Category Archives: Food & Drink

How to Prepare Gourmet, Healthy Meals on a College Budget

Eating healthy does not have to mean sacrificing flavor or paying a lot of money. Healthy meals can be flavorful and extremely cheap to prepare, as low as less than a few dollars.

Good eating habits regularly fall victim to college students’ lack of time and money. It seems easier and cheaper to grab fast food than to prepare a healthy home-cooked meal. Meals can be prepared, however, that are nutritious and tasty but do not take much money.

Learning a few tricks is vital to cheap and easy healthy cooking. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans can be put together in infinite combinations. Vinegars, herbs, and spices boost flavor without adding fat or sodium. Feel free to experiment to keep things interesting. Trader Joe’s sells bottles of herbs and spices for very low prices.

Shop around for the best selection and prices until you figure which stores best suit your needs. More importantly, though, understand what you are paying for. The prices for fruits and vegetables might look high but keep in mind those are often prices per pound and not unit costs. Produce often does not weigh much and a little can go a long way. You are also likely better off buying your fruits and vegetables at small produce markets or some farmers’ markets than larger chain stores like Safeway or Whole Foods.

When it comes to buying quality produce at low prices, downtown San Francisco offers some great options. The Heart of the City Farmers’ Market is held year-round at UN Plaza on Wednesdays from seven a.m. to five-thirty p.m. and Sundays from seven a.m. to five p.m. Many vendors offer reasonable prices and will discount them as the day goes on, often peddling bags jammed full of produce for a dollar. Golden Veggie Market at the corner of California and Polk streets and California Produce on Polk Street near Geary Street are also good bets. The Mission boasts low-priced fruits and vegetables as well.

Healthy meals can be deceptively simple to prepare. An assortment of vegetables, fruits, and/or proteins such as beans, tofu, or tempeh can be cooked together in a single skillet. Plus, sautéing vegetables allows them to retain more of their natural flavors and nutrients than other methods like boiling or microwaving do.

If you would like to try cooking this way but do not know where to begin, mix and match ingredients out of this list of suggestions to get started:

Vegetables – Greens (e.g., kale, collard, or chard), potato (e.g., red, Yukon gold, purple, or white), sweet potato/yam, turnip, parsnip, broccoli, carrot, mushroom, Brussels sprouts, onion, bell/chili pepper, zucchini or other squash, etc.

Fruits – Apple, berries, pear, grapes, etc.

Grains – Rice (e.g., brown, white, or wild), quinoa, whole-grain pasta, barley, farro, etc.

Proteins – Beans (e.g., fava, black, or pinto), tofu, tempeh, seitan, eggs, etc.

Seasonings – Fresh or dried herbs (e.g., basil, mint, dill, rosemary, oregano, thyme), cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, pepper, etc.

Vinegars – Balsamic, apple cider, white wine, red wine, rice, etc.

  • Asian Stir Fry
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  • Main Ingredients: Eggplant, Green Olives, Tomato, Zucchini. ( Danielle Parenteau/Xpress Magazine)
  • Main Ingredients: Brussels Sprouts, Kidney Beans, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Orange Bell Pepper (Danielle Parenteau/ Xpress Magazine)
  • Main Ingredients: Green Beans, Broccoli, Baby Box Choy, Orange Bell Pepper, Mushrooms, Japanese Yam. (Danielle Parenteau/ Xpress Magazine)
  • Main Ingredients: Rainbow Chard, Cranberries, Parsnip, Japanese Yam, Mandarin Oranges. (Danielle Parenteau/ Xpress Magazine)
  • Main Ingredients: Greens, Sweet Potato, Mixed (frozen) Berries. (Danielle Parenteau/ Xpress Magazine)
  • Main Ingredients: Kale, Asian Pear, Feta Cheese. (Danielle Parenteau/ Xpress Magazine)

What’s for Lunch?

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, just a student sharing what I found on the SF State campus.

You’ve heard it before: “Pack your food, it’s healthier. You’ll save time and money.”

But sometimes, it’s not that simple, and packing your food doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthier or cheaper.

