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Sunday, December 31, 2006

First Day in Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon

Sorry no pictures, or even any links yet. But here are some first impressions: Arriving at night the city is balmy and buzzing with motorcycles, scooters and people everywhere. But there is a calm purposefulness about it all. Everyone we meet is polite and soft-spoken. First day after a breakfast of pho with a view overlooking the Saigon river, we walk from the Hotel Majestic to the Ben Thanh market. Crossing the street to enter is a harrowing experience! You can't wait for traffic to die down because it never does. You just have to plow ahead in an act of utter faith or stupidity. The market is crammed with stalls and vendors selling everything from clothes and shoes,"madam, madam, I have your size!" to bars with just one specialty--bun noodles or banh mi or something else. Glasses of exotic looking colored drinks have noodles and polka dots and who-knows-what floating or sinking in them, all day glow colors. Tons of beautiful fresh fish and enormous prawns and lobsters,...
Friday, December 29, 2006

Off to Southeast Asia!

I'm going to Vietnam with a side trip to Cambodia. I will be gone for an entire month. I know there will be lots to write about and assuming all goes well I plan to share the details of my trip from the road, so stay tuned. It may take me a few days to get situated so in the meantime please feel free to peruse the archives, you never know what you'll find, or try a recipe in the Get Cooking! section. Every Wednesday you'll find a new post from me over at Bay Area Bites . Best wishes for a Happy New Year! FOOD...
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Best Breakfasts in San Francisco

Why do we love going out for breakfast? I mean, logically we should prefer to laze around in pajamas and read the paper. But somehow the lure of better-than-homemade pancakes, eggs benedict, corned beef hash and the like pulls us out of the comfort of our homes in search of the first meal of the day. Everyone has their favorite breakfast places. For some, it may be proximity or hospitality that makes a place worth standing in line for. But for me, it's really all about the food. And I'm willing to head halfway across town for a breakfast that satisfies. Typically I don't review a place just on the basis of breakfast, but as a result some of my favorite places get overlooked. So here without further ado, in no particular order, are my picks for best breakfast. 1. Kate's Kitchen I've tried their lunch specialties but nothing compares to their massive pumpkin pancakes with just a touch of cornmeal. Just be sure to order a short stack I've yet to be able to ...
Monday, December 25, 2006

Raisin Bran Muffins: Recipe

Bad news. I have a hard time working my way through a box of raisin bran. I'm not really all that fond of cold cereal in the first place and as a result I often end up with stale cereal. The good news? Raisin bran makes great muffins. I find most conventional muffins are really more like cake, too light a crumb and too greasy. Otherwise muffins are a great fast food. They can also be good for you if you control the ingredients, adding fresh fruit and nuts and limiting the fat and sugar. Another good thing about this recipe is that you probably have all the ingredients on hand. As you may have noticed from other recipes on my site, this makes a small batch. I prefer small batches when it comes to baked goods. If you make a fewer muffins, you're more likely to eat them when they are still fresh. This recipe is very closely based on one I found on the Kraft foods site, but with a few twists. Raisin Bran Muffins makes 7 large muffins Ingredients 3/4 Cup flour 2 Tablesp...
Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sometimes reading a blog is like making a friend. You get to know them better every time you hang out together. And so it is with This Little Piglet . From reading Lia's blog I know she works for the Food Network and that she's eaten at some of my favorite places in Seattle and at places I'm dying to try in New York. Though she hasn't been blogging long, her recipe index reads like my to do list. There isn't one dish on it that doesn't appeal to me. I eat soup all year long, but I've got to admit it's especially appealing in Winter. So for those of you in a soup mood, check out The Gracious Bowl , a blog all about soup. Did I mention this blog features a recipe for prosciuttons? Check it out! Cooking Gadgets . Oh my, why did it take me so long to discover this guilty pleasure of a site? Cooking gadgets is filled with equal parts stuff you long for and stuff you can't help but laugh at... FOOD...
Thursday, December 21, 2006

