Eat + Drink
The Last Course
Well, if you’ve made it this far so you’re probably looking forward to the finale of Top Chef, which airs tonight, December 9, at 10 p.m.. It’s down to the boys—Kevin red beard and those dastardly Voltaggio brothers—and the final throwdown all takes place in our own backyard, at Cyrus in Healdsburg. Watch tonight to see Cyrus GM Nick Peyton and chef Douglas Keane as they open their restaurant to the competition.
Cuckoo for Cocoa
An old building with big windows and skylights, our office at 7x7 is very cold right now. Editors are dressed in coats, scarves and jackets and drinking copious amount of tea. Which has us all thinking about warming, comforting foods and where to get them.
There's something compelling about a vineyard covered in snow, especially here in California when we don't see it much. What makes it so interesting? Probably just the fact that we're used to vineyards being such a symbol of vibrance, life and energy--to see them looking snowbound, shuttered and contemplative proposes an entirely different angle on wine. It reminds me of northern wine regions and makes me want to drink Burgundy and Champagne (actually, that's nothing really new).
These photos were shot the other day in the Santa Cruz Mountains and sent out by Shannon Flynn of SCM winegrowers association. Nice to see that appellation getting into the winter holiday spirit!
The call for ideas for The Big Eat 2010 has elicited so many great responses, I thought I'd list them (verbatim) for you so you don't have to sort through the comments. We're almost done narrowing it down, but we want to hear if you think any of these are BIG enough to merit a slot.
I dug Jon Bonné's supremely geeky article on the martini in the Chron yesterday. But "supremely geeky" may not even do the high-waisted, suspendered and bespectacled article justice. I mean, the martini—the drink of such caliphs of cool as James Bond and Frank Sinatra—is approached in the article like this: "The bar top was crowded with gin and vermouth, a thermometer, a stopwatch, a cooler of chilled glasses." I'm sorry, but I just can't see my boys Frankie and Dino timing their stirs.
There was one year when my poor mother/Santa filled my stocking (along with my brother and sister's) with office supplies. Scissors, Post-its, Scotch tape. Needless to say, that went over like a lead balloon, with a Santa mutiny threatened by all three of us. "How could he do this to us?" we moaned, looking for the Toblerone. Needless to say, the error was never repeated. Holiday shopping can be exhausting and expensive, but I urge you all not to forego the lowly stocking, which sets the tone for the rest of the day. Toys are good, jewelry, socks and lip balm are always welcome. But food conquers all. Everyone likes it, you don't have to worry about whether or not it will fit, and most packages fit quite nicely in a knit sock.
Always a fan of giving thematic presents, I present a perfect trio: Fancy coffee, a fancy cup to put it in and the perfect fancy chocolate to have with it. All from local folks, of course.
1. A gift card for Go Coffee Go is perfect for your coffee-snob friend who needs his or her single-bean, microroaster fix—and can not live on Four Barrel alone. The mail-order website, just launched by SF'ans Scott Pritikin and Elise Papazian, includes Ritual Roasters, but also Verve out of Santa Cruz, Zoca out of Seattle, PT's out of Topeka (and the 2009 Roast magazine "Macro Roaster of the Year," for what it's worth).
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)
If anyone has the inside sccop when it comes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, it's Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations at CUESA. You'll see her at the market, rain or shine. Every week, she'll give us her short list for the market—just in time for Saturday shopping. Go to cuesa.org for more information about farmers, what's in season and market goings-on.