China-born, Harvard-educated attorney Tian Mayimin switched law for loaves and taught herself to make outstanding, naturally leavened breads of all descriptions. To launch her Little Sky Bakery based in Menlo Park, she learned the craft by studying cookbooks, watching YouTube videos and producing endless delicious iterations that she shared with happy friends and neighbors. Her small, popular operation now makes a wide variety of unusual breads — choices like Nutella-filled challah, blueberry levain with walnuts and a lovely-textured, tangy country bread covered in sunflower seeds — from a 100-year-old starter that has reportedly traveled through France, Alaska, Taiwan and now resides in Menlo Park. Read all about it on KQED’s Bay Area Bites.
Category Archives: Food Articles
(To be published by South Bay Accent magazine)
Farmers markets have been supplying towns and villages with fresh produce for eons, with these lively bazaars feeding citizens worldwide as well as serving as social institutions in the community. Thomas Jefferson reportedly bought his meat, eggs and vegetables in the early 1800s at a Georgetown farmers market and billions of less-renowned individuals have historically relied on such operations. But unlike in Europe and Asia, farmers markets in America dwindled away as industrialization rose, farms got fewer and larger and bureaucracies interceded.
Gail Hayden helped change that. Continue reading
(To be published by South Bay Accent magazine.)
Food trends can be fleeting; think raw food, cupcakes, molecular gastronomy and that rusty fondue set way in the back of your grandmother’s cupboard. But some trends have such broad appeal that they stick around, gather momentum and move into the mainstream. Upscale tacos are now in that favored spot, with this traditional Mexican street food having morphed into an anything-goes movement in which all sorts of delicious items are wrapped up — usually in a soft, heated corn tortilla but not necessarily — and snarfed down by a delighted public. Continue reading
(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in December of 2018.)
In an era when chefs are often tattooed, self-promoting celebrities, with social media trumpeting their latest foul-mouthed exploits, the irrefutable king of the kitchen in the South Bay — and increasingly, beyond — is cerebral, low-key David Kinch, who’d rather be surfing than attending to a throng of groupies. He planted himself in the South Bay in the mid-’90s when, he admits, the region was a culinary backwater compared to the buzzy eating scene to the north. What drew him to this area was that “I found a place that I could afford,” he says, after coming up empty in pricey San Francisco, where he had excelled as the hired executive chef at various prestigious restaurants. Continue reading
(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in August, 2018)
One of the world’s most addictive carbs is pasta, from the dried, boiled spaghetti with red sauce from a jar that busy moms serve their hungry kids to exquisitely handmade noodles enveloped by made-from-scratch sauce in fine restaurants. Although it’s abundantly available in markets everywhere — typically dried or mass produced — pasta purists often seek out the fresh, local variety. A must-have on Italian restaurant menus, pasta has slithered its delicious way into the happy mouths of patrons in many high-end restaurants in general, where a pasta dish or two is now common. Continue reading
There are plentiful options when it comes to choosing a beverage to accompany a Japanese meal. Since Japanese cuisine is frequently subtle, it can go nicely with well-chosen wine and beer is also a popular accompaniment. However, those seeking the full Japanese experience should order sake (sock-ay) to go with their meal after first learning a few basics about this surprisingly complex beverage. First off, sake is not rice wine, as many diners believe it to be. Rather, it’s fermented from special rice varieties that have first been milled to expose the starchy core, then a special enzyme, koji, is added that helps convert starch to sugar while the sugar is turned into alcohol. Typically, the more the rice has been polished, the higher quality is the sake it produces, which is best consumed within a year of bottling in most cases. Continue reading
(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in February 2018.)
Quick — what city in the world has received the most Michelin stars for its restaurants? Paris, you say? Not even close. Tokyo has led this august group of awardees for awhile now, boasting almost triple the stars compared to the French capital: 302 versus just 105, including a dozen achieving the lofty three-star ranking. This interesting development underscores a trend that is well underway in the South Bay, where Japanese cuisine is hot, hot, hot. Continue reading