As Requested

January 20, 2019

Somebody reached out to me on Instagram to ask where he might find a copy of the wonderful article David Halberstam wrote for us at Gourmet in 2006.

So I thought I would post it here.

 

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A Delicious Little Morsel

January 7, 2019

It’s an R month.  Which to me, at least, means lots of oysters.

Ordered a hundred over Christmas (they live a good ten days in the refrigerator, covered with a damp towel).  At the end, when we’d had our fill of oysters on the half shell, I fried the last of them.

So good!

Fried Oysters

Shopping list: 1 pint oysters, 1 pint buttermilk, 2 cups cornmeal

Staples: flour, salt, oil.

Carefully drain the oysters, and put them in 2 cups of buttermilk for about 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or a silpat pad. Mix 2 cups of cornmeal with 2 cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt.  Pick up each oyster, shake it a bit, allowing the buttermilk to drip off before plunking it into the cornmeal mixture; toss it about so it’s coated on all sides and place it on the lined baking sheet. Do it with the next oyster, and the next….

In a deep pot heat at least 2 inches of oil until it registers 375 on a thermometer. Pick up an oyster, shake it to remove excess breading and plunk it into the oil. Fry for about a minute and a half until just golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. You should be able to fry 6 to 8 oysters at a time.  Bring oil back to 375 before adding a new batch. 

Sprinkle with salt and serve with plenty of fresh lemons.  Some people like tartar sauce or remoulade with their oysters, but I think that masks the delicate flavor. 

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Christmas is Over, But….

January 5, 2019

You still have things to celebrate.  People you love. Presents to buy.  And I just came upon this remarkable offering from the wonderful Celia Sack at Omnivore books.

She’s bought a treasure-trove of old Chez Panisse menus from Fritz Streiff, who has been a part of the restaurant pretty much since the beginning. Among the many things Fritz has been at Chez Panisse, is the voice of Alice Waters; he’s collaborated on many of her books.

And Alice has never done anything by half measures.  She’s had great artists – David Goines, Patty Curtan, Wesley Tanner, among many others – design her menus. And I imagine there’s something here that would make just about anyone happy. The prices are definitely right; these vintage menus are both food history and gorgeous art.

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Napa Valley, Mid-Eighties

December 27, 2018

Looking for wrapping paper the other day, I came upon a small trove of old menus from St. Helena, when it was a quieter place than it is today.

The original French Laundry, under Don and Sally Schmitt, was a lovely, simple place much beloved by local winemakers. (Don was also the town mayor.) They had the best wine list: everyone around them was deeply represented.  And they served wonderful California food.

Mustard’s was another beloved local establishment.  Cindy Pawlcyn had her finger on the food pulse; she once called her place a “deluxe truckstop.” And unlike most of the old places in the Valley, Mustard’s is still going strong, still pleasing people.

Miramonte was more representative of what the tourists wanted…

And then there was Doidge’s.

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