London-based Fuchsia Dunlop has long been one of my favorite writers — and speakers. The first Westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, she is fluent in speaking, writing, and reading Chinese. Her knowledge of the foods of every region in China is bar none.
In her newest book, of which I received a review copy, the four-time James Beard Award-winning cookbook author explores the historical, philosophical, and technical aspects of the vast range of Chinese food by presenting a literary banquet of 30 dishes. Each chapter hones in on one particular regional dish, serving up not only its origins and the importance of its ingredients, but the food producers, farmers, chefs, and home cooks who have put their indelible stamp on it.
Thanks to the new Movida Lounge in San Francisco’s South of Market District, there is now Persian-Mexican cuisine, too.
At first thought, you might think this a puzzling head scratcher. But reflect further, and you’ll realize that over the past decade, all manner of cuisines have been folded up and tucked into tacos and burritos, most notably Korean fare at Los Angeles’ ground-breaking Kogi Korean BBQ truck. So, smoky kebabs and Middle Eastern dips enveloped in tortillas, especially ones that also incorporate rice like they do here, aren’t so farfetched after all.
Especially when you learn that after Co-Owner Bobby Marhamat’s parents immigrated from Iran to Nebraska, they ended up buying a Mexican restaurant to operate. And naturally, the two cuisines started to meld at home.
Movida is an outgrowth of that. Or as his wife and Co-Owner Shima Marhamat explains, “We took A and B — and created C.”
The kind redolent of star anise plus a pop of chili. The kind with an aroma that tantalizes with warm spices from the first whiff. And the kind that soothes, satisfies, and lingers on the mind and palate long after the last slurp.
What was formerly Le Meridien hotel has undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation that includes a sleek contemporary yet soothing pale earth-tone interior design by AvroKO, which also did SingleThread Farms in Healdsburg. The look was inspired by the organic and natural sculptural style of the late-great Ruth Asawa.
Have you ever spied a pink gin before? Me, either. At least not before receiving a sample bottle of Malfy Gin Rosa, an Italian gin that’s tinged a very pale pink from grapefruit.
Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, this gin gets a subtle citrus and bitter pith edge from Sicilian pink grapefruit, along with lemon. Juniper berries add characteristic pine and almost anise-like notes without veering into medicinal-tasting territory.
Just know, though, that because the color is so light, it won’t be visible once you add any kind of mixer.