Eat + Drink
Long ago—like seven years ago—I published my first cookbook, Asian Vegetables with Chronicle Books. (I know, a hot topic. Let's just say it's a good book, but no best seller.) Oddly, based on this book—which has all of two grilling recipes—I was invited to participate in a big grill-fest in Seattle, along with some serious barbecue guys. I was the only woman. And pregnant at that.
Ah, cucumber season—it’s almost upon us! (You’ll never hear anyone speak reverently of cucumbers like this by the way, and it’s probably due to the cucumber’s representation in most big supermarkets: huge, bitter, waxy, seedy imposters. I think I'm bitter myself about them, come to think of it.) But soon, the markets will soon be flowing with the real deal. My favorites happen to be the slender, vaguely prickly, Japanese variety that I pick up at the Alemany market.
Game on the rotisserie at Poggio.
My mother's family is Moroccan and to them, everything equals food. Visits from family: food. Saturdays: food. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays: food. Getting on a plane = packing food. My suitcase from a recent trip to Toronto was, in fact, full of Tupperware containers of couscous, tagines and salads when I got home. Here’s how someone homesick for Moroccan copes:
1. I get preserved lemons from Rainbow Grocery. You can find them in one of the bins at the back of the store, near the olives. I dice them and put them in salads with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, hearts of celery and onion. And a dash of parsley.
I don’t think there’s any path you can take directly from SF that offers a quicker—certainly more breathtaking—antidote to city-living than a trip down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. On a sunny weekend, like this last one, it was everything I needed. Find a friend to drive you, so you can gaze out to the sparkling ocean without careening off the steep cliffs to a horrible death. It’s impossible not to look.
The great man died today. His most lasting achievement will be, for better or worse, the elevation of the Napa--and therefore the California--wine industry from small-time regional curiosity to international juggernaut. More than as a maker of phenomenal wines, he has come to be known as a great marketer, for both his own winery and for wine in general.
Last night, for a birthday dinner for a friend, I was asked to bring some Champagne to go with the dessert course. Now, for any wine pairing with a dessert, you must know the simple rule that the wine should always be sweeter than the food. If you get it wrong, it makes both the wine and the dessert taste bad. The most common example of this understandable error is at weddings, when dry Champagne is served with wedding cake. No wedding that I have ever attended when this faulty pairing has occurred has ever resulted in a successful marriage. It is why, at my wedding, we avoided cake altogether.
Ever since I was 15 and traveling through France and Britain with my family, I've loved European dry, alcoholic apple cider. This is probably because my parents wouldn't let me drink beer, scotch or (much) wine, but they would let me get the occasional buzz off cider. While there, I developed an affection for the dry, crisp apple-y taste of the stuff.
We're San Franciscans through and through, so we hate to say anything against Bay to Breakers, but the snacks at Footstock are not the tastiest morsels to treat yourself to after running or walking seven miles. (You thought we were gonna rant on the saggy naked people, didn't you? Nope, we've got priorities.) So whether you're in the race or just watching it, here are some things you might want to eat and drink along the route, beginning down in SoMa at the starting line: