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Scenes from Bayview Mercantile

Bayview. The final frontier.  I've lived in San Francisco for just under 22 years. Until recently, I could count the number of times I'd been to Bayview on one hand. But Bayview is changing.  Last week a group of local…

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Honing up my knife skills at the San Francisco Cooking School

San Francisco Cooking School

Somewhere between 15 and 20 years ago, dpaul and I took a knife skills class at a now-defunct cookware store in Laurel Village. We were young, gainfully but not extravagantly employed, inexperienced in the kitchen, and were looking to up our game. Our appetite for cooking had been whet by Cook Express, a service that provided prepped ingredients that enabled you to make a restaurant-worthy meal in just minutes. It taught us plenty about the act of cooking, but nothing about the art of prep. 

By the end of the three-hour class, we had learned how to chop, dice, mince and julienne vegetables, and dpaul took on butchering a chicken. (I was still pescatarian at the time, and just watched in horror and awe. I have since learned how to do this myself.) Those three hours gave us the basic skills we needed to cook everything from that point on; if we didn't know how to do it after that class, we were confident enough in what we knew to learn how. 

Today I was invited to attend a knife skills class at the San Francisco Cooking School, a new-ish place up on Van Ness. With a board of luminary chefs from most of the restaurants that leap to mind when you think of fine dining in this town, SFCS's program is equal parts skill-building for home cooks as well as professional training for people looking to break into the cheffing biz in both culinary arts and pastry arts. Due to said luminary chefs, graduates of their pro program generally manage to land some plum externships in the city. We all donned our robes and manned a station.

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How many food bloggers can you name? 

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Director Jodi Liano greeted us, giving us the lowdown on the school, and introducing chef David Groff, who heads up the recreational program, and who would be teaching us how to wield big pointy objects. 

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And so it was that we set about chopping, dicing and julienning vegetables to make a mise en place for minestrone. I'm sure you'd like to get a comprehensive pictorial on how to do that, wouldn't you? Well, too bad. My hands were too busy chopping, dicing and julienning.

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Turkey 0, us 1

Today I drove to Tara Firma Farms, in Petaluma, to retrieve our turkey for Thanksgiving. In true Bay Area fashion, this turkey is local, sustainable, organic, blah blah blah. It's also huge. A couple years ago we got a goose…

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Prime

Today I roll over a new number on the odometer. I'm not going to tell you which one, but I'll say its the second of three prime numbers in my current decade. And although this number puts me fairly squarely…

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Bjëërk

After a recent trip to Iceland, our friend Philip came over with two bottles he brought back with him. "This one," he said pointing to a liqueur called Björk, "tastes like licking a rock. And this one," pointing to the…

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