Baker’s Hours

September 11, 2009

Remembering a Friend

After a long nine day stretch at work, I lay in bed half asleep enjoying the thought that I didn’t have to work today. One of the many little quirks about me is that I sleep with the radio on. I’m just one of those people who can’t sleep if the room is too quiet, so I need some sort of ambient noise. As I lay in bed dozing in and out of consciousness, I hear the people on NPR talking about the attacks on 9/11, and it hits me. 

There are times when I am at work where days seem to smash into another, and I totally loose track of days. So on this, the seventh anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, I would like to reminisce about a dear friend and role model. Heather Ho was the Pastry Chef at the Windows of the World Restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center. She was a fantastic Pastry Chef, but most of all she was my friend, and someone whom I try to model my career after. Her professionalism and skill made her one of the top Pastry Chefs in the country, and her death on 9/11 was felt by all in the industry whether they knew her or not. 

For me, like many people, 9/11 is one of those events where you remember exactly where your were, and what you were doing when the event happened. I was living in West Virginia at the time, and I woke up at 10:36 am. I turned on the tv, and for whatever reason, it was tuned into CNN, which was odd because the tv is usually tuned onto an HBO channel because I like to watch movies to unwind before I go to bed. Still for some reason, I was watching CNN the night before so this morning when I woke up it was impossible for me to miss.

The most unfortunate thing about her death was that she had given her notice, but had agreed to continue to work at Windows until they were able to find a replacement. The suddenness and unexpected nature of the attacks serve as a constant reminder to me that I should live everyday as if it were my last. To have no regrets, and to never ponder on the what was, or what could have been. I live in the now because for all I know, I could die tomorrow, or even two minutes from now.

“It is wise for me to think about the past, and to learn from my past, but it is not wise for me to be in the past. For that is how I lose myself. It is also wise to think about the future, and to prepare for my future, but it is not wise for me to be in the future. For that too is how I lose myself. And when I lose myself, I lose what is most precious to me.” ~Spencer Johnson, The Precious Present

Heather, you were a shining light in the world, and you are sorely missed.

 

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: Wink and a Smile by Harry Connick Jr.

July 4, 2009

4th of July & Hot Dogs

Hot Dog ContestToday, we celebrate the biggest holiday of the summer, and how do we commemorate the independence of our nation? That’s right… with the annual Nathan’s Famous 4th of July International Hot Dog eating contest.

Today, Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California defended his World Hot Dog Eating Championship by out gutting his competition (and I use the word loosely). Among the field of gluttonous competitors was former six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan. Now I have as much American pride as the next guy, and I can appreciate it when an American beats a non-American in anything, but I just can’t really get too excited about Chestnut’s victory over Kobayashi.

Begin Rant:

In my opinion, this is !@?$ing ridiculous!!!!! This isn’t the first time that I have ranted about stupid non-sport events trying to pass themselves off as sports on tv (and it probably won’t be my last), but the World Hot Dog Eating Championships? Give me a !@?$ing break! I didn’t really mind it the first time they aired it. I still thought that it was supremely stupid that they were interviewing the contestants and discussing strategy as if it really mattered. What really has me earked is that they have been playing that stupid competition on ESPN for a week. You know how many times they replay real sporting events like the Superbowl, or a World Series game? ONCE! Maybe if we’re lucky, and there are special circumstances, like the Red Sox coming back from three games down to beat the Yankees in 2004, then we may get a repeat, but that’s it! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking anything away from Joey Chestnut. Eating 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes is something that I could never do (Not that I would even attempt such an act of idiocy for that matter), but I would much rather see a repeat of the Superbowl than a bunch of losers who’s only claim to fame is being able to stuff ludicrous amounts of food down their gullet.

Congratulations to Joey Chestnut. GO USA! And with that, I wish you all a fun and safe Independence Day.

