26 May 2017

I went to northern California and missed a bunch of famous stuff, but I still had good food.

I took an epic (well, super long) road trip along I-80 to northern California last week, and here's what I learned:

Drive through the Bonneville Salt Flats and stop to read about this totally weird place.

B.J. Bull Bakery has the best pasties and tart rhubarb pie, and the coffee even tastes like coffee.

Branding Iron Cafe in Bonanza Casino: the ranchero asada is a terrific steak, and the beer is cheap. No photo for this one, but I'm still washing the smoke and general sadness out of my clothes.

Kenwood, CA (Napa Valley):
Cafe Citti: Homestyle Italian & wine

Glen Ellen, CA (Napa Valley):
Jack London State Park: This guy was seriously fucked up, but he built a lovely farm. Some skinny redwoods on the upper hike.

Truckee, CA:
Morgan's Lobster and Fish Shack has amazing chowder, but also great salads and California wines
And if you're into hostels, Redlight Lodge is very thoughtfully laid out, with a super funky bar up front. Also, cool naked man bathroom art. Mellow Fellow is a dive/townee bar with a great selection of taps.

San Francisco:
Good Mong Kok: great dim sum
Sun Fat Seafood Company: oysters, smoked whole crab

Tourist crap: Yes, Golden Gate Park is worth visiting. Plan lots of time to wander. And outside of town, Muir Woods will provide your Redwood fix without driving almost to Oregon. And although it's touristy as hell, the Ferry Building Farmer's Market is a handy place to get dim sum, crab, French pastries, and much more. There's a Peet's (they make a mean matcha latee), and the marble eggs at Imperial Tea Court were amazing.

05 May 2017

Last week it snowed, so I made soup...

Last weekend it snowed for two days straight here in Northern Colorado (and yes, our tomato plants are now dead).  So, after eating so many springy meals, I wanted a spicy, sinus-clearing soup.  I didn't have any kimchi on hand but I did have all of the basic ingredients that become kimchi hence the title of this recipe.  I imagine you could add some gojuchang if you miss the funkiness of truly fermented kimchi, but I didn't think of it until just now. Also, I realize it's Cinco de Mayo today, but you don't need another margarita recipe from me, do you?

Of course, now I'm wearing shorts again, but surely this soup will come in handy for someone out there, sometime...

Imitation Kimchi Stew

Serves 8 

1 teaspoon peanut oil
4 cups chopped green cabbage
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
6 scallions, sliced (green and white parts)
4-5 radishes, cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Sambal Olek (or to taste)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
8 cups water
1 small block firm tofu, cubed
8 oz. mung bean sprouts

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cabbage, carrot, and radish and cook, stirring constantly, until cabbage just begins to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the scallions, cilantro, Sambal, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 2 minutes).  Add the vinegar and water, cover and increase heat to bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, turn off the heat, stir in the tofu and mung beans, and add more Sambal or vinegar if you want. Serve piping hot.