Penzey's Spices

Look what I got! These are each spice mixes from Penzey's sent to me by a friend who knows me well. For years I have enjoyed the Penzey's catalog, which is full of information about the herbs and spices they sell and recipes to boot. But better than the catalog is actually visiting a Penzey's store, something I did for the first time this Summer on my birthday with my sister in Portland. Spice stores are wonderful places filled with endless jars and bags to tempt you. At Penzey's there isn't anything that you can't get a whiff of at the store. Walking around you experience what real fresh spices are all about. Too often spices are purchased at the supermarket where they are overpriced and not very pungent. Then we take them home where they languish until they lose all color, scent and flavor. I buy some spices from bulk bins at Rainbow Grocery , a few exotic peppers from The Occasional Gourmet , especially my favorite the hard to find Marash pepper and a R...
Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Maverick: Restaurant Review

What took me so long to try Maverick , the cozy American eatery in the Mission? I really can't say. But I like to give a restaurant plenty of time to sort out the kinks before giving it a try and if last week's dinner was any indication, kinks are pretty much nonexistent at this point. Everything we had was terrific and the servers were knowledgeable and welcoming. Eating with food bloggers and their partners means plenty of bites for sharing so I got to taste a fair selection of the menu. Fortunately portions are very large and fine for wandering forks. I ordered the venison as a main and can't remember the last time I got such a big loin rather than a few fanned slices. The black lentils were firm and nutty flavored, a nice accompaniment to the rich and sweet yet by no means gamey venison and velvety chanterelle mushrooms. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the textures of the crisp yams and fine parsnip puree provided nice bite. The fried chicken was a real pleaser,...
Sunday, December 17, 2006

Please Mocha Me Happy!

We are now well into the third annual Menu for Hope fundraising campaign. As you know, we are raising funds to support the United Nations World Food Programme . Allow me to make a little pitch for my contribution, the Mocha Me Happy! package, code #UW13 . This prize package would make the PERFECT Valentine's Day gift for a coffee and chocolate lover. It is packed with scrumptious premium brands of deliciousness--chocolate bars, French roast coffee, chocolate sauce, cocoa powder, chocolate covered coffee beans, and two wonderful books, total package is worth over $60 retail. Only two people have bid on this package so your chances of winning it are especially good! It also has a couple of special surprises in it, one of which I will reveal today, Kona Coffee Crunch marshmallows from Plush Puffs Gourmet Marshmallows . I suggest floating them in your hot chocolate, but it's entirely up to you. * Savor four Scharffenberger mocha chocolate bars * Drizzle Charlie Trott...
Friday, December 15, 2006

Brie & Bacon Fettuccine Recipe

I love the story of stone soup. I love it for all the wrong reasons. You know the story , right? The moral is that by sharing what one has, everyone eats well. But for me, I am like the greedy villagers, still amazed that soup can be made with a stone. While not quite stone soup, you might think of this as "stone pasta". A dish of plain pasta it is made better with a bit of bacon, onion and a knob of brie. The resulting dish is kind of like Spaghetti Carbonara only faster and easier, and possibly even tastier. And I love Spaghetti Carbonara! Brie has long been considered by many to be the most popular of all French cheeses. It comes from a province once called, "Brie" now called Seine-et-Marne which is not that far from Paris (and now more famous for being the site of a Disney Resort). Real brie is made from unpasteurized cow's milk but the version available in the US is made from pasteurized milk so the resulting cheese is milder and less ripe than true b...
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Free extra virgin olive oil!

That's right. Alejandro & Martin are offering gift boxes with a selection of four different 100 ml bottles of their extra virgin olive oils for free to a select audience, you! The oils come from Spain, Greece, Italy and California. I haven't tried these oils yet but I have heard good things about them. If you want them, all you have to do is pay for shipping. Supplies are extremely limited so if you want in on this click here now . I've ordered mine and will let you know what I think once I've tried them. (by the way there is no financial incentive in this for me, I'm just sharing an offer that was made to me) SORRY THIS PROMOTION IS NOW OVER! I hope you got a chance to order these oils, mine came in the mail today. The box has a wonderful guide to tasting olive oil as well as usage suggestions. Do check out their website when you get a chance if you missed out on this offer. FOOD...

