June 16, 2005
The White Pajamas
Tonight is the first of Mayer's performances of The White Pajamas, which is based on our book and exhibition project, They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust. We are totally psyched! He is collaborating with the inimitable totally inspired Jennifer Romaine and deeply honored, as am I, to be working with her and the fabulous Great Small Works. The White Pajamas is part of the 7th International Toy Theater Festival at St. Ann's Warehouse.
June 03, 2005
Pete in the Bay Area
In case you're interested in what I ate... Bay Area meals, 5/26-30, 2005
Paul K, a Mediterranean restaurant on Gough & Oak–a convenient place for the concert halls, and quite good, though I’m more impressed with the appetizers than the main courses. Shared a mezza platter -- lamb riblets and kofte, baba & pomegranate/walnut dips, feta, olives, confit artichokes. The lamb riblets, with a bit of a pomegranate glaze, are really great. Main course: Syrian spiced duck breast -- red cabbage, cippolini onions, ragu of duck confit, bulghur-rice cake, pomegranate molasses.
Dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, period, Bruno Viscovi’s wonderful Istrian place, Albona, with 4 others. For starters we had the Craffi (pan fried 3-cheese ravioli with pine nuts & raisins in cumin-sirloin tip sauce); chifiletti–pan fried, wonderfully fluffy gnocchi, and a mixed pepper salad. My main course was a heimish lamb dish, in a brown sauce with potatoes and stuffed mushrooms on the side. We drank an Alsatian Riesling and an Italian Pinot Bianco. I wasn’t going to order dessert, until Bruno insisted I have a fresh strawberry sorbet on the house.
Dining solo at Pesce, a wonderful Venetian Ciccheteria (tapas bar) on Polk in Russian hill, where I’d been twice before with friends, I tried 2 new things–Zuppa di pesce (good, but not bowled over), and a very nice octopus salad, with potatoes. It’s a great place to go with a small group and sample a lot of stuff, mostly seafood.
Dim Sum at Ton Kiang, the best dim sum place in the U.S., in my experience. The most amazing thing is the hot mango custard dumplings–the custard comes inside a pan fried, chewy rice flour disc.
Lunch at Old Shanghai, on Geary & 16th. I had OK, but nothing special shao lon bao, and a very nice chive turnover that was filled with chives, egg & clear noodle inside what was like a big potsticker wrapping. Everybody else in the place was Chinese, and I think they were all speaking Mandarin, or maybe Shanghaiese, but nobody was speaking Cantonese.
Sunday afternoon-evening, I went to a barbecue at some friends’ house in Berkeley. Robert & Gail are psycho-foodies, and many of their friends are too. There were about 25-30 people there. I’ll try my best to remember what was there, or at least what I tasted: noodle kugel, Basque chicken salad pintxos, eggplant salad, 3 kinds of potato salad, bay shrimp kebabs, grilled prawns, kalbi (Korean marinated beef short ribs), steak, spicy dry rub baby back ribs, sweet & messy ribs, pork belly with star anise & cardamom, boudin blanc, Italian sausage, chocolate cookies with a hint of chili & ginger, grand marnier cookies, blueberry pie. I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch.
An amazing Memorial Day lunch at Bistro Jeanty, in Yountville, in the Napa Valley. 3 of us made a meal of shared appetizers–Rabbit terrine with celery root/apple salad; Quenelles de brochet (pike dumplings in lobster cream sauce); lamb ! tongue & potato salad; beet salad with chevre & frisee (my least favorite, since I don’t care for chevre, and I’m not crazy about beets either); perfectly grilled asparagus with cream sauce; pommes frites done just right & a very nice bottle of local Sauvignon Blanc (Mason). For dessert I had Armagnac prunes with vanilla ice cream. The place is a low key gem, and not expensive, especially considering the quality.
June 01, 2005
This time, the starter is a tad looser and bubbles beautifully. I brought the starter to room temperature in a few hours, rather than overnight, and then mixed up the dough: rye four, lots of soaked altus, soaked barley grits (excellent GI rating), cup each of hemp, oat bran, and of flax and rye flakes that I ground myself, caraway, salt, gluten flour, and whole wheat flour. Had I planned further ahead (Tamar, Jacob, Brenda, Walter, and Julie will come for dinner tonight and I wanted to have a new loaf from then even though the old one is still going), I would have sprouted grains. Got a nice springy dough, about 7.5 lbs! Sprinkled sesame seeds on the bottom of my cast iron pot, floured the ball of dough so it would not stick, and placed it in the pot, scored it with a razor, dusted it with flour, then put the cover on the pot and tucked the pot into the insulation box overnight. This morning the dough rose to top of pan and a bit higher. Into a 450F oven, spritzed a few times with water for steam. Some over spring, but nothing like the volcanic eruptions I get when I tip the dough into a hot cast iron pan and bake with lid in a very hot oven on for first 20 minutes. Rye produced a nice crust in any case, so we'll see how this does. Last loaf was excellent--very dense, even crumb, moist.