Farmers Market Finds: An Orange Proposal

I decided to break away from my usual farmers market routine and visit the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. There are so many reasons why I love this farmers market. It is hailed as one of the best farmers markets in the country and the diversity of farm fresh food is astounding. I believe in the summer, you will be able to find over 75 varieties of tomatoes! For all the reasons listed below, it can get very crowded and even hard to move when the weather is nice. Therefore, it is wise to go on the earlier side if you want to get the best selection.

ferry buildingThe location is magnificent. There is an intermingling of locals, tourists, chefs, and celebrities. The farmers are all verified and have sustainable farming practices. CUESA’s website has detailed information about the farmers,  seasonality charts, and recipes. They also send out a free weekly eletter highlighting the current seasonal food, upcoming events, recipes, and spotlights on volunteers and farmers.

rampsThe ever so rare and coveted ramps. 

The farmers who sell at this market go through an application process and only those who meet CUESA’s guidelines on sustainable agriculture are accepted when there are openings. I definitely feel more comfortable and safer when I buy from these farmers.

Photo Apr 20, 12 07 55 PMCrowd sourced marriage proposals.

Sawn, the gentleman pictured, enlisted his farmer friends to recruit shoppers to help him out on the proposal. The crowd recited a question to the unsuspecting girlfriend in unison and Sawn got down on one knee to propose. The girlfriend was in disbelief, but did say yes! Oh, yeah, the ring was inside of the Cara Cara orange!

horseradish root

The diversity of food is incredible. Chefs and serious cooks come here early in the morning to pick up things like horseradish root (pictured), green strawberries, and ramps for their restaurants.

schoolyard to market

I know, many locals complain that this farmers market is too expensive. I agree, most things cost a bit more at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. One of the reasons for the higher cost is that farmers pay a higher stall fee to set up and sell at this market. This fee is not for profit, but goes back into all of the amazing and positive things CUESA does for the food system. Each week, CUESA puts on educational demos, classes, and exhibits for people to learn about food and agriculture. CUESA is a nonprofit organization and largely run by volunteers.

fiddlehead fernsFiddlehead Fern- Far West Fungi

The awesomeness of SF is that we have roughly 22 farmers market each week! We are lucky to be choosy about where we get our local, seasonal food.

Food Hackathon 1.0

San Francisco held its very first food hackathon last weekend. Put on by passionate food entrepreneurs, the hackathon’s goal was to concentrate the energy around food entrepreneurship in one space for 36 hours and build innovative hacks to solve problems in our food system and eating habits. Food is the greatest common denominator to spark creativity, emotion, and passion throughout the world. It was no surprise that 200 food lovers, designers, and developers united on their common purpose to build software and hardware tools to potentially change the way we eat and think about food.

There were many people, like myself, who have never participated in a hackathon before and there were those already part of a food tech company. There were people with strong ideas and there were those who just wanted to be a part of this new wave in food innovation. Most of the ideas pitched focused on the restaurant, takeout, and chef space. There were a couple of pitches that actually focused on the food system and improving health through nutrition. Teams formed quickly after the pitches and everyone settled down to make their idea into a plausible company and take home one of the $25,000 in prizes allotted to the top three winners.

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This being a food hackathon, the catered food was impressive. Breakfast was pretty nutritious with green smoothies, granola, organic yogurt, and fresh fruit. Far from the usual fare of pastries and commercial orange juice. Contraband Coffee, a local artisan café and roaster, provided the caffeine fuel for the entire weekend. Callie Waldman, who is a Natural Chef from Bauman College, provided Sunday’s extremely delicious and nutritious lunch. There were also local food sellers sampling their amazing raw chocolates and other healthy edibles.

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On Sunday evening, 14 teams pitched their hacks to a panel of judges in front of the 200 people. The more recognizable judges were Dave McClure (500 Startups), Ben Parr (Dominator Fund), Alexa Andrzejewski (Foodspotting), Danielle Gould (Food+Tech Connect), and Naithan Jones (AgLocal).

