Here are a few stories and sites that have grabbed my attention (or are just begging for my comment) over the past few days. Hope these tidbits whet your appetite for more!
Two skilled professional cooks with experience in East Bay restaurants are offering online video cooking classes at Kitchen Pirate. The videos, which range in price from free to a few bucks, cover topics from basic braising to how to bone a pig's trotter. Will online video cooking demos soon see a surge in popularity akin to that of the TV Food Network 10 years ago?
The SF Chronicle's Bill Addison highlights the growing popularity of Spanish piquillo peppers amongst Bay Area chefs. These crimson conservas (more appetizing sounding than "canned goods," don't you think?) deserve every bit of attention lavished upon them. I enjoy them so much that a few seed packets apparently slipped into my luggage during last summer's trip to San Sebastián (exactly one year ago!). Keep your eyes on the Mariquita stand in the next few months to see how piquillos fare in our local soil.
Speaking of Spain, check out Pim's description and photos of her meal at Etxebarri, a secluded restaurant about an hour's drive from San Sebastián. Since I reluctantly missed this out-of-the-way Temple to the Grill (you may recall that my usual copilot N was once again toiling away in NY), I am grateful to Pim for reporting every detail of her meal.
Back to the Chronicle, Janet Fletcher covers an innovative idea making the rounds amongst pastry chefs. As a self-avowed fruit addict, I love the idea of placing our extraordinary local fruit in the spotlight and relegating the custards and cakes to a garnish. Sometimes at the end of a big meal I just want a little something to sweeten my mouth and not weigh me down. What's your take?
Over in the NY Times, there are a couple of stories about two of my all-time favorite savory treats. Peter Meehan left me salivating with his review of a stellar Brooklyn joint selling Jamaican patties. Oh, how I miss Jamaican beef patties! When I lived in Washington, D.C., I ate them as often as I eat tacos here. (Recipes and/or tips on where to find these addictive Jamaican snacks locally would be much appreciated!)
Did someone say tacos? In another Times article (in today's paper), Cindy Price tours taquerias from LA to SF's Mission District. Check out her choices for the best taquerias on the California coast. Local Chowhounds, a little slower on the uptake than usual, are just starting to weigh in.
Is it lunch time already? Don't be surprised if you spot me on my own taco crawl through the Mission.