Still shopping?

Check out these deals and meals . READ MORE Over at Bay Area Bites are my reviews of two new very giftable books. Either give Infused : 100+ recipes for Infused Liqueurs and Cocktails or Michael Chiarello's Flavored Oils and Vinegars or use them to make gifts of your own! FOOD...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Holiday Gift Guide

Over Thanksgiving I hopped behind couches, slipped into a closet and even snuck out a backdoor. Yes, I was playing hide-and-go-seek with my not quite 5 year old niece. And every time she found me and we switched places (she'd hide, I'd seek), she'd adopt my last hiding place. While it made finding her a breeze, I kind of understood her thinking. If it's good enough for auntie Amy then it must be good enough for me. Which brings me to the topic of holiday shopping. I don't think anyone has ever had a hard time finding me a present. I am pretty clear on what I like. Often I buy what I want for myself for others, which is where my thinking is on par with that of my niece... So without further ado here are my top picks, presents I have actually given and truly, madly believe in . These are gifts that please me, but I'm betting they'll please you or someone you know too. Kitchen Gear Butter Keeper. It comes in other colors too, but isn't the orange ...
Monday, December 11, 2006

Menu for Hope/Mocha Me Happy!

Today is the launch of the third annual Menu for Hope . This time around we will be raising funds to support the United Nations World Food Programme . Food and Wine bloggers all over the world are donating prizes for you to win in a raffle. My contribution? The Mocha Me Happy! package, code #UW13 . You can find more prizes from the West Coast at Becks & Posh . Does the combination of chocolate and coffee make you buzz with happiness? Then this gift is for you! Inside you'll find edibles, drinkables and readables. Premium coffee, chocolate, chocolate sauce, cocoa, and even a couple of cookbooks will allow you to indulge your habit deliciously. This prize package is valued at over $60. * Savor four Scharffenberger mocha chocolate bars * Drizzle Charlie Trotter Bittersweet Chocolate-Kona Coffee Sauce * Stir up Schokinag Dutch Process Cocoa Powder (22/24% cocoa butter) * Sip Dark Roast coffee from Peet's , Douwe Egbert and more * Nibble Chocolate Covered Coffee Bea...
Saturday, December 09, 2006

Today is Shop Local First at Union Square and from 10 am until 5 pm there will be more than 40 participating businesses selling their wares on the square. During the day local business owners will be awarded "Most Innovative Entrepreneurs of 2006". The awards, which are sponsored by the San Francisco Mayor's Office, the SF Small Business Commission and Business Alliance for Local Living Economies will be given to five business owners, including the owners of Farmer Brown restaurant and Sellers Markets cafes and catering services. Finally, dining and shopping you can feel good about. On Sunday there are three events I plan to check out. The first is Cuisines of Southeast Asia , tasting and discussion. Thy Tran will moderate a discussion with authors James Oseland who wrote Cradle of Flavor and Andrea Nguyen who wrote Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. Since I reviewed both of those books, how could I miss it? It is from 2-3 pm at the Asian Art Museum and admission is f...
Friday, December 08, 2006

PlumpJack Cafe CLOSED

Remember how I told you I had a fantastic meal recently at PlumpJack Cafe ? Truly, this was one of my most memorable meals of 2006. Well, my review of it is up on SF Station. I can't wait to go back and hope you will get a chance to enjoy eating there too! READ MORE Check out my review of PlumpJack Cafe over at SF Station. FOOD...
Thursday, December 07, 2006

