Thanksgiving is Coming!

I promise that I will give back by adding some worthwhile content. The new career has seduced me away from this adventure. Kind of sad, I know. However, I think we have become far more conscious of how we live. All is not lost. Thanksgiving is coming and this year, we have a lot to be thankful for!

Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting.
Michael Pollan

Oakland’s Real Food Festival is a celebration of local people(s) making real food, quickly, and deliciously. This past weekend I had the pleasure of hopping on board with the ForageSF crew to assist with some gastronomic merrymaking. Again, like a well-oiled machine, we came together to serve thousands of folks, great REAL food!

Beneath the bright orange tent eaters could find anywhere from 6-9 people at anytime, slicing, spreading, smearing, dipping, grilling, expediting, breading, frying, or collecting cash. We often rotated positions as customer demands fluctuated. At the sandwich station one of us buttered the bread, while the other used a foraged mushroom pate to coat the inside of one slice, topping it with mozzarella, grated cheddar cheese, and pickled onions. Filling dozens of trays and handing them over to the grill person. On the grill, the buttered outsides transformed into golden crisp slabs supporting the mingling cheeses, as the fat solids transformed from solid to gooey deliciousness, the layers of buttery, bread, gooey cheese, savory pickles, and delicate mushroom pate combined to create a palatable symphony.

Above you can see the fried Smelt with Aoli. These little fellows presented a bit of challenge. First, they are tiny and slick so getting the panko to stick was not an easy task. We realized early on that allowing the fish to bunk-up in the egg wash alone before breading was not a successful strategy. So like a great politician we switched our methods as soon as we recognized that the result of our initial approach was drastically dropping in the popularity polls of our minds. 

How did we save the operation and make fried smelt into a crowd pleasing favorite? We first coated the fishies in a light layer of flour, then (through careful experimentation) we learned that the longer they stayed in the egg the less likely the panko would stick. So we carefully added the smelt to the egg wash and right away coated it with fresh panko. Voila! Magic. The fish came out looking like little golden french fries. People that had ordered them reluctantly were suddenly coming back for second and third servings. 

An incredible reality of being a vendor at this festival is that food & beer is the currency! While I find it impossible to eat while I am in a cooking situation such as this; vendors stopped by to drop off dim-sum, meatloaf, mediterranean vegetable salads, and plenty of beer. We were encouraged to bring some of our food around to other vendors for trade. Of course, I brought to grilled cheeses and a smelt to the beer tent where I exchanged them for three IPA’s. But later in the evening Valerie was able to supply our kitchen armada with ice creams, sorbets, Mac and Cheese of two varieties, sweet potato pies, and apple pies. 

The second night ended late for me but I arrived home tired, proud of the work I had done, excited about the friends that I had made, 12 loaves of Acme Bread, 1 large container of Blue Bottle coffee, and about 50 bucks richer. I would help or venture to cook at a food festival anytime. The work is hard and the hours are long but making that many people into smelt fans is worth it anytime!


There is one thing I feel I need to be really clear on. That is, we are not just on “a budget.” This is a common mistake that I have been hearing from people lately.
"oh your on a budget"
"being on a budget is so important when you’re first married"
Sure this is all true. However, this is more of a project. It is a project to see how well one can live, without sacrificing their ideals and tastes, by seeking out opportunities that are culturally rich, support other creatives, help sustain small artisans, and are wallet friendly.
Make no mistakes we are not taking handouts or shopping at Walmart.
Now that this is out of the way, on to the topic at hand. Sometimes you just HAVE to give back. You would have had to been living under a rock to not have heard about the devastation caused by hurricane Irene. Maybe you want to be involved in helping but do not know how. 
If you, like me, were lucky enough to be unaffected than it is a great time to show your support for those that were. Do you like organic farming? If that is your cause and you are on the east coast than you are in luck. Giving back never tasted so good!
Check out this site: http://dineoutirene.com/
On September 25th you can eat out in one of the participating NYC restaurants and 10% of the proceeds will go to Just Food, Grow NYC, or one of the many farms dealing with the consequences of that bitch, Irene. Eat and drink your hearts out with no guilt. This may be the only time you ever hear me promote gluttony.
It would be great to organize something here in SF to help out. If anyone is interested let me know. I would be happy to help. 

