As a food editor, I think it's my job to be a die-hard proponent of eating everything, which means that I'm generally skeptical of diets and dietary fads and the people who jump on them.
I can't tell you how many vegan cookbooks I've tossed into the swag pile here at 7x7. Don't try to sell me on sugar substitutes, or carbless anything, or egg-white omelets or vodka made with green tea. I like whole milk, butter, bacon and whiskey. My only diet is moderation.
Yesterday I climbed a ladder up to the rooftop of Nopa restaurant to visit its brand new baby bee hives. Owner Jeff Hanak has been working with Terry Oxford and Brian Linke of Urban Bee SF to cultivate a two-hive community for three weeks now. Weather permitting, its honey will surface on the food and cocktail menus below the roof as soon as June. The idea of freshly harvested honey on a menu is romantic and all, but these urban hives are really all about the bees.
Celebrating 150 years in San Francisco next year, Gump's is an institution. Today the Union Square shop offers exclusive collectibles, artwork, antiques, jewelry and a range of tableware, books and furnishings.
It's our honor to offer a selection of holiday gifts from Gump's, hand-selected by our editors, for CH+D and 7x7 readers. We will feature one Gump's gift per day through 12/10.
Gifts From Gump's #3: Thomas Keller Covered Bowls
The perfect gift for the ultimate entertainer, these deep-rimmed plates and covers let any home chef have a Michelin star–worthy Voila! moment. The simple shape, designed by Thomas Keller for Raynaud and made of Limoges porcelain, allow the food to be the main attraction.
Though this may sound pretty obvious, people really like chefs. This morning, en route to "Lexus brings a moment with Thomas Keller," I encountered some women in the hallway. "Make sure you get Tom Colicchio's autograph!" Just like Sara wrote in her blog, the ladies are all over Tom Colicchio like white on rice. However, this level of adoration was NOTHING compared to the scene inside the cooking demo tent, Thomas Keller presiding.
It turns out that this wining and dining is exhausting. Though the official start time of today's festivities was 10 a.m., things have been running on PBST (Pebble Beach Standard Time), no doubt owing to the quantity of food and wine being consumed. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the generous Acqua Panna, San Pellegrino and Driscoll berry sponsorship—not because it's so fabulous (though I do like having access to iced sparkling water wherever I go), but because it's like an episode of Top Chef—so blatant as to be funny. This morning, as I waited in line for the Thomas Keller demo, women in green dresses proferred up baskets of berries, asking each attendee, "Would you like to start your day with a Driscoll berry?" Um, no. Instead, I hit up the Illy espresso kiosk.
Google “Thomas Keller” and you’ll turn up 774,000 results. So what can I tell you that you don’t already know about the celebrity chef who made Yountville a town worthy of food pilgrimage? Well, there’s the In-N-Out thing. Google “Thomas Keller and In-N-Out Burgers” and you’ll get only 32, 600 results. Which means, by my quick calculations, that many of you may not know that the VFC (very famous chef) who “invented” such dishes as oysters and pearls (oysters set in savory tapioca) and salmon tartare cornets (fashioned after ice cream cones) also really likes In-N-Out burgers. His standard order? Standard cheeseburger, fries well-done (“Because,” he says, “at least then they’re crisp.”).
The other day I read a great article in the Washington Post by food writer Jane Black (free registration may be required), all about how anything Thomas Keller touches turns to gold. Producers clamor to be considered, sending samples of their best butter, cheese, chocolate and pork in hopes that it’ll become part of the pedigreed French Laundry pantry.