Back in the Kitchen and Out Again

After realizing how much money I had been spending on lunch everyday, I decided to let go of my aversion to microwaved leftovers and start making my own lunches.  Starting off with roasted chicken was probably a bad idea.  Should have stuck to spaghetti.  I hadn’t done any major cooking from scratch in months and trying to butcher my own chicken after such a hiatus was a mistake. Those knives hadn’t been used for much else besides chopping kale or cutting the plastic seal off a tub of salsa.

Not only did I mangle that poor chicken, I also managed to stab my finger and that took a while to stop bleeding. Oy, I could have used a refresher on butchering from Joe.  Chicken turned out decent though and any blood I might have spilled was absent from the finished product.  I tried out Trader Joe’s organic brined chicken instead of the regular stuff and realized that I shouldn’t have strayed. The brine had too many strong, sweet flavors that doesn’t marry well with much else and with such things, you can’t really gauge the quality of the chicken or how long it’s been hanging around the refrigerated section.  This one tasted like an old-timer.

However I was reminded again of why I don’t cook so often anymore.  That’s a lot of chicken for one person to eat and it’s going to last at least four meals which gets old quickly.  And I can’t always pawn it off to the Slumlord (but I will this time).  Until I remember to halve my recipes in the future, I’ll probably go back to being a regular at the taco truck.


Tea-Spotting at the San Francisco International Tea Festival

SkyTea display
Tea is a religion and I am an ardent disciple, worshipping all leaves from the smoky Lapsang Souchong to the grassy Sencha.  So when The Ferry Building and the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture hosted the San Francisco International Tea Festival this past weekend, I just had to attend. As a tea lover, this was a great opportunity to try out different varietals side by side and discover purveyors that I normally would not find in the local store.

There were about a dozen or so exhibitors, some with wide distribution like Republic of Tea and Ito-En and others that were less mainstream. Every attendee was given a goodie bag filled with tea samples as well as a little porcelain tea cup for sipping the various offerings.  I had a great time going from table to table sampling different single leaf varietals and custom blends. There was a lot of tea to go around and my palette started getting fatigued. Thankfully, there were three teas that broke through the amber fog and shone clear and bright.

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A Tale of Thievery and Bravery(?) set in a Paris Underground Metro

If at some point in your travels you find yourself going up an escalator in a busy Paris metro and it suddenly stops for no reason, chances are someone is going to get robbed. If you happen to be a tourist juggling luggage, chances are, that someone is you. Oh wait. That someone was me.

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Design the Other 90%: Cities – Cooper Hewitt at the UN

If you are in New York City sometime between now and January 9th and find yourself with a couple of hours to spare, head over to the United Nations to see a great exhibit on how simple solutions can make a tremendous impact.  While the Cooper Hewitt Museum itself is closed for renovations, the UN is hosting its exhibit, Design the Other 90%: Cities. That is where I found myself on a rainy Wednesday in October after skipping the long lines at MOMA in exchange for a less crowded (and free of charge) venue.

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Trial Thanksgiving 2011

We call it Trial Thanksgiving. In name only, it’s a dress rehearsal for the actual day. In practice, it’s an excuse to get together with friends who are for all intents and purposes a family as well as to try out new recipes.

In the past few years, we’ve settled on a division of labor.  Tsunami de-bones the turkey with surgical precision and the Dr. makes sticky rice stuffing and bakes the turkey.  Cupcake and Ice Cream Guy provide dessert (obviously).  I make traditional stuffing and gravy because for me, that is an essential part of Thanksgiving.  All the guests bring their own signature dishes to complete the table.

This year’s turkey was dubbed the “Turpiggen” because it was stuffed with sticky rice and…

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In the Season: Simple and Delicious Salads for Fall

My latest lunch obsession is a little hole in the wall on Ritch street called Darwin Cafe.  No bigger than a shoebox and more crowded than the 30 Stockton during the lunch rush, this place churns out plate after plate of simple yet incredibly tasty food.  Two dishes I love from their menu are the Kale and Radicchio salad and the Persimmon and Pomegranate side salad they serve with their sandwiches. Since all of the star ingredients are in season right now, I had to take a turn at making the salads in my kitchen.

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Hangzhou Ghost Story

When I hopped on a Hangzhou bound train with my dad and a friend one balmy May evening last year, I thought I would spend the next two days discovering the mist shrouded beauty of West Lake, where poets and scholars of centuries past gazed from its banks and murmured a few words of prose as they raised a cup of tea to their lips.  Little did I know that the city would extend to me a welcome of the most unearthly kind.

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Afternoon Tea Party

I recently hosted an afternoon tea for a few of my girlfriends so we could while away a beautiful fall afternoon with savory treats and warm conversation.  Unlike the expansive displays at tea houses like Lovejoys or Samovar, all you need are a few sandwiches and scones to create a lovely meal and everything was easy to put together.

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