Demystifying Wine Markup

Last week I got a chance to hear a number of chefs speak at an event to promote the newly launched American Express San Francisco Dish site. In a panel discussion local chefs participating in the site including Traci Des Jardins, Laurent Manrique, Elizabeth Falkner and Daniel Patterson spoke on a variety of issues. My burning question was about what those chefs/restauranteurs consider to be a reasonable wine markup and why. I am trying to familiarize myself with wine prices and better understand markup and often find it baffling. Less expensive wines are sometimes marked up quite a bit, expensive wines less so. Sometimes the markup is 2 times retail other times 3 times, 4 times or more. The chefs agreed that as a target, 33.3 percent was reasonable. They also said that they work hard to put together interesting wine lists that complement their menus. Factored into their cost is cellaring, training, and having the right glassware. Traci Des Jardins admitted that as restaurant profi...
Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Holiday Deals and Discounts

MagsForLess is offering a year subscription to Saveur magazine for only $4.99, that's 75% off the normal subscription price of $19.99. Restaurant.com is selling their dining coupons for 50% off. Buy a $25 dining certificate for $5. Some of the local restaurants include Panta Rei, Baker Street Bistro, and Destino but there are restaurants in many locations. Use Coupon Code 73515 at checkout, offer expires 12/10. Charles Chocolates is offering a 25% discount. I love the beautiful edible chocolate boxes, the chocolate marzipan, the boxes of mixed chocolates and the wine jellies. Use coupon code HOLIDAYSALE06 at checkout, offer expires 12/15. The Cozmo Deck is back! Next year the deck has $15 discounts at many terrific places including Mamacita, Brick and Yabbies. You can get 10% off the normal $30 price (which you'll recoup after dining out just twice) by entering the code AMY07 during check out. There is also a Los Angeles version of the deck. READ MORE Over at Bay Area Bites...
Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Eggnog Pancakes: Recipe

I made eggnog from scratch once for a party, during college. It was positively amazing. It consisted of sugar, brandy, heavy cream, eggs and a pinch of nutmeg. It ought to have been called devil's nog. The stuff was pure evil! But tasty. Sadly the eggnog you buy at the store is nothing like the eggnog I made. It's not fluffy and boozy, just cloying and thick. Every year I forget this and buy a quart. So this year after my first disappointing cup I decided to cook with it instead of drinking it. For years I've seen recipes for eggnog pancakes. But when I went to make them my printer wasn't working and I was too lazy to write down the ingredients. So I made up my own version. It turned out surprisingly good. Eggnog is really not much different than a custard. You could use it in all sorts of recipes. You can make milkshakes out of it or use it in french toast, bread pudding, pot de creme, ice cream, and maybe even crepes. If you have a favorite use for leftover eggn...
Sunday, December 03, 2006

Are you ready for some more food blogs? Sure you are! Here are my latest finds. They are not all brand new, just new to me. Check them out if you haven't discovered them already. Elegant Sufficiency . Funny name (with a story behind it) but a really wonderful blog just the same. It's so much fun to discover a blogger who seems to share your same taste and approach to life. This blog has wonderful links from different countries and chefs as well. Colleen Cuisine . Have you met Colleen? She's spunky and she's sassy. I'd say she has attitude. She also eats out a lot and writes about it. If I lived in LA I would really want her to be my friend. Trini Gourmet . How about a Trinidadian food blog? This week smiling Sarina posts about what seems to be a hot ingredient of the moment, bitters. I like this site because it is truly unique and besides, we could use more Caribbean food bloggers. SpiceLines . I don't know what to say other than I like this one. It&#...
Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm Dreaming of Vietnamese Cuisine...

While the holidays are thoroughly captivating to many, I am filled with visions of Spring Rolls, not sugar plums, dancing through my head. The end of this month I will going to Vietnam and it will not be a whirlwind tour. I will be there for a whole month. I have been anticipating this trip for a very long time. Being able to take big long trips is one of the true pleasures of working as a freelancer. Originally I thought I would be exploring more of Asia, but as I did my research it seemed there was at least a month's worth of things to see and do in Vietnam. In addition to reading travel books and articles, I've been reading cookbooks. A couple in particular are really helping to give me a better background in Vietnamese cooking, ingredients and eating across the different regions of Vietnam. While many people refer to the North and South, I've learned that you can also divide the regions of the country into three, the North, Central and the South. Each region has a...
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quickie Pickled Radishes: Recipe

