Welcome to a column wherein we track down a cook good with an accent and milk them for all their best kept eating secrets.
In the past, say, three years, foodists have become increasingly blasé about being presented with a freshly killed whole beast and a big knife. Butchered a whole pig? Been there done that. Give me the cow.
"Where's the beef from?" and "Is that grass-fed?" are common queries in the San Francisco food world. And with local offerings like 4505 Meats' meat-filled CSAs and things like pork happy hour at Fatted Calf in Hayes Valley, butchery practices are working their way even further into the city's vernacular. Now Avedano's Tia Harrison and Primal Cuts author Marissa Guggiana are taking things one step further wtih The Butcher's Guild, one of our country's first support groups for ethically-minded butchers. With local whole-animal advocates Ryan Farr and Chris Cosentino among the group's 23 charter members, The Guild is now reaching out to other members of the industry to expand its reach in the early going. Later this summer, they'll be recruiting lay people (i.e. meat geeks) as members.
When chefs from Barbacco to the French Laundry need the best Italian ingredients, they call up importer Howard Case of Casa de Case. Here are his picks for pantry essentials.
The high-acid, dense, and sweet San Marzano tomato has an unrivaled mystique. At Una Pizza Napoletana, owner-chef Anthony Malgieri uses Solania brand D.O.P. (protected designation of origin) tomatoes to make the sauce for his legendary pizzas. $5 (28 ounces) at Williams-Sonoma, 2 Embarcadero Center, 415-421-2033.
Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is here. Plan accordingly.
California Academy of Sciences "Sex and Science" Wine & Dine Tour
The day before Valentine's Day, see how love and sex manifests itself in the animal kingdom, from penguins to lobsters to sea slugs (!) and more, then toast your date over wine and a four-course meal at the museum's decorated Moss Room restaurant. Make it a double whammy with a quick trip to the de Young beforehand. $159 per person. Starts at 6 pm. 415-379-8000. Tickets here.