In its fourth year, the San Francisco Street Food Festival has become an incredibly popular event. From 20th to 26th Streets, the most beautiful part of Folsom Street is shut down to cars to make room for around 100 food vendors, and 80,000 guests. Trash is a given. But thanks to the efforts of the event team La Cocina and their collaboration with Zero Waste experts at SF Environment, Recology , discarded material that would go to landfill is now diverted to compost and recycling channels. It’s great to see waste diversion front and center at local events, and great to see people participating in keeping this city clean and green. After all, almost nothing has to go to landfill, we have a viable alternative. Waste nothing.
at the 2012 San Francisco Street Food Fair on Folsom
Congratulations to them for striving to make this a zero waste event!
MUS•e•YUM could not have been more pleased to attend the opening-night celebration of the new exhibition, Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) of San Francisco. The CJM always puts on extraordinary exhibitions (remember Gertrude Stein and Maurice Sendak of 2011?) and Do Not Destroy, which runs now through 28 May, is no exception. A blend of art and environmentalism, religion and whimsy, the exhibition is a celebration of the role trees play in our world, in our spirituality and specifically, in our imagination as evidenced in art. Moreover, experiencing Do Not Destroy challenges us to realize our own responsibility, both individual and collective, to protect the environment. Witnessing the beauty and fragility of the world around us makes us human, and protecting what we see makes us divinely hopeful.
Only some of the memorable pieces of art include:
- A round circle of sand on the floor at the beginning of the exhibition, planted with hundreds of small metal plants. Walk the circle a full 360 degrees for the full impact of the piece, and be sure to view it from floor level, too. You’ll be glad you did.
- A short film about students in Laos. Watch to the end as art students sketch a river from the decks of small boats, and leap into the water to swim to shore when they see a tree of special significance.
- Watch a video rendition of the Tony Bennet song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon (’round the Old Oak Tree)” – the pairing with the multimedia piece to the right is hysterical!
- Write a prayer on a small piece of paper and leave it inside a piece of wood, the collection of prayers already inside is profound and moving.
While photography is not permitted inside the exhibition, here are some memories from the opening night party that kicks it it off.
I invite you to go to the exhibition at the Museum, or explore it online, for more information and a first-hand view of the amazing art you’ll find there.
It’s been nearly four years since my first trip to Mission Pie, a wonderful oasis for homespun dessert and savoury pies located in the Mission District of San Francisco. I was new to the food community then, and eager to learn more about it. I wanted to learn more about the provenance of the wonderful ingredients being used in the meals that I was enjoying. My eyes were being opened to the wealth that is the abundance of the Bay Area’s local produce.
I’d started taking photos, too, with my new digital camera and many of those pictures were of my food. I began to post photos of memorable meals on Flickr and Yelp, together with reviews of my experiences both good and bad. I wanted to document my excitement for what I was discovering and for what I was learning, all at the same time. And, I wanted to connect with others who shared my passion. And my passion was fed.
It’s funny now to think that something as quintessentially homespun as a warm-from-the-oven pie could be a novel new player on the bakery scene but then, it was. At a time when bakeries were vying for the top cupcake, a bakery devoted to the humble pie seemed novel and maybe even bold. No one was doing pie then. I sought out Mission Pie soon after it opened and on that visit, after tasting that perfectly cooked crust and the luminous brightness of the fruit inside, even then remarked to my friend that pie ‘just might be’ the new cupcake. Was I right? Maybe not quite on the grander scale but for me, it sure is! And I wanted to learn more. . .
What I also learned on this first visit made me love this business even more. Mission Pie is the retail outlet for a bigger picture and a bigger story. All the ingredients which comprise every one of those gorgeous pies comes from a ranch, the Pie Ranch, located outside the city on the San Mateo Coast. Bees make the honey, fruit falls from the trees, wheat is milled to flour, and the spirit, hard work and love of farmers and volunteers all come together there so that you and I may enjoy the fruits of their labor here, and I was- and am- blown away and moved by that concept.
Founded in 2002, The Pie Ranch is a working farm, not only producing food but producing change. Their mission (Mission Pie) is to feed and nourish the body, the mind, the consciousness and the broader community by educating people as to where their food comes from and how it gets to one’s table. The Ranch welcomes students from inner city schools and introduces them to the country, all the while teaching farming and an appreciation for where food comes from. They mentor adults who want to learn to farm sustainably.
So they’re doing far more than growing food or even making pies…they’re making a difference. You can see this passion in the eyes of every single person in this video and I invite you to check it out:
via Teach Pie. on Vimeo.
The Pie Ranch apprenticeship program gives apprentices the skills needed to become the next generation of successful farmers.
Pie Ranch is an education farm whose mission it is to inspire and connect people to know the source of their food, and to work together to bring greater health to the food system from seed to table.
Thanks to Nancy, Jered, Amy and all the apprentices and interns!