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: Crazy On You by Heart

June 30, 2009

My Metromix Top Ten

metromixAbout two weeks ago, I was approached with a very interesting offer. I was asked to put together a gallery of my Top Ten favorite eateries for Metromix.com. I was instantly on board for this opportunity, but then I was stuck with the dilemma of narrowing down all my favorite restaurants on Oahu to ten. Some of them, like Shokudo, and Boots & Kimo’s, were automatic inclusions on my list. Others, however required some deep contemplation. I mean a Top Ten! What made one of my favorites more worthy to be on the list than others?

Eventually, I did manage to whittle it down to a top eleven. I figured that I would got to all of my top eleven, and whatever place I got the poorest pictures from would be cut. Tweetups were planned, permissions asked for and acquired, and I had a a great gallery of eleven eateries. Now, I was faced with another dilemma. I got some great shots at all of the places on my list, but was still no where close to figuring out which one was going to be cut. Eventually, it came down to the food.

So here it is:

t10

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: Canon by Funtwo

June 25, 2009

Embarassing-Cool!

So, I want to take a little time to talk… write… you know what I mean. I want to take a little time to talk about Embarrassment. We’ve all had those moments in life where something so humiliating happens that you just want to crawl into a hole somewhere and die a quiet death. What was that one embarrassing moment for you? My embarrassing moment happened a few weeks ago while I was at WordCamp San Francisco.

Anyone who has read this blog, or has followed geek related news in the past six months will know that I have a WordPress Tattoo. What is so embarrassing about that? Well, this year WordPress co-founder, Matt Mullenweg, took some time to mention my tattoo during his keynote speech at WordCamp San Francisco. Oh, and the humiliation didn’t stop there. He didn’t just mention it, he posted a picture of it up on a 20 foot high screen, and then pointed me out in the crowd. You don’t know embarrassment until 700 pairs of eyes all turn to you. However, as embarrassing as being in mentioned in Matt’s State of Word keynote, being mentioned in Matt’s keynote was really friggin cool! Here is video of the speech compliments of WordPress.tv. My tattoo is mentioned at 13:55, but if you are into blog tech, then I would recommend watching the whole thing. There are some really cool things like the history of the WordPress Platform, Update 3.0, P2, BuddyPress, and plugins mentioned in Matt’s keynote. Enjoy!

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: Sleepwalk by Santo & Johnny

June 14, 2009

Five Essential iPhone Apps For When You Are Traveling

Filed under: Personal Stuff — Admin @ 1:52 am
Tags: , , , ,

Despite the title “Baker’s Hours” I have taken a few liberties in terms of the topics of my entries. A majority of my entries are food related, and more than a few have had nothing to do with food at all. So, I am going to take another liberty (It’s my blog, and I can write about whatever damn topic I want *Grunts*), and make this my first Tech entry.

If you have been following my blog in recent weeks, you should already know that I was in San Francisco. I knew the city reasonably well, but there was no way that my trip could have been as great a success as it was if it were not for a few essential iPhone apps.

evernoteEvernote quickly became one of my favorite iPhone apps ever since it was recommended to me several months ago. If you haven’t heard of Evernote, it is a productivity service that enables you to sync notes between the web, your computer, and your iPhone or Blackberry. If you add a new note via one of the three Evernote interfaces (the web site, desktop application, or phone app), then the note automatically syncs with the other two. My itinerary, links to web sites, photos, and information on events or meetings were all saved on Evernote, and accessible on my iPhone.

One of my favorite features is the “Clip to Evernote” button that can be added to your Firefox browser. Just highlight the desired text or image, and then click the “Clip to Evernote” button to instantly create a new note. The week before my trip to San Francisco, I did an internet search of all the places I wanted to visit. I then used Google maps to get directions to those places from my hotel, and then created new notes. Then, during my trip, no matter where I was in the city, I was able to access all my notes on my iPhone.

