Friday, September 26, 2008

The Omnivore's One Hundred

Here is a foodie meme that was swiped from Christina Faust's Deadlier Than The Male, though I think I saw it first on Creepy's a couple of weeks ago and I should've lifted it off him back then. I did a list of fifty back in '06 that was more American-based than the one the Beeb did back then. This one below strikes me one that originated on the other side of The Pond as well.

The Omnivore's Hundred

Here's the deal: 1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions. 2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. 3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

1. Venison.
2. Nettle tea.
3. Huevos rancheros.
4. Steak tartare.
5. Crocodile (every restaurant in San Francisco that offers this dish, tends to close down before I get there).
6. Black pudding.
7. Cheese fondue.
8. Carp.
9. Borscht.
10. Baba ghanoush (my favorite vegetable dish and The Missus makes me a bowl for my birthday and for our Anniversary).

11. Calamari.
12. Pho.
13. PB&J sandwich.
14. Aloo gobi.
15. Hot dog from a street cart.
16. Epoisses (Je crois que je n'ai jamais mangé ceci, or "I believe that I have never eaten this").
17. Black truffle.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (is Boones' Farm still a right of passage amongst underage drinkers? Methinks not).
19. Steamed pork buns (part of the reason I live where I live, is the abundance of dim sum joints).
20. Pistachio ice cream.

21. Heirloom tomatoes (you can't eat any non-Asian restaurant in the Bay Area, without them trying to literally shove these down your throat).
22. Fresh wild berries.
23. Foie gras.
24. Rice and beans.
25. Brawn, or head cheese.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (why "raw?" Cooked I've had, but "raw?").
27. Dulce de leche.
28. Oysters.
29. Baklava.
30. Bagna cauda.

31. Wasabi peas.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl.
33. Salted lassi (I've had mango lassi, but not salted).
34. Sauerkraut.
35. Root beer float.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (separately yes, together? No).
37. Clotted cream tea.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O.
39. Gumbo.
40. Oxtail.

41. Curried goat (yea, mon. Over here and in Jamaica).
42. Whole insects (not intentionally, though I eat about five gnats a day at work).
43. Phaal (I believe that I had this unintentionally. I ordered Vindaloo and they cooked it hot like Phaal).
44. Goat’s milk (and kefir too during my hippie childhood).
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (I've had fifteen year-old scotch that cost that much, does that count?).
46. Fugu (I'm a parent, so this is off of my to-eat list)
47. Chicken tikka masala.
48. Eel (this comes with the sushi I order).
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut.
50. Sea urchin (never again if I can help it, it's the worst sushi next to clam).

51. Prickly pear (it's not memorable at all).
52. Umeboshi (I believe I had this when I was about eleven and I remember not liking it at all).
53. Abalone (this stuff used to be so common that my mom would get fried abalone sandwiches in Half Moon Bay and I'd have crab. Both cost only $4 back in the 70's!).
54. Paneer.
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (not the meal, but unfortunately the sandwich).
56. Spaetzle.
57. Dirty gin martini (not "dirty, no).
58. Beer above 8% ABV (and for contrast? I've had the 1.5%, or whatever that water is that they serve in Utah).
59. Poutine (there's a place in Oakland that I'm going to try this at, though they make it without the authentic cheese curds. They also make #64).
60. Carob chips.

61. S’mores.
62. Sweetbreads (delicious, though I wouldn't touch them now in these mad cow days).
63. Kaolin (now does this mean "clay pot?" Because I've had clay pot cooked food).
64. Currywurst.
65. Durian.
66. Frogs’ legs (allegedly I had this when I was too young to remember, therefore it didn't make that much of an impression).
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake.
68. Haggis.
69. Fried plantain.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (ugh, never again).

71. Gazpacho.
72. Caviar and blini.
73. Louche absinthe (I'm saving this for when I'm at my Poe/Lord Byron/Gary Oldman as Dracula-days).
74. Gjetost, or brunost (I've had all of the nasty Norwegian, Swedish and Danish cheeses. All I can say is go Italian, people, go Italian).
75. Roadkill (why? All the wonderful fresh food in the world and they put this on the list?).
76. Baijiu (will this help me get in touch with my Hakka heritage?).
77. Hostess Fruit Pie.
78. Snail (more proof that everything tastes good with garlic and butter).
79. Lapsang souchong.
80. Bellini.

81. Tom yum.
82. Eggs Benedict.
83. Pocky.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (Michelin has no love for the Bay Area, though the bastards probably gave this hole-in-the-wall, the three-star treatment).
85. Kobe beef.
86. Hare (I've had rabbit. Once by accident and once on purpose).
87. Goulash.
88. Flowers (this was the "heirloom tomatoes" of the 80's, they put blossoms on everything).
89. Horse (insert 5th Amendment here).
90. Criollo chocolate.