From a steaming bowl of pho to a sandwich with so many toppings it can hardly fold closed, SF State has a lot to offer when your stomach starts growling. So many, in fact, that it can be overwhelming – especially when you’ve only got 30 minutes, but want to make a relatively healthy and cheap choice for a meal.

So I talked to a few Gators to find out their game plan when it comes to eating while at school.

Senior Shani Winston is a food packer.

“I don’t really like the food on campus,” she said. “I like to make my own food. It feels better cooking it myself. I know where it comes from.”

Some days, Winston is on campus from the early morning until late afternoon. To her, this means packing two meals. Recently, she brought a smoothie made of strawberries, dates, an apple, and a few mint leaves to have for breakfast.

On this day, she enjoyed a vegetarian sandwich made out of eggplant, pickles, tomatoes, and basil leaves plus a small salad she had tucked away for lunch. This senior shops at the farmers’ market held in the Stonestown parking lot on Sundays. The local stands offer fresh, affordable produce, she says.

Winston’s classmate, Mercedes Flores, packs her lunch occasionally. But on this day, she chose to buy refried beans, plantains, rice, one hard boiled egg, vegetables, and tofu from Taqueria Girasol on campus. She also sipped on a glass of just-made Horchata.

She paid $7 in total.

Senior Gabrielle Matthews and junior Clarisa Hernandez said they buy food on campus some days, and pack it on others. However, since beginning jobs in the Marina District, both Matthews and Hernandez say they have had less time to pack a meal.

When their shifts are too long and the commute too far, the girls turn to burritos, also from Taqueria Girasol.

Matthews purchased both of their meals for about $5.50 each – what a great friend!

Others don’t care too much one way or the other about their on-campus meals. Their meal time grub is whatever a loved one decided to pack. Junior Norman Robles is one of these lucky gators.

On this day, he snacked on baked cucumbers with vinaigrette, and plain spaghetti with a bit of olive oil while working on assignments for class.

Robles’ homemade lunch is estimated at about $1.

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  • Flores chose refried beans, plantains, rice, one hard boiled egg, vegetables, and tofu from Taqueria Girasol on campus. She also sipped on a glass of just-made Horchata - all for $7
  • Senior Gabrielle Matthews and junior Clarisa Hernandez anjoyed burritos from Taqueria Girasol.
  • Matthews purchased the burritos for about $5.50 each - what a great friend!

So now you’re left to decide – how much are you willing to pay for a meal? After three years at SF State, often searching for cheap, healthy food, here’s my take:

Most likely to break your bank: Gold Coast Grill

Here, meals average $9 – but don’t worry! You can always buy their plain toast for $2 – yum.

Most healthy options: Natural Sensations/Café Rosso/Taqueria Girasol

Natural Sensations offers:

–       Fresh squeezed carrot juice for $3.25/medium

–       Up to three types of soups daily for $2.95

–       Whole wheat bagels for $1.25

–       Fruit, cucumber, and Greek salads, starting at $2.75

Café Rosso offers:

 -Whole wheat, turkey and vegetarian sandwiches at a pretty decent size for $5-6

-Soup

Taqueria Girasol offers:

-Fresh steamed veggies

-Tofu

-Black beans

-Corn

-Hard-boiled eggs

-Shredded chicken breast

Most affordable across the board: Café Rosso

Café Rosso – where you can purchase a decent sized hamburger or a breakfast croissant sandwich for about $3.

But if you’ve decided there are just TOO many choices and the lines are too damn long…or maybe you just don’t give a rat’s ass one way or the other…

Then just hit The Pub for a sake shot and can of Sapporo, only $5!

Why not? School’s not doing much for you anyway, right? And textbook prices will only make you cry. After all, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

 

 

Best Boba Places in SF

Boba

With a dry and sweltering atmosphere, only two words can describe this Bay Area moment – disgustingly hot. Out comes the cargo shorts, bro tanks, and flower crowns. No, we’re not at Coachella. We’re in San Francisco, and it just hit 72 degrees. The sun’s blazing rays make me feel grimy and parched. During these unusually hot SF days, drinking boba is the best way for me to beat the heat.