map1 map2 map3

The next app that proved very useful while in San Francisco comes standard on the iPhone, but because of fancier apps like Google Earth, Loopt, and Where; is greatly under utilized. The Maps app is a mobile version of Google Maps. As you can see in the screen caps above, simply enter your target location, set your current location, and then tap the directions button. Google Maps then searches its database, and gives you turn by turn instructions to your destination via car, public transit, or walking. One thing that I found very impressive was that Google Maps would factor in Bus, Trolley, BART, and Municipal train routes to give you the fastest route if you were using public transit. Another thing that I found really useful was that the the app would indicate your location with a pulsing blue dot that would move along the route as you moved. A very handy tool if riding the bus, and you’re not quite sure at which stop to get off. Unfortunately, this feature does not work when riding underground subways. Maps may not be as sexy as other GPS based apps available in the iTunes store,  but it’s reliable and easy to use, and what more do you need in an app.

mapsbuddyMapsBuddy from Spiceloop is a time saving search tool designed to work in conjunction with the Maps app on your iPhone. Instead of manually entering terms into the Maps search engine, MapsBuddy has a list of commonly used map searches like Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Gas Stations, Banks etc. Almost everything you would search for on Maps is available on MapsBuddy. Suppose you are looking for the nearest post office. Instead of manually typing that into the search field, just select the “Post Office” search on MapsBuddy, and it will open the Maps app on your iPhone, and stick a pin in every post office in the area.

brightkiteAside from being a social networking service, Brightkite is one of the best location based apps available. With the ability to pinpoint your location to the nearest cross street (or even the exact building you are in), you are able to easily see what is around you, and interact with locals in the area to find out what is worth seeing.

While in San Francisco, one of my best finds came as a result of Brightkite. I had just left a tweetup at the Wine Bar on Polk Street. I looking for somewhere to get a bite to eat, and someone had just checked in at Escape From New Your Pizza down the block. I decided to go check it out, and had one of the best slices of pizza I had ever had in my life.

yelpYelp is one of the most popular sites on the internet where users are able to rate, and comment upon businesses that they patronage. The Yelp app makes it easy to browse Yelp’s online database of business reviews from your iPhone. Yelp hosts reviews on almost any service you can think of, but the restaurant ratings are by far the best thing about the site.

As hard as it is to believe in the Internet era, a lot of the places that I was looking to visit while in San Francisco didn’t have a website. Thanks to yelp, I was able to easily find contact information, locations, user uploaded images, and most importantly reviews. What’s good, what’s bad, and whether it was worth it for me to check out.

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: Blues Before Sunrise by Eric Clapton

June 6, 2009

Q&A: Greasy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hey there,

Thanks for the great tips for a Better Chocolate Chip Cookie!

I have a soft cookie recipe that calls for 2 cups choc chips. I decided to use callebaut couverture slabs (a mix of white, milk and dark) equaling 6 ounces. But my batch came out super greasy and undercooked at the base of each cookie (even when I baked them 10mins more than the recipe called for). I don’t know why, because when I made it with the cheaper choc chips the texture of the cookie was perfect (but obviously the flavor of the choc was lacking).

What’s causing this? Is the fat content too high with the couverture? Would increasing the flour help or should I decrease the butter?

Baking truly is a science! :)

Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,
Aileen

Aileen, the problem you are experiencing is caused by the white chocolate. Unlike dark or milk chocolate, white chocolate is made up of just cocoa butter (fat), sugar, milk solids, and lecithin (a stabilizer that helps the chocolate hold it’s emulsion). Because of it’s lack of Cocoa liquor (the stuff that gives chocolate its distinctive flavor and brown color), many professionals do not consider white chocolate to be a true chocolate.

whtsemperDuring baking, the emulsion that holds white chocolate together breaks, causing the cocoa butter to leach out, making the greasy cookie that you described. If you want to keep the white chocolate in your recipe, then I would suggest using a cheaper white chocolate with a higher lecithin content. These are known as baker’s chocolate or “non-tempering” chocolate. If you are able to find it, I would recommend Semper. I have found that it has a good balance of lecithin while having enough cocoa butter to have a nice flavor.

The higher lecithin content in non-tempering chocolate allows the manufacturers to use less cocoa butter, which makes the chocolate easier to work with, and in many cases not even require tempering before using. Hence the “Non-Tempering” name. (At the Greenbrier, we would jokingly use the slogan, “Why Temper where you can Semper.”) However, because these chocolates have less cocoa butter, they don’t taste as rich as couverture. Since you are mixing the white with dark and milk chocolates, this should not be a problem. There will be plenty of richness in your cookie from the dark and milk chocolates to compensate for the lower quality of white chocolate.

