An East-Coast Food Blogger in San Francisco

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What would a food blogger from the East Coast do in a city like San Francisco?

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       Take chocolate classes from Tante Marie; especially if these classes are taught by the Queen of Chocolate herself, Alice Medrich! When I found out that she was doing some demo classes this August, I knew I just had to be there, even if it meant flying from coast to coast. And I was lucky! She just got a shipment of her yet unreleased book, Pure Dessert and I hold the honor of having the first signed copy! I shall do a sneak peak into her book in the coming weeks. So stay tuned!

*The dessert pictured above was made by Alice Medrich in her demo class

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        Have dinner at The Slanted Door. I have always wanted to go to this San Francisco institution ever since I’ve read about Charles Phan’s innovative Vietnamese cuisine in Food and Wine magazine a few years ago. It did not disappoint. I had the most tantalizing duck dish that reminded me so much of pato tim with the added bonus of crispy skin. Yum!

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        Make a pilgrimage to Tartine Bakery. After our croissant challenge earlier this year, I just had to sample the real thing. That first bite into the depths of a warm ham and cheese croissant felt like an out-of-body experience. Gosh! The tender crunch, the flaky dough, the gooey cheese and the aroma of this freshly baked pastry made me want to just take up residence at 600 Guererro street. Alas, the lines out the door told me that I could not linger too long. Others too, wanted to sample this experience.

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         Make a pilgrimage to Bouchon Bakery. Like the croissants, I just had to sample the real bouchons from Thomas Keller. Aside from these delicious chocolate corks, my friends and I sampled an array of financiers, tarts and macarons. Every single one of them was divine!

But what was the number one thing a food blogger should do in San Francisco , why …

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      Meet up with some bay area food bloggers of course! Thursday evening, I met with Anita (pictured above) of Desserts First at Citizen Thai and the Monkey. There, over a wonderful dinner of duck curry and grilled pork, we regaled each other with tales of our uncontrollable addiction to cookbooks. As if to compound the obsession further, I brought along my just-signed copy of “Pure Dessert” so we can further drool over it. I told Anita how I envied that she lived in the bay area where opportunities abound for food (dessert) lovers like us. The evening was capped with the best gelato I have ever had!

       For Friday evening dinner, Mary of Alpineberry took me to Piperade, a charming restaurant that served Basque cuisine. In the course of our conversations, we found out that we had so many things in common, especially in terms of spending money ;). We had a bite of each other’s delectable dishes. I had the lamb; Mary had the New York strip. We also had to have desserts – after all we were Daring Bakers! Mine was an orange beignet that was so light and crisp it could almost melt in your mouth. Mary had a sensuous little tart that was just as utterly decadent.  There seemed to be no end to the topics we could talk about… Tartine Bakery, San Francisco real estate – even shoes!

I feel so honored to meet my fellow Daring Bakers! The opportunity could not have been more perfect. They are both such warm people and their blogs simply reflect how lovely and delightful they both are!

I leave you now with a dessert that Alice made in class. This was a part of her Perfect Chocolate Summer desserts segment. I’m usually not too fond of meringues since I generally find them too sweet. But this particular meringue combined with chocolate and topped with mascarpone and strawberries makes for a surprisingly refreshing treat!

Chocolate Meringue with Mascarpone and Strawberries

Ingredients for meringue:

3 egg whites, at room temperature

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

2/3 cup sugar

5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

2 cups Mascarpone Cheese

½ cup heavy cream

2 tbs rum, optional

1 ½ to 2 pints strawberries, rinsed and hulled, halved or quartered if large

Equipment:

Food processor

A baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (optional)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 225 °F. Use a marker to trace a 9: circle on the baking pan liner. Turn the paper marker side down.

In a dry food processor bowl, pulse the chocolate with about a third of the sugar (ok to eye ball it) until it looks like fine crumbs. Set aside.

In a clean dry mixer bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed (medium sped in a heavy duty mixer) until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Beat in the remaining sugar a little at a time, taking 1 to 1 ½ minutes to add it all. The mixture should stand in very stiff glossy peaks when the beaters are lifted. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Pour all of the chocolate mixture over the meringue. Fold with a large rubber spatula just until incorporated. Scrape all but ¼ cup of meringue into the center of the circle. Spread it attractively with a metal spatula. Bake for 2 ½ hours. Turn oven off and allow the meringue to cool in the turned off oven. Cool the meringue completely before using or storing in an airtight container at least 2 months.

Within 1 hour of serving, combine the mascarpone and whipping cream and rum if using. Beat until the mixture resembles thick whipped cream. Scrape the mixture into the pastry bag fitted with the star tip if using. Pipe a ruffle of cream on top of the edge of the meringue. Pipe or spread the remaining cream to cover the circle (only the edge of the cream will show). Or, spread all of the cream with a spatula. Arrange or heap the berries on the cream attractively.