Milk tea, also known as boba, a pearl drink, or bubble tea, is a refreshing mix of milk, sugar and tea. The result is a smooth and creamy taste. The drink comes in a variety of flavors and can be served either hot or cold. From tropical flavors like passion fruit and mango, to stronger ones like earl grey and Oolong. This popular tea drink, which originated from Taiwan, contains sweet, gummy tapioca balls made from cassava root. The boba hype has been huge in the city, so I searched for the best boba cafes.

1. Boba Guys3491 19th Street

Boba Guys is not your traditional boba joint. For starters, they have interesting flavors like horchata, coconut green tea, and muscat oolong. The cafe’s minimal interior design is very Tumblr-esque with its white walls, wooden countertops, and chalkboard menu. Drinks cost around $3 to $4, which is a bit pricy for boba, but you’re getting high-quality milk tea. Forget the powder tea packets. Boba Guys brews all their drinks with real tea and mixes them with Straus organic milk. I’ve been there multiple times, so it’s safe to say their drinks have a perfect consistency. The tapioca balls are not overcooked, not too chewy, and the tea is never overpowering. It’s not too creamy, not too sweet, just right. If you want a sweeter drink, you can adjust the sweetness by asking  a “bobarista,” (seriously, that’s what they’re called) they’ll adjust the drink.

Drinks to try: Horchata Milk Tea, Iced Matcha Latte, Hong Kong Style

Brown sugar milk tea with honey boba from Plentea.
Brown sugar milk tea with honey boba from Plentea.

2.  Plentea341 Kearny Street

Instead of using sugary syrups, Plentea blends fresh fruit in their drinks. This creates sweet, light tasting milk teas, and you can actually taste the fruit. The tapioca is soft and not too chewy. You can choose from a variety of toppings like aloe, honey boba, lychee jelly and more. Like other boba places, you can adjust the drink’s sweetness.  All drinks are served in glass bottles that you can keep. Bring yours back and you’ll get a discount on your next drink. Word of advice: ask your server to go easy on the ice. Too much ice waters down the flavor.

Drinks to try: Brown Sugar Ice Milk With Pudding, Sea Salt Crema With Honey Boba

A variety of milk teas from TPumps.
A variety of milk teas from TPumps.

3. Tpumps1916 Irving Street

Like Plentea, you can adjust the sweetness of your drink and add honey flavored tapioca balls. But with Tpumps, the combination of flavors are endless.  You can mix up to three flavors together and add a variety of boba and jellies. There are many flavors to choose from: peach, passionfruit, lychee, mango, blueberry, the list goes on! Flavors are consistent and the tea is well-brewed. The teas are not strong, and they do not taste diluted as compared to other places.

Drinks to try: Lychee Raspberry Rose Milk Tea, Mango Peach Milk Tea With Honey Boba

Kiwi fruit  tea from Sharetea.
Kiwi fruit tea from Sharetea.

4. Sharetea5336 Geary Blvd

Matcha red bean, brown rice milk, and taro are just a few of Sharetea’s unique flavors. Their tapioca is too chewy in my opinion, but their  flavors are on point. Drinks have a good milk to tea ratio. My personal favorite was the Hokkaido pearl milk tea. It had a rich caramel toffee flavor.  It was a bit salty, but also sweet. If you’re looking for some authentic tapioca drinks, Sharetea is the place to go.

Drinks to try: Hokkaido Pearl Milk Tea, Mango Milk Tea

5. Purple Kow, 3620 Balboa St

Purple Kow has a ridiculously long wait, but that is ok, because their drinks are worth it. And $3 to $4 gets you a huge cup (it will NOT fit in your cupholder). This place has hands down, one of richest flavors of milk tea. The drinks are really sweet and creamy, which is great, because I have big sweet tooth. The texture reminds me of a milkshake. Warning: if you’re not fond of the creamy texture and extreme sweetness, you might get a stomachache, but you can always ask your server to adjust the sweetness or opt for a light flavored milk tea to still enjoy this tasty treat.