Because of white chocolate’s tendency to easily burn or break, I generally like to bake them faster than I would a dark chocolate cookie. Bake at a slightly higher temperature (350ish) for less time. Injecting a little steam into the oven at the beginning of the baking process would also help speed up the baking process. I would suggest baking your cookies at like you usually do to see if using the different chocolate works before playing around with times and temperatures, though.


Song stuck in my head at the time of this post:  Don’t Have To Think Twice by Three Plus

June 3, 2009

San Francisco Foodie Tour: Bar Tartine

My second night in San Francisco, I decided to check out another place which I had heard a lot of buzz about. I had already gone to Tartine Bakery, so I figured, why not see what Bar Tartine had to offer. The exterior was identical to Tartine Bakery. Green paint, no signage, and the only indicator of what lay inside was a menu taped to the window. Just like with the Bakery, if you didn’t know about Bar Tartine, you would walk right by it. As a matter of fact, I did. Seems to me that Tartine rely heavily on their name recognition, and word of mouth to motivate people to seek them out. A risky business strategy in my opinion, but it seems to work for them.

I was alone that night, but it didn’t bother me at all since it allowed me to me to get a seat at the end of the bar, which gave me a great view into the restaurant’s open kitchen.

breadSour Dough Bread

First up was the sour dough. It is baked fresh every morning at the Tartine Bakery on Guerrero St. and delivered to the restaurant. In  my opinion, it was the best sour dough that I had tasted during my trip to San Francisco. The sour was very tasty, but not pungent or spoiled like other sour doughs I have tried. The bread was nice and spongy. As you can see in the picture, the air pockets are very uniform in both size and spread through out the bread. Best of all was the crust, which had a nice crumb to it. Not too flacky. I hate it when you bite into a piece of bread, and the crust disintegrates into a pile of crumbs all over your shirt and table.

scallopFirst Course: Dayboat scallop crudo, cucumber, horseradish, hibiscus, sorrel, hazelnut crisp, and chive oil

This was sent compliments of the chef. Not sure if it was to buy some time because the kitchen was behind or because during random conversation the Bartender found out that I worked in the industry, but it was free, and I wasn’t going to complain. The Scallop was fresh, not fishy or slimy at all. It’s a raw dish, so people who are not into sushi or the like should not order this. I, however, liked it a lot. My Fairy Blog Mother Lorelle would love this!  It was a very clean dish with no lingering flavors. By itself, I found the hibiscus was very strong, but when eaten with the rest of the dish, it blended nicely. It was a pleasant surprise, and I’m glad that I had a chance to try it. Thanks Chef!

gnocciMain Course: Potato gnocchi, hen of the woods mushrooms, Bloomsdale spinach, sage, Parmesan, and black truffle oil

I don’t know if it was because of Lorelle’s influence, but I found myself eating a lot of vegetarian meals on this trip. There was a lot of meat to choose from on the menu, Duck, Beef, Goat, but the Gnocchi really appealed to me. The Gnocchi was really good, not grainy at all, with a slightly crispy outside, and a warm soft interior. Despite the potato gnocchi, I found this to be a very light dish with just the right amount truffle oil. I was afraid that the truffle oil would overpower the entire dish, which it didn’t. The mushrooms were nice an meaty, so unless you are a raving carnivore, you shouldn’t be missing meat while eating this. Another great dish.

mezzoIntermezzo: Moscato d’Asti with green apple sorbet

This was another one compliments of the kitchen. At this point, it was clear that I was up to something. I was taking lots of pictures of the kitchen, restaurant, and food. Again, it may have just been them buying time between courses. Generally, restaurants factor in conversation into meals. Since I was eating alone, I was probably throwing off the kitchen’s timing. OR, they were just trying to impress a fellow cook. Either way, the gesture was very welcomed.

