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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chipilin Tamales, Cookie Artistry, and Mark Cuban's Bottle of Champagne

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 8:18 AM

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Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

Panaderia Andrea's chipilin tamal. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Panaderia Andrea's chipilin tamal.
More Salvadoran tamales. My trip to the Salvadorean Bakery in Portola a few weeks ago inspired a more intensive survey of the strip of Salvadoran restaurants and bakeries in the Excelsior, which is where I found Panaderia Andrea (4511 Mission St., at Excelsior). In addition to a marvelous cemita -- in El Salvador, a caramelized-pineapple pound cake -- Panaderia Andrea sells both Guatemalan and Salvadoran pastries and tamales. Here, the chipilín tamal ($2.50), flecked with the Central American herb, had that texture I've become obsessed with: springy and light, a sort of savory pudding. Hit me up if you have other tamal suggestions.

Fruit forward. Jon Bonné has a great profile of Floyd Zaiger, a Modesto-area plant breeder who may be the most influential man in the global fruit industry today. Not only did he develop the pluot, but Spain loves his early-ripening nectarines and Australia, his low-acid paches.All of it bred, by the way, the old-fashioned way.

Sculptors of dough. At Edible Geographies, Nicola Twilley examines the origins of the patterns on the Oreo cookie -- Knights Templar symbols? really? -- and other cookie designs, from springerle to the Custard Cream. WTF. Dear Mark Cuban: Um, a $90,000 bottle of Champagne? Maybe MC Hammer should stage an intervention.

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