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Category: Food

June 27, 2007

Pinot Days

pinot daysMany of the events are already sold out, but you can still get your $50 ticket for the July 1st Grand Festival at Pinot Days at Fort Mason (alas, I will be busy moving):

Sunday’s Grand Tasting will showcase 170+ producers of pinot noir. This will be San Francisco’s largest single gathering of pinot producers ever. Consumers will be able to sample up to 400 pinots from every important region in California, Oregon, New Zealand and Burgundy.

...This year we will feature three different Focus Tastings, The Best of Anderson Valley, 2004 and 2005 Rosella's and Pisoni Comparison and The Best of Sonoma COast and Russian River Valley. Below are the details of the three Focus Tastings.

Pinot Days

Kobayashi's career coming to a close

Competitive eating champ Takeru Kobayashi's career is being undone by an arthritic jaw. He will be entering he 4th-of-July Coney Island hotdog eating competition, but his ability to regain the hotdog record from Joey Chestnut seems a much greater challenge now.

Speed-eating king's reign cut short by arthritis of the jaw

June 12, 2007

Hand-thermometer for grilling

Here's a rule of thumb that... uses your thumb. I first learned this from someone who worked in a restaurant and I thought I'd share it now that Men's Health has gone and made a nice graphic of it. I have a fancy tong-thermometer that I still use, but this keeps me from stabbing the steak every 2 minutes impatiently (which lets all the juices run out).

via Lifehacker

June 8, 2007

Unti wine tasting @ Vin, Vino Wine, Palo Alto, June 14 4-8pm

UntiWhen: June 14 4-8pm
Where: Vin, Vino, Wine, 437 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

Mick Unti will be driving down from Dry Creek Valley to host a tasting at Vin, Vino, Wine in Palo Alto. I try to stop by Unti on the rare occasion I'm driving 101 past Santa Rosa, so I'm going to try not to pass up the opportunity to taste these wines:

2006 Rose
2005 Barbera
2005 Zinfandel (sneak preview of the best Zin ever from Unti)
2005 Grenache (Mick's favorite Unti wine ever)
2004 Syrah
2004 Petite Sirah

May 10, 2007



Hmmm, not even I could bring myself to eat from this package of delicious K-Mart bacon. More over at the Consumerist.

October 16, 2006

Unti + Zazie = Good

d and I went up to SF last night for two tasty things: an Unti Vineyards dinner at Zazie's. Zazie's is a popular brunch spot, but for whatever reason they cooked up this wonderful pairing:

First Course

Baby arugula salad w/pomegranate seeds, toasted almonds, chevre, and raspberry champagne vinaigrette
Paired w/ Unti Vineyards 2005 Rose
Notes: This grenache rose was smoother than others I've had, less acidic, which I enjoyed. The salad was a bit too dainty to enjoy all the flavors together.

Second Course

Wild mushroom and black truffle fresh raviolis w/aged parmesan
Paired w/ Unti Vineyards 2003 Grenache (Library selection)
Notes: mmmmm, black truffles raviolis in truffle oil...

Third Course

Duck legs braised with red wine and port, dried plums, and black currants
Paired w/ Unti Vineyards 2004 Sangiovese
Notes: Some people were mixed on this tasting -- one couple thought the Sangiovese too alcohol-y -- but I thought that a strong taste was necessary to stand up to gamey duck.

Fourth Course

Slow braised Niman Ranch beef shanks w/soft mascarpone chive polenta
Paired w/ Unti Vineyards 2003 Syrah 'Benchland' Reserve
Notes: the polenta was creamy like mashed potatoes, which makes me actually like polenta. The Benchland reserve was the wine that my dad and I picked up two bottles of on our way back from Garberville.