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26 thoughts on “An East-Coast Food Blogger in San Francisco

  1. Oh Ver, I am so jealous with you! Wish I could be in there to meet Alice Medrich and all the food blogger friends! I am glad that you enjoyed all the moments there.

  2. Good grief Veron, you got Alice, Anita AND Mary – that does cause a twinge of jealous thought. The only thing I could imagine that would top it would to be there with Alice, Anita, Mary and You!
    Lucky you!

  3. Veronica,
    It was so great to meet you and I had a fabulous time hanging out! We will have to do it again – I'll let you know whenever I make it over to the East Coast! Or come back to SF – I know you love it here!

  4. Veron,
    Great to have read this post, thank you for sharing the Pure Dessert.. defintely will be looking out for this book once it is out. We wish we were there, so much of such lovely food.

  5. That was so fun! I am a huge fan of Alice Medrich, so I am really jealous now. ;p
    The meringue reminds me of pavlova….And I know I got to try this dessert as soon as I get hold of some mascarpone.

  6. So cool that you were able to meet and eat with Anita and Mary and visit those great places. I've been a fan of Alice's since she had the Cocolat bakery in Berkeley. I'll be looking for that new book. You've been taking a number of classes. How did this one compare?

  7. That class must've been fantastic! That dessert ceratinly looks amazing…and I'm not one for meringues either 🙂 And how great you were able to meet up with other food bloggers 🙂 Those meet ups are always fun 🙂

  8. Hi Anh- it was one of my most fun trips…I think it's because SF is a favorite place too.
    Thanks Tanna – meeting Anita and Mary made the trip so complete.
    Anita! Can't wait for us to get together again. Hope you can come to the East coast…although I think I'll be heading back to SF in a heartbeat!
    Hi Big Boys Oven – glad that I was able to give you a heads up on "pure dessert". Definitely one to be on a dessert lover's bookshelf!
    Mandy – Alice was terrific. There are no words to describe this woman …she was so down to earth.
    I agree Lydia – SF is much more fun with friends to share them with…
    Oh Elle – I wish we could have met…darn work getting in the way of our blogging life…this class was definitely more laid back than the CIA one. Alice was so generous with her tips which you can only learn from experience. She admittedly is a great experimenter…which is why I like her style!
    hey Peabody – I'd love to meet you too…maybe I'll fly to Seattle next…I heard it's beautiful up there.
    Hi Baking Soda – yep…endless topics with food bloggers. the trip was fun fun fun!
    Hi Brilynn – I'm definitely working through her book these next few weeks.
    Hi Joey – yes meetups are so fun! And with food bloggers the topics for conversation are endless.
    Thanks Kelly-Jane.
    Hi Melanie, there are chocolate and plain croissants…choices that would let you keep your vegetarian diet 🙂

  9. Wow! You packed a lot of fun into your trip to SF! It sounds (and looks) like you had a delightful visit. And all of the photos are so beautiful…I can see why lots of people would wait in long lines for that ham and cheese croissant. 🙂 I will be peeking back in to see what you make from your enticing new cookbook. 🙂

  10. "The Test Kitchen Goes West!" Sound's like a fantastic trip, Veron. You are getting around! What I wouldn't give to spend a little time sampling the best of San Francisco, right now. And, so cool that you met up with the Daring Bakers!

  11. I just came back from SF, too!
    I wish I could have taken the course with Alice Medrich but I was busy working while there (craft show @ Fort Mason)… I was just reading up on her new book earlier.

    The food everywhere there (in SF) is so wonderful and there are not enough stomachs or days to eat everything!

    I found a bookstore with great cookbooks on remainder… just what I need, more to add to my collection. I shipped them home and am anxiously waiting to spend time with them! (it's a disease, isn't it!?)

  12. Hi Bea – it was indeed exciting to finally meet food bloggers in real life. I'm already plotting what to make from the book!
    Hi Belinda – I have a mind to make croissants again if only to recapture the experience at Tartine. Do check back soon for a recipe or two from Pure dessert …
    Thanks Patricia!
    Hi T.W. – San Francisco is a haven for foodies. Several times I was stuffed full and felt sad that I couldn't eat some more…the classic: so little time , so much food!
    Hi Nora – definitely worth the coast to coast trip!
    Hi robin – wow , it would be funny if we ran into each other in SF. Because I was lazy to haul luggage around, I did have some stuff shipped back to Richmond =).

  13. How lovely that you were able to meet fellow bloggers! My husband and I were not disappointed with the Slanted Door either. We had to wait two days just to get a reservation for lunch! The spectacular view and fabulous food made it worthwhile though.

  14. I am so happy that I bumped into your blog.
    I really enjoyed reading your stories and thank you so much for posting the recipes there.
    Hope someday, I will challenge the recipe of “Of Chocolate and Carmel”!!

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