Every couple of months I make it out to California to visit accounts, buyers and distributors and I wanted share some gustatory inspiration from the Golden State. Any of you who know me know that I plan all my trips around three things: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Though I love digging into the food of everywhere, the world of California cuisine is one of my favorites and has had the most influence on my cooking.
Here is a briefing of the last trip’s eats:
Tartine Manufactory knocked my socks off. As a recent sourdough maker, I was content to watch the bakers pulling one perfect loaf after another out of their big oven. Great for breakfast - the toasts, coffee and banana bread pudding were delicious and the Heath ceramics factory/showroom is drool worthy.
Sunday Bird/ Boba Guys : Sunday bird is a tasty Korean Style fried chicken place right behind the Boba guys (who make a mean matcha latte) they serve simple fare- kim chi fried rice, chicken sandwich on bao, fried chicken with gochugaru. Yummy. Want to make kim chi fried rice for kids lunches (though SCHOOL IS OUT FOR SUMMER!!) but it is a great, easy, slightly spicy hit.
Latest super treat was Izakaya Rintaro –
cool, funky space in the Mission with incredible food. A friend recommended it after I told her how fond I was of Ippaku, another wonderful spot in the East Bay. Great, unique goyza, fresh vibrant fish, handmade noodles and mochi. Highly recommend.
The scene is here is so vibrant and ever changing that I don’t even pretend to know what the latest and greatest is. I just have old favs.
No trip this was is complete to Berkeley without a visit to Berkeley Bowl. Amazing produce selection, my favorite mint chocolate almonds in little bulk bags and a dizzying array of local California products- especially nut and coconut yogurts, milks and “cheeses.” Also the beloved Vik’s Chaat which sells amazing Indian street food snacks, classic dishes and colorful sweets. The cholle bhature is a must.
Urban Remedy serves fresh juices, nut milks and raw snacks- perfect for taking on the road.
I mostly cook when I am in Napa Valley, as we have family here and the produce is so fresh and amazing that it makes cooking an easy pleasure. There are however, somevery special places to eat/visit while in the Valley. I went for a visit to the Healdsberg SHED, a long time vendor of Ozuké’s cult favorite umeboshi (they even made an ume kombucha from our plums!) and we found Single Thread. These guys are the real deal. They are growing, making and sourcing hyper locally (mostly from their own farm) and making innovative, clean, Japanese inspired, quintessentially Californian, very sexy food. You can also stay here and the lodging looked, well .. perfect.
And.. a quick plug for my cousin’s stunning wines: Onward and Farmstrong - some very special occasion wines and everyday drinkables. So proud of the good work she is doing (mama of 4!!!) best Pét Nat in the country.
Okay, that’s the voracious mama’s guide for this go round, now go #putsomekimchionit