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Sara Deseran

Taste Catering Bakes Cookies Like Grandma Never Made

The holiday spirit is a powerful thing. It can make the most un-Martha-like people decide to take on the task of baking cookies for everyone they know. But should you experience a moment of reason, spare yourself a hot kitchen and place an order for Taste Catering’s gorgeous box of cookies—courtesy of executive pastry chef Yigit Pura. Beautifully packaged, the transparent box includes stacks of bite-sized riffs on holiday classics—the kind of tiny perfection that only the best caterer can do so well: French macaroons in vanilla, rose and pistachio; pâtes de fruits made with raspberry-fig balsamic and green-apple calvados; walnut biscuits with sea salt; Valrhona-chocolate-and-sour-cherry mudslides; and Russian tea cookies (our personal favorite)

Dumplings and a Flick: The Best Post T-Day Pairings

Dumplings and a movie. It doesn't get much better. Here are our five of our favorite double dates.

The Last-Minute, Semi-Homemade Thankgiving Planner

You missed the pre-orders on pies—not to mention the turkey. There's still hope for the semi-homemade cooks of San Francisco. Here's your plan. Now run with it.

First, get yourself down to Cheese Plus in Russian Hill. Fresh pies from Katia's Russian Tea Room are coming in this afternoon in classic flavors such as pumpkin, apple, sweet potato and pecan. And while you're there, pick up some turkey-friendly wines recommended by Greg, the in-house wine guy, who suggests Harmonia Pinot from Oregon or a Gruet Rosé Brut from, of all places, New Mexico (hey, it makes good dinner conversation). Grab some charcuterie and of course, cheese, to place out before dinner and you're halfway there.

First Bite: Quince is Set to Align With The Stars

Before you even enter Quince you get a visual of what’s for dinner: A massive window facing the street beckons diners to gaze from the darkness outside into a kitchen glowing with stainless fixtures and copper pots, and outfitted with a centerpiece of a three-ton royal-blue Bonnet stove the size of a studio apartment. The voyeur opportunities Quince’s kitchen offers might be classier than that of the peep shows at the Lusty Lady up the street, but the excitement that it generates in the loin of fine dining aficionados is the same.

Street Food Joy (and Angst) at the CIA

The World of Flavors conference at the Culinary Institute of America was last weekend. The topic? Street food—but of course!

In the CIA’s high-tech conference rooms and demo kitchens, famous chefs and food writers pondered the singular craftsmanship of street food, the different types of street food, the je ne sais quoi of street food. Rick Bayless who just opened Xoco in Chicago—a torta-driven, street food concept—waxed poetic about the importance of the initial approach to the street food stall: the smells, the sights, even the car exhaust.

Best in Show? Scream Sorbet Ups the Ante

In the ongoing icecreaming of San Francisco, a new(ish) contender has entered the ring: Scream Sorbet, which shows up only at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Oddly, the sorbet company, which sells at about every market in the Bay Area, started by Nathan Kurz, hasn't received a ton of attention since launching in 2008—or at least the press they deserve. So I'm going to give it to them right here and now.

The Big Eat 2010: We Need You!

Restaurants come and go, chefs change (and signature dishes suffer the consequence) and bartenders move around like musical bar stools, but The Big Eat SF—100 Things to Eat & Drink Before You Die—must go on! We're ramping up for our February food issue upon when the reconsidered and revitalized Big Eat 2010 will be released.

Primal Napa: This Weekend, Fire it Up

If your lust for knives and blood-thirst wasn't quenched last Saturday, then this weekend, head up to Chase Cellars for Primal Napa where "fire cooking, meat and the art of butchering" will be celebrated. Not only will there be good food, but the guest chefs and butchers will be participating in a "group-butcher demonstration": breaking down a pig, goat, cow, and lamb in front of an audience. While the rest of the world apparently is riveted by Ultimate Fighting, the foodies gather around with their beer to watch live butcher demos.

On the chef roster?

The usual salumi suspects:

Gastro-Genius Heston Blumenthal Shills for the SousVide Supreme

If Obama is doing whirlwind tours around the US in the name of health care reform, then the affable three-Michelin-star, molecular gastro-chef Heston Blumenthal of England's The Fat Duck is going city to city with a similar, singular passion for tender meat. Specifically, he's shilling for the SousVide Supreme, a new appliance intended to bring the gentle art of sous vide cooking to the home cook. Blumenthal—along with the American founders of the company, Dr. Mary Dan and Michael Eades—spent Tuesday at the CCA in SF, touting the merits of water oven cooking for everyone from professional chefs to Suzy Homemaker.

The Michelin Guide's Unlikely "Bib Gourmand" Picks

In a continuing effort to get a little more down to earth and recession friendly, the 2010 Bay Area Michelin Guide just released its "Bib Gourmand" picks, adding an extra 18 selections (Flour + Water and Dosa from SF) , for a total of 62. (The starred restaurant picks will be released on Monday.) In order to qualify to be considered for this Bib Gourmand selection, a restaurant must be able to get a customer out the door with two dishes and one glass of wine or dessert in their belly for under $40.

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