Monday, December 19, 2005


When the urge for injera hits, it hits hard. And Axum Cafe, on Haight Street at Pierce, filled my desire for the spongy, sour Ethiopian pancakes I love so dearly. Axum is a charming, cheap, family-run cafe, where the food is served fast. Like under 5 minutes fast. This may alarm some, but we were so hungry we saw it as a divine blessing. The American-style salad served on the injera was new for me, but as might be imagined it was devoured along with the rest the $12 vegetarian platter for two. Mmmm.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gumballs at the de Young

As much as I love food, art is my first true love. If you haven't yet been to the new de Young Museum, get thee to the park and seek it out! Amongst my favorite artists of all time is Wayne Thiebaud, whose thickly spread paint is so reminiscent of a beautifully iced cupcake that you're tempted to get your tongue right up on the canvas and start licking! (This is not advised). After wandering through the galleries, my friend Carrie took me to Zazie in Cole Valley for brunch. Wow. If you're ever in the area on a nice Sunday afternoon, they serve up breakfast in a delightful (heated) garden. I was craving plain ol' eggs and toast, but the menu taunted me with gingerbread pancakes with lemon curd and poached eggs with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce. Not to be missed.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Curb of the Presidio

I love having an excuse to visit San Francisco, so when Scott's dad asked if I'd pick him up in town this weekend I was more than happy to mosey into the city. We decided to take a drive through the Presidio, and then the hunger urge hit. How fortunate-an opportunity to eat! And good news...we were merely blocks away from one of Tom's favorite sandwich spots, Curbside. The location, directly across from one of the gates into the Presidio, is ideal, and the grilled Provencal vegetables with blue cheese on Baguette-with pomme frites-was delish. After our French meal we enjoyed a very non-grumpy drive south on the 280.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Caffeinated Jello

This here is flagrant appropriation, and while I haven't actually made these (yet!) and this may appear to have little to do with the Bay Area (hey-this place is chock-a-full with coffee drinkers), it had to be mentioned. When you have a husband in grad school who's practically dripping coffee into his veins, clever twists on the old familiar are intriguing. Thanks again to Lori for the tip. Delicious Days brings us the sequel to "Watch it Wiggle" with cubed coffee!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Watch it Wiggle.

I had the pleasure of visiting Elizabeth Hickok's studio at San Francisco's Open Studios event in October. Liz is making an impact on the food and art worlds by making scale molds of San Francisco buildings, and casting the whole thing in colorful gelatin. By adding dramatic lighting to these glistening forms, she captures a brilliance in gelatin that could make Martha swoon. The slippery work pays homage in part to San Francisco's earthquake-bound status, and makes you wonder about the tenuous relationship between man and nature. On the edible side of things, Liz was a very thoughtful host and offered her studio visitors a refreshing assortment of jello shots.

Thanks to Lori E. for bringing Liz to my attention.

More jello coming soon.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Smells like the holidays

My vision stinks and my hearing is on the fritz, but my nose is an olfactory factory. This may in part explain why I love food so much. If you're like me, and you love the good smells of the season, this is an easy way to perk up your nose and bring the holidays alive.

Just toss a teaspoon or so of mulling spices into a pot of water, bring to a quick boil, and then drop it down to simmer. If you don't have mulling spices, break up a cinnamon stick, throw in some whole cloves and allspice, and you're done. A warning is in order: it'll smell like apple cider and pumpkin pie, and make you hungry for both.

If you know the smells without a comestible reward will drive you nuts, replace the water with a cup of apple juice or 3/4 cup red wine and a splash of sweet vermouth.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Happy Birthday, Scott!

Check out the puckered pages. Can you tell how much we love this recipe?? Scott's favorite breakfast is (are??) pancakes, so we celebrated his way. Before we got our own copy of the New York Times Cookbook, Scott would call his mom, Gail, for the recipe--they're that good. Even though she loved reciting the steps over the phone every month, she bought us our very own copy of the cookbook. Nothing crazy, but simply good. My shorthand of the recipe follows, or click on the photo for a very literal representation.

Basic Pancakes
(Makes about 1 dozen--5 inch--pancakes. Enough for 2 hungry people.)

1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 to 3/4 c. milk
2 tbsp. butter, melted and slightly cooled

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
2. Beat the egg, milk and butter (in another bowl) until blended
3. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir only enough to moisten the dry ingredients. Do not beat or the pancakes will be tough.
4. Heat and lightly grease griddle/pan. Pour your pancakes into the pan (the NYTCB recommends dropping 1/4 cup of mixture from the tip of a spoon), and cook until the entire surface of the pancake is dotted with holes. Turn over and cook the other side til light brown.