San Francisco

the past few weeks

My lack of blogging is making me sad. We’ve been so busy (Jordan started school again and I’ve been promoted) and I haven’t found the time to sit down and write up the recipes are lingering in my drafts. There’s baklava, pizza, braised short ribs and salted chocolate cookies and they’re all waiting patiently for me to get my act together. I’ve complied my favorite photos of the past two weeks—mostly to prove we’re alive and happy, but also to buy myself a few more days.

Oh San Francisco, we love you and your foggy mornings.

I mean, I just melt. They are beyond sweet.

Heavy bags groceries on public transit made better by California sunshine and bright pink pants.
I went to the Alameda Antique Fair last Sunday with some friends. It was an incredibly successful outing from an acquiring amazing old stuff for cheap perspective and was so fun.

Case in point—this absolutely gorgeous original Eames chair that I found for just $100. She needs some love and polish, but there’s tremendous potential.

Puppy paws on a Saturday morning.

We’ll be back soon with real recipes. I’m hoping I remember what it’s like to write those.


Randomness San Francisco

rainy sunday

We’re having our first real rain of the season here in San Francisco. It’s very tempting just to stay in bed.

But, Jordan has to get off to work and I have a baked mac and cheese to make. It’s game day after all! Go Niners!

We’ll be back soon … with at least one recipe for baked mac and cheese.

Happy Sunday!


Recipes San Francisco

to cook a crab


For the first time since he started working at Amoeba last July, Jordan had a Saturday off. Happiness! A shared day off work most definitely meant that an adventure was in order. We decided to explore Point Reyes and Tomales Bay to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. Luckily for us, our good friends Matt and Alexa were also game and prepared an agenda full of amazing food and beautiful scenery.

We hit up the classic Pine Cone Diner (lovingly called The Cone by locals, aka Matt) explored the tiny town of Point Reyes Station and then went on a hike through Point Reyes National Seashore. After some leisurely hiking,  it was on to the main event … oysters! Hog Island Oyster Co was the destination of choice. A few picnic tables in the sun and the freshest oysters you’ll ever eat, all right next to the pristine Tomales Bay—heaven on Earth.

Still feeling that oyster buzz, we decided to grab a big ole dungeness crab and a few more oysters from their retail shop on the way out. Matt and Alexa also bought two crabs and those lively guys were trying to escape their icy cooler all the way home. Amazingly fresh seafood, round two!

To Cook A Crab

I’d never cooked a crab before. My only prior experience with cooking the larger members of the crustacean family was Lobster Day over a year ago. To be honest, Jordan did all of the real work in both of these experiments, but I did take good notes.

There are several different ways to cook a crab, but we decided to keep it simple and take the steaming route. Boil a few inches of water in a large stock pot with the steamer insert. Put the crab in the pot and steam for 8 minutes per pound with the lid cocked.

Remove the crab from the pot and rinse with cold water.  Flip the crab over and pull off the apron (the oval/triangular belly of the crab). At this point the crab guts will ooze out all over your counter. You’ll need to sop these up with some paper towels and carry on. Some folks like to eat the guts, but we didn’t this time due to unanticipated oozing. With the guts removed,  you have access to the gills and mandible, which you should also remove. Now you’re left with a delicious crab body and delicious crab legs. Take some scissors to the table and enjoy! We dunked ours in melted butter. Something magical happens when crab meets butter, that’s a fact.

And if you’re curious about shucking oysters at home, here’s how.


San Francisco

heath ceramics factory tour—round two

On Friday, my mom and I visited the Heath Ceramics factory and shop. A few months ago,  Jordan and I took the tour of the factory and it was fascinating. I blogged about when I first fell in love with Heath Ceramics here. I thought my mom would enjoy the tour and so we went back. I decided to take more pictures this time.

For those of you who missed my first post, this is a bit about Heath Ceramics—Heath Ceramics was founded in 1948 in Sausalito, CA by Edith Heath. She was a feisty lady who knew her mind. She built her ceramic factory on the values of quality and sustainability, using local materials as much as possible and paying the real cost of labor always. Basically, she wanted to make simple, good things for good people. And so she did for the next 50 years. In 2003, husband and wife team, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey purchased Heath Ceramics with a mission to revitalize the company, which was in a bit of a tough spot. By placing a strong emphasis on design, handcrafted techniques, and the reinvigoration of the company’s designer-maker legacy, Robin and Catherine have persevered. Today, Heath Ceramics is one of the few remaining American potteries still in existence and Edith’s values are still going strong. Every piece they sell is made in their Sausalito factory by a team of 60 craftsmen, and every piece is truly a work of art.


In early 2012,  Heath will expand their operation and open a tile factory in San Francisco, just a few miles from Jordan and I. It is absolutely wonderful to see a business who does things right in every sense of the word succeeding in this tough economy. And now for some photos …

Slip casting. Vases, mugs, teapots and other complex shapes are made this way.

