Hot Cock Sauce, FTW!

20 Jun

I recently received an email from Cooking asking if I would share a graphic on the benefits of Sriracha, My answer was yes, since a bowl of healing hot & sour soup or even chicken noodle has been kicked up a notch when I started adding a squirt of this magical sinus clearing sauce. Also, as someone who lived in the SGV for a couple years, I like any local business.

So, let the infographics fill your brain and remember to squirt on.

Eat Sriracha For Your Health
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Bird Brain: Stupid Parent Mistakes

31 Mar


I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California and so I thought I knew hippie dippy stuff, but I thought wrong.  Four years ago when my mom was separating from my stepdad they seemed very adamant that they didn’t want my little brother to have to suffer more and move from house to house. Since everyone was on good terms and it was a financial option, my mom took it upon herself to do something called “birdnesting,” which meant that the child would stay in the home and the parents would go in and out. Here’s a local article about the concept and another family who practices this. The way it worked was that my brother stayed in his room and four nights a week my mom would live at the house, two nights a week my stepdad would be there and sleep in a guest bedroom, and then one night a week they would all be there and live in the same house. I was living in LA at the time and this just sounded like the absolute weirdest thing to me. The entire house now basically belonged to my 7 year old brother?!? That couldn’t be healthy.

Anyway, it actually worked for my family for about a year and then people grow up, actual divorce had to happen and this “perfect solution” was no longer an option.

I thought that was the end of weird bird examples and parenting and then this video of Alicia Silverstone surfaced. I was  a girl who grew up in the 90s so Alicia was god and Clueless and Crush were my bibles.The vegan Alicia with bad skin and hair is just not my thing, I wish she could see herself as Cher would, “As if”

I mean, seriously. Remember Cher?

I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M&M’s and like 3 pieces of licorice.

Now imagine her chewing up her food and spitting it into her child’s mouth. The visual is as gross as Mary’s neighbor Magda tongue kissing Puffy.


“The Chew” Debut Brings More Food to Daytime TV

26 Sep

The Chew Crew: Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz, Mario Batali, Michael Symon and Carla Hall (l-r)

Only a few hours after the ladies of The View gabbed around the table, ABC debuted The Chew. The name rhymes and the concept is similar, although food-centric: everyone brings something different to the table.

The mother hen that fills the Baba Wawa shoes at the table is Mario Batali. The rest of the crew is less impressive. Clinton Kelly, formerly of Queer Eye for The Straight Guy What Not to Wear, is the decorating and entertaining guru. Carla “Hootie” Hall, known for wooting and not winning Top Chef, sits beside pork know-it-all Michael Symon. The daughter of TV’s Dr. Oz, Daphne Oz, is there as the good health authority.

For the first episode, Batali didn’t bother to show up except via satellite. Kelly asked the question we were all thinking: “It’s the first day of the biggest food show launch in the history of daytime television and you’re playing golf. What’s up with that, yo?” Apparently, he was at a charity event.

Symon cooked the first dish ever on the show: pork and beans supreme. He threw in an ingredient to represent each of the co-hosts. (Kelly was the well-dressed dish, of course.) The meal was made in five minutes, allegedly, and for less than $4 a person.

The audience then got a chance to try the dish and were probed with this leading question, “Tell me why you think this is delicious?”

The responses were generally, “I love this whole thing, it’s just so delicious.” Eloquent.

Oz headed the next segment, things my dad taught me, with her superfood breakfast smoothie with blueberries, yogurt, psyllium husks and Ester-C. When she went to the pantry to grab the ingredients, she pulled out Dr. Oz, who had roses for his daughter. The embarrassing dad stories then came out: he grabbed a blueberry and said it was the color of Daphne’s cone head when she was born because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. The mental picture we have belongs on Awkward Family Photos, not daytime television.

Hall, who had her southern mama in the audience, taught us how to make her favorite fried apple pancake rings. They actually looked incredible with apple cider syrup drizzled on top.

