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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Odang Is the Only Maker of Fresh Udon in the U.S.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 1:15 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • City Udon
Ben Falik is strongly pro-gluten.

"Our noodles are high in gluten, so they have a lot of bounce and chew," he says. "We're the anti-soba."
Falik is the co-founder of Odang Udon, a brand that's the only maker of fresh udon in the United States and which can be found in several Whole Foods, via Good Eggs, and at the SoMa StrEat Food Park, where Odang's food truck — or trailer, technically — serves lunch and dinner every day of the week but Monday.

"The udon we make has four basic ingredients: non-GMO wheat flour from Australia, salt, vinegar, and water," Falik says. "No preservatives, no xanthan gum, no fats. There's a lot of protein in it, because of that gluten content. We're crusaders for the good kind of gluten."

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Cecilia Chiang Is 96 and Goes Out More Than I Do

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 8:00 AM

  • Charlie Pinsky, Frappe, Inc.
  • Cecilia Chiang

If you don't already know the name, Cecilia Chiang did for Chinese food what Julia Child did for French cooking: She made it accessible to a generation of Americans who, until she came along, had to deal with grotesque bastardizations prepared with substandard ingredients.

In 1961, Chiang founded The Mandarin, a Polk Street restaurant that everyone told her would fail because she wasn't catering to white middlebrow palates by serving chop suey. A few years later, it moved to Ghirardelli Square, where — along with another location in Beverly Hills — The Mandarin became a darling of the smart set and lasted until 2006. Chiang had long since bowed out of the kitchen by then, and her son Philip had gone on to co-found P.F. Chang's in 1993.

Chiang, at 96 years of age, remains active and heavily involved in the San Francisco dining scene, providing sage advice to people you might not think would need any, like Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie. Last Thursday, at the P.F. Chang's in Emeryville, more than 100 people — among them Leong, Gary Danko, and Laurence Jossel of Nopa — gathered to honor Chiang on the occasion of a six-part documentary series, The Kitchen Wisdom of Cecilia Chiang, which premieres Monday, July 12 on KQED. Philip Chiang, for his part, recalled redeeming Coke bottles 55 years ago, admitting that the inspiration to open a restaurant came to him relatively late in life.

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