Friday, August 03, 2007

you're not here to make my sad songs more sincere

Hot damn, I MISS ME some Berkeley Bowl!! The things I miss about the east bay are the things I expected to miss. So today when I was given the afternoon off from my second job, and I boarded a Richmond-bound BART to Ashby, it felt like cheating on my new city. But the slight shame gave way to home-coming thoughts when the transbay tube shifted to perfect blue skies of the West Oakland industrial land. I knew which way to walk when I got out of the BART, but it felt odd to be on foot in that area. It was a sunny day, gorgeous and hot, and I wanted to walk to Sweet Adeline and to Bakesale Betty and to my old haunt, the Oakland Public Library, and maybe around Lake Merritt for good measure, but there is only so much walking one can reasonably do.

At the Berkeley Bowl, I scored a giant bag of plums and a giant bag of something else--pluots, I thought, for their skin was reddish-pink like the Dapple Dandys from Frog Hollow, but the interior turned out to be bright fuchsia, so plums, perhaps, but more likely not--and a giant bag of mushrooms, all for 79 cents each! That plus some Arborio rice and a little snack mix for me, and then I made myself go before I started buying up loaves of Acme bread or anything more from the bulk aisle.

I went to Ici and hung out for a while. It's really great when people are passionate about what they do. Especially when it's something I'm passionate about too. On the ice cream front, those pluot/plums have been pureed for future sorbet making, the plums have been diced and frozen for something, and I made caramel for the THINGy ice cream and plan to make the base tomorrow, a chocolate base, as was requested.

I wish the meal I made tonight was a local meal, but it wasn't. It was amazing though. I used up those beautiful leeks I bought from Ella Bella last week and some of my 79 cent mushrooms, and and old shallot. Cooked them down in butter and olive oil, added some of the arborio rice and the chicken stock (not homemade, sorry) I'd defrosted and made myself some risotto. I tried to find a recipe for the rice-broth ratio but was having trouble, so just decided to wing it. I threw in 2/3 cup of rice and figured I'd either have enough stock for it or I wouldn't and if I didn't I'd use water because I wasn't going to open some of my really nice white wine for the risotto. No joke, it was the best risotto I have ever made. Plenty of black pepper and some salt, and when it was *almost* done, so close that you could taste it just needed a couple more minutes, I tossed in some parmesan cheese. My landlady was quite shocked to find I "just decided to make risotto." Apparently she's been inspired by myself and the other female roommates before me who cooked and has decided she should start cooking for herself more. I preceded the meal with some heaping spoonfuls of the blackberry ice cream...risotto does take some time to cook.

There aren't many things that could tempt me back to New York but Molly O'Neill is one of them {well, I need no temptation back to the Hudson Valley, just a chunk of money to afford the real estate there}. Which upstate town is she kicking around? Is it one I know? Does she live in Red Hook or Rhinebeck, Germantown or Rosendale {somehow, I can't see her on the other side of the bridge}? I just read an essay by her today in an old Best Food Writing anthology (2004, I think) and it reminded me of reading her memoir and feeling like that was my life on the page. I would really love to talk with her one day about food and writing and what the Boston cooking scene was like when she was there. Maybe I'll have my farmer-friend find her, and if she can do this, and if she will go here and eat with me, then yes, I'll go east.

A coworker's husband is going to Tarrytown for a business trip and she was contemplating going with him. I told her the foliage would not be at its peak, and it would be an hour or so from NYC and there wouldn't be much to do. But I didn't tell her I was jealous. There's been a lot lately, making me miss the East coast. The spread on Brooklyn dining in my GQ {Alan Richman, can you really be advising we move to Bushwick?!?}, the profile of North Fork + Table in Food Arts, the Molly O'Neill...

Safe enough to say now that my honeymoon phase with SF is wearing off. Which is good-I've been here five months already, which feels like a long time. Four in the East Bay, one in SF, a few friends to speak of, a job I still like...

Speaking of jobs I think we're going to start making full sized cakes at the cupcakery. ?!?

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