The wine was terrific; crisp and sweet, like all good Moscato d’Asti. The green apple sorbet added a whole new dimension to the wine. It was a little tart, which helped to counter act the sweetness of the wine. If you order this, you’ll definitely want to let it sit for a bit like I did. I sipped the wine, and tasted the sorbet, then allowed the sorbet to melt a little. The apple flavor mixed with the Moscato, completely changing the flavor profile of the wine. By letting the sorbet melt a little, I was now getting a faint bitterness in the wine which I loved.

cheeseCheese Course: Minuet goat’s milk cheese with walnut bread, Marcona almonds, Asian pear, and candied apple

Probably my favorite course of my meal at Bar Tartine. Minuet is a soft cheese made of a blend of cow’s and goat’s milk. It was very creamy with a slightest hint of lemon zest, that blended nicely with the walnut bread. The cheese had a very pleasant mouth feel which coated your mouth. However, if you don’t like that sort of thing, it was not so thick that it couldn’t be easily cleansed by eating a piece of Asian pear. The only thing I kind of didn’t like was the candied apple. The flavor was great, and it paired very well with the cheese, but the sugar was gummy, and easily got stuck to your teeth, which I found rather obtrusive. Although, when spread on the walnut bread with the Minuet… Sheer bliss!

dessertDessert: Meyer lemon trifle with almond cake, caramel, and Meyer lemon granita

I hate to say this, especially after the great meal that I had just had, but this was a bit of a disappointment for me. I got very little Meyer lemon flavor from the granita, although I did get every bit of the tartness. I wouldn’t have minded if the granite was a finer grit as well. The cream, however was delicious. Very well balanced and went perfectly with the granita. The thing that really killed this dessert for me was the caramel.

Like in the Caramel Banana Tart that I got from the Bakery the day before, the caramel was burnt. Because I got some burnt caramel from both places, I couldn’t tell if the chef wanted it that way, or the caramel was just being overcooked by an inexperienced employee. In my opinion, the rest of the dessert was light and clean, and the bitterness of the caramel ruined the dessert. I have met many chefs who prefer that well done flavor for their caramel, so I can’t really knock Tartine for the personal preference of the chef. I could see if maybe they were trying to contrast the clean flavors with a strong one, but it just didn’t work for me.

Overall, I loved Bar Tartine. Aside from a minor hiccup at the end of the meal, I thought that the food was phenomenal. I would definitely recommend visiting this restaurant is you are in San Francisco. Next time I am in San Francisco, I would like to go with a group of people so that we can try a bunch of the different menu items.

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: Hard To Handle by the Black Crowes

May 29, 2009

San Francisco Foodie Tour: Chinatown Photo Walk

After making a quick stop at the Tartine Bakery, I met up with my Fairy Blog Mother, Lorelle and her friend Roseann for dinner. Yeah-Yeah, I know, Dessert before Dinner and all that Jazz, but I was trying to be efficient. Roseann happened to live on the same street at Tartine, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. It wasn’t a far walk from Tartine to Roseann’s house (although I have to admit, the hills of San Francisco don’t make it easy). I met up with Lorelle and Roseann, and we headed over to a nearby Indian restaurant (More on that later). During dinner, Lorelle and I made plans to meet Thursday morning for a photo walk around San Francisco’s historic Chinatown.

wokshopWe met up at the Chinatown gate on Grant avenue at 10:00 am the next morning to begin our photo walk/shopping trip. After making a quick stop in a few interesting novelty stores, Lorelle and I made out first real shopping expedition in one of my favorite Chinatown stores, the Wok Shop. Lorelle went nuts. She loved it, and between the two of us, we spent over $80, which is actually a lot of stuff considering that one of the most expensive items we bought was a $12 cleaver. You can buy a Wok at the Wok Shop for less than $20. It is by far the cheapest cookery store where they sell quality equipment that I have ever found. Also, they will always throw a little something extra into your bag. Cooking chopsticks, maybe a pairing knife, of a knife guard. Pretty much whatever is close at hand. I’ve been buying equipment from there since I was in Culinary school. I bought my first cleaver there for $14 almost 10 years ago, and I still use it today. If you are in San Francisco, and love to cook, then make sure that you check out this place. One tip, if you are vacationing in San Francisco, there is no need for you to worry about packing your stuff into your luggage. Especially now when Airlines are charging you to check in a bag. The Wok shop will gladly ship your purchases anywhere you want.