Guittard chocolate torte w/whipped dark chocolate ganache and creme anglaise
Paired w/ Unti Vineyards 2004 Banyuls Grenache (barrel sample)
*Notes: d notes that the torte was the Platonic Form of a Cadbury cream egg. This is in fact high praise. The Banyuls Grenache was a dry grape grenache batch rescued with water, sugar and brandy. *

I missed out on getting Unti's Barbera Port, which sold out far too quickly, so I enjoyed getting the opportunity to sample their unreleased Banyuls Grenache. Why is it that wine gone bad can taste so good? Mick Unti also poured a wine they will be bottling in December -- I had too many glasses at that point to remember they were calling it. It will be Unti's first $45 wine, but they are just that proud of it.

We were in the 'fun' corner on the patio. Mick Unti came over to eat a course with our three tables; he made a graceful exit after several conversation topics may have turned him various shades of scarlet.

October 28, 2005

Curry variations

If you're preparing Japanese curry, my aunts recommend the following variations: * grate an entire apple into the mix * toss in a bit of coffee grounds * mix multiple brands of curry * add in worchestire sauce * add in soy sauce

I'll have to experiment to figure out which variations I like best.

October 25, 2005

Tea preparation

According to my family, these are the important lessons in green tea preparation:

  • Use about 1 tablespoon of green tea
  • Never use boiling water or even water directly from a hot pot. My family often uses two tea pots: one to let the hot water cool down in and one for the tea.
  • When pouring tea for multiple people, never pour an entire cup at once. Keep pouring a little into each cup until they are full. Everyone will get better tea that way.
  • Good tea should be reusable multiple times. Some of the tea I got in Japan is rated for seven uses.
  • The tea should be a pleasant green color, not yellow. Yellow may mean that the tea has steeped too long or the tea is used up.
  • After the inital batch, you shouldn't have to wait for subsequent batches to steep. Pour a little into a tea cup and see how it looks. If looks too light, let it steep a little longer.
  • Tea has an expiration date but you can get past that by putting your tea in the refrigerator.

October 13, 2005

Final links before I go

September 28, 2005

Tea facts

I was extolling the virtues of my green tea that mom gets for me from Japan and decided to do a little bit more tea research so that, like wine, I could put on snobby airs while talking over a cup.

All tea comes from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. While there are three main varieties of the plant in use, the differences in taste mostly relate to when the tea leaves are harvested, how they are fermented, the size of leaves used, and the environment in which the tea was grown. My preferred tea is shincha, a green tea with a name that translates as 'new tea.' Depending on the region, tea plants can be harvested multiple times per year. Shincha tea is produced from the very first pick of the year, which is considered the best pick because the buds have been absorbing nutrients throughout the winter.

  • Black tea: leaves are laid out to dry, macerated (soaked, softened, and rolled), fermented, then fired/dried to halt the fermentation. The rolling process encourages the release of chemicals for the fermentation process.
  • Green tea: leaves are laid out to dry, heated/steam for rolling, and dried. They are not allowed to ferment. In China, green teas are sometimes pan-fried and then rolled into various shapes such as twisted, flat, curly or balled. In Japan the leaves are steamed then rolled by hand or machine.
  • Oolong tea: leaves are laid out to dry, shaken or rolled to bruise the edges, and shade-dried. The shaking and drying steps are repeated multiple times and the leaves are then allowed to undergo a short fermentation process. The fermentation is less than that of black tea and can vary depending on the type of oolong.
  • White tea: leaf buds covered with silvery hairs are used to make white tea. The buds are steamed and dried, which results in buds with white fuzz.

August 12, 2005

Weirder links

July 6, 2005

Fun tools and resources

Gmaps Pedometer: a great Google Maps hack that lets figure just how long that bike ride to work is and even send that route as a link to friends.

NumSum: for those simpler spreadsheets that don't need Excel (i.e. all of them).

Five Ingredient Recipes: when cooking for myself I try not to exceed three steps in my cooking process, which includes unwrapping the package to stick it in the microwave. Five ingredients implies at least five steps, but I may be willing to sacrifice.

Rapid Afterimage: this optical illusion still throws me.

