Life’s little intersections can reveal deep connections, and sharing a meal is one of the most common ways that happens. A friend visiting from the east coast, John “Taiko Man” Ko introduced me to his drumming friend who invited us to dinner and then, the next thing, I’m learning all about my local community’s history and eating amazing food.
Hideaki Nishikura, a baker at Wild Flour Bread, took our intrepid New Yorker and me, along with a doting grandmother and a giggling son, on a personal tour of his hometown, Sebastopol. I feel privileged to have this insider’s peek into a little known community and hope to inspire a few of you to take the trek north to visit the town during this time when autumn’s colors and flavors are at their peak.
This 1970s commercial shows how to make a big production out of soup. Ann Miller was a much-loved dancer who was discovered before she even hit puberty right here in San Francisco at the historic and colorful Black Cat Cafe.
If you live anywhere near the Northern California coastline in a house that was built during the first two decades of the 20th century and if you haven’t had a chance or don’t have the heart to remodel your home completely, then you probably still have a strange, little cabinet in a corner of your kitchen. Unlike the other cabinets in the room, it has open shelves of wire or slats or perforated wood. It also feels very cold and breezy, and you might even be able to glimpse sunlight through the back of it if you stand at a certain angle and tilt your head a certain way. It may have a lock or, at the least, a secure latch.
The CCA’s CarÃªme Room served its last grand buffet this past Friday. Anyone who has recently driven by that familiar corner of Polk and Turk, with its clumps of white-clad culinary students smoking on the sidewalk, would have suspected as much, what with that huge sign advertising â€œBuilding for Lease.â€
With only 300 students enrolled — down from a peak of over 2,000 — it became untenable to sustain two separate facilities. The SF Weekly’s exposé last year about the institution’s â€œburnt chefsâ€ is old news. For years already, chefs and kitchen managers (myself included) had banned CCA interns from our kitchens because of their abysmal lack of skills. Still, few of us expected to hear that the grand Polk Street location would be abandoned in favor of the Potrero Hill’s cold, unwelcoming space.