Monthly Archives: March 2010

Asterisk San Francisco contributor Mark Holland and I agree on one thing: The importance of a good editor

The argument that so many chefs are just elitist, talentless hacks is tiresome and old, yet Holland makes it anyway, stating early in his piece that, “Chefs love taking food off the dining tables of the poor, stuffing it with truffles, frying it in duck fat and serving it in the lofty dining rooms of some of the city’s finest restaurants.” The phrasing is a bit over-the-top, calling to mind an image of a white-coated, toque-bedecked culinary school grad ripping a chicken leg out of the hands of a starving child, only to then stud the meat with expensive ingredients that will make this once humble fare no longer affordable to the masses. Granted, in recent years we’ve all seen examples of this trend in which a chef takes what Holland terms, “blue collar staples” and reworks them into a ridiculous (and cost-prohibitive) reincarnation. (Remember the $175 Richard Nouveau burger, featuring an ingredient list that read like a menu and a jewlery catalog? Foie gras, truffles, and even “flakes of gold leaf” topped the burger’s half-pound-plus Kobe beef patty.) Continue reading

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Farm Envy – My Visit to Frog Hollow Farm

I spent this past summer in New York, and one of the things I missed the most about San Francisco was my ready access to fruit from Frog Hollow Farm–their peaches in particular, which are the best peaches I’ve ever had. Their nectarines are also amazing, and I feel I should mention here that when one of my NYC co-workers went to San Francisco on a visit, she brought back to New York a huge bag of Frog Hollow Farm nectarines. When one of my other co-workers tried a slice, he exclaimed, “Oh my God–what is that???”, as he reached for more. A third co-worker answered, “They’re nectarines. That’s what fruit is supposed to taste like.” Continue reading

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Reading My Fortune in the Tea Leaf Salad

Unlike many a place hipsters like to flock, Burma Superstar is actually deserving of its reputation. From the savory garlic and wine braised pea shoots to the hearty pork and pumpkin stew, nearly everything at Burma Superstar is fantastic, especially what is probably its most famous dish, the tea leaf salad. Continue reading

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