Drinks to try: Matcha Green Milk Tea, Honey Milk Black Tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good vibes and music take over Haight Street

DJ Apollo spinning records at the First Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
DJ Apollo spinning records at the First Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)

Throngs of people flocked to Haight Street on Sunday for the 1st Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Festival.

For the adults, there were drink specials at the many bars along Haight Street, an impromptu car show, and three musical stages featuring local artists and DJs. Bigger names like Talib Kweli and Erykah Badu also made appearances to DJ for the massive crowds.

“We have closed down the streets, we’re not allowing any outside vendors because we want people to really come and shop and spend their money on the merchants on Haight Street instead of having outside vendors,” said Katrina Belda, who was providing event information to guests in addition to passing out free balloons to younger festival attendees.

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  • Overall shot of the First Annual Haight St. Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
  • 49er fan poses with a street performer at the First Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
  • Nicky Diamonds (center) at the First Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
  • Orly Locquiao (bottom left) setting up a booth at the First Annual Haight St. Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)

Sponsors FTC, Pink + Dolphin, Diamond Supply Co., and Derby SF orchestrated the inaugural event, and saw that Haight Street from Stanyan to Masonic blocked from traffic. There were activities for all ages, including bounce houses, the aforementioned free balloons, and face painting stations.

The mix of activities brought families, street-wear enthusiasts, and curious neighborhood residents out to the event, which felt more like a huge block party than a festival.

After one DJ opted to play a song with a few curse words in it, he apologized. “They want me to keep it clean and family friendly – which I will, after this song.”

“We do plan to do this annually, and hopefully if this year is good we can keep doing it every year,” said Belda.
Clothing retailers Diamond Supply Co. and Pink + Dolphin, who are both relatively new to Haight – Diamond Supply Co., opened for business in August and Pink + Dolphin will be celebrating their one year anniversary in October – coordinated exclusive merchandise releases in honor of the festival.

The first hundred people in the blocks-long line in front of Pink + Dolphin were rewarded with tickets that granted them access to the exclusive gear the shop was selling.

FTC, which has been in its space at 1632 Haight Street for over 20 years, hosted both skate and BMX demos for curious onlookers.

The festival  – not to be confused with the Haight Ashbury Street Fair that has happened every summer for the last 37 years  – was a collaborative effort between older Haight Street businesses and the newcomers to the street.

And unlike the Haight Ashbury Street Fair, which brings in outside food and merchandise vendors, organizers of the Music and Merchants Festival wanted the event to benefit, well, Haight Street merchants.

Against the Grain

Speakeasy Ales and Lagers Brewery, located at 1195 Evans Avenue in the Bayview District. Apr. 6. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
Speakeasy Ales and Lagers Brewery, located at 1195 Evans Avenue in the Bayview District. Apr. 6. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