Another great-looking dish were the hors d’oeuvres made by Kelly. He had mini BLTs minus the bread on hearts of romaine, and one bite pork schnitzels to be dipped in applesauce mixed with whole grain mustard. Kelly is so right, one hand for one-bites and one hand for cocktails is always best. Don’t wanna sound too Folsomy, but we’re pro double-fisting!

The man of the hour finally made his second satellite cameo, making his classic pizza on the golf course. Batali explained that the ideal pizza crust has a crunch like biting into a light bulb and then a bagel pull to finish it. Clearly this man has the words we’ve been waiting for (mmm, light bulb.) He also gives his secret to perfect pizza. Right after it comes out of the oven, it gets more fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and a crackling of black pepper from an enormous pepper mill.

The Chew is taking the place of All My Children and as far as daytime television goes, we’re not spitting it out just yet. We’ll continue to chew, marinate, stew and any other corny food pun we can think to do on this new show.

Original published on Post

Studio Gourmet: New Local Web TV Show Interviews 1300 on Fillmore Chef David Lawrence

1 Sep

David Lawrence shares a laugh with Studio Gourmet host Brad Lev

Inside the Actor’s Studio meets the Food Network is how we would describe the new web-based show called Studio Gourmet SF. The concept is that a local chef with a good story will do a cooking demo, an in-depth interview with the host Brad Lev, and then the live audience can eat the signature dish from the chef.

On Sunday, we arrived at Circolo for the live taping and the chef of the month was David Lawrence from 1300 on Fillmore.

For the cooking demo we got to see how Lawrence’s signature shrimp and grits are made. It was surprising to see a guy with a British accent cooking southern food; it turns out Lawrence is from the U.K., but his wife is from the U.S. south and when she first made grits he knew he could improve them. Grits with butter and water didn’t cut it for David and he has now perfected the grits with cream and mushroom stock. Upgrade!

Shrimp and grits 1300 style

Lev explained that he started the Studio Gourmet concept in Atlanta because in a time when chefs are rock stars, we really know little about them aside from their food. Well, we now know enough about David Lawrence that we can easily write his biography. We know that his father was a chef at a steakhouse in London. We know about all of the long hours he put in at the Roux brothers restaurants before ending up at the pinnacle, Le Gavroche, which is famous for serving the most expensive meal ever and getting hot with Hell’s Kitchen’s very own Gordon Ramsey as the chef. It is the place where David cooked for Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher.

One of our favorite stories happened after Lawrence came to the Bay Area and the Chronicle ran a big piece on black chefs in the area for Black History Month. Lawrence was asked to go to the James Beard House and make soul food. He wasn’t sure how to do that, but he wanted the trip so he agreed. He did a huckleberry foie gras dish and everyone, including himself, knew that he was on to something and this would be the direction for his career.

Lawrence has still never visited the south, so his version of the food has no blinders or tastebud blockers. He says he is delighted when guests visit from those areas and say, “This is just how grandma would make it.”

1300 is truly his dream restaurant: he actually dreams right above it. Yup, the Fillmore is his home, and it’s interesting how he found it. He was working at another address-named restaurant, 231 Ellsworth in San Mateo, and he found it difficult to find a black barber nearby. After someone did the unthinkable and wet his hair before cutting it, he was told that the Fillmore in the city was his haircutting destination.

Lawrence sees the kitchen as his stage and nothing thrills him more than sitting in the kitchen on a packed Saturday night and seeing his audience applaud with empty plates and full stomachs. He said he auditioned for Chopped and did great until the producers asked him to “really bring it,” when he laughed and reminded him that he is British.

The full video from the evening should be available shortly on Studio Gourmet as well as tickets to future events.

Lev says his goal is to interview a different chef each month. We can’t promise that other chefs will be as interesting as David, but that would be the shrimp on the grits.

Through hard pressing journalism (read: asking Lev directly) we learned that Lev is also the Special Events Director for 1300. He says that normally he will be unaffiliated with the chefs he interviews.

Original published on – Original Post

Top Chef: Just Desserts Season Two — New Fairies and Vicious Tales

25 Aug

We have been so accustomed to the endless cycle of Top Chef that when the last finale night didn’t butt up against the premiere of a new season, we were taken aback. Despite being well versed on the fact that Chef Rocco is rumored to have “a perfect penis” we couldn’t endure even a second of Rocco’s Dinner Party.

