Today I was given occasion to pause and reflect on my wonderful friends and the role that food plays in our lives. I’m having a hard time remembering the last time that a gathering with people I love didn’t include either wine, food, or both, and this weekend has been no exception. And really, isn’t that exactly how it should be?
Last night, Monkey and a friend dove into the kitchen and with practically zero intervention, produced olive oil chocolate chip cookies that tasted darn decent. While this was going on, the mother of said friend and I, gorged (I mean, delicately nibbled) on local goat cheese and artisanal uncured salami, washed down with some wine produced just a few miles away by those talented winemakers at J.
Today included a quick trip to Remodelista – a wonderful gathering of purveyors and crafters at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco. I even got the chance to chat with my heroine, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks who said that Alice Dishes sounded vaguely familiar. Be still my beating heart. I can now report to having a crush on a beautiful fermentation crock from Counter Culture Pottery.
We popped into the farmer’s market on 24th St in Noe Valley, San Francisco – our old hood – and ran into a couple of friends. I picked up some chickpea flat bread to snack on which later fell prey to Tank’s counter-surfing ways. Darn it.
And we were lucky enough to be invited to a terrific holiday party in Belvedere, Tiburon, CA, hosted by dear friends. We were treated to magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay, great company – including many people who are helping to propel the next stars in the local food scene to the forefront – and simply out of this world “New Korean American” food, prepared by Dennis Lee and his team from San Francisco’s Namu Gaji. (The macaroons pictured above were part of the feast.)
The feast was bountiful. From raw day boat scallops delicately prepared with herbs and citrus juice, to traditional Korean sauces, kimchi, barbecued ribs and crispy pork belly, I couldn’t resist piling my plate high more than a few times. Dessert included a tiramisu/trifle riff with seasonal Panetone, delicious macaroons and ice cream from Humphrey Slocombe (one of the guests is an investor). This was no usual ice cream. It was basically frozen cream with cornflakes and a hint of bourbon. What can I say? You’ll have to try it for yourself.
It goes without saying that I ended up in the kitchen talking at length with Namu Gaji’s head chef, Dennis Lee, who founded the restaurant with his two brothers, Daniel and David. I hope to sit down with him again soon and write about what it’s like to try and get Asian-inspired food the recognition it so deserves on the SF restaurant scene.
In the meantime, Happy Holidays and Bon Appetit to you all!