The overall winner of the hackathon was Vibrantly, an iPhone app to guide people to make nutritious food choices based on food colors. I liked the concept of this app since it focuses on nutrition and not calories for achieving health goals. The next notable winner was Tiny Farms, which makes hardware to make insect farming easier for people around the world who rely on insects for nutrients and income. The team charmed the judges and audience with their homemade “buglava”, baklava made with wax worms. Slim Menu won the new technology hack, which is an app that helps you order from a menu visually. Touchless Ticket built a gestured-based app to optimize workflow and ticket processing in the restaurant kitchen. I collaborated with Leslie Wu on an idea to make gardens out of unused spaces, called Garden B&B, and won the best social hack.

judges

Most of the teams concentrated on recipe search and stocking the pantry. Although, finding a credible recipe and stocking the pantry with utmost convenience are pain points, there are much larger problems that we can solve with innovation in food and technology. We need to focus on food deserts, educating people about nutrition, sustainability, and health, alleviating the environmental toll of food production, and reducing inefficiencies in food distribution. We can change our broken food system. We can build a solution that is affordable, nutritious, and easy for those who need it worldwide.

In a city where great innovations and companies are constantly being built, we were long overdue for an organized food hackathon. This food hackathon proved that technology innovation is no longer limited to the programming genius, but is open to anyone who has the motivation to make a difference. The follow-up Food Hackathon is set to coincide with National Day of Civic Hacking. I will definitely be there and hope more people who want to change the global and local food system will join as well.

Farmer’s Market Find: Snow or Spring?

Last week, San Franciscans were in a frenzy about the weather forecast. Supposedly, it has not snowed in SF in 35 years and it was supposed to snow this weekend! I, like many others, was very skeptical about this prediction. We did have a bad rainstorm, but the last few days have been really sunny. And hardly a cloud in the sky. It did snow for like a second on Twin Peaks. Anyway, you would never know it by looking at all of the things available at the market. I returned to the Fort Mason FM after a three week hiatus and was so delighted to see all of the changes in the produce.

Cara Cara Pink Naval Orange- Kens Top Notch Produce

The citrus season is going strong. I bought a bag full of Cara Cara Pink Naval Oranges and Blood Oranges from Hamadas Farm. The Cara Caras are my new favorite citrus, next to the blood oranges of course!

Leeks- Happy Boy Farms

Leeks were one my  best Farmer’s Markets finds last year. I like sauteing them will a little olive oil and add them in eggs, soups, rice dishes– in everything basically.

Mixed salad greens- Happy Boy Farms

A healthy looking mix of salad greens caught my eye and I couldn’t resist. At that moment, I could taste the crispness and freshness of the leaves. I am definitely going to add in the arugula, watermelon radish, and blood oranges with a drizzle of olive oil for a satisfying snack.

Watermelon radish- Happy Boy Farms

Don't these Romanesco Cauliflowers remind you of dinasours? -Rio de Parros Organics

Arugula with its Blossoms- Serendipity Farms

Tomatoes! Not the the greatest looking, but I could use these in a warming curry dish. - Swank Hill Farms

Truthfully, we were kind of getting tired of chard and kale. I am so glad to have stocked my fridge with Meyer lemons, turnips, mixed greens, arugula, leeks, and watermelon radish instead. I left my wallet at home and only had $27 with me, yet I came home with $6!