Give us Top Chef on Wednesdays or give us death.

Thankfully, Top Chef: Just Desserts is back to sweeten up our hump day primetime. Last season brought us a new crush and a San Francisco winner, Yigit Pura, so our hopes are high.

The intro had this phrase, “It’s not just cupcakes and lollipops.” Trust us, we remember last season with the sugar highs and lows and the “Red Hots are for my mommy” freak-out.

Last night’s season two premiere began with a quick intro of the pastry chefs, and then host Gail Simmons explained the Quickfire: create a modern soda fountain treat.

We saw Cap’n Crunch shakes and learned our new favorite acronym, NFG: non-functional garnish. The winners were Amanda Rockman and her partner Nelson Paz, who both earned immunity. Amanda claimed that her last duty before she left her job for the show was pickling 10 pounds of cherries. She said no matter what her partner wanted, those cherries would be highlighted in their dish of chocolate sponge cake with pickled cherries and pistachios.

Nelson makes an edible flower

​For the Elimination Challenge, teams were chosen by picking a fairytale book and the two winners got to choose any team to be on: Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or Little Red Riding Hood. Nelson stole our heart when he explained that he was originally from Argentina and had no idea what they were talking about or even what a fairytale is. Oh, honey, grab your warm milk and cookies and sit on our lap, we’ll explain.

The challenge was to create a fairytale showpiece and two plated desserts for a fantasy costume gala.

The Goldilocks team wanted to make rice pudding and call it porridge but Orlando Santos was mortified: “That is a dessert that you make old people, because they can’t chew.”

In the building of the showpieces the inevitable happened, and a cheftestant remarked that the sound of sugar breaking is the sound of all hopes and dreams being destroyed.

The winning entry

​The winning team was Little Red Riding Hood with its architectural showpiece, rose-scented bomboloni, coconut tapioca, and red berry gelee, and lastly blackout sponge cake, cocoa nib nougatine, poached cherries and micro basil. This team was so sophisticated that they went with the floral scent because apparently Little Red was picking flowers before she encountered the Big Bad Wolf.

For the losers there was a lot of throwing under the brioche at Judge’s Table and, in the end, it was Lina, who didn’t think to make a gingerbread house for Hansel and Gretel — come on, how obvious was that? — who was sent home. The old witch of the forest would have approved.

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“Famous Food” on VH1: Guilty Pleasure

12 Jul

As we watched a real New Jersey housewife fight with a fictional New Jersey Big Pussy, we realized celebreality has officially taken over food TV.

VH1’s Famous Food is the latest food show to pop up on a previously nonfood channel, a trend the Los Angeles Times wrote about recently.

The concept of Famous Food is that seven “stars,” some of whom aren’t shining so brightly these days, will create a new restaurant from concept to operations, with one winner.

The contestants are as varied as they are vapid. Our favorites were DJ Paul and Juicy “J” from Three 6 Mafia, who once tried to pitch a cooking show called Cookin’ Ain’t Easy and had this great quote: “If you can run a rap group with guys from prison, then you can run a restaurant.”

The Mafia boys were very happy to meet one fellow contestant, because they had a picture of her in their recording studio. Who was it? Ashley Dupre, who leveraged her fame from being Eliot Spitzer’s favorite call girl into her current gig as an advice columnist for the New York Post.

Keeping up with that theme was Vincent Pastore, aka Big Pussy from The Sopranos. From reality whore fame was The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars contestant Jake Pavelka; Danielle Staub, who was booted off Real Housewives of New Jersey; and Heidi Montag, who had been on MTV’s The Hills before making the aptly titled album Superficial.

The celebtestants are responsible for taking over a restaurant on the Sunset Strip. They have 28 days to come up with a concept, name, menu, staff, floor plan design and just about everything else.

In week one, the concept becomes Italian-soul fusion after Big Pussy gives a long explanation about how “Italians and blacks have the same blood.” The biggest himbo on the show, Bachelor Jake, confesses that he doesn’t know what it means, but imagines a drumstick with a piece of spaghetti wrapped around it.

