Category Archives: More Food Gal — In Other Publications

A Meal of A Lifetime: My Dinner at Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine Laboratory

What would a Modernist Cuisine dinner be without a little liquid nitrogen action going on? Chef Naomi Pomeroy gets in on the fun.

What would a Modernist Cuisine dinner be without a little liquid nitrogen action going on? Chef Naomi Pomeroy gets in on the fun.

 

BELLVUE, WA — Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft chief technology officer turned maestro of modernist cuisine, has held less than a dozen invitation-only dinners at his Intellectual Ventures laboratory. The exclusive guests have included the likes of Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, David Chang and Jose Andres.

In June, I was lucky enough to join that illustrious list when I was invited to be part of a very special dinner. What made this dinner so epic was not only the fact that it was Myhrvold’s largest dinner party to date, but that all the guests were women.

The wizard-genius behind it all, Nathan Myhrvold, stops by each table to explain the dishes.

The wizard-genius behind it all, Nathan Myhrvold, stops by each table to explain the dishes.

The Modernist Cuisine team hard at work on the one-of-a-kind dinner.

The Modernist Cuisine team hard at work on the one-of-a-kind dinner.

Plating in action.

Plating in action.

A reminder that you are dining in an actual science laboratory.

A reminder that you are dining in an actual science laboratory.

Twenty-one female chefs and four female journalists sat down to a marathon 35-course dinner that lasted six hours. The guest list was as follows:

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The Man You Should Thank For Your Love of Sugar Snap Peas

Calvin Lamborn's over-sized pea 52s that are as sweet as candy.

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.

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.

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My Q&A at the Googleplex with Pastry Chef Bill Corbett of Absinthe

Yours truly, interviewing Pastry Chef Bill Corbett, at Google headquarters. (Photo courtesy of Google)

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).

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Five Top Bakeries To Get Acquainted with in San Francisco

The famed honey cake at 20th Century Cafe.

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.

Pastry Chef Michelle Polzine in her open kitchen.

The first slice.

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?

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California’s Only Grower of Real Wasabi

This is what real wasabi looks like.

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.

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