Calvin Lamborn’s over-sized pea 52s that are as sweet as candy.
TWIN FALLS, IDAHO — You may not be familiar with Calvin Lamborn’s name. But you know his delicious life’s work. He is the plant breeder responsible for creating the first commercially viable sugar snap pea in 1979.
It’s hard to imagine a time without those sweet, crunchy pea pods. But before Lamborn worked his magic, you couldn’t find sugar snap peas regularly at farmers markets or supermarkets. Oh, and those stringless sugar snap peas we all adore because they don’t have to be peeled? Yup, he created those, too.
Calvin Lamborn and his wife, Bonnie, who had a sugar snap pea variety name for her.
At 80 years of age now, Lamborn is not thinking about slowing down anytime soon. And top chefs in New York are sure thankful for that. Lincoln Ristorante, Union Square Cafe, The Breslin, wd-50 and more clamor to use his handiwork in their dishes — over-sized pea 52s that taste as sweet as candy, snap peas the bold color of a red chile pepper, and frilly pea leaves the likes of which no one had ever seen before.
Yours truly, interviewing Pastry Chef Bill Corbett, at Google headquarters. (Photo courtesy of Google)
It’s not every day you get to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View.
But a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be asked to do an event there with Pastry Chef Bill Corbett of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar at San Francisco.
Corbett is one of the more than 50 chefs featured in my cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press).
The famed honey cake at 20th Century Cafe.
Lovely fragrant honey permeates the 10 ethereal layers of honey cake and honey buttercream stacked high at 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco.
Not surprisingly, it’s the top-selling treat there.
That’s Pastry Chef-Proprietor Michelle Polzine hard at work, assembling a fresh one, layer by delicate layer.
Pastry Chef Michelle Polzine in her open kitchen.
The first slice.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit Polizine’s charming Central European cafe, there’s no time like now, especially with Mother’s Day around the corner. After all, what better way to spoil Mom on her special day than with some impeccable baked goods?
This is what real wasabi looks like.
If you think that pasty blob of green garnishing your sushi platter is wasabi, think again.
The real-deal rhizome is as rare as it is pricey.
That’s why what you generally find on most sushi plates is actually a cheap concoction of horseradish, mustard and green dye, not the actual Japanese rhizome that’s extremely difficult to grow.
Nowadays, though, if you know where to look, you might find more of the real wasabi around. That’s because there’s now one grower in California cultivating it: Half Moon Bay Wasabi.
After doing so many giveaways on this blog, I’d be remiss not to do one for my own new cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), wouldn’t I?
So, here’s your chance to win a copy of the book that I will autograph to you or to whomever you please.
The cookbook is a tantalizing compilation of 54 restaurants and 79 recipes from the food-centric San Francisco Bay Area.
You’ll find everything from trendy new places to landmark establishments — along with dishes that exemplify their individual spirit and unique cuisine.
Each restaurant entry is illustrated by gorgeous photos, too, by award-winning photographer Craig Lee.
I’ve been having a ball hosting cooking demos and signing events with some of the featured chefs, and look forward to many more in the new year to come.
Yours truly, flanked by chefs Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone of Ame and Terra restaurants. Taken just before the start of our Macy’s Union Square San Francisco event. (Photo taken by Craig Lee)
CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a signed copy of my new cookbook. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Dec. 21. Winner will be announced Dec. 23.
How to win?