the universe wouldn’t align no matter what I did. So, after work was over, I went through my usual laundry list of perk-me-ups:

• I went to the gym and did my little gym routine extra hard, while listening to The Prototypes on my iPod—really loud.
• I sat in the steam room and breathed deeply.
• When this didn't work, I drank—two stiff drinks at our office holiday party (a negroni and a gin martini, twist of lemon)—and danced (particularly to “How Do You Want It?” by Tupac, which was smartly requested by Melissa, our arts and entertainment editor).

But the universe was being stubborn that night. It wouldn't budge.

Tower of Power

Having written about food in San Francisco for over 10 years, I live with a lot of restaurant guilt. I’ve eaten at plenty of places, but there are also plenty of to-dos on my list.

Cut to internal monologue: This city is only 49 square miles. Get on it, Sara. Look at Marcia from Tablehopper—she’s a machine, she’s killing you. Look at all the Yelpers. Look at Joe Blogger and your next-door neighbors, for god’s sake. Michael Bauer has eaten everywhere—three times. What kind of food editor are you, anyhow?!

The Ginger-Barn (Day 2)

Jessica is out of town, lounging around somewhere on the island of Kuai.

Unfortunately, I'm not.

Instead, I'm here to give you an update on the gingerbread barn we're working on at the Palace Hotel (along with chef Russell), for their annual gingerbread competition, which I know you're absolutely dying to hear more about.



Very small photo of Jessica
helping with our very
big gingerbread barn.

Cure (Not So) Simple



At the photographer's studio, charcuterie awaits its beauty shot.

Animal Instinct

Ah, the life of a food writer. One moment you're dining on lobster and caviar, the next moment you're in a hotel's chilly fluorescent-lit windowless basement pastry room, among racks of lemon meringue petit fours, squinting as you try to make the world's tiniest eyes out of black fondant and attach them to some fondant hybrid of a duck and a chick (a chuck?) that you've come up. A lot of cursing is involved.



Making fondant pigs is harder than it looks.

I Heart NY

Just got back from visiting my brother, Travis, in New York. He lives in the East Village and so I stick with the West Village, Soho, Nolita, Lower East Side circuit, rarely even getting on a train. There’s really too much to love in that city, but I'm always glad to be back home.

Day #1: Met friends at Kuma Inn for dinner. A little upstairs place in the Lower East Side. Asiany, tapasy, dark and nooky. Overall the food was ok, but the Chinese sausage with sticky rice was great. Very LES BYOB, a nice change from SF WBTG (wine by the glass).



Making candy at Papabubble.

Use Your Words

Eat + Drink Poll

Our office is an overstuffed set-up constructed with no offices and no cubicles. Just one big open space where you can really reach out and touch someone—the perfect environment to drag everyone into your own procrastilagging.

Thomas In Charge

There are certain things you don't say no to: Like an invitation to an intimate multicourse dinner cooked by Thomas Keller, paired with Opus One and Mondavi cult wines, hosted by three generations of the Mondavi family at their estate located on top of a hill off of the Silverado Trail. To this, you say yes (knowing that some of your friends will be filled with a mix of envy and resentment and find your job obnoxious).
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