All posts tagged: nom nom nom

pretzels.

Guess what, guess what! I’m super happy to report that I know how to make pretzels now (at least under professional supervision!). They are a lot of work, but so worth the effort. I took a pretzel class at Firebrand Artisan Breads in Oakland. Our instructor Colleen shared pretzel making secrets and tips, including preferred equipment and ingredients. We learned the science behind the ingredients, and how to appropriately use and efficiently throw flour to prep the work surface. We learned how to make, weigh out / portion, roll, and shape the dough. We made three basic shapes: knots, the Firebrand signature twists, and balls (stuffed with cheese!). A lye bath gives the pretzel a shine and some added orangey-brown color. This was my first time using lye, and I got some extra practice time because a few classmates didn’t want to try it. After the lye bath we added the toppings – sea salt, everything bagel spice, cheese, more cheese, paprika…. Then into the oven, a little cooling on the table, and taste test! We …

foodchella.

My trip to the Palm Springs area was for business and for pleasure. I conveniently scheduled a work project meeting for the day before my cousin was to get married. Sneaky, sneaky! All the food adventures below plus links to all my reviews. THURSDAY I flew into the Palm Springs airport on Thursday evening and headed straight to food with my co-worker. Rooster and the Pig / pickled okra / green papaya salad / shrimp spring roll / panko-crusted rice ball with yellow curry Long wait, hole-in-the-wall feel in a strip mall. I’m liking my dinner choice! And once inside, a culinary experience. Dishes are easy to share; my fave was the pickled okra, but check out that rice ball on top of the yellow curry. Unique finds! If I wasn’t there during the work part of my trip, I would have tried a fancy adult bevvie. Regardless, my foodchella experience was off to a great start. FRIDAY Friday was the day of my work meeting so instead of trying a breakfast hotspot in the morning, I …

beautiful bowls – part two.

All weather is soup weather for this girl! It’s been a while since my last soup post, but you can bet I’ve been on a mission to find some tried and true soup spots that are mouthwatering, reliable (i.e., they taste just like your remember them to taste from last time), and well worth the price. Boat NoodlesLarb Thai Tapas in El Cerrito is one of my favorite places for quick, not fussy Thai food that makes you feel like you’re at a cafe in Bangkok. Get the boat noodle soup with the thick noodles (my fave!). The broth is rich and the meat is hearty. It’s got fried pork rinds, and liver upon request (though I haven’t requested this yet). Ask for the assortment of spices to please your palette and enhance the flavors of the soup. The marinated jalapeños will add heat and a vinegary punch. It’s the perfect lunch on a rainy day type of meal, and then you won’t be able to wait until you’re hungry again to eat the leftovers …

NYC eats. 

Well, well, well. My taste buds finally meet the eats of New York streets. All the foods we ate below! FRIDAY   Xi’an Famous Foods: Spicy and sour spinach dumplings, cumin lamb pulled noodles (biang biang), pork noodle soup / Highlights: house-made noodles, that dumpling sauce   Spot Dessert Bar: Matcha Lava (dark chocolate cake filled with green tea ganache, served with green tea ice cream, chocolate crunchy pearls, and cookie crumbs), Yuzu Eskimo (frozen Japanese citrus cream bar with Oreo crust, chocolate ganache, strawberries, sorbet, and chocolate crunchy pearls), mango passionfruit soda / Highlights: the crunchy pearls! SATURDAY Joe & the Juice: Breakfast Club (acai, avocado, banana, hemp granola, almond milk), Iron Man (strawberry, kiwi, and apple smoothie), and chocolate fiber muffins / Highlights: light and filling! Levain Bakery: Dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie / Highlight: melty chocolately goodness Shake Shack: Shack burger, ‘Shroom Burger (crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce), crinkle-cut fries / Highlight: cheese ooze Halal Guys: Gyro platter / Highlight: Halal …

pitmaster.

Hubby and I took a BBQ/Pitmaster class with Ben of Sneaky’s BBQ. Ben started his BBQ business in 2008, and now partners with Southpaw in San Francisco to bring BBQ to all most days of the week. There’s Ben in the kitchen prepping for class. In this workshop we learned about different cuts of meat, meat smoking techniques, and the difference between North and South Carolina BBQ. We went over the step-by-step process of how to smoke, cut, store, and serve a 12-pound brisket. Caption this: Oh mah gaw, look at that brisket… We tried lean, medium, and fatty pieces of brisket with pickled cucumber and onions. We also tried Ben’s cornbread and house BBQ sauces — a mustard-based sauce (South Carolina) and a tomato-based sauce (North Carolina). My winning combination: medium fat brisket with the mustard sauce! We also had a lesson in dry rubs and each got to make and take home a self-designed rub. Rub Lesson #1: never use table salt for making rubs! Thank you, Ben, for sharing your BBQ and BBQ wisdom …

spice girl. 

Tell me what you want, what you really really want. I wanna (hah), I wanna (hah), I wanna (hah), I wanna (hah), I wanna really, really, really wanna…go to Oaktown Spice Shop and buy all the things. 😋 I’ve heard lots of great things about the Oaktown Spice Shop, and it lives up to the hype, y’all! If you weren’t a fan of cooking before, this has to be the store that turns you. There are so many kinds of cinnamons, peppers, salts, vanillas, herbs, and spice blends…so much inspiration everywhere. It’s like the Berkeley Bowl of spices. #eastbaylove The aroma is rich. As soon as you walk in you will be enrobed in a patina of fine spice dust. Mmm. You can purchase individual bags or jars of spices, or pick up a prepackaged gift box – think curry blends, BBQ rubs, or chai time mixes. Aside from the quality products, I love the displays of jars and baggies. Don’t you wish your spice cabinet could look like this? This is definitely a stop for …

sugar rush.

My friend and I went to a cupcake tasting with Angel Cakes and we had way too many cupcakes. Yes, there is such a thing! When we signed up we were thinking “oh yea, they will probably have five or six flavors they want us to try and we’ll rate our favorites.” The day before the tasting they announced that there would be twenty flavor combinations to try, plus an additional sixteen gluten free and vegan varieties. I’m assuming they didn’t expect everyone to try every flavor because twenty mini cupcakes apparently equals eight normal sized cupcakes, but um, food enthusiast here! My friend and I were determined to try all the flavors so we could accurately report on all of them! The flavors: Mexican Chocolate Chocolate cake with cinnamon and chili, chocolate buttercream Strawberry Vanilla Strawberry cake, vanilla strawberry buttercream Turkish Coffee Coffee and cardamom cake, mint buttercream Rose Cardamom Rose cardamom cake, vanilla buttercream White Chocolate Raspberry White chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream, raspberry Red Velvet Red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting Rainbow Sherbert Lime orange cake, raspberry …