I Thought It Was A Tiffany’s Box

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I attended a concert Wednesday night in San Francisco.  Raekwon The Chef was headlining at Slims nightclub. We were riding around looking for parking and I saw a door on the left side of Market.

 

The Hazel door is Hazel…Jamie, YES!!

I am very familiar with this part of San Francisco as it houses my favorite little chocolate shop, Littlejohn’s Candies. This door looked like a Tiffany’s Box in the middle of the street. I’d never noticed it before and I know I would have. Thinking about it now maybe the color of the door is Hazel…hmmm.

I was intrigued. I googled ‘Hazel San Francisco Market Street’ and Hazel Southern Bar & Kitchen popped up.  You had me at Southern Kitchen, let’s see what you’re working with. I researched a little more…it was a new spot.  Some of my favorite things were on this crisp and beautiful menu. The skeptic in me arose, collard greens on Market Street?! What’s the set-up like?  Who’s cooking? Who runs this joint? Instagram…YES!! The owner Jamie and Chef Casey Hatwig seems to have it on lock. Ok..ok so when will I make my reservation? What will I eat? How many to-go boxes will I need? These are all important and thought out queries. I decided on the eve of my birthday to partake on a date night in the city with moi.

 

Date Night…Treat Yo Self

June 24, 2017 a little overdressed compared to the patrons at Hazel, I arrive. I was met by the doorman who welcomed me and told me to enjoy the evening as I walked in with huge smile on my face. I was asked if I had a reservation and I replied, ‘Nope, table for one please.’ I got seated at a community table and it was great. I looked side to side and across from me to see what the plates looked like. I wanted to see what they were enjoying, devouring and craving.

 

The menu wasn’t overwhelming at all. Besides by the time I made the decision to go I had an idea of what I wanted.  I started with a blackberry lemonade and the collard green dumplings. The were crisp bites filled with creamy greens on top of a spicy peach chutney…yummerz.

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Pocket Yumminess
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Velvety Grits

The slight obsession I have with all variations of shrimp and grits I couldn’t wait to try theirs. The shrimp and grits arrived as I inhaled my second dumpling. I paused, smiled and dug into this velvety seasoned small plate of deliciousness. The shrimp had a perfect amount of spice.

Mentally I was prepared to get the oxtail w/gravy.  Honestly it didn’t look as aesthetically pleasing on the plate as I imagined.  I instead went for the blackened catfish. It was served on a bed of cabbage w/collard greens and green beans w/caramelized onions. The green beans were served al dente, perfect. Everything was seasoned to perfection.  So the collard greens on Market Street were a HIT!!

Blackened Catfish w/ Collard Greens.

I can’t wait to go back with the whole squad in tow. In a few weeks as a matter of fact. Oh and the bill…well let’s say I was pleasantly surprised that a phenomenal dinner, as it was, for one in San Francisco with cocktails costing less than $60.00.  Southern comfort at its best.

Well done Hazel…well done.

 

CHEFS Gala 2017

 

I attended Episcopal Community Services annual CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services) Gala which directly helps support the culinary program in San Francisco. A culinary program that I myself graduated from last year. I attended the Gala last year as a student and it was an instant manifestation on my culinary path….and it was EPIC!!!

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CHEFS Gala 2016

The restaurants and mentors that lend their time, resources and essentially their livelihoods to the CHEFS program are unmatched. Whether they are coming in as guest Chefs or providing the students with certain skill sets that are beneficial far past the kitchen. There’s also in-kitchen, hands-on training and an internship at a local restaurant or institutional kitchen settings. It extends to helping with housing, life skills, that go beyond just classroom instruction.FB_IMG_1496952229268

supports programming beyond CHEFS and gives a platform to the disparities plaguing the city and abroad.  This years gala raised over $400,000 in their efforts, which surpass putting people to work in the culinary field.  It has given people who would have otherwise checked out a meaningful opportunity to give back to society. For some of us, it was an opportunity to acknowledge our gifts and to expand on them.