Meal Plan for the week*:
Monday: Vegetable pizza (Romanesco Cauliflower, Arugula, Ricotta), Lentil Stew
Tuesday: Butternut Squash + Turnip soup, mixed citrus and greens salad
Wednesday: Roasted leeks and soft-boiled eggs**, roasted watermelon radish+ mixed green salad, leftover lentil stew
Thursday: Baked romanesco, Crab cakes and blood orange salad***, Leftover squash soup
Friday: Leftovers or out with friends
Saturday: PancakesWarm Chickpea Salad with Arugula

*Most of the meals laid out here are recipes I have not published on the website yet. If you are interested, just leave a comment and I will share!
**From the cookbook, “Cooking With Italian Grandmothers” by Jessica Theroux
***From the cookbook, “Organic Marin: Recipes from Land to Table,” by Tim Porter and Farina Wong Kingsley

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Weekend Guide: December 2010

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Club Dine In! started out as a cookbook potluck club and has blossomed into a nutritional reference guide and community for people who want to engage in healthier lifestyle habits. Well, it’s time again for a cookbook potluck party! Pick up the selected cookbook,  meet the author, mingle with Club Dine In! and Slow Food SF members, and chat about which dishes you’d love to make for our upcoming potluck.   Book signing: December 11 at 3-4PM. Potluck Party: January 16, 2011 at 5PM.

Club Dine In!'s first Cookbook Potluck at We Olive SF.

December 2010 • City Ice Skating • Ongoing
Nothing screams the holidays and spreads cheer like hot chocolate and ice skating. It’s also a great way to burn calories so you can enjoy more great food. Check out the Yerba Buena, Embarcadero or Union Square ice rinks.

December 2010 • Reindeer at the Zoo • Ongoing
The San Francisco Zoo will bring the holidays to life with the return of Santa’s special reindeer – Holly, Velvet, Peppermint and Belle. The wildly popular event is the only opportunity in the Bay Area to see real live reindeer. Their beautiful velvet antlers are a must see and many visitors will be surprised to find out Santa’s reindeer are smaller than one might imagine.

Thursday Dec 2nd • Shop, Snack and Sip • 6-9PM
Urbanis, The Marina Merchants Association + The San Francisco Bay Guardian invite you to Sip Snack + Shop, a holiday shopping event in the Marina District of San Francisco. Enjoy drinks, appetizers and treats  as you shop during extended hours.

Thursday Dec 2nd • After Dark: Sugar • 6-10PM
Meet culinary historian Michael Krondl, who will take us on a tour of the history and culture of desserts, both secular and divine. Learn about the patricians of Venice who served French King Henri III a banquet where tablecloths, knives, forks, and even glasses were made of sugar. Discover how our taste for sweetness has led to some of humanity’s worst crimes while inspiring some of its most delightful inventions.

Friday Dec 3rd • Chestnuts on Chestnut • 5-8PM
Let the spirit of the season embrace you as you create lasting memories with your friends and family at our annual “Chestnuts on Chestnut” celebration. Stroll down Chestnut Street as you sip hot cocoa and admire the holiday lights and family entertainment. A new tradition not to be missed!

Friday Dec 3rd • Yuppie Friday’s Toy Drive Mixer • 5:30-8:30PM
Yuppie Friday is hosting a very special holiday happy hour toy drive to support the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. $15 entry fee includes 2 drinks and a donation. Bring a Toy to donate and get 5 free raffle tickets & $5 BarTab credit. Last year the donation shelves were empty the night before our event and families were coming in the next day to pick out toys. We were able to gather over eight barrels of toys so that disadvantages San Francisco kids could have toys for the holiday season.

Friday Dec 3rd • Drink For A Cause • 6-10PM
It’s become an annual tradition that Drink For A Cause support the SF Firefighters Toy Program with their December Happy Hour. In lieu of a monetary donation, please bring at least 1 UNWRAPPED toy per person as entry. But feel free to give much more as always! Some awesome people come with a bagful of toys. We love seeing that Christmas spirit.

Saturday Dec 4th • Outside India • 12PM
Join Soul Cocina for an afternoon of Indian street food and music to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

Saturday Dec 4th • Union Street Fantasy of Lights • 3-9PM
On December 4, Union Street kicks off its annual Fantasy of Lights Holiday celebration, where young and old alike can enjoy festivities to begin the holiday season. Thousands of holiday lights set off the Victorians, transforming Union Street into a magical backdrop for Santa and a team of elves to celebrate along with jugglers, live ponies dressed as reindeer, a monkey, face painters and balloon artists.