2901 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Underground dining with the Wild Kitchen, a set on Flickr.
Part of the fun is the clandestine nature of it all. Sign up for a meal, get the location ‘day of’ in an email. Show up at a non descript location, staged for a one night only meal for 60 people.
Seated at one long communal table, you’ll have eight courses, each with a locally and sustainably foraged key ingredient. Founder Iso Rabins describes the adventure behind gathering each one. You’ll have a deeper understanding of how we’re all connected to, and with, our surroundings, and you’ll meet some fellow foodies, too!
Here’s a great list of San Francisco restaurants to experience. We can vouch for Commonwealth, and we’re eager to try more on the list! Click here :
Anxiously awaiting the arrival of what could be the best ice cream store in the City… Smitten. Check out the story linked above for the details about this venture, which will entail ice cream made-to-order with one of four liquid nitrogen ice cream machines. Smitten is part of a greater project called the Hayes Valley Proxy, a network of shipping containers that will form a food court of sorts in this very cool SF neighborhood.
From Delfina Pizza to a Suppenkuche beer garden, this is going to be an excellent foodie destination!
Andy Goldsworthy’s art is candy for the eyes and food for the soul. His work makes real the magic that I like to think lives just under the surface of the earth, almost like there’s been a tear in the veneer of “the Normal” and a little magic has erupted from it, from the invisible to the visible.
So, when I read via Matte Gray’s journals the tantalizing first-hand report of a new Goldsworthy art piece under construction here in San Francisco, I had to jump on the scooter and get over to the Presidio to check the site out for myself, with the tantalizing possibility of meeting Goldsworthy himself in the back of my mind. (Gray did, after all.) That didn’t happen, but I did meet the Bird Lady, which was fantastic! And I found two solid bakeries along the way. Yum.
The ride took me very close to a Russian bakery that I’ve been wanting to try for a while, so I took a slight detour to check it out. The name is Cinderella and it’s located at 436 Balboa St (between 5th Ave & 6th Ave). The space is small and wide, with sweet pastries generally on the left and savory on the right. Standouts include gorgeous danishes, hamentashen and other fruit-topped pastries but the distinguishing feature of this place appears to be the savory, especially the extensive variety of piroshki, hand pies sort of like British pasties. I bought a potato piroshki for later that night.
Then, to my surprise, near the intersection of 7th and California, I saw a bakery with a familiar name, similar to that of my scooter. The place was Kaju and I stopped in to check it out. While the interior is rather nondescript, (uninviting in fact) the owner was friendly and a glance at the food suggested an interesting mix of standard coffee and cookies, scones and the like as well as some uniquely Asian offerings. As a sample, I picked up a triangle of sushi-styled rice stuffed with avocado called onigiri. Wrapped, it was the size of a sandwich and an interesting alternative to the same, easy to throw into my backpack. I also got a house-baked organic chocolate chip cookie. The onigiri has the same mouth feel as the sticky rice used for sushi and was tasty and filling, great fuel for the rest of the afternoon. The cookie was the prize, one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had all year. Nicely chunky, medium sized, crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. There was a ’roundness’ to the flavor that I loved, but which couldn’t quite identify, that made every bite irresistible. . . could there be a secret ingredient in there?
But I was losing the afternoon light by now so I didn’t linger. I started scooting around the edges of the Presidio and first, had to stop at the older Goldsworthy there, the Spire. Seeing it is a spiritual experience for me, a temple among the trees.
I’d found enough information about Wood Line to know that I was fairly close, but I had to travel from the Arguelo Gate (site of the Spire) to the Presidio Gate. I could have walked, it’s about half a mile, but I was losing the light fast by now. Back to the scooter! But not before checking out a beautiful, natural grove of majestic (magical) trees right across the street from the Arguelo Gate.
From here, I followed a winding road to the Presidio Gate and found the Wood Line immediately. Or rather, the sign for it. The installation wasn’t apparent until I got off the scooter and went over to the sign and, from that vantage point, saw a gap in the forest dead ahead along a single sight line.
Felled timber creates a lovely, snaking curve on the forest floor, with the trees reaching upward on both sides like the support columns of a gothic cathedral. It’s a spiritual place. It’s ephemeral, too. The forest will reclaim the wood through natural decay in about 25 years or so. . .
And I almost forgot, while I was enjoying the Wood Line, a woman offered to take my picture in front of it on my scooter. We started to chat and I soon realized the woman was more fairy than person. Her questions were punctuated by her quick looks up to the treetops, and the occasional bird call. She explained she’s a birder, and visits and follows the birds of the Presidio daily. Or, they visit and follow her. She talks to them. They talk to her. And as fast as she appeared she vanished; she heard the tweet of a bird and with that, had to go. She danced-skipped-floated away, down the dirt path into the forest, and was gone! The light was nearly gone, too, so with that, I mounted Kaiju and . . . vanished.