There is one thing I feel I need to be really clear on. That is, we are not just on “a budget.” This is a common mistake that I have been hearing from people lately.

"oh your on a budget"

"being on a budget is so important when you’re first married"

Sure this is all true. However, this is more of a project. It is a project to see how well one can live, without sacrificing their ideals and tastes, by seeking out opportunities that are culturally rich, support other creatives, help sustain small artisans, and are wallet friendly.

Make no mistakes we are not taking handouts or shopping at Walmart.

Now that this is out of the way, on to the topic at hand. Sometimes you just HAVE to give back. You would have had to been living under a rock to not have heard about the devastation caused by hurricane Irene. Maybe you want to be involved in helping but do not know how. 

If you, like me, were lucky enough to be unaffected than it is a great time to show your support for those that were. Do you like organic farming? If that is your cause and you are on the east coast than you are in luck. Giving back never tasted so good!

Check out this site: http://dineoutirene.com/

On September 25th you can eat out in one of the participating NYC restaurants and 10% of the proceeds will go to Just Food, Grow NYC, or one of the many farms dealing with the consequences of that bitch, Irene. Eat and drink your hearts out with no guilt. This may be the only time you ever hear me promote gluttony.

It would be great to organize something here in SF to help out. If anyone is interested let me know. I would be happy to help. 

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
~Leonardo DaVinci

Q: What is better than spending $$$?

A: Making $$$, meeting new (fun, smart) people, having an adventure

I thought nothing could come close to my Deerhoof/SFMOMA high but last night I was pleasantly surprised.  But I’ll have to back up and give you a little info to put my Friday night into context.

So when I first moved to SF an awesome pal invited me out with she and some friends to the San Francisco Underground Market. I fell immediately in love with the concept. Basically, for a nominal fee one could gain entrance into a culinary wonderland from emerging and amateur chefs, artisans, baker-on-the-sides, music, art installations and a very reasonably priced bar. The catch was that the vendors were sans licensure. Anyway, I loved it and then the following month it was shut down by the Department of Health. This bummed me out for a few reasons, 1. No chance I’d get to showcase my ice cream there 2. I liked the punk-rock, DIY reality of the whole thing.

So, basically, long story short, I reached out to Iso Rabins the founder of ForageSF, and creative force behind the market. We met up at LaVictoria earlier in the week where the good folks of Forager were prepping for Friday Night’s Event.  And I was invited to check out the event, take some pics, and write a blog post for the website.

When I arrived at the Wild Kitchen, I had no idea what to expect. Certainly no stranger to hosting or attending supperclubs, I know by now that every one has its own special appeal and flair so I have learned to not make any assumptions. Well, there are a few things that should be noted:

1. All of the FOH and BOH volunteers were completely new, no one had worked with the Forage crew before

2. The dinner was for something like 56 or 58 people! I had hosted an event that approached roughly 30people and had attended supper clubs of roughly the same size. 

3. Rabins, Mona, Janet, and Jordan are amazing. They are so laid back, their food is magical, they work incredibly hard first foraging then prepping. 

4. They run a tight ship and are incredibly generous and supportive.

So that is grossly general, I know. All I can say is that serving was a blast and I am the last person you would expect to hear that from. The guests were romanced by their wooing 6 course gourmet ensemble. Wine was flowing, the dj mixed the perfect musical cocktail to accompany the lofty, naturalist vibe, guests begged to see the kitchen, candles illuminated the communal table, and Queen Anne’s Lace sparcely arranged in selvedged bottles worked as centerpieces. 

Down a floor from the event, all of us volunteers scurried like ants drying dishes, nibbling tastings, sipping bourbon or Tecati, filling water bottles, stacking recycling, clearing dishes, filling compost, and running food up to guests. The work was physically exhausting but exhilirating.

So instead of going out to dinner, I met some like minded people that appreciate the types of things in life that I do. After all that I was still able to go see my friends and share a glass of wine in their fabulous home. Voluntary poverty has made me make room 

SO, it was Ed’s birthday and so there was cake. Satomi fed me a bite and that is me with the fork. 

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