I'm sure you've read that women crave sweets while men crave salty foods. But I'm not sure I agree. Given the choice between a potato chip and a candy bar, I would definitely choose the chip, er, better make that chips. Whichever side of the debate you fall on, or whatever your craving of the day, it's good to have a few quick fixes. If you crave sweets, cinnamon toast is a good one. And if you crave salt, might I suggest homemade pickles? This is a recipe for those times when even a trip to the corner store is a bother. These are quick, sometimes called "refrigerator pickles" because they get stashed in the fridge. No canning, no fuss, no muss. I almost feel guilty for calling this a recipe. Because even if you absolutely don't cook anything, this is one for you. You don't even need a stove! Are you ready? It's only four ingredients, salt, sugar, rice wine vinegar and radishes. You could get all fancy and add carrots and onions if you like bu...
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Radish Penne: Recipe

I'm not a Winter person. I love the Summer. But when Winter comes around I look forward to coaxing root vegetables into something special. Like radishes. Radishes may be available all year round, but their cool, spicy, crunchiness makes them seem more like a Winter vegetable somehow. It's only in the past few years that I've come to realize how versatile they are. Growing up I ate radishes in salad. That was it. Later I discovered the pleasure of nibbling on radishes with some hearty bread, sweet butter and coarse salt. Making pickled radishes is also easy as can be. Look for that recipe soon. First I want to share with you a pasta recipe that uses radishes. Just one large bunch or two smallish bunches is all it takes. The nice thing about this recipe is that it also uses the greens, a much neglected bit of the radish. I don't know if this recipe is in any way Italian, I never came across it when I lived in Italy, but it does reflect the simplicity of pasta dishes ...
Sunday, November 26, 2006

Last night Lee and I had dinner at Plumpjack Cafe . It was so amazingly wonderful that I couldn't help but sneak into the kitchen to congratulate the chef on his achievement. We came home and I immediately wrote my review which will run on SF Station soon. In general I don't like to review restaurants when the chef is just finding his sea legs, but in the case I had already heard some little whisperings that the food was something special. The key word to chef James Syhabout's food is "restraint". Something I've noticed about young and talented chefs lately is their inconsistency. They try too hard. Sometimes they do something brilliant and other times, they fall flat. Trying too hard can mean too many elements on a plate, flavors that just don't come together, a desire to reinvent and push the envelope but without the palate or the technical skills to make it all work. We've all heard the adage "simpler is better". But that is easier said t...
Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving was filled with good food, friends and family. Cheers! Amy FOOD...
Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giving Thanks

I don't know about you, but I'm already sick of Thanksgiving! Sick of hearing about it anyway. Oh sure, it's still my favorite holiday, but this year the plethora of magazines, cookbooks and even blogs all focused on the topic lead to my feeling as stuffed full as a you-know-what. So instead of food, I'm going to focus on two other themes for Thanksgiving, feeling thankful and something to drink. Last week my world seemed to revolve around the food bank. In an article in the New York Times I was quoted mentioning my volunteer work at the San Francisco Food Bank . Then on Thursday I celebrated the release of Beaujolais Nouveau at the very same food bank, which received a generous donation from Georges Deboeuf to coincide with the event. It seems popular to beat up on Beaujolais Nouveau these days. But I am not here to spill Beaujolais Nouveau but to drink it. I am a fan of the wine, I enjoy the seasonality of it and how accessible it is. It's refreshing and f...
Monday, November 20, 2006

The Good Home Cookbook: Giveaway!

