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Chefs & Cooks

Semi-Homemade Chicken

I haven’t yet been able to sit through an entire episode of Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade show on the Food Network. There’s something about it that gets under my skin. I’m sure she’s a great person with homemaking skills I’ll never have, but where’s her edge? Why does every show involve frilly cupcake frosting? Does she not have one gram of badass Bourdain in her at all? Well, I digress.

Will He, Won't He?


The chef of the hour: Where will he go next?

Like Mother, Like Son



I promise I won't grow up to be a chef.

There are certain things that can make a mother’s heart melt—especially when you think you have something to do with it. Like the fact that my 2 ½ year old son, Moss, loves to “cook.” It must be genetic, right? He spends a lot of time in front of his little wooden “stovetop” and “oven,” from which the other day he proudly pulled out his stuffed piggy which he'd been cooking—the same one that he also sleeps with (in my head I was making whole hog jokes, but I didn’t think he’d get it).

The Notebook

I had a little holiday lunch with Daniel Patterson, the cerebral chef and owner of Coi, last week. We didn’t have any remotely foamy or fancy. He just sat in the tattered, faux-velvet chairs at Punjab Kebab, catching up with me and happily polishing off his very uncerebral chicken curry.

 
Daniel preparing for Madrid Fusion.

Christmas Cheer

Eating out is one of my favorite things to do, except on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day—that’s when I’ll actually make my way to the kitchen. While reading Four-Star Feasts, I couldn’t help thinking that while the menus of these acclaimed chefs sounds good (I’m definitely clipping the Cajun shrimp recipe), my family’s traditional meal—turkey, dressing (most call it stuffing), sherry sweet potatoes, sesame spinach and a few other dishes that change according to my mood each year—is equally deserving of the four-star feast title. I do the veggies and my mom takes care of the turkey. So, I’m off to cook and eat.

Tower of Power

Having written about food in San Francisco for over 10 years, I live with a lot of restaurant guilt. I’ve eaten at plenty of places, but there are also plenty of to-dos on my list.

Cut to internal monologue: This city is only 49 square miles. Get on it, Sara. Look at Marcia from Tablehopper—she’s a machine, she’s killing you. Look at all the Yelpers. Look at Joe Blogger and your next-door neighbors, for god’s sake. Michael Bauer has eaten everywhere—three times. What kind of food editor are you, anyhow?!

Homecoming Parade

I was on vacation, and now I’m not. Everything else, as writer Calvin Trillin once wrote, is just commentary. I thought about posting some pictures from my non-traditional Thanksgiving trip to Kauai, but then thought better of it—not only might they be jealousy inducing, in nearly every single image I’m eating something: a pineapple frosty, onion rings, banana pancakes, eggs with a side of fried rice. Fitting, maybe, but hardly attractive. Hard to pose for a photo when your frosty is giving you brain freeze.

Cure (Not So) Simple



At the photographer's studio, charcuterie awaits its beauty shot.

Life in the Meatropolis

We just put the finishing touches on our December/January issue (well, actually, we’re still in the final throes—our executive editor just passed around the cover for our review). For the upcoming food feature, Sara Deseran and our former intrepid intern, Roxanne, dug deep into the world of meat, researching charcuterie at restaurants all over town. Our definitive guide demystifies the offerings—a good read, to be sure. In the meantime, I’ve been researching a story about steakhouses for our cityguide, a purse-sized bi-annual guide with comprehensive listings on where to shop, eat, drink and play. In other words, things have been a bit protein heavy over here.

Jordan Turns 35

Family-owned and operated Jordan Winery celebrated its 35th birthday at its Alexander Valley digs with a lot of great food and wine, and I was lucky enough to get in on the action.

Jordan has always put a stress on its wines being food-friendly, so it was no surprise that as soon as our first glass of wine was in hand—a 2005 chardonnay—a parade of plates started streaming out of the kitchen. First up, a gelee of Japanese cucumber topped with Transmontanus Rex (aka Idaho white sturgeon) caviar. Fast on its heels came little pillows of Peruvian scallop served ceviche-style with salty caps of osetra caviar. I had three helpings, they were so good.
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