Will 2012 be remembered as the year of ash? Chefs at hot San Francisco restaurants like AQ, Central Kitchen and Maverick are using ash in their cooking with increasing regularity. They'll deeply char everything from corn husks to wood and vegetables, using the ashy byproduct to create intricate flavor on the plate.
San Francisco is one of the few cities in the US where, come winter, it's nearly impossible to find a tomato at the hottest restaurants in town. On the contrary, come tomato season, it's hard to avoid them. Now that all the heirloom varietals have hit full stride in warmer points south, there are tiered salads of steamy heirlooms, plays on Caprese, cherry tomato-dotted pizzas, and, finally, the seasonal BLT has arrived. The happy by-product of this tomato overload is tomato water. While the New York Times just gave the "intense translucent liquid" a little jab as one of the fleeting "charms" of the 1990s, Bay Area chefs never seemed to let it go. Find out why they love it and where you can try it, after the hop.
Thomas McNaughton, Chef and Partner at Flour +Water is ready for the end of tomato season. He told me this last Saturday as he wandered through an unusually warm November market with his weekly shopping list. (McNaughton’s menu changes daily, so he looks to the farmers in the market for regular inspiration). While Thomas was buying some of the season’s first Meyer lemons he said he was feeling especially ready for the beginning of the gradual wind down to Winter, with it’s abundance of squashes and root vegetables.
We asked, they answered. Five SF chefs tell us what to buy, what to bring, when to brine and what to eat the morning after.
Tim Luym, chef/owner, Poleng Lounge
You’re invited to a potluck Thanksgiving: what would you bring?
I would bring rice. I can eat rie with anything and most people don’t serve rice with turkey for Thanksgiving. But imagine: rice, turkey, gravy, stuffing, cran! Better than potatoes.
If you were short on time and it had to be store-bought?