Sunday, December 21, 2008

Menu For Hope and The World Food Programme - Only A Few Days Left!

Menu For Hope is an annual fundraising campaign, spearheaded by Chez Pim and many foodbloggers from around the world. This effort originally started five years ago after the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia by which Chez Pim was inspired to start the first Menu For Hope. Since then it has become a yearly campaign to raise funds for worthy causes around the world.

Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes and for every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. And believe me, the prizes are truly amazing! At the end of the two-week campaign this Wednesday, Christmas Eve, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.

For any FAQ's such as how to donate, how are the donations collected & distributed and more on the beneficiary - the UN World Food Programme - please click

Last year, Menu For Hope raised nearly $100K to help the UN World Food Program (WFP) feed the hungry. And this year, for just $10 or more, you too can help keep kids in school and win delicious food prizes from food bloggers all over the world.

Unfortunately, I got a late start, because I just now got wind of this. The campaign started on December 15th and runs through this Wednesday, Christmas Eve, which means there are only a few days left! So please, if you would like to donate to the cause, go online now and browse the amazing array of prizes by type, or find a prize near you by searching by region. Bid on as many prizes as you'd like. Buy raffle tickets as holiday gifts to your loved ones. Here is that link again. This holiday, help us help the WFP end world hunger.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Savory Cupcakes... Really..

For real. This is no joke.
These are Savory Cupcakes made with Meatloaf and Mashed Potato Frosting. I know, right?
Bizarre. But the SF Food Maven doesn't have much of a 'sweet tooth' so I personally thought these are a brilliant idea. I mean, I'm sure it will take some getting used to as far as the Visual versus Oral sensory expectation, but I would be willing to give it a shot.

I actually first read about this on the Bunrab's site, because the one known as 'Chubby' made them for a Holiday Cupcake party. Bravo Chubby! I would have loved to be able to try one...

If you would like to try these for yourselves or if you would like to even make me some over the holidays (hint hint), then here is the link to the recipe on Food Network. I think the Sanf, Yoghurt-covered Fennel Seeds are a really nice touch...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dine Out Against Hunger This Thursday December 18th...

DINE OUT AGAINST HUNGER - Thursday December 18th

13 Top Restaurants Will Donate a Portion of Proceeds to the San Francisco Food Bank
It's no secret that restaurants have seen a real slump in business lately, but really who isn't? Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of people in San Francisco who are suffering worse circumstances who are at risk of going hungry this holiday season. These people are from poor working households whose incomes are so low that they are unable to put food on their families tables every day. The San Francisco Food banks supplies food over 600 programs operated by community service agencies and food pantries throughout the City.

So Scott Youkilis and Michael Pierce of Maverick restaurant in the Mission district created Dine Out Against Hunger, and brought together some of the city’s top restaurants to donate up to 10% of their dinner sales from Thursday (December 18th) to the San Francisco Food Bank
.Maverick is also offering to take 10% off of the tab for any customers making an additional donation to the Food Bank.

Participating Dine Out against Hunger restaurants are:
Maverick, Slow Club, Serpentine, Foreign Cinema, Magnolia, Sociale, Slanted Door, Kuleto's, Delfina, Americano, A16, Incanto and SPQR.

The focus of this drive is to raise financial contributions versus actual food donations from participants, because for every $1 donated, the Food Bank can distribute $9 worth of food into the community - thanks to its relationships with retailers, growers and distributors. San Francisco Food banks' goal is to distribute 66,000 holiday meals this season.

So get out there and eat out for a good cause - helping to feed others in need for the holidays.

For reservations, contact the individual restaurant
or for more information, visit -

Monday, December 8, 2008


Daniel Patterson's Coi
I have been wanting to try Coi for some time and I finally got the opportunity to go with my good friend, JM. The name of the restaurant itself, Coi, a French word meaning 'tranquil' is an apt name which best describes the small, yet elegant space with its serene and rather subdued interiors with a muted color palette and grasscloth walls. Chef and Owner, Daniel Patterson is a known for his adventurous techniques and masterful execution of dishes that often incorporate molecular gastronomy. Some examples of these would be foams, emulsions, gels, essences, aromas and the use of essential oils with food of which he has written a book about and is known for. These techniques, which are not unlike that you would see from Ferran Adria's El Bulli in Roses, Spain and Grant Achatz at Alinea in Chicago, which are extremely cutting edge, whereas Patterson is much more subtle, perhaps more towards the style of the veritable Thomas Keller of French Laundry.

Coi received four stars from Michael Bauer of the Chronicle this past August, a rating shared by only a precious few of the veritable Bay Area chefs such as Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, Roland Passot of La Folie, Ron Siegel of the Dining Room at the Ritz and Michael Mina to name a few. Patterson's style of food is highly unique and individual with a depth and artistic quality that is rivaled by no other in San Francisco. As Frank Bruni of the NY Times stated, Patterson's food is likened to art, religion and Chanel No. 5.

So enough with the background, let's move on to the important part - the Food.
Below are my photos from our Meal with Menu descriptions below each item...
And if the photos are anything to go by, each Dish was rather unique and beautiful.

Our first encounter was the Amuse Bouche, of Milk & Honey, which was exactly that...
Milk encased somehow within the Honey.

First Course, PINK GRAPEFRUIT ginger, tarragon, black pepper
Next to the Dish itself was a small dab of essential oils - we were instructed to dab some on our wrists and inhale deeply before eating. This is COI's signature fragrance, and it was interesting to say the least.

Second Course, SHINY BEETS citrus scented gel, vadouvan

Third Course, FROMAGE BLANC TART early girl tomatoes, mcevoy olive oil, verbena

Fourth Course was a choice between this on and the Bone Marrow Dish below.
CHILLED PIQUILLO PEPPER SOUP pole and shelling beans,
preserved lemon, cumin, mint.

SMOKED AND SEARED BONE MARROW red and white pomegranate,
asian pear, sorrel.

Fifth Course was a choice between this Dish and the Spiny Lobster below.
green cardamom, cilantro.

SPINY LOBSTER SALAD radish, bramley's seedling apple, fennel, chervil

Sixth Course was a choice between this one and a Raviolo which for some reason, I failed to photograph.. weird. I guess th Abalona was just that good...
parsley-caper vinaigrette

Seventh Course we both were given the MATSUTAKE GRILLED ON THE PLANCHA potato-pine needle puree. Nice Dish.

The Eighth Course was a choice between the SLOW COOKED FARM EGG
green farro, gold chard, brown butter-parmesan sauce.
And the Bison Dish below...

SEARED BIG VALLEY RANCH BISON gold turnips and their greens, black olive

The Ninth Course was a Cheese Course
ETUDE (SOYOUNG SCANLAN) khalal barhi dates, walnuts, peppercress

The last few Courses were Dessert Dishes. First a QUINCE PARFAIT huckleberry, almond, thyme.

cocoa nib, violet ice cream.

MILKSHAKE vanilla bean, olive oil

The Milkshake above, as unassuming and simple as it sounds, was a real winner, which came as a huge surprise. I mean, I'm talking 'eyes rolling back' kinda good. A truly fantastic end to an amazing dinner. JM and I agreed that the other winners were the Abalone and the Bison.

Coi was a truly memorable experience which we found to be truly innovative and each Dish, meticulous in its presentation and attention to detail and in its use of local organic ingredients. And just an FYI, the Tasting at Coi consists of an 11 Courses at $120 per person, so be sure to save up beforehand. Thanks again, JM for dining with me, and as I said, next food review will be my treat!
Where shall we go next?