Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.
1. Congratulations are in order. As many of the food blogs picked up on before the official announcement, Joshua Skenes, chef of Saison, is the Bay Area pick for Food & Wine's 10 Best New Chefs this year. Skenes is exactly the kind of chef the magazine honors: innovative, timely, and refined. (Speaking as someone who's chronicled F&W picks in two different dining scenes, I think the magazine shows unflagging good taste. For example, last year, it chose James Syhabout of Commis; in 2009, the local chefs honored were Christopher Kostow of Meadowood and Nate Appleman, then chef of A16 and SPQR.)
2. Soy sauce. A few days ago, Serious Eats posted a great basic guide to soy sauce.
Jenny Lee-Adrian describes the variations between Chinese and Japanese
styles and between light and dark. She covers tamari, kecap manis, and La
Choy as well, calling the latter "chemical soy sauce." So that's why La Choy tastes so distinct ― it's a completely different product.
3. Richmond finds. On Sunday, I made one of my bimonthly forays
to the Eastern European markets on Geary, where my mission has become to coax a smile out of the women behind the counter. (Current batting average: .250.) This time out, I scored an
amazing block of Armenian feta from Royal Market and
Bakery (5335 Geary) that is so sheep-y you can still smell the wool. My boyfriend and I have been eating it straight out of the package, but we've also smeared it on buttered bread and crumbled it over roast carrots and sauteed collards. On the way back from Royal Market, I passed by Clement Restaurant (621 Clement) just as a pan of
fresh pineapple buns
were making their way to the window. Hot, crackly, coconut scented, only
notionally solid ― I don't think I'll ever order a cold one