In an effort to track the SF food scene more closely, I'm plotting it on weekly maps. Here's the haps for last week:
Green pins with dots: Openings
Green pins without dots: Prospective openings
Red pins with dots: Closures
Blue pins with dots: Events
Green thumbtacks: Good buzz
Red thumbtacks: Bad buzz View SF food news December 22-28 2012 in a larger map
So, Christmas is in just a few days. Don't panic! If you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet, may I recommend a few local experiential and subscription-based things? They'll fit very neatly into one's stocking.
My most favorite bakery, Craftsman and Wolves, has a tee with a diagram breaking down the ingredients of their flagship pastry, The Rebel Within. It's only available at the bakery, but that's ok, cuz you can pick up some deliciousness while you're there.
Praise the Lard! And pass the biscuits. Prather Meat Co., our premier purveyor of ethical meats, has these tees that allow you to announce your porky love to the world.
An homage to urban farming, farmCurious's "I FARM Oakland" tee is a truly local product -- designed, printed and sold all in Oakland. Represent!
Beer is agriculture. Almanac Beers espouses a farm-to-barrel philosophy (as seen on their other shirts). Slap on a tee and get your craft brew on.
¡Cuanto le gusta! We're longtime Rancho Gordo loyalists; we've pretty much always got a pot of their heirloom beans in the fridge (currently, cannelini). Besides the tee, they've got totes and fiery red aprons. Show your beany pride.
For better or worse, a lot of cookbooks just magically appear in our household. Some go out just as quickly, but a handful make a more lasting impression. Here's a few that we fell for this year.
Jerusalem: A Cookbook I think this is topping most people's list this year. Yotam Ottolenghi grew up on the Jewish west side of Jerusalem; Sami Tamimi grew up on the Arab east side. Their common language is food, and astonishingly good food it is. Gorgeously photographed and compellingly laid out.
Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors A local favorite restaurant, Kokkari brings the flavors of Greece to San Francisco, through a Californian lens. Another gorgeously shot book (the photographer convinced the owners and publisher that they simply had to go to Greece to get beauty shots), we've cooked out of this a few times and every recipe has been a winner.
The Art of Living According to Joe Beef The guys at Montreal's restaurant of the moment include lengthy musings on the philosophy behind their food. Alternately respectful of the classics and infused with irreverent attitude, as with the "Hot Oysters on the Radio," actually served atop a vintage radio. You can use a plate.
Ripe A true collaboration between writer and photographer, Cheryl Sternman Rule and Paulette Phlipot's lush, colorful book is an absolute celebration of produce at its absolute peak. True food porn, in the best sense of the term.
The Art of Fermentation Thanks to my work with Punk Domestics, I spend a lot of time thinking about fermentation. Sandor Katz, the unrivaled expert in the matter, released this brick of a book, with the most in-depth discussion on fermenting just about everything. I file this as an evergreen reference, right next to Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking.
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Kat Flinn became fascinated with those who couldn't cook. She somehow persuaded nine "hopeless" home cooks to let her into their kitchens, reorganizing and teaching them basic cooking skills. In one way or another, their lives were transformed. With her engaging voice, it may transform yours as well.
Suffering Succotash I somewhat famously have an aversion to oranges. dpaul detests cilantro, a common affliction. Stephanie Lucianovic, a recovering picky eater, went deep to learn the science behind food aversions -- and how to overcome them. But this is no dry tome. With her wit and wisdom, she makes this a thoroughly enjoyable read. Don't miss the section on The Picky Eater's Guide to Surviving a Dinner Party.
If you know me, you know I'm a little bit of a magazine whore. One of my favorite pleasures is to sit with a pot of tea and flip through magazines -- an indulgence I don't do often enough. Of course I spend a lot of time with food magazines, and here's a few favorites. Subscriptions to any of these would make a lovely holiday gift (hint, hint).
Lucky Peach OK, confession: The first issue of Lucky Peach irritated the shit out of me. Now, I'm hooked. Sure, Anthony Bourdain's cinema rants are blowhardy, the content can be a little too industry-chefly, and all of it needs a good editing -- they do like to ramble on. But on the flip side, I think they're doing some daring things with design and presentation that compensate for it. It ain't cheap ($12 an issue!), but they're thick volumes on heavy stock with no ads.
Sated Magazine Purrrty. Started by local blogger buddies Stephanie Shih and Anita Chu, Sated is a real labor of love. Gorgeously designed with spectacular photography (I really love the dark, moody, anti-Donna Hay thing they've got going on in the inaugural release -- it is, after all, the dark chocolate issue). Again, pricy, but ad-free and substantial. Plus, you're supporting independent artists.
Edible Communities Wherever your giftee lives, there's probably an Edible publication for their region. With editions in nearly 70 regions, each issue is a celebration of local foods, farms and faces. Yes, I'm mildly biased because I've been featured in Edible San Francisco and was invited to be a panelist at the Edible Institute conference this year. But still. Subscribe.
Saveur They've had their ups and downs over the years, but Saveur seems to be back on track lately. When they focus most on what they do best -- the intersection of food, travel and culture -- they can really knock it out of the park. This year's Mexico-themed issue was one example of that. It's a keeper, one worthy of holding onto as a reference.
Gastronomica Brain food. Gastronomica takes on weighty food topics, and gives them ample thought, approaching them with essays, prose, poetry, photography and illustration. Sort of like the New Yorker for food. It's probably every food writer's aspiration to land a piece in Gastronomica.
the Art of Eating Sometimes even loftier, and yet never loses sight of the fact that food is fun, sensual, engaging and irrevocably tied to who we are. Art of Eating delves to the root of what makes the best food and wine what it is. This is the magazine for people who really geek out on the hows and whys of where food comes from (like me).
Culture Do you like cheeese? Sure, we all do! You might not think rotten milk would be enough of a topic to support an entire magazine, but it absolutely is. What it is, what it's made from, where it's made, how it's made and by whom, what to eat and drink with it -- all here. Don't blame me if you develop a casein addiction.
Guess what this one's about? But, as with most of these publications, it's not just about consuming; it's about viewing it through the lens of society and culture, like their exploration of the artist who made Lady Gaga's meat dress. Chew on that.