91. Spam.
92. Soft shell crab.
93. Rose harissa.
94. Catfish.
95. Mole poblano.
96. Bagel and lox.
97. Lobster Thermidor (some day soon).
98. Polenta (one of the most abused food trends of the 90's.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
100. Snake (it's on my to-eat list).

There are no strike-throughs, what does this mean, people? I'll pretty much eat anything thing that is served to me and that I negotiate strike-throughs on Blogger, anyway.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

When You Think Marin, Think "Gelatin"

From now on, when you think of Marin? I want you to think "Jell-o." Liz Hickok is going to do the Marin Headlands up right, as a sculpture. This time, not only can see her artistic process unfold, but you can help her out too. I'll let Liz tell it-

I have just started a Project Space residency at the Marin Headlands (just north of San Francisco), and my art studio will be open to the public 5 days a week through October 12th. Visitors are invited to help me create Jell-O towns and cities for my time-based sculpture inspired by Marin. So please come play with Jell-O and construct the future towns of Marin.
The general public can stop by my studio, located on the 3rd floor of the main building at the Headlands, during open hours:Tuesday-Friday, and Sunday: 12-5 pm
Sept 10th-Oct 12th
944 Simmonds Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965
For directions and more info:
During my 5-week Project Space residency (Sept 9-Oct 12, 2008) at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, I will be creating a time-based and interactive Jell-O sculpture. I will be using the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) Project, a currently proposed public transportation system, as inspiration for the sculpture.
This piece creates an avenue to imagine and explore how the urban landscape may change and develop over time if the SMART train project passes in the November 2008 election. Each of the five proposed train stations in Marin will become an individual Jell-O sculpture that will be displayed along a model train line in my studio. Each day I may decide to work on a different hub and experiment with how it could develop. I will use satellite maps as a starting point, but instead of creating exact replicas of the towns, I will be using generic blocks and shapes cast in Jell-O to lay out the architectural scenes.
I have invited local urban planners and designers to collaborate on how they imagine a city or town center could develop. I am also asking visitors to create their own Jell-O buildings, using the Jell-O blocks that I have cast. As time passes, each Jell-O town center will harden and decay. I may tear down an old version to create a new one. This sculptural work-in-progress will not be an argument for any particular urban form but will ideally further the conversations around urban development. The fleeting material will also clearly visualize how our urban environments are alive and changing.
If you, or someone you know, would like to participate between September 15th and October 12th, please send me an email at Or simply stop by during public hours.
If you are in the area, I would love to see you. Otherwise, please check my website soon for new pictures from my residency.
So you see, not only do you get a chance to experience interactive art, but you can help change Marin for the better. And please, to all of you would-be Andrew Zimerns? Don't eat the buildings.

Friday, September 12, 2008

So I Tried Hamachi Kama

Today was payday and in an effort to diversify The Kid's diet, we went to Kana. I don't agree with most of the Yelp reviewers, I like and in the cases of some dishes, even love the restaurant. The main thing that I love about the place is that it is the perfect restaurant to introduce a finicky twelve year-old to Japanese cuisine.

The Kid had hotate bacon, which is skewered scallops wrapped in bacon. Curried fish balls on a skewer and chicken teriyaki, with sashimi. We usually order an entree for ourselves and share a few communal dishes. Tonight the kid and I tried hamachi kama for the first time and while I could describe it to you, Metrodining will do it one better-

Hamachi Kama is the Scooby snack of sushi bars and seafood restaurants. When the chefs need a pick-me-up to sustain them through a long night of endless slicing and nodding to ignorant orderers, they know that the best part of the fish is waiting for them in back. Hamachi kama even appears on many menus and specials lists now that people have learned its secret.

The kama is the collar, or the area of the fish surrounding the first fins near the face of the fish. Unlike halibut cheeks though (halibuts are a flat fish, and the hamachi are round, or more accurately, fish shaped), this facial area of the hamachi is served with some skin and bone, especially bone.

It takes a dexterous hand with the chopsticks to pick out all of the morsels of meat nestled in the spider's web of bone, fin and flesh. But what you dig out is especially rewarding and worth all of the extra effort. Rather than being homogenous, the meat of the hamachi (also called yellowtail) collar varies tremendously from bite to bite; it can be firm or meltingly tender, a dullish gray or a dusky rose.

Regardless of texture or color, the flavor is incomparable. Up there with toro for its juiciness, the collar has a high component of fish oil, making it incredibly moist, both fattier and more flavorful than the fillets. Most often broiled and served with only the lightest brushing of glaze, the hamachi kama shines in its simplicity. The strong flavors of the fish come through, and the heat melts the natural fats of the flesh, which contributes to the high-impact richness of the dish.