Saturday Dec 4th • General Store Anniversary • 4-8PM
General Store is a collaborative entity created by Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter which features carefully curated items from both new and vintage sources. Local Artisans and Craftspeople contribute to the mix of furniture, clothing, tools, plants, household items, books, jewelry, cards and small electronics, a little bit of everything useful! They are celebrating with lemonade, beer, banh mi, and performances by Sonny (of Sonny & the Sunsets), Ruben Diaz & The Objects, and Also.

Saturday Dec 4th • Slow Crab Dinner • 6-9PM

Dungeness crab ready to eat at Fisherman's Wha...
Image via Wikipedia

Celebrate the start of Dungeness Crab season at the Slow Crab Festival co-hosted by the San Francisco Brewers Guild. The dinner will be prepared by California Culinary Academy and will include live entertainment, products from local artisan food producers, delicious locally caught crab and tons of local beer courtesy of the SF Brewer’s Guild. Ticket sales information will be made available shortly. A portion of the proceeds from this event will go towards the Slow Food San Francisco School Garden Projects.

Sunday Dec 5th • Repeal Day Holiday Party • 6-10PM
It’s time to celebrate the 77th Anniversary of the day we got our right to drink back and that jolly time of year when the snow doesn’t fall in San Francisco, but the temperature does- all in one party! Join the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail welcomes you to the first full-blown party at The Cocktail Bill Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts!

Sunday Dec 5th • Bicycle Coalition Party • 6-10:30PM
This is where over 1,000 SF bike enthusiasts of all stripes — SF Bicycle Coalition members, bike industry leaders, local business supporters, local artists and politicians come together for a festive evening to celebrate the love of riding a bike in San Francisco. An occasion to raise a glass to the 11,000 SF Bicycle Coalition members and the organization that makes biking more enjoyable throughout the year. To top it off, the event included New Belgium beer, entertainment, a 200 item silent auction, a 60 piece art auction, food and over 1,000 bike-friendly party-folk.

Sunday Dec 5th • Venezulan Tamales Class • 5:30-7:30PM
Learn to make an HALLACA- Venezuelan traditional holiday treat! Corn dough, with a 3 meat stew (vegetarian option available too), wrapped in a plantain leaf and steamed. Sweet, sour, spicy! Or you could just order them!

Friday Dec 10th • La Cocina  Gift Fair • 4-9PM
Join us at the 2nd Annual La Cocina Gift Fair! It’s the perfect place to find every type of food related gift you can imagine – from local cookbooks to artisan jams and the best chocolate you’ve ever tasted. It is going to be insanely good.

Sat-Sun Dec 11-12th • Wild Kitchen Dinners • 6PM
Each Wild Kitchen dinner is a community affair. We sit together, eat together, and talk together. Everyone sits and eats at communal tables, while the forager explains the wild ingredients in the dishes and why we used them. Tickets are very limited, so please sign up soon. So we can help make sure more people get seats, we are having three nights of dinners this month. Same time, place, menu; different days.

Saturday Dec 11th • Marin Organic Holiday Dinner • 6PM
Become part of a Marin Organic tradition by celebrating their 4th Annual MarketBar Holiday Dinner! Chef Rick Hackett has created a festive brasserie-style menu featuring food from Marin Organic producer members that will delight the senses and inspire the spirit.

Wednesday Dec 15th • Grub Crawl • 6:30-9:30PM
Join Club Dine In! and Grub Crawl on a grub crawl! We will visit three restaurants in Cow Hollow for a progressive dining experience. Please save the date!


Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events.

