Eat + Drink
Got an email from SFist yesterday asking about my guilty food pleasures to add to their list of other food types and their own personal sins: Spruce chef Mark Sullivan's really going to go to hell for his jamon Iberico addiction, Elizabeth Falkner uses the moment for a little self-promo and, of course, Alice Waters wasn't available for comment, although I'm pretty sure she wouldn't eat an Oreo Cakester if she was marooned on a desert island.
Jamie Lauren (Absinthe, executive chef; season 5 Top Chef): "Nacho cheese pretzel Combos. I'm obsessed. They're delicious."
Gary Danko (Gary Danko, executive chef): "Gummy worms."
I spotted some strikingly beautiful garlic scapes at the Marin Roots Farm booth last Saturday. Scapes are the slender shoots that emerge from hard-neck garlic varieties in late spring and early summer. They’re usually removed to allow the garlic plant to focus its energy on the growing bulb. Garlic scapes have a lovely mild flavor and a wonderful texture similar to young asparagus or pole beans. They can be grilled, added to stir fries or salads and they make a fantastic pesto.
It just might be that Incanto's Chris Cosentino and A16's Nate Appleman are going to have a celebrity death match soon—wherein they pelt each other with pig hearts or wrap each other in caul fat. There’s not enough room in this town for two whole-hog men.
A few weeks back my colleague Sara made a lunchtime pilgrimage to Little Skillet, which she documented here. I was able to scam a few bites of the toothsome fried chicken, it's dark brown skin fused to the meat, supernaturally crisp and expertly seasoned. Good stuff is issuing forth from this kitchen.
William Grimes has a feature in the New York Times Dining section on the not-so-cutting-edge trend of the speakeasy-style bar. Grimes is a terrific writer, and his book Straight Up of On the Rocks is one of the greatest books about the history of the American cocktail ever written, so his illumination of the ways in which the modern speakeasies only resemble their Prohibition-era inspirations is well worth looking at.
Farming For Compliments
Want to give some love to Alemany? Think the Ferry Plaza Saturday market is, hands down, the best in America? American Farmland Trust is holding a contest to determine which is America’s favorite farmers market. We think we’ve got this one in the (canvas, reusable) bag. Go to www.farmland.org/vote anytime between now and August 8.
Chocolate and caramel, curry carts and cocktails for the road. Mexican fiestas, Hawaiian loco moco and Shanghai Bucks. Where to get goat in the Marina, black-sesame popsicles in the Mission and … Tums (available at any Walgreens).
The Magic Curry Kart, the Sexy Soup Lady, Bike Basket Pies, the creme brulee guy, the French taco truck. Boccalone's Salumi Cycle is delivering sandwiches. The economy seems to be turning San Francisco into one big Twitter-fueled, "nonrestaurant" bake sale (with elements of Burning Man thrown in)—all under the guise of street food, "authentic" or not.
Since Bill Clinton, who liked to eat but whose most lasting gastronomical association was with the Big Mac, and Bush, who seemed almost disdainful of good food and didn't even drink, it's been sixteen years since there's been any chief executive whose evinced that most human (and, for us, a most San Franciscan) trait of enjoying a good drink. While Obama's election broke many barriers and has yielded hope in so many ways, one of the nicest things about his presidency so far is that the guy likes to drink. And the examples keep piling up . . .