Written by Katie Mullen
Photo by Tony Santos

It’s a beautiful Saturday in San Francisco. The sun has come out to play and so have you. You and a group of friends decide that the only thing to compliment the beautiful day at hand is a well-crafted beer. You guys are in luck, you live in a city dotted with some of the finest micro-breweries out there.
Beer has quickly gained popularity in the past seven to ten. More people are learning about it, attempting to make it, and simply drinking more of it. Home brewing was not made legal in the United States until 1978. This is not to say that home brewed beers were a pigment of the imagination though, they were just a well-kept secret.
Now, it seems that every other person you talk to will tell you how they are attempting to brew at home or that on of their friends are. It use to be taboo for girls to drink beer, it was a drink for manly men. It was the alcohol of football games and arm wrestling tournaments, and besides it had too many calories for girls to drink it, right? Well not anymore.
Beer has become a coveted and respected drink. Its no longer just the drink of beer pong and beer bongs. It is a hand-crafted alcohol that people smell before tasting to get a whiff of the hops in it, they sip it and attempt to decipher hints of coffee or hazelnut, perhaps there is a hint of fruitiness or citrus.
Perhaps the most trending type of beer is the infamous IPA, short for India pale ale. You may have head people say, “oh, its so hoppy, I love it!” and may of you may have shook your head agreeing but really had no idea what on earth they were referring to. Well let me break it down for you. Hops are one of the few main ingredients found in all beers. It is simply the flower of a hop plant, which is part of the hemp family. It gives off a bitter taste, which is what many IPA lovers search for. Shockingly, there are over three hundred different types of hops grown anywhere from Germany to California and Washington.
Hops were originally used to balance the beer. Grains that are used in beers are extremely sweet and sugary. So, by adding hops and bitterness, brewers were able to create more of a balanced flavor that was less overwhelming for the drinker. The IPA took that a step further to overpower a beer with the hops.
Here is some information about IPAs to impress your friends with. India pale ales came into existence around the 18th century. A man named George Hodgson would ship beer, his pale ales, from England into India. Because the voyage was long and hops acts as a natural preservative, he would add extra hops in order to help the beer stay fresh. The taste because increasingly demanded and born from the pale ale came India pale ale we know and love today.
Currently, the West Coast IPA has become a new way to brew using the process of dry hopping. Which in short gives you the aroma and flavor of the different hops creating different tastes in beer. This is why no two IPAs will taste the same. And our recommendation would be to try them all!
San Francisco is proud to be the home of Anchor Steam Brewery but it is also home to many other amazing breweries that have somehow remained under the radar for many years. With beer now coming into the social scene, they are gaining popularity and foot traffic but they are still considered local gems.
Some of these breweries are Cellarmaker Brewing Company of Howard St., ThirstyBear Brewing company in the Financial District, and a Giants fan’s home away from home: 21st Amendment. But at the top of the local beer guru’s list would have to be Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, Triple VooDoo Brewery, and Southern Pacific Brewing.
Speakeasy is a locally brewed and mostly locally sold beer. It specialized in Ales and Lagers. Ale beers are brewed from malted barley and yeast. It is fermented very fast, which gives it a fuller taste and is often times fruity. These also contain hops to balance the malt. Lagers ferment much more slowly than ales. They are brewed with bottom fermenting yeast then are stored at cool temperatures to mature their taste. The hops are much easier to taste in a lager than in an ale.
Speakeasy is a fun place to spend a day. Sampling beers and talking to the servers and bartenders that could talk to you for days about the beers they currently have and beers they use to carry. “I love going to Speakeasy not only because I love their beer but because I always seem to learn something about beer whether it be about how it is made, how it is processed, or what is in it,” says Michael Herndon, a previous SF State student now living in the city. If you are interested in the process of how ales and lagers are brewed, the tour would be the place for you to go. But, take a pen and a notepad because brewing is a long and complicated process. Luck for us, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers has it down to a science, literally.
Next on the list would be Triple Voodoo Brewery and Tap Room. If the name alone isn’t enough to draw you in there, you are in luck because I have more information for you. Berkley student and beer enthusiast, Derek Campbell says, “Every time I come into the city, I make it a priority to come into Voodoo. I hate to be corny but I really do think they cast a spell on me or put a potion in their brews or something.”
What is cool about Triple Voodoo is that you can have food from local restaurants delivered to you as you are sitting and enjoying a nice, cold, well-crafted beer. The brewery has sixteen beers on tap that rotate, meaning that they are not all available year round. This is kind of fun because if you are use to drinking a beer but it is not on tap when you go in, you are forced to step outside the box.
And finally, probably the least known and talked about brewery would be Southern Pacific Brewery. This brewery is awesome because it is not what you are expecting when you see the building. It also has some tasty food to compliment the beers they have on tap. One woman’s favorite is the Porter, it is on tap and when that tap runs out, it is gone for a while. “I literally cried one time when I came in here and the Porter tap was gone,” says Raimi Mitchell-Young who lives in the city. “The thought of it was the only thing that got me through my day, it is the best beer I have yet to find in the city, and it was gone!” She also went on to say that the black bean burger and sage fries are to die for.
These breweries only scratch the surface of what San Francisco has to offer the beer obsessed individuals. But to get into it would take hours to read through. The best advice is to start at a microbrewery, spark up a conversation with a bartender or fellow beer drinker, and ask them what other breweries they enjoy. Then the fun part comes, go explore them! There are so many beers out there that it can be daunting, but the more you try, the more you will know and the more you can narrow the search for your personal perfect beer. Beware of the sours though, rumor has it that they grow on you if you can drink a full glass in one sitting, emphasis on the “if”… Now go forth and taste!