"Yellowtail [hamachi] cheeks are very popular. It is a meaty area of the fish and it has a lot of flavor," says Keiko Sakuma, owner of Kaygetsu, a Japanese restaurant in Menlo Park. "We don't have a lot of it, but customers love it."

Sushi restaurants might buy three or four whole hamachi to break down into sushi and sashimi, and each one will yield only two collars. It is the lucky customer who gets to feast on this specialty portion.

Naomi Roda, an owner of Saizo restaurant in Sunnyvale, seconds this. "It is very popular; most customers really like it. There is a lot of customer demand for it." Both women also appreciate that this allows them to use more of the portions of the fish.

Well the hamachi kama we had wasn't dull and gray at all. It either had a solidity akin to the consistency of a good grilled ahi steak, or it was buttery and tender. I must say in terms of the fish itself, it definitely lived up to all the recent hype by all the blogs and magazines that have been toting as a wonderful experience.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

You Hear About It...

...I mean, you read about it and then, proof is provided by the Internet. Courtesy of the Heartless Doll, as printed in SF Weekly and brought to them via Laughing Squid, I give you the...

...Krispy Kreme Chesseburger.

Oh...hold on.


Hey, Anne, where's the defibrillator?

...I think I've had a minor coronary, just looking at that picture.

You sure as hell know that you don't need a rabbi to tell you that ain't tref.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Missed Out On The Slow Food Nation

They had a Slow Food Nation gathering at Fort Mason and we missed out. I'm sure The Kid would've loved the Charcuterie Pavilion, but we're on a budget. As I checked out Eater SF to see what we missed, I noticed something about this picture...

...look at that fish in the bottom left corner, do you see it? Now move yourself to the right of your move yourself to the left of the monitor. What, you don't see it? The fish's eyes, they follow you around the room. Oooooh, spooky!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Baroness Triggers A Memory

In a post, The Baroness said-

*International Curse Word of the Day: Muenster - some wretched French comestible, passed off as "gourmet" fromage, which is, in truth, rancid foot fungus scraped off of a marathoner's post-race sock, "smoked" over a Galois cigarette, then shaped into a misleadingly appetizing cheese wheel.

The sensory assault which ensues can only be expelled by either rubbing the side of one's tongue on a belt sander, or by a radical taste-bud-ectomy.

Ah yes, France. Most of memories of Paris were horrible, yet I still don't blame Parisians...mostly because they are Parisians. Because they live in such a wonderful city, they are in a way, petulant, existentialist teenagers bored on wine, and ennui. As a word, "jaded" doesn't even come close.

I haven't had Muenster in awhile, though I somehow don't remember it tasting much like we would imagine the monster family of the same name could. I do remember being in Paris during the year of Orwell and we went to a restaurant that literally had cheese on the walls. I mean in every free space, every alcove and all the way literally up to the rafters. Being the young ugly American that I was, of course I wanted a steak with fries, don't spare the steer, garçon. The best the waiter could provide was a salad with a little jambon.

The waiter did not appreciate my attitude, and everything went downhill from there. Let me just say that his English was superb, so he was used to Les Américains barbares. My problem was that French cheese for me, was just for appetizers and only appetizers. I wanted heartier fare...coq au vin, bœuf Bourguignon and the like. Not the appetizers and rabbit food that they dished.

I spent more time arguing than eating that night. Of course because of my age, I wasn't savvy enough to know that if you piss off the waitstaff or the cooks, you will get something undesired in your food. Then came desert and you know that I was still starved by then. If you also know this branch of Le Cuisine de France, then you know that half of the deserts available at that restaurant were cheese.

I didn't say it out loud, but he surmised from the look on my face was "again with the (expletive) cheese?" I ordered ananas, which in my nineteen year-old mind equaled "bananas" and if you had just one year of French in junior high school, you'd think the same thing to...that, and Madeline Alvarez looked hella hot in that sweater.

The word next to ananas? I couldn't read it though in retrospect, it was probably sorbet. God, I'd like to go back into a time machine some twenty-four years and just slap some sense into myself. So he put this small dish in front of me and I said where is the ananas?

"They are right there."

I'm looking for bananas. I envisioned something similar to bananas Foster.

"C'mon, don't mess with me, where are the ananas?

"There...right there. There! La!"

Words and gestures were exchanged...and for short time, cutlery was almost involved. No the police weren't called, although now? I wouldn't even dare to walk within a block of that place, as I imagine that they still have a picture of me up in the kitchen with these words-

Cormac est voulu mort...or mort! Le coût n'est pas d'objet !
(Cormac is wanted dead...or dead! Cost is no object!)