I hope you’ll join yours truly, the Food Gal, in the Cellar of Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco for two fun events in September that I’m thrilled to be taking part in.
First up, 2 p.m. Sept. 17, I’ll be playing sidekick to one of my favorite San Francisco chefs, Alex Ong of Betelnut. In honor of the 2011 San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival, Sept. 17-18 in the waters off Treasure Island, Ong will show you how to make joong or zongzi, the traditional Chinese sticky rice tamale. Of course, Ong will be adding his own contemporary touches by creating a filling of portobello mushrooms, rather than the usual — but quite artery-clogging — fat-laden pork. And I’ll regale you with my own stories about competing on a dragon boat team in the Bay Area back in the day.
The festival commemorates the death of poet, Qu Yuan, during the Zhou Dynasty. Wrongly accused of treason, he committed suicide by drowning himself in a river on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. As legend goes, locals, who much admired him, threw lumps of rice into the river to keep the fish from attacking his body. Others paddled out on boats to further scare away the fish and to retrieve his body. Thus, the traditions of the rice tamales and dragon boat racing were born.
Join in on the fun and taste Ong’s creations at this free event.
Next up, 6 p.m. Sept. 21, I’ll be on the judging panel when Chef Hoss Zare of Zare at Fly Trap in San Francisco squares off against Chef Staffan Terje of Perbacco in San Francisco in a mystery-basket cooking battle. They’ll have 45 minutes to each create one astounding dish, which you’ll have a chance to taste, too.
Tickets to this event are $10 per person, with proceeds going to Meals on Wheels of San Francisco, which provides meals to home-bound seniors. VIP tickets, which will get you preferred seating, also are available at $25 a piece.
Plus: My Visit to Betelnut