View all posts filed under 'More Food Gal — In Other Publications'

Braving the Line at Flour + Water, Plus a Sneak Peek of What’s to Come

Friday, 3. February 2012 5:25

A parfait of quince, crema and crunchy walnut crumbles at Flour + Water.

Practically from the first day it opened nearly three years ago, San Francisco’s Flour + Water restaurant has had droves of people lining up nightly to get inside.

Who can resist blistered Margherita pizzas and hand-made pork raviolini with chanterelles and thyme?

Not me, as I joined the throngs in line on this Mission District corner on a recent blustery evening to snag a seat at the bar on my own dime.

After all, it sure beat trying to drive home to the South Bay at the height of the rush-hour commute on a Friday night.

Instead of fighting highway traffic, I parked myself on a bar stool right next to the kitchen. It afforded a bird’s eye view of the cooks stretching pizza dough and assembling pasta dishes all under the scrutiny of a very judicious expediter, who took tweezers to plates to arrange microgreens just so before they were delivered to the dining room with his approval.

The view of the kitchen from my bar stool.

As I perused the menu, I knew I was going to order pasta. After all, I can’t pass up supple noodles of any sort, but especially ones made every day by hand in the restaurant’s famous upstairs “dough room,” which I got to see on an earlier visit.

In the "dough room'' with Chef Thomas McNaughton (right).

Just-made filled pasta dumplings.

Bow ties with bursts of bright color.

I started with a salad of cured steelhead trout ($12) that was a definite spot of brightness on that chilly, dark night. Roasted beets added sweetness, fresh horseradish a hit of fire and paper-thin slices of Persian lime bursts of citrusy refreshment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants | Comments (22) | Author:

The Incomparable Cecilia Chiang

Wednesday, 18. January 2012 5:25

The lovely, pioneering Cecilia Chiang at home in San Francisco.

She has been called the Chinese Julia Child.

As Child is credited with introducing authentic French cuisine to Americans, Cecilia Chiang has done the same for Chinese food in this country.

At a time when Chinese restaurants were all run by men and serving gloppy chop suey, egg foo young and other so-called Cantonese specialties, Chiang — who had never owned a business before — dared to open the elegant Mandarin restaurant in San Francisco in 1961 to cook up the real flavors of her native Shanghai. Ethereal dumplings, spicy Sichuan shrimp, kung pao chicken, tea-smoked duck and minced squab in lettuce cups were novelties in the Bay Area then, but soon after became staples at Chinese restaurants trying to capitalize on Chiang’s runaway success.

The Mandarin closed in 2006, but not before becoming a culinary legend beloved by locals and such glitterati as Child, Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower, John Lennon and Jackie Onassis.

At 92, Chiang still cuts an elegant figure with remarkable energy. She still travels to China annually with friends like Waters; remains a mentor to young Asian-American chefs such as Corey Lee at San Francisco’s Benu; dines at Betelnut in San Francisco regularly, wheres she was the opening consulting chef; cooks dinner parties at her penthouse abode in San Francisco; and only stopped driving a year and a half ago, when she got a speeding ticket and her license was taken away.

Recently, I had a chance to meet this amazing woman for the first time for a profile story for Food Arts magazine.

When I marveled at her stamina, she replied with a smile, “I never get tired. And I am interested in so many things. I love to cook, garden, and see movies. Just keep yourself busy — that’s the secret. I never take naps. I eat three meals a day, and I always eat well.”

If food is truly the fountain of youth, then you could hardly do better than to whip up a couple dishes from her classic, “The Seventh Daughter” (Ten Speed Press), a cookbook memoir she wrote in 2007. There’s no better time, too, what with Sunday marking the first day of the Lunar New Year.

Tender eggplant spears tossed with an easy chili-garlic-ginger-soy sauce.

The slightly spicy “Eggplant in Garlic Sauce” is perfect for what promises to be a fiery “Year of the Dragon.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Asian Recipes, Chefs, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (14) | Author:

Changing the World One Mushroom at a Time

Tuesday, 15. November 2011 5:26

Nikil Arora proudly shows off the oyster mushroom kit he helped develop

If you’ve ever doubted the power of education to inspire, just consider University of California at Berkeley grads, Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez.

Classmates at the Hass School of Business, Arora, 24 and Velez, 23, were on their way to lucrative careers in investment banking and business consulting after graduating two years ago. But they turned their backs on that after listening to a visiting lecturer talk about how poor, malnourished women in Columbia and East Africa were growing mushrooms in coffee grounds to supplement their diet.

Instead, they maxed out their credit cards to start their own business. Their Oakland-based Back to the Roots turns mountains of discarded Peet’s coffee grounds that would have ended up in the landfill into gourmet oyster mushroom kits now sold at Whole Foods and on the Back to the Roots Web site for $19.95 each.

Mushroom kits in their special display case can be found in all Whole Foods.

In the process, Arora and Velez have created an innovative enterprise that even prompted Business Week to name them among the most promising social entrepreneurs in the United States.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, Great Finds, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, New Products | Comments (10) | Author:

Chef Sachin Chopra of All Spice Talks About Celebrating Diwali

Monday, 24. October 2011 5:25

Chef Sachin Chopra, all dressed up for the holiday, puts the finishing touches on a dessert for Diwali.

For Chef-Proprietor Sachin Chopra of All Spice in San Mateo, the celebration of Diwali always has had a special place in his heart.

After all, the joyous Festival of Lights, which starts on Oct. 26, is not only one of the most important Hindu holidays, but also marks the New Year.

It’s a time for gathering with family and friends. It’s a time to illuminate the house with candles. It’s also a major time for sweets.

As champagne is poured to signify important celebrations, sweets play a similar role in Sachin’s native India. They are readily offered to visitors in a warm gesture of welcome.

Candles are lit to commemorate the Festival of Lights.

The chef, who specializes in California cuisine with Indian and global influences, likes to create modern takes on Indian desserts at his year-old restaurant.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Asian Recipes, Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants | Comments (12) | Author:

Food Gal’s Second Video: Extras From My Debut Cooking Demo at Macy’s Union Square

Monday, 1. August 2011 5:25

For those who enjoyed my first video — which recapped my cooking demo debut at Macy’s Union Square San Francisco on June 11, 2011 — here’s an “extras” reel to kick back with.

In this second video, you’ll get to know me a little better, as I tell you about my family, how I got my start in food writing, and how I became known as the Food Gal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Asian Recipes, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, More Food Gal -- In Person, Videos & Podcasts | Comments (13) | Author: