Category Archives: Meat

Black Bark: Bringing Back the ‘Cue to the Fillmore District

Three sauces at the ready at Black Bark BBQ in San Francisco.

Three sauces at the ready at Black Bark BBQ in San Francisco.

 

On his many walks around San Francisco’s Fillmore District, Chef David Lawrence remembers stumbling upon an intriguing sign imprinted in the sidewalk across the street from his elegant 1300 on Fillmore restaurant.

It read: Kansas City Hickory Pit Bar-B-Cue, 1335 Fillmore.

The long-gone business hinted at the Fillmore’s past as a neighborhood where barbecue once reigned, including in spots such as at 1911 Fillmore St., the former site of Leon’s Bar-B-Q, and now home to the celebrated SPQR.

In much the same way that Lawrence and his wife Monetta White brought back a stylish jazz supper club feel with 1300 on Fillmore to this neighborhood that historically attracted black artists and musicians, they sought to return a vestige of delicious smoke and fire to the neighborhood.

Owners Monetta White and David Lawrence.

Owners Monetta White and David Lawrence.

In January, they did just that — opening their second restaurant, Black Bark BBQ, right in front of the old Kansas City sign that first piqued their interest.

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Hammy Holidays, Plus A Snake River Farms Giveaway

A bone-in ham to put all others to shame. From Snake River Farms.

A bone-in ham to put all others to shame. From Snake River Farms.

 

I often keep old Christmas cards, and sometimes the gently-used ribbons and bows, too.

But one thing I make a point never to discard is something all together different.

Bones.

From the Thanksgiving turkey. From the Christmas ham.

They are always wrapped carefully with aluminum foil, then tucked inside a heavy-duty plastic bag in a safe place in my freezer.

Until January.

That’s when I take them out for their intended purpose, one that I look forward to every year after the holiday season.

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Turducken Time

Not your usual turkey.

Not your usual turkey.

 

Call me crazy, but I guess I am one of the few people out there who actually likes to eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

After all, if you take the time and spend the money to acquire one that’s pasture-raised, possibly even of heritage breed background, and cook it right, you are richly rewarded with meal upon meal of relatively lean, flavorful meat, and a large carcass just made for making gallons of soup.

Which is probably why I have never cooked a turducken.

Until now.

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Salivating for Artisan Sopressata

Take a taste of Sopressata Calabrese.

Take a taste of Sopressata Calabrese.

 

Brothers Steven and Eric are the fourth generation of Bavas to hand-craft a spicy Italian dry salami specialty known as sopressata Calabrese.

Their grandfather brought the recipe to America after immigrating to Chicago from the small mountain town of Simbario in Calabria, Italy. Every winter following Christmas, the whole family gathered to whip up a batch, which would then be served at every special family occasion throughout the year.

Now, the brothers are making that same cured sausage in small batches in Los Angeles and selling it via a small select group of retail stores.

Recently, I had a chance to try Bavas Brothers Sopressata Calabrese.

Deep ruby red, the squat sausage is firm and chewy. It’s full of sweet porkiness, along with a good jolt of peppery spice that builds the more you chew.

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Sacramento — America’s Farm-To-Fork-Capital

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible "soil.''

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible “soil.”

 

When one thinks of California’s top food cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles come to mind immediately.

As for Sacramento? Not nearly so readily.

In fact, a publicist for the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau told me that when arranging a tour recently for an out-of-state food writer, the visiting scribe’s first question was, “Is there an airport there?”

Why, yes, there is. It is the Golden State’s capitol, after all.

Indeed, Sacramento is home to nearly half a million people, as well as 1.5 million acres of farmland. With a year-round growing season, it produces more than 120 different crops that are enjoyed not only locally but abroad.

It grows more sushi rice than any other place. In fact, chances are if you eat any sushi in California, the rice was grown in Sacramento. The city produces 80 percent of the nation’s caviar. The breadth of the bounty includes everything from almonds to Kobe beef to wine grapes.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

I was reminded of just how crucial Sacramento is to our plates when I attended a special private dinner last week in San Francisco that spotlighted the city’s culinary treasures. It was a Sacramento roadshow, as Executive Chef Oliver Ridgeway of Grange Restaurant & Bar and Chef Ravin Patel, chief culinary officer of Selland Family Restaurants, trekked down from Sacramento to EatWith’s South of Market event space in San Francisco to prepare a multi-course feast for a dozen food journalists and bloggers. All of it featured fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood sourced from Sacramento.

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