Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.
1. Notes from Portola. Every Friday, Science Friday's Ira Flatow and I drive out to a different part of town to wander around and eat whatever comes my way. Last week, that meant San Bruno Avenue, where I picked up a loaf of red-bean-swirled bread from New City Bakery and some tamales I'll write about later in the week.
I stopped for lunch at Top's Cafe BBQ House (2460 San Bruno, at Silliman, 715-6868), which serves homestyle Cantonese food and barbecued meats. The $5.50 special I ordered off the placard in front -- steamed, salted egg with pork patty -- turned out to be the Cantonese equivalent of a patty melt: coarsely chopped pork mixed with oyster sauce and a salted egg, then steamed. The egg whites formed a glossy, silky sheath on the patty, while the yolk coalesced into a salty, umami-dense disc. Total mom food. The server told me that the chef makes his own salted eggs, and that if I wanted to try another one of his specialties I should order a dish with the preserved vegetables he makes in house. Next time.
2. Blogging Lessons. On Bay Area Bites, Sarah Henry, recently back from two big food-blogger gatherings, posts her five tips on how to be a successful food blogger. Many of the suggestions are familiar -- tell good stories, take great photos -- but they're nicely annotated with links, creating an online study guide. I might have another suggestion: Though I'm not a successful food blogger, it also seems to me that the successful blogs (at least the ones I visit) have a consistent viewpoint and a mission -- a topic or tone readers visit those blogs for.