What the Fuck is Foraging?

 

very short guide to field editing

Written and illustrated by Nicole Dobarro

With a teasing view of the Golden Gate Bridge peaking out above the fog, my eyes were peeled across acres of foliage while my mind shuffled through the pages of text and photos I read on edible plants. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I separated myself from the whizzing avenues and submerged myself into the “wilderness.” I couldn’t wait to find something to eat.I was nervous. Nervous about being caught, possibly damaging neighboring plants, and poisoning my friends who were coming over for dinner. It was my first time foraging.

There I was in one of San Francisco’s few remaining pockets of greenery, dodging possible eyewitnesses and looking for wild edible plants. I was intrigued by the idea that I could pick my own food and turn it into something delicious.
Foraging can simply mean gathering or harvesting food. It more commonly refers to the act of gathering food from the wild. In fact, it is the most extreme form of eating “local” because you are consuming nature’s gifts directly from the source.
This concept is not exactly new. John Farais, a professional chef and native foods expert told me that foraging goes back to the times of the Native Americans.
However, not until recently has the foraging movement become mainstream. Chefs of gourmet restaurants now forage daily and hipsters have started trying it out too. Interestingly enough, Kevin Feinstein, an author and an avid forager who has been guiding people on wild food walks for about ten years, experienced foraging’s growing popularity around 2009. “I noticed a huge surge of interest after the economy crashed. When everyone started to panic, my business started to double,” says Feinstein.
Getting a free meal sounds incredible, but why would anyone go through the trouble of actually picking it themselves when food can be purchased in pretty little boxes? The reasons are just as diverse as the individuals doing the foraging.
Some foragers grew up picking wild foods and some are just looking for fun and adventure. The foraging community does seem to have a common goal: being conscious of where the food we consume comes from.
Feinstein, who loves hiking but has a background in film, now works with ForageSF as a wild food walk instructor who takes small groups of people into the parks of San Francisco and the East Bay to learn how to forage. In the classes he guides students through the correct way of gathering and cooking wild food. Not until graduating from college did he become aware of how people were treating and consuming food.
“I started to find out about how precarious the nature of our civilization is,” says Feinstein. “Especially when it comes to how unsustainably we’re using the resources of the planet. I became extremely disturbed. I think most of us are kept in the dark about that kind of stuff.”
After his revelation, Feinstein made it a priority to influence how people eat by using his new-found knowledge of horticulture. He attempted to encourage growing your own food by launching a business that installed gardens into backyards.
“Then I realized that people were willing to spend a lot of money, time and effort to make this awesome garden in their backyards, but they wouldn’t eat the food,” says Feinstein. He decided to focus on harvesting what is already available and talk about growing more later.
Unlike Feinstein, Caleb Phillips grew up around the idea that food isn’t something that you buy, it’s something that you grow. But not until college did Phillips realized how much food was being wasted, particularly on the sidewalks of our cities.
“I noticed people didn’t realize that food was growing where they live, outside of their work or their homes. At that moment it become a compelling concept to start mapping out the idea of [Falling Fruit],” says Phillips.
Phillips, who has a background in computer science and wireless networks, founded the website called Falling Fruit with his partner and old college friend Ethan Welty, a glaciologist. The site essentially works like Google Maps where users can search for the location of edible plants by category. Falling Fruit’s data is based on a city or state’s data and user input. If you look carefully, you could even find what’s growing on your block.
While foraging for a meal still seems like a “far out there” concept, the awesome benefits of gathering your own food are undeniable. Phillips, who has made small-time foraging a part of his routine particularly enjoys how foraging connects him to the land. “We don’t realize the world around us. When you go out with the notion of what might be growing right now, it really connects you with what’s going on,” said Phillips.
Feinstein also agrees, “Coming home after a hike to make a meal or nibbling along the way allows you to connect to a place in a whole other way. Wild foods are also better for your health. [Foraged foods] are more nutritious than cultivated foods.” The act and process of foraging is also beneficial to the land.
Farais who works closely with plants native to the Americas and forages for personal benefits says, “Digging up some of the ground airates the soil and creates more seeds, or spreading of spores. Similar to setting land on fire, it levels everything and promotes more growth.”
With the growing awareness of foraging comes growing concerns. These concerns range from amateur foragers destroying the environment, to overharvesting, and the politics of keeping foraging spots secret. The biggest concern seems to be that foragers are going out to the few wilderness spots that are still remaining and are taking the last wild ramps, nettles or anything else they can find.
“If you’re a greedy person that just wants to go out and take everything delicious in the forest and not care about the bigger picture, well screw you. You’re the problem,” says Feinstein. Overharvesting certain spots are also angering old-school foragers who have been visiting the local spots for years.
It’s not just the local foragers who exploit the land but also commercial foragers. Feinstein explains that once a foraged item is placed on the market, the demand remains and companies will do what is necessary to keep up with the demand. Feinstein says that unidentified commercial mushroom foragers, or “shroomers” have allegedly gone into forests and completely raped it of it’s mushrooms. “People have been known to take leaf blowers to the forest floor,” says Feinstein. “But that’s the extreme end of foraging.”
Becoming aware of how plants grow and where to find them generally prevents people from damaging the land in their quest for fresh foods. Wrecking the habitat is a big no-no. “That’s one thing you don’t do if you’re a responsible forager. You leave enough to grow next year and you leave some for the animals,” says Farais.
Feinstein also stressed the importance of picking what nature provides in abundance and what is available regularly. “What is literally out there rotting? What’s going to waste? That’s what you go for,” says Feinstein.
recipe for toastAfter a couple hours of wandering through wild flower patches and swiping through
images of edible weeds on my iPhone, I emerged from my own trail with a handful of nettles, chickweed, radish flowers and the most perfect leaves of Miner’s lettuce. I was excited. I had no idea what I was going to cook with them, but I didn’t really care. I had just gathered my own food in a sustainable way without fail. Even though I did a lot of research before entering the “wild,” or the not-so-wild pieces of land less than a mile away from a road, I was surprised that I found everything I was looking for.
Foraging also felt really damn good. I’m not the kind to enjoy the outdoors. I consider shopping an enjoyable recreational activity, but looking for food was the connecting point between me and nature. And not to get sentimental and sappy, but I’ll never look at that field overlooking the Bay the same again.

