The Weekend E.A.T. – Back to Basics

Combine food, technology, and a little bit of luck and you have the gist of the big-city culinary world. Pop-ups pop up faster than under-toasted waffles; everything is so focussed on the next big thing (S4, I’m looking at you), that the food-inclined youth often forget where the future of food came from – the basics of the past.

Philz that killz – been caffeinating off this one since Berks

I spent the last few days visiting revisiting said past with family and friends, walking away with a key piece of advice that my old pastry co-worker imparted: Learn the basic shit before you get cute.

While we were talking meringue and panna cotta (more on that later this week), this holds true for most things in life. And after last week’s roller coaster, I’m excited to delve back into the basics of my desserts/job/life goals.

You can’t think ten steps ahead if you don’t know what the first three were.

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Beautifully seared trout with pumpkin seeds, serrano chile, chard, and butter beans from Nopalito. This restaurant is all about the classics of Mexican cuisine (read: Not burritos). I only wish they took reservations, because I don’t fancy waiting an hour in the blustery SF weather. But then again, they do have fudge paletas that make the wait worth it.

L to R: Nate Appleman, culinary manager of Chipotle and my former boss/chef at A16; sofritas tacos (for some reason, sofritas sounds like it could fit into the Harlem Shake song if you say it right); the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck makes an appearance all the way from NYC!

The Chipotle Cultivate Festival (seriously, there are way too many festivals in  Golden Gate Park during summertime). A surprisingly educational experience, the event touted Chipotle’s sustainable farming techniques and broke down their menu to demonstrate how much healthier it is versus a McDonald’s cheeseburger. With my old chef at the helm of culinary manager, this QSR has won me over.

Chili paneer samosas are good and all, but DAMN Ranbir Kapoor you just about did me in with that dancing and extra-skinny tie suits

At the end of the day, nothing is better than a good masala Bollywood movie and some equally spicy Indian-Chinese food. I can’t tell you how many times this film-food combo has occurred, but it never disappoints me. And Ranbir Kapoor, you’re pretty damn good to look at.

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Finding Room for Happiness…And a Fiesta

DP chillin’

Hey, remember that week when the weather was so nice that we sat in the park for 6 hours and wore shorts until 11pm?

Remember when this was the best week ever? No? Let’s change that.

No week is complete without a little happy hour whiskey time. And Sazeracs too, which I am just now discovering. Nihon Whisky Lounge is the Mecca of the liquor. And good food too!

First off – it’s May! That means flowers (showers are over, right?), BBQs, and the over-hyped yet staple “holiday” of Mexico’s Non-Independence that is Cinco de Mayo. For the first few days of the month, restaurants, work catering, and my culinary thoughts are south of the border.

That’s how I casser-roll.

On the home front, that translated to a chilequiles casserole – a healthy dish loaded with veggies (although it could stand to be loaded up even more), tomato sauce, corn tortillas, and a sprinkling fatty handful of cheese. Check out the recipe here. It keeps for more than a week and makes a great lunch for work.

Sisig

My comida quest led me into food truck territory to rediscover how amazing Mexican food is, especially when it has a California twist. Read: French fries in a burrito. Oh yes. Thank you Senor Sisig for spearheading the lunchtime culture-clash amazingness.

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And then there’s this weather. When the temperature is above 70 degrees, San Francisco ceases to be productive in lieu of being outdoors. This rhetorical city-wide state of being is one of the things that makes the Bay so glorious. While other cities (Los Angeles, I’m looking at you) bask in warm weather nearly everyday, we yearn to experience it more often, so when we have the opportunity, we appreciate the fuck out of it.

Dolores Park artwork is always transitory yet resilient. I love the Monopoly throwback.

As the weekend fast approaches (but not fast enough), I smile ear-to-ear for fortunate happenings such as these that make me appreciate how awesome life can be. As my chocolate cake flan (yes this is a thing, recipe next week!) cools, I leave you with a quote from my favorite DJ who I danced to until 4am and whose sig I snagged (remember how I said this was the best week ever?).

I can die happy now. No, really.

“4 a.m. can feel similar to 11 a.m. Depends on the vibe + if you have sunglasses or not.”

There’s a way.