Being a consummate generalist, I’m in awe of specialists. You know—people who dive full bore into their subject or project and emerge with pure genius. Perhaps it’s a hopelessly wandering curiosity that plagues me, but I readily admit to not possessing this kind of attention span or drive. Whatever it is, I’m grateful to the specialists of our local food world for sharing the delicious outcome of their passions.
Chocolate and Olive Oil Passion
I first met Fran Gage a few years ago when I was recipe testing for the book she wrote with Michael Recchiuti called Chocolate Obsession (yeah, I know, recipe testing for that book was a rough assignment, but someone had to do it). More recently, I had the pleasure of working with Fran on her new book, The New American Olive Oil (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). Fran’s charm, wit, humor, intelligence, passion and incredible depth of knowledge all come through in her writing. I learned so much from her about olive oil while working on the book and try the fantastic recipes, from savory to sweet. I’m already cooking out of my advance copy and plan to take it to my favorite store for cookbooks on April 11 to ask for her autograph. Which brings me to …
For me, books are comforting. I love being surrounded by them and browsing through a bookstore. It took me much too long to explore Omnivore Books on Food in Noe Valley owned by Celia Sack [read more about her here] and advise you not to make the same mistake. It’s a sweet, bright space and Celia is friendly, genuine and enthusiastic about food and books. In addition to offering a fantastic collection of new and rare books on food, she’s put together an impressive lineup of author events and signings (including a recent visit with Eric Ripert from Le Bernardin, merci!).
Ice Cream Passion
7x7's already written about Humphry Slocombe, located way down off of 24th Street, but I finally got around to trying it out myself. To their great credit, the folks were smilingly patient while I tasted and pondered the gutsy flavor creations on my first visit. I was prepared to not like the Secret Breakfast but it was one of the final contenders on my first visit (bourbon and cornflakes- who knew!?!), as was the equally untempting, but surprisingly good, Salted Licorice. It wasn’t on the menu that day, but when it is, I’ll even give the Government Cheese a try (swear). The flavors are innovative and contemporary while the counter stools, glass cake stands and groovy, initialed ‘H’ and ‘S’ plates at the register give a nod to old-fashioned ice cream parlors.
If you like pork and salty, tasty things that crunch, chances are extremely high chicharrones are your next snack addiction. That is, unless, of course, you’ve already gotten your hands on 4505 Meats' version and you’re stalking your nearest supplier. I’d been hearing about this pork crack from various sources, so I asked my neighbor, chef Ryan Farr, the pork crack dealer himself from 4505, to bring some by a photo shoot. Let’s just say I did not part with them easily. You can get your own (so I don’t have to share mine) at various spots around town, including Elixir, Coffee Bar, Mini Bar and Bloodhound.
I’d like to thank 7x7 for inviting me, the generalist, to guest blog for Bits & Bites these past six weeks. It’s been a new experience for me and has kinda flown by! If you’d like to keep up with my continued food wanderings, please stop by Gorgeous Grub.