Farina Pizza near opening at 18th and Valencia

The comely white-tile wall, white leather seat diner on the corner of 18th and Valencia (doors down from a slew of new or newish places such as Craftsman and Wolves bakery cafe, Grub restaurant, and the underway Dandelion small-batch chocolate factory) now has a sign up saying it is Farina Pizza. Makes sense since Farina restaurant is just a half-block away on 18th. Pardon me while I leave to get in line now. This place looks like it will be red hot. Have you seen the ceiling tiles with portraits done in comic style?


Banh mi sandwiches at Duc Loi – Burgers go to the new Mission Bowl

MissionMission reports that Duc Loi (Mission at 18th) is serving their own Banh Mi sandwiches. And survey says they are quite special, prepared in their own kitchen, with house-made charcuterie, with fresh asian veggies on La Brea bread! They look great – I’ll try to get there this week and report back. I like to go produce browsing at Duc Loi anyway, for all those vegetables and fruits that look great and I have no idea what they’re called.

In the meantime, the burgers that were “popping up” at Duc Loi on weekday afternoon have found a home at the new Mission Bowl, and the evening price tag of $15 for a burger has raised some Mission eyebrows, but the owner has some decent reasoning – the test will be whether they last.

Doc’s of the Bay coming to 22nd and Mission

The smash burger. Be careful, it's loaded!

Don’t miss the upcoming premier of the Doc’s of the Bay award-winning “Smash Burger” at 22nd and Mission Streets. They just got their DPW permit for Saturday nights. Later to come to Valencia and 16th Streets on Friday nights, but the permits and details are still being worked out.


Via MissionMission!

What’s your most-wasted vegetable?

Mine is usually celery. I need it as a flavoring in sauces (the familiar holy trinity of diced celery, carrot and onion) but rarely use it otherwise except in tuna or chicken salads. Supermarkets usually wrap it up in whole bunches — I end up with limp stalks way before I can use much.  Even Trader Joe wraps it up in huge (already trimmed) bags.

But whoa! The other day I saw at Whole Foods small bunches of celery – perfect for any family smaller than twelve or thirteen people. Even at their price-per-pound I saved, and saved from wasting food.

P.S. – I now have another celery use: celery, date, walnut, goat cheese salad. Had it at a restaurant in Hanalei and it was crunchy, rich and nutritious. All at once.

Ad for Mitchell's ice cream sandwiches

From the “Why haven’t I heard of this before” department comes the ad below, for Mitchell’s ice  cream sandwiches. Chocolate chip or double chocolate cookies embrace your favorite scoop of any of Mitchell’s mouth-watering flavors (including my favorite – baby coconut).  Another reason to go to the Mission – as if you needed one!

A delicious mistake – my Genoese pan dolce


I wanted to try a recipe from an old Saveur magazine article on a food writer’s search for the “genuine” Genoese pan dolce alto which is a traditional yeast-leavened Christmas bread of the Italian riviera.

By a lucky happenstance, my rendition of the dough turned out to be way off the mark. I knew it was, since the directions and pictures accompanying the recipe showed the dough being kneaded by hand, and formed into a traditional round before final rise and backing.

My dough, and I followed proportions I thought, exactly, was too soft to form a ball in the mixer and I could tell the amount of additional flour to make it stiff enough to remove from the bowl was going to make it a very different recipe. I decided to go ahead with the recipe as given, and I just let the mixer knead the dough, then added all the spices and candied fruits and let it do a final knead.

I scooped the very loose into a square ceramic container and let it rise. It was quite cool in the house and the final rise took about four hours (my yeast may have been a little weak). And the dough was still quite soft when I popped it in the oven.

I worried it was going to be a failure and wondered if the problem was in the recipe conversion from metric to English (the recipe in Italian would almost certainly have given flour as a weight not a volume, anyway) and I waited for it to brown in the oven.

Well, it turned out looking totally unlike the round bread that had been pictured, but instead I ended up with a sweet brioche-like loaf, stuffed with fennel seeds, cardamom and candied grapefruit (home made by Shmoopy!) and it is just delicious! More of a fresh and dense panettone I would say. Better than any of the store bought panettone, that’s for sure.

I’ve got to bookmark that magazine article and note that it is a very soft dough to be risen and baked in a dish. Squisito!

Of hot air and kale leaves

I’ve been trying various methods of roasting kale leaves, trying to edge closer to the result I find from one of the Farmer’s Market vendors at the Wednesday evening market in the Castro. One of the stands, from a food producer in Oakland, has a variety of vegan snacks, and I’ve found them delicious. The kale chips in particular are crispy, meaty, and come in varieties from sea salt and vinegar, chili and lime and plain. And they are expensive enough that it is worthwhile to figure out how to get close with a home recipe.

Yesterday I tossed the leaves, this time using a Lacinato kale, with sea salt, olive oil and nutrional yeast. I first dried the washed leaves in the oven for about 20 minutes at a very lowest 135, the lowest my oven goes. Then I tossed everything together and spread the leaves on a cookie sheet.

Those went in the oven at 350 convection for twenty five minutes. This was my crispiest and lightest batch yet – very good although a little charred. But not the style I get from the Farmer’s Market. I’ll next try reducing the roasting time-I think on convection I can reduce it by almost half. The yeast did add a nice umami undercurrent, so I will keep that. I think the people at the Farmer’s Market may be shredding their kale with water, stemless, then spreading the paste on  sheets and using a food dehydrator. Which would account for the thicker chips they are getting.