Plaster molds and a lathe are used to create most of the dinnerware.

Each piece is then hand trimmed and sponged smooth.

Every piece dries in a 120 degree room for 24 – 48 hours to remove all the moisture from the clay so it doesn’t explode in the kiln.

Then the pieces are glazed. Aren’t the names of the glazes something! They make them all from scratch at Heath.

The pieces are then fired in a kiln for several hours. These are their holiday colors. So festive!

Gorgeous tile samples.

Tiles made by Edith after a visit to the Southwest.

The teapot is the most complex design they make at Heath.

The adorable designs on these dinner plates are hand etched.

And, I’ve got to say, coffee out of one of these mugs just tastes better.

If you’re interested in visiting Heath Ceramics, or just picking up a few wonderful handcrafted gifts for the upcoming holiday, visit their site for more information.


Recipes San Francisco

bourbon ice cream with chocolate coated cornflake mix-ins

This recipe was inspired by the “Secret Breakfast” flavor at a local creamery Humphry Slocombe. While I am not quite sure what is in their Secret Breakfast—they don’t call it secret for no reason—this is a close approximation. Accuracy of replication aside, this ice cream is amazing. I only made a half batch because I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out and boy was I sorry. We ate it in two days, and that was stretching it. I recommend you make the full recipe. It is surprisingly good.

The bourbon ice cream is balanced and satisfying. The bourbon flavor comes through but there is no alcohol burn because of the cream. Bourbon and vanilla are just a great combination. Bottom line: this ice cream unadorned is fabulous. I’m also imagining it topped with peaches and caramel and that sounds like heaven. It was also wonderful with the chocolate corn flake mix-ins. The crunch of the corn flakes is delightful. The cornflakes don’t get soggy because of the coating of chocolate that envelopes them. Plus, bourbon and chocolate is also a good idea.

Bourbon Ice Cream with Chocolate Coated Cornflake Mix-Ins, adapted from Lottie + Doof and Humphry Slocombe

For the ice cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
7 T bourbon
1 T vanilla extract

Bring first 3 ingredients to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until milk powder dissolves completely. Remove from heat.

Combine egg yolks, sugar, brown sugar, and coarse salt in large bowl; whisk until thick and blended. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and the temperature registers 175°F to 178°F. Remove from heat.

Mix in bourbon and vanilla extract. Refrigerate custard uncovered until cold, stirring occasionally, at least 3 hours.  Custard can be made 1 day ahead.  Note: I didn’t have this much time to refrigerate my custard and the ice cream turned out just fine, but three hours is what the big shots like David Lebovitz recommend.

Pour the custard into your ice cream maker and churn until the consistency of thick frozen yogurt. This is when you’d want to add in your mix-ins. Continue churning until quite thick. Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze for a few more hours. Or, if you’re like me, spoon into dishes and enjoy right then.

Chocolate Coated Corn Flakes
1/2 cup corn flakes
1 cup chocolate chips
coarse salt

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over just barely simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the cornflakes. Coat both sides of the cornflakes and then spread them in a single layer on the baking dish. Put in the freezer to harden the chocolate. Break apart the cornflakes into small bits. These are your mix-ins. They also make a really tasty snack if you happen to make extra.

Honestly, I am obsessed with this ice cream. It was so good. I’ve been dreaming of other desserts to incorporate it into or serve it alongside. There are so many possibilities!


San Francisco

la cocina: street food festival preview dinner

I’ve mentioned La Cocina previously in a few posts, but I’ll give a quick run down just in case you’re new here. La Cocina is an incredible San Francisco non-profit incubator kitchen that provides affordable commercial kitchen space and industry-specific technical assistance to low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs who are launching, growing and formalizing their food businesses.


I was honored to be invited to the media preview dinner for their upcoming Street Food Festival. The Street Food Festival is one-day event that showcases La Cocina’s businesses and other local artisans. It is designed to bring together San Francisco food businesses and San Francisco eaters and also publicize the work that La Cocina does in the community. Last year over 35,000 people attended the event, and this year we are hoping for 50,000 visitors.

The media dinner took place about a week ago at Fort Mason Center and was a tremendous success! It was packed with local press, food bloggers and other luminaries in the community, and La Cocina’s businesses did an incredible job cooking a sit-down dinner for almost 200 guests! I was floored by the quality of the food and the energy at the event. Just wonderful!

I am beyond stoked for this year’s Street Food Festival! It will take place on Saturday, August 20th from 11 am – 7 pm in the Mission District on Folsom St. from 22th to 26th Streets. If you’re in the area, please stop by this amazing event and sample some incredible, artisanal food!  You can taste the love in each and every bite, I promise.