Some time ago I mentioned that the publishers of The Good Home Cookbook were looking for recipe testers. In addition to getting a first crack at the recipes, testers also got their names in the book and a copy of the book. Now the book is out and for a limited time only you can get a FREE COPY too! The Good Home Cookbook is filled with American recipes that have been tried and tested by hundreds of home cooks. The story of how this cookbook came about is really quite interesting. This isn't a cookbook in which to find wildly new and exotic recipes, it's a solid book to refer to time and again, in the same vein as The Joy of Cooking and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook . Because America is a melting pot you'll find recipes inspired by the cuisines of many countries from Greek Baked Shrimp, to Sausage & Saurkraut Supper to Spaghetti Carbonara (which thankfully does not include cream in the recipe). I recently turned to it when looking for gingerbread cookies. You can...
Sunday, November 19, 2006

Supperclub & SubCulture Dining: Mystery Meals

This week I was treated to dinner at both Supperclub and SubCulture Dining , two interesting and unusual dining experiences. Sometimes, though not always, the experience of dining out is about much more than just the food, it's about the environment, the service, the company and the "why" as opposed to the "what", and that's what both of my dinners highlighted. Part 1: Supperclub Supperclub is located in SOMA and consists of various environments. There is a bar, a lounge and main dining room. Each is beautifully lit and has a different theme and feeling to it. The bar is a vibrant red, the lounge an intimate and cozy space and the main "Salle Neige" in addition to being white, is cool and a bit of a blank canvas. Each of the spaces has a nightclub vibe. So why the mystery? Because in addition to not knowing the menu beforehand, you also won't know exactly what the evening entails and that is really the point. In any case, there are som...
Friday, November 17, 2006

Still hungry?

How about some chocolate? Over at SF Station is an article with my picks for chocolates to enjoy during the holiday season. One of the pleasures of writing the piece was discovering Coco Luxe chocolates which are made locally by a talented and creative chocolatier. Check them out when you get a chance. Yesterday I discovered Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe had opened up on Chestnut street. There is a grand opening celebration tonight, from 4 until 9 pm. Stop by, taste some chocolates, pastries, hot chocolate and take a look around. The store is at 2109 Chestnut St, at the corner of Steiner. I have to say, I'm liking the trend... p.s. I still don't have 3 winners for the copies of Dave's Dinners, take a look at yesterday's post and enter your guesses for a chance to win... FOOD + CHOCOLATE...
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dave's Dinners: Cookbook Review & Contest

Recently I was watching a British cooking competition on television. The contestants had to do a segment on a live chat show. The producer said that television chefs have to be about 80% entertainment and the remaining 20% about cooking. Sad, but true. And love them or hate them, the cooking personalities of the food network all have some sort of appeal that makes them entertaining--be it looks, style, humor, or that certain something (could it be wackiness?) that makes them compelling to watch. The more "cooking focus" chefs and shows seem to have disapeared. I like to watch chefs with personality, enthusiasm, intelligence and a certain quality that makes them feel like "real people" instead of automatons or kooks (as opposed to cooks). As long as I learn a little from them, or even just get a good idea or two per episode I'm happy. Along with perpetual favorites like Jacques Pepin and Nigella Lawson, I have to admit I like Dave Lieberman , and here'...
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

El Palmar: Restaurant Review

www. flick r .com I just finished writing an article about chocolate. Having a house filled with chocolate to sample can really improve your disposition. But there is another cuisine that has this effect on me and I don't know of any science to explain the phenomenon. It's Mexican food. I long for, savor, and even dream about Mexican food. I can't tell you why. I just do. Finding a place that serves great Mexican food is like finding a slice of heaven. I just want to go back again and again and again. That's why I head to the opposite end of town to Pastores . And that's why, when I find myself in Marin, I go to El Palmar. El Palmar is nothing exciting to look at, it's all about the food. As the take out menu from the restaurant proclaims "The real Mexican food in Marin County". There is also a sister restaurant of the same name in Novato. The patrons are almost all Latino and so are the staff. Blink and you might feel like you are somewhere...
Sunday, November 12, 2006

