World Dinner Club

World Dinner Club
World Dinner Club

Monday, October 15, 2012

Foraging for Dinner in SF

San Francisco Chef Iso Rabins (@forageSF) has been foraging for food and cooking underground for years.  His exploits, like discovering seaweed and wild fennel and putting on the menu with local boar and mushrooms, got the attention of the Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern.

Recently Iso led the successful funding on Kickstarter of Forage Kitchen, a new co-working space (like an incubator for food) he is launching.

After supporting the Forage Kitchen kickstarter effort, I went to a foraged dinner with S and a old friend from DC.  We had a fun time over a family-style meal at a communal table with others.  There was a Pre-Thanksgiving theme that evening with turkey and woodsy, comfort food, which turned out to be perfect on a cold, rainy night.

Our dinner started with a bowl of radishes with "nasturtium (a relative of water cress) butter" and salty wild boar prosciutto. This was followed by a earthy, porcini bisque with home made creme fraiche. Our exciting fish course was crispy-fried lake smelts with tempura North Bay Sea beans  These apparently grow where salt water and fresh water mix.  This seemingly random vegetable is all the rage among certain foodies. There was a lovely "nordic" salad of wild house-smoked local salmon with fingerling potatoes with fresh horseradish creme fraiche and dill dressing with little gem lettuce that was simple yet transported you to Scandinavia with every bite.

The piece de resistance was a Caja China roasted turkey.  That's a turkey that's been cooked in a wooden box that gets the meat juicy and the skin rendered thin. A rich chanterelle and lobster mushroom stuffing , braised brussel sprouts and unctuous wild boar gravy made it the kind of Thanksgiving that would have made the original foragers--the Pilgrims--proud. Our dessert was a refreshing palette cleaner that, as Iso put it, smelled like California.  He made a eucalyptus and wild huckleberry popsicle that smelled and tasted like the California Coast.

So often we go through through life looking for the obscure ingredients from far away when we can be equally impressed by those that our in our backyard.  A love of both keeps my curiosity piqued.

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