San Francisco

la cocina: simple salsa with el buen comer

On Wednesday I attended and photographed the Simple Salsa cooking class at La Cocina. A while back I wrote about the amazing work that La Cocina does in San Francisco, but here is a quick synopsis before we get to the photos.

La Cocina is dedicated to expanding business opportunities for low-income women food entrepreneurs. La Cocina provides affordable commercial kitchen space, guidance to its participants for planning and growing their businesses and access to larger markets for their products. La Cocina helps local women become economically self-sufficient and contribute to the vibrant San Francisco economy doing what they love to do.  If you are interested in learning more about the wonderful work La Cocina is doing here in San Francisco, please visit them here.

Simple Salsa was taught by Isabel Caudillo of El Buen Comer. Isabel specializes in guisados—stewed meats in wonderful sauces—and her class covered both fresh and cooked salsas. I learned a lot about the different types of chiles used in mexican cooking and also about the different ways to prepare salsas. There are raw, fried, roasted and boiled salsas; each technique seeks to maximize the flavor of the ingredients it features. Isabel did an amazing job sharing the building blocks of salsa construction so that participants can create amazing salsas at home. I was so inspired by the class and cannot wait to try out Isabel’s recipes at home.

Here are some photos I took during the event.

If these salsas tempt you as much as they tempted me, you can try Isabel’s food at Sunday Suppers from 5 – 10 at Heart Bar on Valencia St in San Francisco. If you’re interested in taking a cooking class at La Cocina, find out more information here.


San Francisco

la cocina: african celebration

La Cocina is an amazing San Francisco business dedicated to expanding business opportunities for low-income women food entrepreneurs. La Cocina provides affordable commercial kitchen space, guidance to its participants for planning and growing their businesses and access to larger markets for their products. La Cocina helps local women become economically self-sufficient and contribute to the vibrant San Francisco economy doing what they love to do. Just one quick example: With La Cocina’s guidance and facilities, Veronica of El Hurache Loco has gone from an enthusiastic home cook, to a food stand operator, to catering events, to planning the opening of her own restaurant. Like I said, amazing! If you are interested in learning more about the wonderful work La Cocina is doing here in San Francisco, please visit them here.

Last Wednesday, I went down to La Cocina to photograph their African Celebration cooking class. The class was led by two of La Cocina’s businesses – Chiefo’s Kitchen and Eji’s Ethiopian Gourmet.  I had a great time and I wanted to share some of the photos. If you are interested in attending a future cooking class like Simply Salsa or Back in the USSR, check out the offerings and sign up here.


San Francisco

sf underground market

Jordan and I attended the afternoon portion of last month’s Underground Market and it was great! Delicious samples, lots of great vendors, tons of people really excited about fresh, local, handmade food! If you’re in the area, check it out this Saturday! We’re planning on attending the evening portion this time.

SF Underground Market, hosted by ForageSF

Saturday March 26th

11am-4pm : Take-homeables and gifts

6pm-2 am: Hot food, Music

Location: Public Works, 161 Erie St

Admission: $5, $10 after 11 pm

“The SF Underground Market is a venue where you can taste and purchase the food that is being produced in backyards and home kitchens in the Bay Area.

To sell at a farmers market, you need to produce your wares in a commercial kitchen. This is an impossible expense for many of us, so the underground farmers market is about helping to get some exposure for all of our fellow producers without the cash for a commercial kitchen. These are veterans, people who’ve been making their products for years, but only able to share them with friends. We thought we’d give them a venue to share with the whole SF food community.

A market, and a live show, all rolled into one. Think a farmers market, but at night, with music and drinks.”

If you are interested in attending, be sure to sign up here. If you are interested in becoming a vendor, click here.

Restaurant Reviews San Francisco

taquería cancun

I love mexican food. Like my mother, I could probably eat it everyday. Limited access to great mexican food is just one of the reasons living outside of California borders on torture for me. The Mission District in San Francisco offers a myriad of taquería options, but not all super burritos are created equal. Jordan and I have done the legwork and our favorite taquería is Taquería Cancun (2288 Mission Street, between 18th and 19th).

Last Saturday we enjoyed awesome burritos in the company of awesome friends. Our recommendation: go for the super burrito or super taco “al pastor” ($6, $3). What does al pastor entail you may wonder? How can this meat be so delicious? Well, al pastor means that slices of pork are marinated in chilis and vinegar and then are cooked shawarma-style with a pineapple on top. I have to say that love the image of a pile of meat roasting on a spit with a pineapple on top almost as much as I love a super burrito al pastor!

Our friend Jeff took our recommendation and got the super burrito al pastor, another friend went with the chicken burrito and another went vegetarian. None were disappointed.

After we finished our burritos we took a stroll through the neighborhood.

Afterwards we grabbed soft-serve ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. I happen to think soft serve pairs magnificently with burritos. The perfect end to a perfect day in the Mission.