Heidi says that the name should be Fame, because they are all famous and half the concept is bling. Bada bling!

Everyone is amazed by how easy the decisions are at first, but inevitably heads butt and fake boobs bond. Bosom buddies Danielle and Heidi ditch the group for happy hour. Real tension builds between Danielle and Big Pussy: She calls him a big shot, and he is convinced that she is a Desperate Housewife (wrong show) and a complete and utter bitch. She so is.

What happens when they pitch their idea to the entrepreneurs who will actually have to fund the restaurant? A cold stare, finished off with an “It sucks, the idea.”

Shockingly, the girl we thought sucked, literally, for a living, saves the day. Ashley Dupre comes up with the name Picnic and has a concept of picnic tables. The investors love it and the show goes on.

Danielle’s hatred of the idea will have us tuning in next week. While Top Chef is on hiatus, this might become our new guilty pleasure.

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Top Chef Masters: Nostalgic Finale Edition

16 Jun

Host Curtis Stone checks in with San Francisco finalist Traci Des Jardins. - via Bravo TV

Last night brought the finale of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, and our SF-based Traci Des Jardins was in it to win it. On the line was $100,000 for the cheftestants’ charity of choice. For those of us rooting for the home team, we hoped La Cocina would be victorious.

The episode began with the remaining three chefs (Des Jardins, Mary Sue Milliken, and Floyd Cardoz) joining host Curtis Stone and critics James Oseland, Ruth Reichl, and Gael Greene in the kitchen. The final challenge was to create the three-course meal of their lives. The first course was to be inspired by their first food memory, the second course was about what made them want to be a chef, and the third was critic’s choice.

Des Jardins was paired with our favorite insatiable critic, Greene, who wanted French-inspired fried duck. Des Jardins is trained in classic French cookin, so she looked relieved and then overjoyed when Morgan Mueller, her executive chef at Jardinière, got to join her for the challenge. Greene to Des Jardins: “This is kismet.”

The dish that made Des Jardins want to be a chef? A quail salad from Zola in San Francisco during the ’70s. It was served at the exact moment when she was figuring out if she wanted to go to college and her life was forever changed.

When it came down to prepping and cooking, Los Angeles native Mary Sue Milliken knew it was a rainy day in LA. She kept all of her shopping to one stop and was the first in the kitchen. Unfamiliar with the local traffic, New Yorker Floyd Cardoz made several grocery stops that kept him out for far too long and left him to enter the kitchen with the shortest amount of time on the clock. The only twist for the finale was a sexy and sweet one: Host Stone made a surprise light lunch for the finalists.

Diners for the last supper of the series included OG Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio and Top Chef Masters alums such as Milliken’s other cooking half, Susan Feniger. Milliken explained that in this Laverne and Shirley of food relationships, she always has Feniger try things first. (We like to call it the canary in the coalmine method.) Case in point: Feniger did Top Chef Masters first and married Milliken’s husband first. Quick, Bravo, get these ladies a spinoff show!

Milliken prepared Asian tartare, shrimp two ways, and the lemon soufflé Reichl requested. Reichl noted that this dessert enhances and continues her love affair with lemons, and Alan Sytsma (who used to work with her at Gourmet) added that the dish tasted like Reichl.

Des Jardins made shrimp Creole, quail with sweetbreads, and duck two ways. Unfortunately, it was not fried, and Greene was happy with only one of the duck preparations. When asked whether she would still be a food critic if she was served this duck several years ago, her answer was no. We were heartbroken, but liked the idea of Green still writing “silly stories for Cosmopolitan about how not to get dumped by your husband on his way up.” Cardoz served the most subtly complex meal with a polenta upma with coconut milk and mushrooms similar to his afterschool snack, snapper in a tomato and fennel broth, and the rendang Oseland requested and loved.

The competition was as stiff as Stone’s overgelled hair, but Cardoz was crowned the Top Chef Master. His winnings support the Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund, selected in honor of his late father. We were bummed that Des Jardins didn’t win, but in her stint she raked in $30,000 for La Cocina — masterful work!

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