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Eat + Drink

86 the Tomatoes: Are We Seasonal or Narrow-Minded?

Seasonality. It’s is a word bandied about a lot here. “Our menu is seasonally driven …” How many times have you heard a chef say that?

A lot.

For some reason, tomatoes are the most seasonally sacred of all vegetables and fruits: Should an unwitting chef serve a tomato in January, I guarantee the Chowhounders will log on to vent about the sacrilege. While the average diner might be vague on the seasonality of an artichoke (it has two seasons here: spring and fall) and have no guilt about munching on green beans year-round, everyone knows that a slice of tomato=a slice of summer. (And, for the record, summer ended September 21st.)

Not surprisingly then, last week I went to order a sandwich from The Sentinel, chef Dennis Leary’s tiny sandwich shop, and noticed the note: “No more tomatoes until next summer—sorry.” Then Jessica told me that she was at Tartine and ordered an open-faced sandwich that was listed as having tomatoes on it—only to be told that tomatoes would no longer be served with it because tomatoes are out of season.

Tartine's Heavenly Morning Buns Recipe

Lovers of Tartine’s legendary morning buns have noticed the recipe’s absence from the pages of the bakery’s cookbook, Tartine (Chronicle Books), published last August. “We didn’t do it on purpose,” says co-owner Elisabeth Prueitt, who’s been surprised at the number of calls and emails she’s had from people requesting it. Although she plans to put the recipe on Tartine’s own website soon, for immediate sweet-tooth satisfaction, we've got the recipe right here.

Tartine 600 Guerrero St., 415-487-2600

Omnivore: Books on Food



As they say: Don’t judge a dog walker by its cover … or something like that.

Celia Sack, whose identity for the past 10 years has been as co-owner of the Noe Valley Pet Co., is pretty much the last person you’d think would make the leap from selling Nyla bones to antiquated cookbooks. On November 8th, she's opening Omnivore: Books on Food, located just around the corner from the Pet Co. on Cesar Chavez in a former butcher shop. (When she told me this I had a butcher shop déjà vu—like everything these days is being opened in a former butcher shop—call me crazy.) You also might not assume that Sack has a library of 5,000 books stored in the Castro District home that she shares with her partner Paula Harris (the other owner of the Pet Co.). Formerly a rare book specialist at Pacific Book Auction Galleries, Sack will be carrying hundreds of books—both brand, spanking new and very, very old—on everything from raising pigs to cooking pork.

This is such an obvious fit for SF.
There so many great cookbook stores around the country but none here. I love to cook and my collecting interest has always been food books, particularly ‘Victorian era professional’—they’re not cookbooks, they’re more about how to set up a pastry shop and display your popular penny cakes in a display. For some reason that’s fascinating to me.

Order Your (Heritage) Turkey Now

A few weeks ago I went to Traci Des Jardins' Acme Chophouse to taste the season's best sustainable meat and game in preparation for the holidays. Traci and executive chef Thom Fox were joined by the owners of Sonoma Country Poultry and Marin Sun Farms to talk about their turkeys, duck, geese, cows, goats, lambs, pigs and chickens. Bottom line: "The better the animals are treated, the better the meat tastes," according to Marin Sun Farms' Judie Geise.

 

The Best Sushi in San Francisco

I know how this will sound, but it’s true—I read Details for the articles. I don’t always agree with their take on food in San Francisco, but it’s always interesting to see what the editors have to say. However, this story, about the best sushi joints in America, got it exactly right, naming some of my favorite places.

 

Where Did Julia Roberts Dine This Week in SF?

We’re not frequently star-struck, but how’s this for a celebrity sighting: Monday night, following the fundraiser for Paul Newman’s children’s camp (held at Davies Symphony Hall) none other than Julia Roberts, her husband Danny Moder, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Bruce Willis, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, Billy and Janice Crystal, Danny DeVito, Bonnie Raitt and Marsha Williams gathered at Jardinière to celebrate Julia’s birthday (she turned 41)—other lucky diners heard the gang singing “Happy Birthday” to Julia and Rita (whose birthday was just a few days earlier).

The Perfect Fall Cocktail

A week ago, I didn't think I'd be able to write this post about autumnal drinks. But then the fog rolled in, and with it came the rain, and then all of a sudden it did feel like fall. The proverbial frost is on the proverbial pumpkin. Which is great news, because now I can tell you about this great new book of cocktail recipes from Scott Beattie, the man behind the bar at Cyrus in Healdsburg, called Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks inspired by the seasons from the bar at Cyrus.

How to Be a Passive-Aggressive Sushi Diner

Clearly, we're all for sustainablity here. In fact, just a few days back in this very blog, Jessica covered the new sustainable sushi movement, lead in part by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. Time Out New York is in on it too.

But sometimes a political movement can go too far.

My Dinner Party Secret: Call A La Turca

The first crackle of a leaf underfoot, and I’m overcome with a mix of excitement (the holidays are coming! the holidays are coming!) and trepidation (the holidays are coming! the holidays are coming!). The excited part of me wants to throw dinner parties, have open houses, bake pies and actually buy wine-glass charms (yes, there's a whole industry around these things). The anxious part of me wants to just stick my head in the sand until January.


Healthy Beer?

We've heard a lot over the years about the health benefits of  drinking wine, but here's the first I've heard about healthy beer .  Rice University researchers are developing a strain of yeast that will produce  the heart-healthy chemical resveratrol as a byproduct of the  fermentation of grain. Resveratrol is the active compound in red wine that supposedly fights heart disease.

My take: Sounds good. Now, if they can only develop lower calorie brew that doesn't taste like Lite beer.
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