As some of you may know, I started my culinary endeavors on the instructional side. The origins of my dinner parties came from a need to test out recipes prior to teaching a class and evolved into Monday Night Dinner Parties (MNDPs) in San Francisco and the Tasting Room in Oakland.
It's time for me to get back to my passion for teaching! I'd like to introduce Orange Door - A Cooking Series.
For my first class, I'll be focusing on Northern Thai cuisine inspired by my tour of Chiang Mai over the summer. I'll incorporate basic cooking methods and knife skills as well as flavor theory and hopefully expose you to some new ingredients.
Friday, October 21st
Class starts at 7pm and we'll be cooking, eating, and drinking throughout
Expect 2-3 hours - cost $45
Paypal/Venmo firstname.lastname@example.org after your RSVP is confirmed.
See you at the Orange Door,
976 57th St
An unfortunate incident a few months back resulted in the need for thumb surgery in late January. Useless in the kitchen, my recovery was only remedied by binge watching Boardwalk Empire and reading Hemingway.
Now that the cast is off and my mind filled with over indulgent scenes of prohibition era parties, cuisine and booze, what else could I think of doing other than host a Tasting Room dinner??
I'm calling it Hemingway's Table - inspired by the life and worldly romances of good ol' Earnest. Each dish will draw from a location meaningful to the author - with plenty of booze pairings.
Key West, Florida
There will be two seatings for this dinner, you are welcome to select Friday, Saturday, or both. An email will be sent to with a confirmation.
First seating will take place on Friday, March 4th at 8:00pm
Second seating will take place on Saturday, March 5th at 7:30pm
Cost $40 – PayPal or Venmo: email@example.com
This month features Rosé wines of different varietals and blends. The interesting thing about Rosé is that it's not considered a varietal - it can be a Pinot Noir Rosé or a Rosé Champagne, etc. Most Rosé starts as white grape juice and it's left to the discretion of the vintner to determine how long the skins stay in contact with the pre-fermented wine. The longer the skin contact, the darker the shade of wine. If the skins are left through the fermentation, the result is a red wine. Since the skins also provide tannins, Rosé typically results in very light tannin levels.
These light wines are ideal for hot summer days and are best served chilled like white wine. For this month's shipment, I created and tested a recipe that hopefully brings out the subtle, refreshing flavor profiles of the different wines -- fried snapper with Thai flavors of sweet, tart, salty (and a little heat if you'd like).
My recipes are meant to be guidelines. I've described two different methods of frying the fish. Have fun with it and always be careful when working with hot oil.
Wine Varietal: Rosé
Cheese Pairing: La Tur - blend of 3 milks (goat, sheep, cow) and quite stinky :)
Recipe: Fried Thai Snapper with Lime Cilantro Fish Sauce and Crispy Shallots
Sign up with Bottle Bracket now and use "BBChefBarrs!" for a $20 discount on your first shipment.
Hope you enjoy!
I'm very excited to be collaborating with the team over at Bottle Bracket on pairings for their monthly wine shipments. If you're not familiar with Bottle Bracket, here's a description of what they're all about:
Bottle Bracket is an interactive wine club centered around a wine tasting game, where members taste wines with friends and rank them by price in a tournament-like competition. The catch? The labels are covered.
Every other month we'll ship you four bottles of wine varying in price. We focus on finding small wineries with great quality wines and interesting stories, so you’ll only receive wine locally sourced directly from wineries we’ve visited and from winemakers we’ve met and loved.
While wines in Bottle Bracket are ordered based on perceptions of price, the true goal of Bottle Bracket is to discover new wines from various regions and varietals at different price points while having fun with friends.
I will be coming up with one recipe and one cheese recommendation that I find balances or enhances all four wines. Since the game is meant for multiple players to try all the wines, I will scale the recipes to 6-8 servings. Here is my philosophy on pairings.
This month features Pinot Noirs from Northern California. Unlike their Pacific Northwest neighbors, NorCal Pinots tend to be bigger, bolder and thus, pair better with stronger flavored dishes. Just in time for cherry season, this recipe features Bing cherries which should be readily available at your local market.
My recipes are meant to be guidelines. Feel free to try different amounts and types of aromatics (i.e. shallots, ginger, fresh herbs) as these wines should hold up just fine.
Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir
Cheese Pairing: Herbed Chèvre (Goat Cheese)
Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Bing Cherry Pinot Noir Compote
Hope you enjoy!
Of all the items on my "To Cook" bucket list, I'd consider roasting a whole pig in the top 5. Ever since I experienced the obligatory Hawaiian luau on a family vacation back in 8th grade, I've wanted to attempt this primal endeavor.