 

Back to the GALA…I had a blast

Supporting CHEFS

I arrived this year as a fan, a foodie, a proud alumni of such an amazing program and so many phenomenal CHEFS, restaurants and philanthropists in one room for one reason…to ensure resources are available to help in the fight against homelessness.

Bespoke San Francisco hosted this years event and it was emceed by Leslie Sbrocco for the fourth year in a row. some of thee best restaurants that San Francisco has to offer were in attendance. YUMMERZ👅  I look forward to what the Chefs come up with and they did not disappoint. The food was beyond amazing. The students themselves participated and hands down had two of the best cuisines served that evening. I kept going back for the Thai bite with the candied ginger…SOOO GOOD. Chef Corina and Chef Harold led an amazing team for this year event. The presentations were inspiring and inventive. In particular for me Commonwealth served Smoked Mussels w/Squid Ink Cracker, Fermented Garlic Aioli and Wild Fennel. AMAZING!!!  They were hidden amongst mussel shells…so creative…and delicious 

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Smoked Mussels on Ink Cracker from Commonwealth San Francisco

 

 

supports programming beyond CHEFS through auctions and the support of San Francisco. 

 

 

Tea and Mee

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Ginger, lemon, nectar, cacao, toast, woods… ahhhh TEAS!!! I travel everywhere(locally speaking of course)for a great cup of tea and atmosphere. There is often a story behind every first cup in a new place. When I’m taking a meeting, want some down time, hanging with friends or blogging I always have a cup of tea. Tonight I’m enjoying hibiscus tea w/fresh cinnamon. I selected this tea because I’m catering a Trinidadian party this weekend so it deemed appropriate. The floral notes from the hibiscus and aromatics from the cinnamon give an almost holiday like feel… Much like food and music, tea has a certain nostalgic effect on me.
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When I was fairly new to this region(still new)I was introduced to this tea house in San Francisco called the Center SF. Most of their teas are imported from mountains in China, that info was new to me. The Center is an underground spot, that has live music, yoga, vinyl records on deck…I mean it is perfection.  For a while they had a WuTang Wednesday night that I just fell in love with. The DJ would play a little WuTang…but he’d throw in some GAP Band, Rakim, Switch and Prince, PRINCE!! We’d dance, write, soar and dream. I had found my forever tea house. I was enamored with the atmosphere of this particular ‘pub’.  So much so that I began going on Monday nights to talk to the carpenter who ran it and on Fridays to hang with the French Chef to pick his brain on food. Every time I went I would try something different, but I’d end the night with the same tea, Toasted Rice Green Tea or Popcorn Tea…GENMAICHA. It was and still is a favorite of mine.   It’s been almost one year since I first stepped into that magical place that looks like it was made just for me.
They’re having their one year anniversary coming up and I plan to be there. I consider myself a sommelier of tea, not certified but a mini expert nonetheless.
Tea…our relationship has gotten more intimate and purposeful. Tea, like food is medicinal. Upon restoring my inner peace taking care of my mind, body & soul its calming effects, the refreshers, the instant gratification…the soothing effectiveness of the smells, the tastes and how the leaves of Africa, Japan and India steeping~~ it’s therapy in an infuser. I guess this is how wine connoisseurs feel without the hangover.

Mee Chewy Ginger Babies

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2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup candied ginger(grated ginger cooked in simple syrup)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup light molasses
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
sugar(to roll the cookies in)
cookies
3 bowls
Spatula
Wooden spoon
Wax paper
Cookie sheet
Cooling rack
Tablespoon
Line cookie sheet with wax paper. Preheat oven to 350. Put the first four ingredients in one bowl-Put the next 3 in another bowl mix it well. Add the next 6 to butter/sugar bowl. Add the mixture to the flour.  Put sugar into 3rd bowl and set aside. Use a tablespoon to scoop out cookie mix. Roll into a ball and toss it into the sugar bowl. Remove it and press it gently onto the cookie sheet. Keep doing this until the mixture is gone. Put into the oven 8-10 minutes or until  center of cookie begins to crack. Remove from the oven place cookies on cooling racks. If you want a not so chewy cookie keep in oven until the rim of the cookie cracks, an extra 2-4 minutes. Really simple, really fast…really good, with tea.