 

SF Staples: Dignified Dirty Dogs

By Nicole Dobarro

It’s 3 a.m. and it’s been a long night of inhaling cheap whiskey, tolerating the hoots, hollers, and enduring the judgement of walking barefoot in the Mission because those heels just aren’t worth it. It’s time to go home. But wait…Can it be? That seducing aroma of greasy, grilled meat fills the air as 19th and Mission Streets approach. As if a divine intervention has grasped you and cuddled you into a warm, fuzzy place. You have found the dirty dog cart and nothing has been, or ever will be, more perfect.

Rumored to have originated in Mexico then made popular in Los Angeles, the blessed dirty dog or danger dog (or street dog or Mission dog) has saved us San Franciscans. More often than not the dirty dog rescues us from ridiculous lines at Taqueria Cancun or having to wait for the OWL next to that guy being that guy. And from experience, Lyft drivers will more often let you eat your incredibly messy dirty dog in their car over that burrito because they know what’s up. Living in a society where Americans spend over $1.5 billion on hot dogs (only in grocery stores) last year, it’s safe to say the hot dog holds a place very close to our hearts. Even with the rise of the organic and local movement, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, hot dog sales have actually remained the same. Maybe it’s because of the growth of more health-conscious hot dog brands or maybe it’s because we’re simply addicted to them.

Though eating two to three dirty dogs while squatting on the curb can be incredibly thrilling, why not try it at home where you hopefully have plates and a chair? Cooking at home creates the opportunity to make a dirty dog tastier and dare I say it? Healthier. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are not supposed to be healthy, but when you’re paying four to five bucks (depending on the hour) you just know the quality can’t be that great. This recipe doesn’t call for any specific brand of hot dogs or bacon. Just be aware of what percent of real beef the dogs are made of and reach within your budget. As for produce, buying local and organic is great but anything you can find at Trader Joe’s will work just as well. And don’t be afraid of baking your own bread! It’s surprisingly so easy that it’s silly to buy those rubbery buns that probably also have yoga mat in them.
Making your own dirty dog is a great excuse to show-off to your friends or justify eating five in one sitting, so good luck and happy munching!