This week, how about finding a little love for some under-appreciated veggies? Just give it a try. All of these recipes would be welcome additions on your Thanksgiving table. First off, for those who don't know what to do with beets and radishes, a recipe that uses both. Tea of Tea and Cookies makes batches and batches and batches of ruby red crunchies . If you love cabbage raise your hand! Really? Alanna at Veggie Venture loves cabbage. It shouldn't surprise you that by cooking it with a little pancetta and garlic it becomes a succulent side dish. Savoy cabbage is delicately flavored and textured. Go on. Give a try. What do you do with rutabagas, butternut squash AND sweet potatoes? Veronica of Veronica's Test Kitchen puts them in a creamy soup . Even though there is no way I could make anything with 2 cups of cream, it is inspiring. Maybe I'll even come up with a lower fat version... Sorry, but this next one has nothing to do with vegetables. Imagine your...
Friday, November 10, 2006

Salt Tasting with Ron Siegel at the Ritz

www. flick r .com How many kinds of salt do you have? I've got kosher salt, Malden salt, smoked salt, truffle salt, fleur de sel and Hawaiian black salt. But that's nothing compared to what chef Ron Siegel of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton has. Siegel seems never to have met a salt that didn't find a place in his kitchen. He has a collection of about 40 different types including very rare salt from the Philippines, and many different Japanese salts, and one the consistency of powder. Yesterday I got the chance to attend a salt tasting, organized by the Tablehopper and sponsored by TuttiFoodie . Those of us who thought we'd be tasting flakes of salt and gulping down water were delighted to find that the chef had prepared a light tasting menu to show the versatility of salt. Siegel also took us back into the kitchen and demonstrated how he makes a lemon verbena salt. It turns out infused salts are easy to make at home. Many of the sea salts are moist so h...
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Hedonist in the Cellar: Book Review

I don't read House & Garden . I have nothing against the magazine, I'm just not a "House & Garden" type. I am a very happy apartment dweller who thinks a garden box with herbs might be nice. But as a result it turns out I have been missing the wonderful wine essays from novelist Jay McInerney who, it turns out, also wrote a book called Bacchus and Me a few years back. Who would have thought the author of Bright Lights, Big City that classic book of the 1980's, is also a wine enthusiast? Well I guess since Tama Janowitz is now writing about food perhaps it's just what writers of that era do. McInerney's latest book is A Hedonist in the Cellar and what makes his writing so wonderful is that instead of writing like a wine snob, he decided to write, as he says "as a passionate amateur, and to employ a metaphoric language; I was more comfortable comparing wines to actresses, rock bands, pop songs, painters or automobiles than I was with lite...
Monday, November 06, 2006

Yahoo! Food -- What's on the Menu?

I love Yahoo! really, I do. I use My Yahoo! as my homepage. I use Yahoo! Movies for finding showtimes and reviews. Heck, I even I met my husband on Yahoo! Personals . Needless to say, I was excited to hear that Yahoo! was going to launch a food site. That is until I saw it. The newly launched Yahoo! Food is like your kitchen after a party, it's a big mess and it's hard to decide what needs cleaning up first. For one thing, it's difficult to imagine they did any usability testing. There is so much going on that it is virtually impossible to navigate. Unlike on My Yahoo! there are no options for page layout customization or personalization, features that Yahoo! pioneered. This is a crowded playing field and Yahoo! has not provided the cool new Web 2.0 tools or services that could make it a leader in this area. In trying to provide as much content as possible, they have unfortunately not given us much that is valuable, fresh or with any particular point of view. The r...
Saturday, November 04, 2006

Well this is what happens when you sleep in. I was going to tell you about this cool new sushi blog , but someone beat me to it. And I was going to tell you about the redesign of Grub Report but someone else beat me to it. So, I give you some posts I really like that I don't think anyone else has blogged about...yet! This week's theme? Tasty French or French inspired posts. I've never spent Thanksgiving out of the country, but if I had to choose, Lucy's description (from Lucy's Kitchen Notebook) of what it's like in Lyon right now sounds pretty wonderful. Bea of La Tartine Gourmande asks " Can you really dislike a gratin ?" For me the answer is no. In fact, it's one of the things to look forward to as the weather turns chilly. Alice Q Foodie takes a class in French Pastry , then she shares the secrets with us. Nice one. Finally an obscene French chocolate post, from my colleague from Bay Area Bites, Laura, aka cucina testa rossa. Ok, maybe it&...