This post might include affiliate links for your convenience.
Monday, June 29, 2009

Taco Crawl in Fruitvale

For several years now I'd been hearing about the taco trucks of Fruitvale, a section of Oakland known for having a large Latino population. After reading endless reports on Yelp , Chowhound and an article in the East Bay Express by John Birdsall, I was ready to hit the road, or rather, International Boulevard, where there's a high concentration of taco trucks. I didn't spend a month investigating like Birdsall did (thanks John!) but I did put together a hit list, based on recommendations and testimonials. A word about pricing, you'll spend more on bridge toll than you will at most spots along the corridor. Tacos ranged in price from $1 to $1.25 and the agua fresca I ordered was $1. First stop was the Sinaloa complex, located in a parking lot at 2138 International Blvd. You can't miss this stop and frankly, it's one of the best. Here there are two trucks to visit--one has the standard kinds of tacos, while the other is devoted to seafood. The fish taco was ...
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chilled Corn Soup Recipe

It's not Summer until you've eaten a peach over the sink, nibbled on cherries, and enjoyed a stack of fresh blueberry pancakes. One of the most highly anticipated Summer treats aside from all the luscious fruit, is fresh corn. When I see Brentwood corn, I buy it. It's sweet, tender and pairs wonderfully with all types of shellfish, blueberries, lime and avocado. Corn is high in starch and carbohydrates but it's also a good source of Vitamins B1, B5, and C, folate, dietary fiber, phosphorus, manganese and protein. I use white and yellow corn interchangeably. White seems a bit sweeter and yellow a has a rounder flavor, if that makes sense. Corn should be cooked as soon as possible, after it has been picked. It's particularly good in fritters, pancakes, succotash and salads. If you eat it on the cob, try squeezing lemon or lime juice over it and dipping it in something spicy like smoked paprika or chile powder. Another way to enjoy it is with crumbled Mexican Cotija...
Friday, June 19, 2009

The Golden Glass 2009

If you haven't yet discovered outstanding organic and biodynamic wines, this is your chance. Golden Glass wine event benefiting Slow Food San Francisco is a terrific event I've had the pleasure of attending the last two year. The focus is on sustainably-produced wines from around the world, and food from local restaurants. The line up of restaurants changes from year to year, but in my experience, each year is better than the previous one. This time around there are many award-winning restaurants and purveyors, including A16 , Absinthe, Acquerello, Blue Bottle Coffee, Digs Bistro, Delfina, Heaven's Dog, La Mar Cebicheria, RN74, Poggio Trattoria, SF Baking Institute, Slow Club, Stella Cadente, and Trattoria Corso. These are really excellent establishments, in fact, the chef at A16, Nate Appleman just won the James Beard rising star award and that the chef at Poggio, Peter McNee won the Cochon 555 whole-heritage- hog cook-off last week. This year for the first time, ...
Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Noodles, noodles, noodles!

I'm so crazy about noodles I could eat them every day and never get bored. Even the family I lived with in Italy was amazed at my capacity for eating pasta. And I love all kinds of pasta--Asian varieties along with Italian, being top of the list. Happily there are two books out at the moment that make a variety of Asian noodle recipes easily accessible to the home cook. Both have great photos and recipes that will send you scurrying into the kitchen. First up is Takashi's Noodles . They say if you get just one great recipe from a cookbook, it is worth the price. In that case, let me tell you about Spicy Eggplant Ja-Ja-Men Udon. Chef Yakashi Takashi, owner of Takashi's in Chicago describes this dish as a Japanese version of spaghetti and bolognese sauce. It's basically a spicy eggplant and ground pork sauce over noodles with peppers, spicy notes and a creamy sauce that is enriched with sesame paste. The recipe has 18 ingredients but I skipped a few altogether and used ...
Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Great American Food & Music Fest

Giveaway + Discount Tickets

Saturday June 13th marks the first (and I hope not the last!) Great American Food and Music Fest at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View from noon until 10 pm . Get a group of four friends together and tickets are only $21.50 each, otherwise festival tickets start at $35 and go up depending upon what extras you might want such as wine tasting or backstage "meet and greet party" with celebrity chefs. All tickets include the first plate of food you try from one vendor. But undoubtedly you will want to try a whole lot more than that. This extravaganza is a bit like a foodie pilgrimage around the country without leaving home. Try a pastrami sandwich from Katz's Deli or Graeter's ice cream from Philly, Southside Market BBQ brisket and sausage from Texas or even the original Anchor Bar Chicken Wings from Buffalo otherwise known as, "Buffalo wings." If you want to indulge in local specialties and even see them being made, there will be plenty of thos...
Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Little Pots & Pans Tarts: Product Review

To cook or not to cook? THAT is the question. Of course, I love to cook. For me, cooking is a creative outlet, a way to share, to experiment and at least partly how I make a living. I also think it's a great skill everyone should know how to do. But I recognize that some people don't enjoy cooking and don't want to cook. I mention this because this past weekend an op ed piece in the New York Times took Michelle Obama to task for saying that she prefers not to cook, if given a choice. I understand the need for a strong advocate for home cooking, really, I do. But we all get weary of cooking sometimes and if I was Michelle Obama I can imagine having other priorities. Which brings me to the savory tarts from Little Pots and Pans . Thanks to my friends over at Foodzie , I got to try a selection of their terrific pastries. I have a hard enough time struggling with pastry dough so I was amazed at how crisp, light and flaky the crust was on each of the tarts I tried. The fil...
Monday, June 01, 2009

East West Eats Event + Discount Tickets

The last few years I have been an honorary board member for the Asian American Journalists Association East West Eats event. This is a fantastic event with a silent auction, always great food and cooking demos. This year Chef Martin Yan will be providing cooking demonstrations and you can dine on cuisine from some amazing restaurants including Betelnut, Butterfly, Crustacean, Hilton San Francisco, Le Colonial, Living Room Events, Maharani, Namu, Napa Silverado, Poleng Lounge, Ponzu, Shanghai 1930, Slanted Door and Urban Tavern. Beverages will be provided by Chang Beer, Ku Day Ta Tea Lounge, New Zealand Winegrowers and Vitamin Water. I donated a bunch of cookbooks and edible goodies to the silent auction, and you'll also find original photography, gift certificates, and more. All the proceeds help support student journalism scholarships. As part of its commitment to promoting diversity in newsrooms, AAJA SF awards up to $15,000 a year in scholarships to deserving students intere...