The newest restaurant sensation in San Francisco to open its doors just last week is named for the Thai word for “woman.”
It’s an apt moniker because it was opened by a woman as formidable as they get.
The captivating Nari, which opened in the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown, is the latest endeavor by Pim Techamuanvivit, who holds two Michelin stars, one each at Kin Khao in San Francisco’s Parc 55 hotel, and Nahm in Bangkok. Additionally, she operates Kamin, a fast-casual cafe in the International Terminal at San Francisco International Airport.
Born and raised in Bangkok, Techamuanvivit worked in tech in the Bay Area, before becoming one of the earliest breakout blogging stars with her site Chez Pim. Along the way, she wrote a cookbook, then became an artisan jam maker before reinventing herself again as a chef-restaurateur.
In every case, she’s done so with aplomb.
So it comes as no surprise that a day before the official opening at a “friends and family” preview dinner, to which I was invited as a guest, her newest restaurant was already hitting it out of the park.
The cookbook comprises more than 100 recipes that are touted as game-changers. Indeed, they span from a “Brazilian Carrot Cake” recipe in which raw carrots are blitzed in a blender with eggs, oil and sugar for the batter” to “No-Stress Pie Dough” in which the cubes of butter are pinched into the flour before adding cold water to “Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake with Superfluffy Frosting” that uses avocado in the batter, and almond milk and brown rice syrup in the frosting for a cloud-like Cool Whip-texture.
So many people embrace nonfat because of health concerns. But every chef will tell you that fat equals flavor. It also provides satiation. Just consider how much more full you feel — and for far longer — if you choose full-fat yogurt over nonfat, not to mention the added calcium you get.
As I read over the recipe, visions of awful Snackwells nonfat cookies popped into my head. But I knew that if the recipe was published in a Food52 book, it must be good. Moreover, if it was a recipe created by pastry chef extraordinaire David Lebovitz, well, then it had to be superb.
The book is by husband-and-wife Harneet Baweja and Devina Seth, along with Nirmal Save, the head chef of their Gunpowder restaurant in London, where the home-style cooking is a modern take on favorites they all grew up with. That includes “Kale and Corn Cakes,” “Ginger Chicken Wings,” “Maa’s Kashmiri Lamb Chops,” and “Mint and Apple Lassi.”
Brioche is used for this French toast, its soft, buttery texture and indulgent flavor creating a subtle sweet base for the savory, spicy flavors it sops up.
This time of year cries out for gingerbread pancakes.
When it comes to Austin, I can’t help but think barbecue, Tex-Mex and food trucks galore.
Now, it’s become synonymous with gingerbread pancakes, too.
That’s because in “The Austin Cookbook” (Abrams), of which I received a review copy, there is a wonderful recipe for just that from Magnolia Cafe, a beloved institution that’s not only open 24/7, but serves breakfast anytime.
The book, by food writer Paula Forbes, features more than 80 recipes that give a delicious overview of the city’s culinary traditions, from “Green Chile Queso” to “Mustard and Brown Sugar-Crusted Ribeye” to Bootsie’s Buttermilk Pie.”
Being the ginger fanatic that I am, it’s no wonder that “Gingerbread Pancakes” called out to me.
Owner and baker Emily Buysse hard at work in the kitchen of her Batch Pastries.
Emily Buysse is an avowed cookie monster.
So much so that when she was working for an IT company in Berkeley, and couldn’t find a decent cookie to nibble on during her breaks, she took matters into her own hand. She started baking, baking, and baking.
In fact, it snowballed into a sweet new career, launching her first into her own wholesale baking business before she decided to take over Montclair Baking in Oakland two years ago and rechristening it Batch Pastries.
A perfect spot to take a load off with something sweet.
This would almost make me take up running again.
Situated in a small strip mall atop a hill, it’s a bakery small in space but big in heart. Regulars gather on sunny days to relax with coffee and a cookie, which she considers the perfect treat because it’s the ideal size to satisfy without overwhelming.