Remember micro-herbs? About two years ago miniscule strains of cilantro and basil were sprouting up on the most progressive menus around town. "Now the movement is towards more of a modern naturalism," says Ravi Kapur of Prospect. He's talking about flowers. Edible petals, blossoms, sprays and shoots are sprouting up everywhere.
They might look rare, but some of these blooms are about as easy to find around town as rosemary. David Barzelay of the Lazy Bear underground restaurant sees the current uptick as a result of our ever-tightening bond with local farmers coupled with chefs' growing desire to get out in the field and forage for themselves. Here's a handy guide to the most popular edible blooms of San Francsico and where to find them.
It's asparagus season if you haven't noticed. Saturday morning, I started at Nopa with a shaved asparagus and pea shoot salad tossed with grilled thin slabs of Bodacious cheese. The next day, I was at Zero Zero diving into a heaping plate of asparagus, charred from the grill, tossed with black garlic and glistening with olive oil. That was brunch. When I wandered into the produce aisle to buy ingredients for dinner last night, asparagus spears as thick as broomsticks stared me down.
The market will be all abuzz this Saturday as we celebrate the hard work of the bees at the Honey Festival. From 10 am until 1 pm Marshall’s Farm Natural Honey’s Helene Marshall will be manning our Ask the Beekeeper Booth to answer questions about honey production, hives and beekeeping. She’ll also have samples of some of her favorite varieties of honey available from Marshall’s Farm and culinary tips for using honey.
Chefs get all the glory these days, but anyone in the business can assure you that opening a restaurant is anything but a single-handed endeavor. Nowhere is that more true than at Bar Agricole, SoMa’s new LEED gold-certified, eco-perfect tavern. Headed by Thaddeus Vogler, a preeminent and devoted spirits master (or bartender—call him what you will), the modern but casual bar and restaurant opened in late summer after three years of planning. It’s hardly all about Vogler though. He willingly shares the spotlight with a cadre of other talented participants, including visionary architects, urban farmers, woodworkers, textile designers, and glassblowers—even a concrete craftsman. “I knew I wanted the food, beverage and design to be as amazing as possible, to sort of battle each other for center stage,” says Vogler.
A modern, undulating ride of LEED-certified design, Bar Agricole might be the most stunning tavern to ever touch down in San Francisco. The fact that the high-concept, farmcentric tavern is located on one of the most scrappy blocks of the city makes it all the more fascinating. We talked to Thad Vogler, the mad genius behind it all. Just don't call him a mixologist.
Just like the surge in popularity of farm-to-table dining in San Francisco, bartenders are beginning to follow their chef cohorts into the fields for the freshest fruits, veggies and herbs to add to their increasingly innovative and tasty barroom concoctions.