Alison Bing, Lonely Planet’s roving food, wine and travel writer and author of forty guidebooks, spoke at the Left Coast Writers Literary Salon last night at Book Passage. She talked about food and travel—what a magnificent combo! Both are things I enjoy quite a bit, and can say I’ve dabbled in. I have been to Nepal, Japan, Mexico, England, Scotland, Ireland and France and have had some very interesting food experiences in all of these places. One of the most interesting meals I have ever had the pleasure of partaking in had to have been at a small restaurant in Tokyo. I believe it was in the Shinjuku district in the northeastern part of the city that I found this place while wandering around one night looking for a bite to eat. I went in and ordered a dish with potatoes that were dyed bright red with hot pepper and covered with a delicious sauce, somewhat similar to patatas bravas, a Spanish specialty generally found in tapas bars, only these were less chunky, neater, almost meticulously cut and arranged—a distinctly Japanese twist. But what I decided to order for my main course was the really interesting dish. I got one of the best pizzas I have ever had and certainly one of the strangest: a miso pizza with eggplant. It was just like a regular pizza, except instead of tomato sauce they used a mixture of mayonnaise and red miso, the Japanese seasoning created by combining a grain or soybeans with salt and the fungus called kojikin. The pizza was creamy and delicious, and upon the server’s recommendation, I garnished it with Cholula hot sauce, which they had at the restaurant. This brought it to a level of taste I have only been able to fantasize about since then. Sadly, I do not remember the name of that little restaurant, only the distinctive tomato logo on their sign. The best writing, just like the best food, has elements of surprise and unusual contrast. These things create interest and excitement. They are imaginative and lead to new experiences. That miso and eggplant pizza was one of the best pizza-eating experiences in my life … well except for the one with fermented soybeans(natto). —Jack Betterly-Kohn Photo Courtesy of Marianne Betterly, © Marianne Betterly
LEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK LAUNCH: Tina Vierra and Contributors to Cyberfeasts & Foodstocks Saturday, October 8, 2011 || 7pm Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera || www.bookpassage.com This is an extra yummy event! Editor Tina Vierra presents Cyberfeasts & Foodstocks. Vierra will talk about the process of creating this cookbook, which features more than 270 recipes, tips, quips, and useful cooking instruction from the experienced chefs, caterers, food shop owners, and cooks in The International Foodwine Discussion Group. Recipes from the book will be served!
Eat, Play, Love: Cooking and Writing from the Heart in the Lowcountry with Linda Watanabe McFerrin and the Southern Sampler Artists Colony, April 17-24, 2012 The 2012 workshop will fill up quickly, so if you if you have any interest you should let the organizers know! Welcome home! The rocking chairs beckon. Can you smell the salt air? Stir, fry, mix, mold, blend, stew, bake, roast, whip, sprinkle, dip, fold—embrace old and new friends, celebrate community, and create shared stories to be embellished in time. Event Highlights: “Marsh-to-Plate”: Cast your net with Captain Anton. Oysters, clams, crabs, redfish and flounder anyone? Dinner will feature the catch of the day. Anton will help in the preparation, and read from the book he is writing. The Dark and Light Side of Chocolate: Discover the magic of chocolate making with renown chocolatier, David Vagasky. Certified Organic Produce, Fresh and Local: A personal tour of the Joseph Fields Farm, located on Johns Island, wouldn’t be complete without supper on the banks of the nearby Stono River. Alluette, owner of Alluette’s Café, will be in charge. And don’t forget live jazz and poetry under a starry sky. Lawn Party: Brush up on your croquet game, concoct a Southern drink for the occasion, and devil some eggs. Charleston friends will join in the fun. The Spice of Life: From delicate to tangy and sweet, Sea Island Savory Herbs, located on Johns Island, has it all. A private tour will feature innovative use of heirloom herbs in the art of cooking. Stirring the Creative Juices with Cathleen O’Brien Create your very own Altered Book. Contribute to a Collective Workshop Cookbook Learn how to make fish prints with artist, Sue Wallace. Writing Workshop with Linda Watanabe McFerrin Workshop 1: Starters Workshop 2: Word Salad Workshop 3: Comfort Food Workshop 4: Toasts, Boasts, and Roasts Workshop 5: Lovely Desserts Cost of Colony Experience: Cost is $1,800 ($1,950 if paid after December 15, 2011) for a private room, and $1,600 ($1,750 if paid after December 15, 2011) for a shared room. The choice of private and separate rooms depends upon availability at time of registration. In order to assure workshop placement please send a $500 check deposit (fully refundable before October 10th) made out to Southern Sampler Artists Colony with private or shared room preference to: Mary Brent Cantarutti, 233 Santa Margarita Drive, San Rafael, CA 94901.There will be ten workshop participants; placement will be finalized in order of receipt of deposits. The company is everything! Charleston here we come! Mary Brent & Martha