May 11, 2004

Good thing I'm only half...

I don't have a great adjective to describe this entry. Ironic? Oxymoronic? Moronic? If you were to visit, what type of site do you think it would take you to? How about I were to narrow it down and say, if a restaurant were to own, which restaurant would it be? And, what would happen, if I then told you that the restaurant claims to own the trademark on "I am Asian," what would you think?

BTW: I now take this opportunity to claim the trademarks, "I am Half-Asiantm" and "I am Hapatm" for the blogging domain; other hapas beware, I'll be feedster-ing and pubsub-ing your asses to make sure you don't step on my turf.

(via boingboing)

April 4, 2004

Dilbert Cafe

A friend organized a trip out to Stacey's Cafe in Pleaston (about a 30 minute drive from Mountain View), which is owned by Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. It's not a Dilbert restaurant -- about the only Dilberty item is a small table near the front that has signed Dilbert dolls. It has more in common with a ritz-y Palo Alto or Los Altos restaurant.

There is a bit of Scott Adams influence, which comes from the menu. Next to each of the menu items there is a joke, sometimes amusing (Baked Brie: We tried to achieve world peace by renaming the French brie to Freedom Brie but nothing happened so we changed it back), sometimes a horrid pun (Chili Glazed Jumbo Prawns: If you have any left over you can sell it to the prawn shop), but generally entertaining. I spent my first ten minutes reading all the quips instead of trying to figure out what I was going to order. You can read the menu online. Be sure to check out the Date food section.

Between the five of us, we ordered two unique dishes. Three of us, including me, ordered the Gorgonzola Filet. It was tender and I liked it a lot. My only complaint was that there was not enough yummy gorgonzola to smear into the sauce. The other dish was the Pancetta Wrapped Chicken Picatta, which got good reviews.

Stacey's Cafe has two interesting policies. The first is that they will allow any customization, now matter how picky it is. The closest I came to testing this was ordering Ice Tea with no ice. This wasn't a strong test of the policy, even if it is a bit oxymoronic. The second policy, which comes from their date-friendly portion of the menu, is

If somehow, despite our precautions, you end up with a piece of pasta stuck to your forehead, our busboys will start a fist fight as a diversion while a server swoops in and knocks the offending pasta off your face.

We were so full after the main course that we didn't even have room for the tasty looking desserts.

March 7, 2004

Kona Shores

honeyfields, meta, and I stumbled upon Kona Shores, which sells Lappert's Ice Cream in the Haight. The store is only three months old, but honeyfields knows the owner from a store he used to own in North Berkeley. I haven't had Lappert's since I was in Maui for meta's marathon, and the Kona Shores owner mixed me up a nice combination of Maui Mango ice cream, strawberries, and mandarin oranges on a cold slab that was pretty yummy. I liked it better than the ice cream I got at Cold Stone Creamery, which was a little too heavy for my tastes. So if you've had a hankering for Hawaiian ice cream and haven't found any in San Francisco, or you want free wireless Internet access, you can check it out (at the corner of Masonic and Haight).

October 25, 2003

Oh my aching hands

Maybe this is responsible for my RSI. I hate my asian half - Study: Chopsticks may cause arthritis - Oct. 25, 2003

August 14, 2003

Utterly Outrageous Recipes

After reading this post, I decided to that I had to add Making Light to my blogroll.

BTW - More at Utterly Outrageous Recipes.

(via Neil Gaiman's Journal, in a roundabout way)

August 21, 2002

Wine tasting

Tasted some wines with Reichbach. He has a book with a step-by-step guide to tasting that teaches you all the important stuff about evaluating taste, color, smell, etc... For example, tipping the glass and looking at the shadow on a white piece of paper shows the maturity of the wine, and holding the wine in your mouth while breathing in across it lets you notice a lot more of the flavor.

Here are the types of wines we tasted:
- French Syrah
- Australian Shiraz
- Chile Cab (French Style)
- French Bordeaux