Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Day At The Market

Yesterday, the sun graced us with her presence, and locals took the opportunity to stow their umbrellas and enjoy a day outside.  No where in San Francisco is a better gathering place on a Saturday than at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market, basking in rare rays of sunlight and awash in the cool breeze from the bay.  The missus and I spent our morning walking the market, searching for fresh fruits and veggies for the upcoming week, and a little something special for lunch.

Since the missus is rocking her 21 day vegan kickstart, she tucked in to a raw pumpkin lasagna from Alive!, a local raw restaurant with their own tent at the outdoor market.  I had designs of my own, and they were very, very un-vegan.  Craving the chicharrones of 4505 Meats, and giddy with excitement that they had opened up a tent at the Saturday market, I couldn't wait to see what they had to offer, and I was not disappointed.

With child-like glee, I ordered the 4505 Hot Dog made "Zilla style", the hot dog topped with Namu kimchi, green onions, money sauce, and 4505 chicharrones.  This is, and I don't think I'm overstating this, the greatest hot dog ever created in the history of ever.  The Zilla style toppings can be ordered on any sausage or hot dog at the 4505 Meats tent.  And, since they are like little pieces of piggy crack, I walked away with a bag of chicharrones to enjoy at home.

This was definitely not dainty finger food.  It was messy, and I'm not even a little bit ashamed about stuffing this monstrosity into my face.  It's  just that good.  In fact, I could go for another one right about now.

After eating and picking up a few necessities for home, like that pig candy there, we left the sunny Ferry Building to get ready for the dark and seedy underbelly of San Francisco food, the SF Underground Farmer's Market.  The Underground Market is a gathering of local foodies and small, artisan producers of everything from granola to pickled grapes.  During it's short existence, the market has become incredibly popular, no surprise for something that is supposed to be "underground".  While at one point the market was crammed into a small apartment, this market was held in a loft space in SOMA, and the line to get in stretched down the block.

Tables of home made preserves, pulled pork sandwiches, freshly foraged mushrooms, and much, much more crowded this small space for people to peruse, purchase, and dine on their fine creations.  Iso Rabins of Forage SF served a delicious pork belly bun and Fat Alley Foods served an aromatic variety of gumbos, including a vegan okra gumbo that was surprisingly flavorful and just spicy enough.

The vegan okra gumbo of Fat Alley Foods:

For our first time at the SF Underground Farmers Market, we had a fantastic time.  It took us almost 45 minutes before we got in, and got out of there in just under that long.  The downside to the popular market being in such a small space is that there is literally no room to move around, making it tough to make a stop at every table.  However, with so many delicious things to choose from, you will hardly leave hungry.  The mob of hungry people was pretty well behaved, all in all, everyone accepting the ebb and flow of the crowd as people pushed through to the next table.  

Keep an eye out for the next Underground Farmer's Market at the ForageSF blog.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Month of Vegan

For the next 21 days, my lovely wife will be conducting an exciting lifestyle experiment. For these first 3 weeks of March, she will be eating a completely vegan diet, exploring the many challenges and benefits of eating completely animal free. To be fair, I will be participating in this experiment when we eat at home, as we enjoy trying new things in the kitchen and sharing meals together. But for the rest of the time, I will be sort of the "control" portion of this test, so we can compare how much better she feels than I do after the 21 days.

I feel I should mention that we are not ravenous meat eaters; our typical diet is largely plant based, and the meat we do eat is generally humanely raised and organically fed. The difficult part will come from the other animal products, such as eggs and dairy and products like pasta that are such a staple of our regular diet it will be a challenge to replace them.  

The inspiration for this challenge came from Her Highness Oprah, and her own well publicized 3 week vegan challenge.  After watching Oprah's episode with actress Alicia Sliverstone and Michael Pollan, the missus joined the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart program which offers support through advice, recipes, meal plans and diet tips.  She bought a great cookbook, "The Conscious Cook" by Tal Ronnen which we are excited about exploring.

So during these 21 days of eating vegan, we'll share some recipes, some challenges, and ultimately how my wife feels after 3 weeks of eating no animal stuffs.  Enjoy!

Tal Ronnen's Vegan Chicken Scaloppini