I love pumpkin carving – it’s my favorite part of Halloween. This year, I decided to do something a little different with my jack-o-lanterns: animate them! I was inspired by the guys at DigitalDudz, who came up with the very clever idea of brining Halloween t-shirts to live by taping your smartphone or tablet inside the shirt and playing a video that aligns to the image on the front of the shirt. If it works for a t-shirt, why not a pumpkin?
When I was in San Francisco, I managed to score a seat at Benu, the two star Michelin restaurant in the SOMA district. It is headed up by Corey Lee, whose career has seen action in seven 3-star Michelin restaurants in England, France and the U.S. He was also the chef de cuisine at The French Laundry. The Real Deal. And, my first Michilen starred restaurant (Next doesn’t count, right?).
I had the opportunity to try out some of the fine dining establishments of San Francisco while I was there. My first stop after my flight was a burrito in the Mission district. It put a sudden end to that day’s culinary explorations, however; I was so stuffed I couldn’t think of taking a bite of anything at all.
The next day, I didn’t know where to eat, so I checked out the 26 new places to go at SFGate.com and SF Eater 38 and determined a couple of places to go. That evening, I found myself at Commonwealth at 18th and Mission (whose address is 2224 Mission Street – what’s up with that, San Francisco?).
I dropped down to San Francisco to spend the weekend and got an opportunity to visit the private showroom of LeSanctuaire. LeSanctuaire is a provider of very high end tools, plateware and ingredients online. It’s a great online site, offering everything from Tapioca Pearls for $2 to GastroVacs for almost $6000. I was met by their Sales Manager, Fany, and she let me basically lose my mind as I was able to be in the presence of some very cool kitchen stuff. They have many things that are sold exclusively through them, so it was amazing to see it in person. It was like a museum of fine kitchenware.
Are you looking for the perfect gift for your favorite foodie? Take a look at our in-depth three-part series of the items used in cooking Modernist Cuisine from earlier this year:
The Price Of Cooking Modernist Cuisine, Part I: Tools And Gadgets
The Price Of Cooking Modernist Cuisine, Part II: Food Additives
The Price Of Cooking Modernist Cuisine, Part III: Cookbooks And Other Resources
The prices might have changed since so click on through to see what they’re currently going for. Some new books have also come out that deserve mention as well:
When Scott called Eric “exactly the right kind of insane to become a revolutionary chef“, he was right on target. Here, Eric gives his best Robin Leach impersonation while describing the new HQ for his cooking explorations.
This proves once again you don’t need a luxurious, over the top space to create amazing creative food. Of course, he has access to one for his day job, but that’s beside the point.
This is effin cool. We centrifuged a can of pumpkin to yield a few tablespoons of a clear, orange pumpkin-flavored liquid. We saturated it with sugar and spiked it with pumpkin pie spice, then heated the mixture to 300F and cast it into hard caramel molds. Then, we spun the hard caramel in a cotton candy machine to make 2” puffs of pumpkin-flavored cotton candy. Then, we squeezed the puffs into the shape of a skull and cut out triangles for the eyes and nose. Finally, we put it on a stand with a candle behind it. Presenting the pumpkin cotton candy jack-o-lantern, as interpreted by Jet City Gastrophysics.
I don’t do restaurant reviews. That’s not my thing. There’s something maddening about people blogging about their experience, hurling superlative after superlative – “mind blowing”, “forward thinking and innovative”, “absolutely amazing”, etc. Actually I have two favorite overused quotations. One is a phrase like “completely unique”. The word ‘unique’ cannot have a modifier. Either it is unique or it is not. There are not grades of uniqueness. The other is “quite possibly the best meal I ever had”. I love how the word “possibly” is always used. Just a little hedge. You know, not to offend anyone else who’s cooked for you in the past. Your mother-in-law might be reading, after all.