I know people aint got no time no more to read a lot, however I am going to tell you everything, but I will separate it into small “tapas” portions so you can read what you would like first. Here is how it is going to go.
1. HOW I ENDED UP AT THIS YEAR’S TASTE OF THE NATION EVENT IN SF, FOR FREE.
2. WHAT DID I EAT AT THIS YEARS TASTE OF THE NATION FOR FREE.
3. WHY SHARE OUR STRENGTH MATTERS TO ME PERSONALLY
1. HOW DID I END UP AT THIS YEAR’S TASTE OF THE NATION IN SF FOR FREE AND DID I FEEL DIRTY?
I felt a little dirty. I have paid to attend this event before and felt very good about it. I am 7 months pregnant and decided that this might not be the year to attend and I felt ok about it for reasons you will read in number 3. So how did my husband and I end up getting all dolled up and stuff our faces with the most delectable food ever for gratis? I was on Facebook and a friend of mine posted a thing that said, “win two tickets to this year’s Taste of the Nation” I took my dirty and greedy finger, made sure no one was looking and clicked. A few days days later, I got an email in my inbox and “boom” I had won! There went my lottery ticket luck. I quickly IM’d my husband and he said, “great, but do they know that you volunteer/teach Cooking Matters Classes, which is a Share Our Strength Program and do they know you are on the board of Three Squares, the non-profit that runs Cooking Matters in the Bay Area?” I held my head a little low and wrote to the peeps at Taste and told them and said, I understood if this precluded me from being able to win said tickets. They responded by saying that it was all the better! Yahoo, my conscience was mostly clear and I hoped I could find a dress that would not make me look like a black Easter egg with legs.We did participate in a few auctions, a wine thing and a spin the wheel thing.. to lessen the guilt.
2. WHAT DID I EAT AT THIS YEARS TASTE OF THE NATION FOR FREE?
This is going to sound a little bit FA FA, but I have been to many foodie events where the small bites were not that great and you ended up really wanting to swing by Super Duper burger after, or in my So Cal days, Tommys. I have to apologize to all of the amazing chefs that I missed. My husband warned me not to take a clutch purse because I would be wielding a camera, beverage and little plates. I didn’t listen. A girls gotta have a purse. It turns out that my hand, that I thought was bionic when it came to taking perfect low light macro shots, had given up some of it’s power to the baby, so all I have here are a meager 8 photos of amazing food.
IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER BECAUSE EVERYTHING WAS AMAZING. SORRY I WASN’T ABLE TO PHOTOGRAPH ALL OF THE FOOD.
Just when I say that I am kinda sick of the food snobbery that happens in San Francisco, I end up eating my words, literally at an event like this. There really is so much talent in these 7×7 miles and it is even better when they all come together for a great cause.
1. PARK TAVERN: Deviled eggs have made a come back in the last 1o years, but these really stand out above the rest. Luckily, you can get them any day of the week at Park Tavern.
2. SONS AND DAUGHTERS: Roasted beets with vadouvan and pickled mustard seeds. To some, this may look like the mini contents of a compost bin, to me, it is art and to my tongue, it was almost illegal. Holy cow, what a way to elevate beets.
3. MAYFIELD BAKERY AND CAFE: (Palo Alto) Pulled Stone Valley Farm pork, coleslaw, brioche. Pulled pork is another one of those dishes that it over done, but I didn’t think that after I tasted this. I wanted five more.
4. BOULEVARD: Snake River Farms flat iron tataki,Cherry blossom tempura. Perfectly executed little bites of tasty meatiness.
5. 25 LUSK: Truffled mushroom cheesecake. I feel almost guilty featuring this because I have such a big crush on this place. This little mushroomy bite was oh so tasty.
6. RN74: Coffee Eclair with Trinidad Rum, White Coffee, Cream and Hazlenut. I think there was a churro in there. This was one of the best desserts I have tasted in my whole life and my husband felt the same way. I am happy to report that it is on their menu. I must have one soon. Baby wants it!
7. SPRUCE: Boudin Noir, a.k.a blood sausage. I am a bit of a blood sausage snob because I have been eating it since childhood and I am really partial to the Colombian and Spanish variety. This one was delicious. I did miss a little of the dirtyness of my South American favorite, but you wouldn’t.
8. LA CONDESA: (Napa/St. Helena) Pork belly sopes with fig jam, Point Reyes Blue Cheese and Apple- Tomatillo Salpicón. These were really yummy and reminded me a little of Colombian arepas. They even switched out the cheese to a different cheese to accomodate my pregnantness. So nice. Can’t wait to try this place when I am in Napa. Their web site is all about the food and drink porn. Don’t look at it if you are hungry. It is beautiful.
9. (not shown) COQUETA: I am so sad that I took the blurriest photo ever of Michael Chiarello’s Sangria Moderna – a silky frozen Sangria, with lime, Raspberry Fizzy and Apple Gelee. I was three spoons deep when my husband said, “there’s alcohol in that”. I finished the 4th spoon and quickly put it down. I love Michael Chiarello’s Bottega in Napa and I am over the moon to know the he and his team will be opening Coqueta (flirt) soon in San Francisco. I can’t wait!
3. WHY SHARE OUR STRENGTH MATTERS TO ME PERSONALLY
As you read above, I have taught Cooking Matters Classes in SF. Cooking matters teaches free cooking and nutrition classes in the Bay Area. Each class is 3 hours long and happens once a week for 6 weeks. I have taught 8, which puts me at 144 hours. Yes, I am bragging, cus I think it is cool. Teaching Cooking Matters classes gives me huge satisfaction. The participants learn so much. There is a nutritionist in each class that changes the way our participants look at their food and nourish themselves and their families. I have become a better cook because of it and am always humbled by how positive and wonderful the participants are despite struggling to make ends meet for their families. I also get a chance to hone my stand-up skills in Spanish or at least, I think so. This year, Taste of the Nation will give a chunk of what they raised to Three Squares, the local non-profit that runs Cooking Matters in the Bay Area. I am on the board of Three Squares. Being on board sounds so stuffy, but our board is anything but. We are just there to be Cinderella’s mice to our “leader” Sarah Nelson, the petite spitfire who continues to kick ass and make our local world a lot better. Enough of that soap box. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign also strives to help more kids get school lunches. I am pretty sure I was on that free lunch program when I was little. My parents barely spoke English and even though we weren’t destitute, I am sure it helped that they knew I was getting a nice warm meal at school. Perhaps they weren’t the healthiest warm meals, but they were food. I will never forget the cheese toast or turkey cubes with mashed potatoes and gravy. It was all exotic food to me. Yum.
* There was a huge room with beautiful libations from local wines to craft beers and gorgeous spirits, but alas, this prego didn’t partake, so I can’t write about it. My husband drank a little of all of it, but can’t remember any of it, cus he drank a little of all of it.