Bay Area brands and trends long have flowed into Sacramento, but rarely the other direction. Now, however, several successful Sacramento food businesses — including Ginger Elizabeth, Mikuni and Fish Face — are expanding into San Francisco and other cities.
At least once a week, someone in our household puts a small Dutch oven on the stove and covers the bottom with a heap of lentils. We go through this exercise so often that the steps – simmering aromatics and oil in a simple broth, adding pasta to cook until it just yields to the teeth – have become methodical, even meditative. It’s a soup, but only barely a soup: The pasta wears the broth like a sauce. By the time we ladle it into bowls, we are already grateful.
In Britain, where I live, asparagus is a god among vegetables. It is greeted with real reverence in spring, as if nothing worth eating has been available for months. With a deep sigh of relief at the end of a long winter of roots, cabbages and more roots, we finally spot those fresh green shoots.
Blame it on spring fever. Or perhaps the fact that I'm staring out the window as a beautiful spring storm rages through our area. At any rate, my mind is jumping to several findings that relate our diet to the development (or protection from) cancer:
Elite Traveler's "Top 100 Restaurants in the World" for 2018 includes 10 California restaurants, with five in San Francisco and four others in the Bay Area. Alinea in Chicago is No. 1 for the sixth time in seven years.
Chicken factors into most lunches in our family. Chicken salad, cold fried chicken, chicken soup and leftover barbecued or grilled chicken. Chicken sandwiches of all manner. No wonder that I select the chicken sandwich at a recent lunch at Daily Provisions in New York. Their rotisserie chicken sandwich with bacon, avocado and green tomato wows. Thick slices of warm multigrain bread held the goodness together.
At a time when so many foods are lauded as extreme and flavor-forward, it is refreshing to come upon a product that is understated and pleasant. Newman's Own Honey Apple Cider Vinaigrette offers a mild apple flavor that tempers the tang of apple cider vinegar with the moderate sweetness of honey. It's a natural combination, enhanced by apple juice and sugar, and very little else. At last, a salad dressing for grown-ups.
Reader Andrea Bardack can't stop thinking about the crab cakes she and her mother had at the Watercolour Grillhouse at the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key in Florida. And the preparation is certainly a hard one to beat: Generously portioned, lump crabmeat is flavored with fresh chives and cilantro along with a bit of Old Bay seasoning, the cakes dredged in panko bread crumbs and pan-fried. The cakes are served over a colorful bed of vegetables and topped with a bright Key lime mustard sauce. The sauce "was so tangy, it really enhanced the flavor of the crab," Bardack wrote when she asked us to get the recipe.
CHICAGO – Cooking isn't a competition unless one is on TV, but most people want to do their best in preparing and serving food and drink to family and friends. It's that sense of love, of sharing, of spending wisely, of honoring the food being consumed and – OK, let's be honest – doing such a bang-up job of it you'd be bragging about your skills if that culinary masterpiece on the plate wasn't already speaking for you.
Top grilled chicken with baby greens for a surprisingly different dinner. In this recipe baby greens, also known as field greens or mesclun, are sauteed with garlic as a colorful topping for chicken. If you can't find the baby greens in the supermarket, you can use a soft lettuce such as bib.