Eat + Drink
Clearly this whole economy thing is confusing us. On one hand, big-name restaurants are going gonzo and offering up packages like I've never heard of before. As Eater reported, "Big Restos Can, And Will, Ignore the Economy." Witness "Dining with the Stars:" For $1900 per couple, you can experience what you might call the ultimate progressive dinner, including Michael Mina, Cyrus and Meadowood.
Then, in the New York Times yesterday, an article in the Dining & Wine section entitled—"Across the Country, Restaurants Feel the Pinch"—reported of NYC: "Many restaurants say more customers are sharing appetizers, buying cheaper wine, ordering less wine and fewer courses, or just not showing up as much." It's a sentiment I've heard echoed by many restaurant owners in SF.
If you're feeling the autumnal doldrums (it was downright brisk outside yesterday) or already weary of of grapes and apples, I have the tropical antidote: Mexico-grown Kent mangoes.
Last September, I wrote here about these mangoes. Tart, creamy and sweet, they represent absolute balance and perfection. The kind of mango that a knife slices through like butter. If a chef could create something so perfect, he would be God, is what I'm saying.
This isn’t necessarily new news, but now we can’t say we didn’t know any better. On October 22, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch will be releasing its latest pocket guide, the aptly titled “Seafood Watch Sushi Pocket Guide,” which will tell us what species we can eat occasionally, which ones we should never eat and those we ought to try to convince restaurants (sushi and otherwise) to never serve again. You can order it here (it’s free).
“I bought two cauliflowers at the farmers’ market today. It cost me $4.20. I could have fed 10 to 20 people with them. You just need to know how to cook.”
Taking this into consideration, I called up a few people that know how to cook to ask their opinion. Although more than one alluded to the fact that the idea of feeding 20 people with two (hopefully large) heads of cauliflower might be best applied in a third world country, I did get some creative—if hopeful—answers.
If rock stars have groupies, then certain foods in SF have a similarly fanatical following: Tartine Bakery’s bread pudding, for instance. It’s one of those things that people get irrational about. (Case in point: My mother. Last time she came in the city to help me clear out my basement of junk, she threatened to reneg if I didn’t have the bread pudding waiting for her upon arrival.)
Last week, I went to Tartine with my boyfriend. When it’s not busy, I love sitting in there on a weekday morning. It feels very civilized and European.
It did, that is, until he ordered the bread pudding for himself.
God, it feels good to be right.
If you haven't already read our coverage of the Top Chef casting calls, which I wrote about in April, click here. Back then, I made the proclamation that SF's own Jamie Lauren—currently the executive chef at Absinthe—was definitely headed for fame.
And if you haven't already heard, I was right. Jaime is going to be on the next Top Chef, as what they call a "cheftestant."
Although Lauren is certainly headed for potential ridicule as well as fame (aren't all reality show contestants?), I've always thought of Top Chef as being ok, as reality shows go. But then, I watched one of the video clips on Bravo's site, where they ask TF's judges and host—Tom, Padma and Gail—what gives them a "culinary boner?" (Can you see me cringing? I'm cringing.)
Beyond a small frenzy over Ella Bella's dry-farmed tomatoes (I saw Italian cookbook author Carol Field buying up bagfuls), this is what my trip to the market last Saturday revealed: