I’ve decided to blog my book tour as it happens!
We’ll see if I can keep up, but I have 50 minutes now to write this post before having to do more cookbook-related stuff. Yesterday was such a good day; it started where I am now, at Ritual Coffee in the Mission. It’s a great place to work with wonderful coffee and free WiFi. From here, I walked over to Bar Tartine to have a sandwich.
The menu caused a mini-drama in my brain. On the one hand, I could’ve ordered fried potato bread topped with fried chicken which sounds amazing but then I thought I’d feel overly full and bloated and miserable for that night’s cookbook event. So instead, I ordered a trio of open-faced rye bread sandwiches described here on the menu:
Here’s the platter:
These aren’t really sandwiches, they’re compositions. Each component is added thoughtfully and meticulously (almost like sculptures). I wasn’t crazy about the bread as a vehicle for the other stuff–it was a little too flimsy, like a cake bread, to balance easily–but I did like the combination of flavors and the earthiness of the rye up against other earthy things like mushrooms and meatballs.
From Bar Tartine, I journeyed over to Omnivore Books:
If you come to San Francisco, you must visit Omnivore. Celia, who owns it, is totally charming and knowledgable and patient–especially with me as I spent over an hour in the store looking at her incredible collection of books.
I loved all the little touches in the store. Like seed packets:
And beautifully arrayed tables of vintage books:
Some books made me chuckle:
One such book was the book that I ended up buying:
I figured it was perfect for Halloween!
While in the store, I signed the few books Celia was able to snag from my publisher (she provided books for the Tartine After Hours dinner, so had to sacrifice most of her inventory). One of my fans, Katie, saw my Tweet about going to Omnivore and showed up to buy a copy to get it signed. Then a really nice woman named Kristie and her husband, who were visiting from North Carolina, saw my book and bought a copy and had me sign it and even posed for this picture:
I asked her where I should eat if I ever go visit North Carolina, and she said Cowfish: a place that sells burgers and sushi. I’m sold!
After Omnivore, I trekked back to my hotel to shower and change for the big dinner at Tartine After Hours. When I got there, Samin Nosrat–the brilliant chef and teacher who hosted the dinner (you can see her in my lead photo)–was hard at work finishing up all the food with lots of other chefs/cooks.
Here’s the eggplant side dish that Samin served up with the buttermilk chicken that’s in my cookbook:
And here’s one of the tables set in the bakery space:
I have to tell you, the room was gorgeous. I’m so mad at myself for not taking more pictures. They turned Tartine Bakery into the most lovely dinner party space with long tables to seat over 40 guests and a band in the corner playing jazz guitar.
Pretty soon, guests arrived and I was totally delighted to have a table full of friends from different areas of my life—Josh (on the left) who I met when he was a barista at Joe in New York, Rachel and Dave who work/run Say Media (the company that puts ads on my site), and my friend Annette (all the way on the right) who I went to college with oh so long ago.
Back in the kitchen, it was fun to see Samin and the other chefs in action. Here’s what the buttermilk chicken looked like when it was ready to come out of the oven:
The first course was one of my favorite recipes in the book, Samin’s butternut squash tortellini. People went wild over it:
It looks really hard to make, but I promise you if you follow my instructions in the book you can make that easily. You just need a pasta roller (you can get a cheap one for $40) and that’s it.
Here are the chefs cutting up the chicken:
And wait until you see what they did with the dessert.
Sara Moulton taught me how to make an apple tart for the book. For this dinner, they used regular apples and then red apples (I don’t know what kind!) that are red on the inside and outside. Check out the results:
If that’s not stunning, I don’t know what is.
Last night was so exhilarating, so beautiful, I feel like writing a whole other cookbook just to get to do it again. Here I am with Samin and the apple tart at the end of the night:
Thanks to her and all of the hard-working people who made this dinner so wonderful last night! If you’re reading this and you live in Seattle and you’re like “I wish I could go to a dinner like that,” there’s still room at the Walrus and the Carpenter on Monday night. Call 206-395-9277 and make it happen.
Categories: Secrets of the Best Chefs
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