Our next stop was The Eastern Bakery next door. There are dozens of Bakeries in Chinatown specializing in Pastries, Wedding Cakes, as well as traditional Chinese goodies like Gau, Almond cakes, and Mooncakes. Not wanting to fill up on carriables so early in the day, I decided to get a Croissant for breakfast. From there, Lorelle and I wondered in and out of random shops. The only other things I really wanted to see was the Imperial Tea Court, and to find some dried shrimp, and scallops (two popular snacks in my family).

It had been years since I had been to San Francisco, so I wasn’t quite sure where the Imperial Tea Court was, but the land marks looked familiar, so I was fairly certain that we were heading in the right direction. I wasn’t too worried about it. Chinatown is made up of mostly Grant avenue, Stockton Street, and Powell Street, so I wasn’t too worried about finding it. We wondered Grant and Stockton checking out the various markets looking for the best price for dried shrimp and scallops, occasionally stopping for photos, or to admire some of the beautiful produce.

teaI continued to follow what familiar landmarks I could fine and eventually found the Imperial Tea Court near the corner of Powell street and Broadway. Unfortunately, we got there only to discover that it was closed, and from the looks of the building, it had closed a while ago. However, thanks to the help from a nearby shop owner, we found out that the Tea Court had not closed, but moved into the newly renovated Ferry building at Pier One. Still, Lorelle and I wanted tea, and as luck would have it, we happened upon the Natural Tea Shop near the corner of Pacific avenue and Stockton street where we were able to sit down for a free tea tasting. We sat there for almost an hour sampling Jasmine, Oolong, Herbal, Blended and Flower teas. A few of our favorites were a Rosemary-Ginger tea (The Ginger and Rosemary are grown next to each other to transfer aromas), Herbal Ginseng (Tea leaves rolled with Ginseng powder before drying), and a blended mix of dried Chrysanthemum, Roses and Lavender flowers (I ended up buying some of this one).

All in all, Lorelle and I had a great time on our photo walk of Chinatown. We got to see and eat some great foods, while finding some interesting shots. in the oldest Chinatown in the country. You can see more of my Chinatown pictures below, or feel free to browse all of the pictures I took while in San Francisco on my Flickr account.

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: The Full House Theme Song

May 28, 2009

San Francisco Foodie Tour: Tartine Bakery & Cafe

signIt always baffled me how the human brain can selectively tune out certain senses when you are immersed in something for too long. When I’m at work, I can never smell those pleasant bakery aromas so walking by or into other bake shops always have a profound effect on my senses. I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing at work at times that I miss the beauty in what I am doing. A picture that I take at work may seem plain and ordinary to me, but someone else looking at that same picture could appreciate its beauty, which always gets a, “You think so?” reaction from me. Going to another bake shop allows me to appreciate some of the things that become “static noise” to me at work. Tartine Bakery & Cafe did not disappoint.

In a non-descript building on the corner of 18th & Guerrero st. was where I started my Bakery Tour of San Francisco. Now, when I say “Non-descript”, I literally mean that the Tartine Bakery & Cafe doesn’t have any signage on the exterior of the building. The only indication of what business lay inside of the building was a little sign appropriately placed near the front door. However, if you didn’t know where this place was, then you would drive right past it. Fortunately for me, I was walking.