Tyler Florence: Wayfare Tavern

Restaurant Review: Wayfare Tavern
Crowd: Blazers with loosened ties and blouses with black pumps
Vibe: Lively and loud
Music: Jazz
Decor: Turn-of-the-century San Francisco Barbary Coast
Layout: Four floors: 1. Basement floor for the restrooms and an entrance to the kitchen 2. Main floor with a raw bar, full bar, open kitchen with a Chef’s Counter, and booth seating 3. Second floor with a smaller bar, more seating, and a Billiard Room 4. A rustic, private dining room with a wine cellar.
Service: Genuinely Friendly, Professional, and Precise
Portion Size: Large
Imbibe: Jasmine Green Tea Cooler (non-alcoholic)
Enjoy: Fresh out of the oven Popovers and Goat Cheese Ravioli
Waist Slimmers: Chilled Watermelon Salad, Marin Tomato Salad, and Crisp Pacific Catch Halibut
Price: $177.85 across four people, three appetizers, three entrees, 3 glasses of wine, and one non-alcoholic beverage

The instant you walk in and pass the four eager hostesses, you feel like you have stepped away into another time and place. A feeling of mischievousness overcomes you, and you begin to wonder about all of the secrets this place might have, just like in the 1800’s. The bar is packed and the open kitchen is full of action. It feels a little chaotic, while I wait at the bar for the rest of my party to show. Despite, the opening week crowd, the bartenders are upbeat and do not give off the “I feel the pressure, I am too busy” vibe. There is a whirlwind of staff buzzing around and attending to your every need. At times, it feels like there is more staff than patrons. The general manager is very kind and talks to us in length about the making of Wayfare Tavern. The size and style of the menu is very representative of Old America, with a modern-Californian twist. It’s large with ample choices for the meat lover and pescatarians. However, there is only one vegetarian entrée with quite a few salads and sides to pick from.  We watch Mr. Florence carefully inspect and perfect each dish before it goes out, which is really amazing to see. He even tries to take a few minutes away and talk to patrons, which I really appreciate in a celebrity and chef.  As for the taste, I am a little disappointed. Maybe, my expectations were too high, but as a gourmet foodie, I find the food to be good, not great. The entrées are a little overpriced, but justifiable for the neighborhood. Though, I do plan to go back, just not too soon.

Wayfare Tavern l 558 Sacramento St San Francisco, CA 94111 l 415-772-9060

The Parlor

Stuffed animals and birds are common fixtures

The Classic American Menu

Elegant, rustic tablescape

Organic Marin Tomatoes with Black-Eyed Beans, Goat Cheese, and Chive Blossoms

Smoked Olive Oil Mac n' Cheese

Goat Cheese Ravoli with Summer Squash

21-Day Dry Aged Grass Fed Sirloin

The men on the table claimed it was above average

Intrigued by Club Dine In!

Gained It and Now Loosing It

A few months after we started dating, still a size 2.

I had been fortunate to be on the thinner side my whole life, being able to get away with eating a whole 6” cake as my day’s meal to 3 AM post debauchery, juicy turkey burgers. Then, I turned 26, and these careless eating habits finally caught up to me. I’d like to blame my boyfriend, turned fiancé, turned husband for this extra weight. My consumption size had gone up, since my significant other had a metabolism of a 16 year old and yet a perfect 29” waist size, and my activity level had not increased. Or it could be from the satisfaction of being completely in love. Or maybe biology has some part to do with it- my body is changing. Whatever the reasons maybe, I need to make serious lifestyle changes if I still want to look hot in my backless, mini dresses. Not to mention, chase the kids I will have someday around the park. This means, saving dessert for truly dessert deserving moments and amping up the workout regime.

Picking out our registry gifts, size creeping up steadily.

I love to workout- but just not to the point where I feel like my lungs are going to burst or getting dirty outdoors. Though, I know only a diet change isn’t going to help me loose the extra weight. I decided to join the outdoor Boot Camp classes offered by my gym. I know this is going to be a whole different demon- since the entire class is outdoors, rain, fog, wind, or shine. So here is pushing myself to the limit, while being mindful about what I eat.

5 months after getting married, gained major poundage!

Stay tuned for my progress!