The idea that for hundreds of centuries, humans have participated in this ritual and celebration of roasting a whole animal and feasting on every edible part tantalizes me as a chef and pulls at my inner cave man. And while throwing the hog directly onto hot coals in a pit, or roasting on a spit over an open flame may have been more primitive, for the sake of my lawn and my party hosting duties, I decided to go the more commercial method and bought myself a Caja China Box.
20 minutes of assembly and the box was ready to go. Turns out that was the easy part. Sourcing a pig was a whole 'nother challenge. After failing to obtain a 40-50 lb pig from multiple nearby butcher shops, I actually utilized my Visa Concierge service (which comes with any Visa Signature card, I believe) as I was running out of time and figured they had nothing better to do. Let's just say, it was an interesting conversation with a Visa employee named Ken based out of somewhere in the midwest. Surprisingly, Ken came through and found me a roasting hog available on my requested date at a butcher shop in San Francisco.
So now I had my roasting box, pig and about 40 friends RSVP'd to the event which also coincided with my 30th birthday celebration - and yes, it was toga themed.
Everything was in place. Or so I thought.
The weekend before the party, I received a call from the SF butcher saying they couldn't actually secure the 40 lb pig I had ordered two weeks prior. Panic. Set. In. Where was I going to get a whole pig in less than a week's notice?
A little more googling, a couple phone calls later, and The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, saved the day. Only set back was they couldn't get me a 40 lb pig, I'd have to settle for a 65 pounder!
The overall cooking process was pretty straightforward. The Caja China kit included a giant hypodermic needle used to inject marinade into the meat. If and when you plan to do your own pig roast, tell the butcher what cooking method you are planning to use and they will process the animal accordingly. For a butterflied roast, they need to split the spine and pelvic bone.
After injecting a mojo marinade, I kept the pig in a large cooler (165 qt) with ice bags for 24 hours. You could do 48 hours but just make sure the ice hasn't all melted. A few hours prior to roasting, I put the pig in the roasting box covered to let it come to room temp. Not doing so will majorly impact cooking time which results in more charcoal needed.
The Caja China uses indirect heat as the coals are placed on top of the box. More coals results in a higher temp in the box as does shaking off and removing the excess ash. Follow the directions provided - they are printed right on the side and also available online.
Basically, you roast for 3-4hrs, flip the pig and finish with a broil to crisp the skin.
Last comment is that this method is not the same as the slow cooking luau method. A pig in a pit aka Kalua Pig takes 16-24 hrs of slow roasting and comes out falling apart. The Caja China method is timed to cook the pig through just until tender. The ribs were falling-off-the-bone done but the rest still had to be carved up before serving.
Thanks to all who attended and helped along the way.
Photos courtesy of Karen Ko.
The Tasting Room - Truffles for Charity!
This Friday, March 7th @ 7:30pm, The Tasting Room will be teaming up with the Eastlake YMCA to raise funds for their children's summer program. We're hoping to help 100 kids from low-income families participate in awesome summer activities. On a personal note, I grew up going to the Y in Minneapolis and some of my fondest childhood memories were of exploring the lakes and woods of Minnesota through Y sponsored camps.
I am thrilled at the opportunity to give back to this campaign.
Special thanks to Liz Penny for coordinating the efforts. If you cannot attend but are interested in other ways to donate, please contact Liz directly ->firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tasting Room presents:
Truffles for Charity
5 courses - each utilizing fresh Perigord Truffles from Southern France
$65/person - with proceeds going to the Eastlake YMCA
Cash, credit, venmo or paypal email@example.com
976 57th Street
Oakland, CA 94608
First 16 guests to RSVP secure a seat. You may reserve up to 3 additional guest spots. A confirmation or wait list email will be sent shortly after your RSVP.
Hope to see you Friday!
We are now approaching the peak of black truffle season. Hopefully you'll be seeing some of our product at local high end eating establishments.
It's been a successful season so far with a lot more demand than last year. The truffles are as good as we've seen and Bay Area chefs have been eagerly procuring product.
I'm excited to announce that we've added online retail sales capabilities this year so anyone in the continental US can receive fresh truffles shipped overnight.
Prices will range based on quantity but email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for a special discount.
Also, keep an eye open for the second annual Truffle Dinner event! Coming soon...
Fun collaborative piece I did with my friend/nutritionist, Kate Schlag from Three Apples A Day. Follow the link for the post and recipe. Look forward to more on what you should eat and why you should eat it.
He who eats alone, chokes alone.