As I walked up 18th st. the first thing that I noticed was a row of round tables and chairs outside of a dark green building. The lack of signage outside certainly did not effect business though. There were people sitting in the row of tables out front, enjoying glasses of wine and miscellaneous tasty treats. Upon entering the bakery, I was hit square in the face with a gust of warm air tingled with the smell of baked goods fresh out of the oven.

cookies

Normally, I would have liked to visit Tartine in the morning when all the pastries are first coming out of the oven, but a friend of mine who was also in town for WordCamp was staying in the area, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. As expected, like any good bakery, by the time that I had gotten to Tartine, in the afternoon, most of the display case was empty, but there was still plenty of goodies to be had. Bags of cookies and macaroons lined the counter. I picked up a bag of chocolate chip cookies. If you want to know how good a bakery is, try the simplest thing. Anyone can do the fancy shmancy stuff because they spend so much time making sure that it comes out perfect. However, sometimes they spend so much time on the fancy stuff that the easy stuff get forgotten about. The cookies were crispy, wafer like. Anyone who really knows me could tell you that I prefer chewy cookies, but I could still appreciate that these cookies were good!

I was fortunate enough to be able to get a Croissant. Granted, it was fresh from the oven, but it was still delicious. Soft, not too flaky (I have it when you bite into a croissant and half the crust ends up either on your shirt or on the table!), but still a nice crust and buttery goodness on the inside.

banana-tart

So, I’m looking in the display case, and the Caramel Banana Cream Tart catches my eye. I make a Caramelized Banana cream pie at work, so I was curious to see another person’s interpretation of the same idea. The tart was available in 10 inch, and individual sizes, but the individual could easily feed 2-3 people. A bargain at $6.35 in my opinion. The tart consisted of a puff pastry shell with dark chocolate brushed on the inside. A common bakery practice that adds flavor and texture while helping to keep the  shell from getting soggy. Next was a layer of caramel, kinda on the runny side, and a A LOT of sliced bananas. There was no mistaking this as anything but a Banana Tart! Topping everything off was a light Chiboust cream (Pastry cream folded with Meringue instead of whipped cream).

With the exception of the caramel being a little burnt, everything about this tart blended together nicely. I loved that every bite had a banana in it. As a matter of fact, you would have to go out of your way to avoid getting a piece of banana. The rich crust and chocolate converse the lightness of the chiboust nicely.

All in all, I found Tartine to be a great bakery and cafe. Probably the best indicator of how great this bakery is was made evident to me as I sat outside after they closed. The disappointment of people coming to Tartine only find that they were too late was almost comical. Almost like a child who drops their ice cream cone. Tartine is definitely a must visit if you are in the city.

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: You’re Naked Underneath Your Clothes by Jim Page (Thanks a lot Lorelle, I’ve had that song stuck in my head all night!)

May 24, 2009

San Francisco Here I Come!

Filed under: Industry Watch,Personal Stuff — Admin @ 4:29 am
Tags: , ,

goldengatePrior to my accident, I had requested vacation time so that I could attend the San Francisco WordCamp on May 30th. Despite that fact that I have limited use of my right hand, I’m not about to let that ruin my vacation. However, WordCamp is not until Saturday, and I arrive in San Fransisco on Wednesday. I need things to do and places to see. What better activity for a blogging Pastry Chef than to take a Bakery Tour of the city.

I already have a some great suggestions from various followers on Twitter. So now I’m asking my readers here. What are your favorite baked goods, desserts, or miscellaneous treats, and where can I find them in San Fransisco? Leave a comment here, e-mail me, or send me a message on Twitter. The person who refers me to the best place will win a prize from me. I’ll be blogging through out my trip, so check this blog to see what I’m up too. When I get back, I will contact the winner to get their contact info so that I can send them their prize. Get your entries in quick!

I fly out Wednesday morning, and will be arriving in San Francisco at 3pm PST. Aside from a Tweetup Friday night at the Wine Bar set up by my cousin Daynah, and WordCamp Saturday, my schedule is pretty loose. I have a photo walk of Chinatown with my Fairy Blog Mother, Lorelle, penciled in for Thursday, but those plans are not firm as of yet. If you would like to join me on my bakery tour of the city or my Chinatown photo walk, feel free to contact me via e-mail or Twitter. Help me make this the best trip ever.

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: She Thinks my Tracker is Sexy by Kenny Chesney

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