Homemade Crusty Hot Dog Buns
(yields about 8 buns)3.5 C all purpose flour
1 C warm water
1/3 C oil
1/3 C sugar
1 yeast packet
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
pat of melted butter
crushed almonds
sea salt
sesame seeds
fennel seeds

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine and mix warm water, oil, sugar, salt and yeast packet. Forget about it for 15 minutes.
3. Beat egg and set aside.
4. After 15 minutes, slowly pour yeast mixture and egg to flour in a large bowl. Mix until well combined.
5. Transfer dough to a surface lightly covered in flour. Knead for 2-3 minutes until bumps disappear.
6. Portion dough into 8 even pieces.
7. Roll into logs(try to resemble the shape of hot dog buns).
8. Place on parchment paper or a greased baking sheet. Brush melted butter on tops of logs and sprinkle with crushed almonds, sea salt, sesame seeds and fennel seeds.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

100% all-beef hot dogs
thick cut bacon
baby bell peppers
onion
pickled jalapenos
kewpie mayo

While the buns are in the oven, prepare the hot dog and toppings:
1. Heat up a greased grill pan. If you don’t have one, a regular pan is fine. If you want that extra crunch, heat up the deep-fryer. YOLO.
2. Wrap the hot dogs with bacon and grill all sides until the bacon is cooked and a nice charred appearance. Remove from grill pan and set aside.
3. Cut 4-8 baby bell peppers and one onion into strips. Grill them until nicely charred on grill pan. Be sure to use the oil released from the hot dogs to cook the veggies.
4. Slice homemade hot dog buns then get to assembling! First goes the bacon-wrapped hot dog, grilled onions and peppers, then top with pickled jalapenos and kewpie mayo if you want to go all out. Then don’t share and enjoy!

**Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker and Bonnie’s 30-Minute Hot Dog Buns, and through trial and error.

Cocktails With a Kick: Winter Sour

Written by Dani Hutton

Elixir–Winter Sour–$11

Have you ever wondered what a Christmas tree tastes like? No, probably not. But, in the event that you’re curious now, it tastes like rosemary. Or vice-versa. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s certainly unusual if you’re not used to it. Despite the interesting element of rosemary oil within Elixir’s Winter Sour, it’s not what makes this drink special. No, that’s the egg whites.

Overall, the Winter Sour isn’t an overly complicated drink on an ingredient level. There are four ingredients: Campari, a type of potable bitters, Meyer lemon juice, egg whites, and rosemary. Muddle the rosemary, juice the lemon, strain the egg white, add the liqueur, shake, serve, and garnish. Seems like a combination that would result in a simple beverage, right?

Wrong. From the first sip, the drink is interesting, although whether it’s in a positive or negative manner, that’s up to your interpretation. The rosemary and Meyer lemon play off of each other heavily, nearly overpowering the other two ingredients. Despite that, the Campari makes an appearance, working with the with the Meyer lemon to add a sweetness that works to make the rosemary less overwhelming.

The egg white does nothing for the taste, but it’s an interesting addition because of what it does to the drink. Once shaken and poured, the egg white forms a frothy head that adds a fizzy layer, which makes the rest of the flavors pop in your mouth for an intense, if not particularly booze-laden experience.

Catching Crabs

Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, shows the difference between a Dungeness crab i(left) and a rock crab (right) in his backyard on the first day of the recreational season, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, shows the difference between a Dungeness crab i(left) and a rock crab (right) in his backyard on the first day of the recreational season, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

Words and photos by Tony Santos

Braving the open sea, wrangling wild animals from the depths of the ocean, and taking the kill home to feast upon the meat.

Ok, it’s no Deadliest Catch, but Daniel Hoffman is regularly enjoying fresh Dungeness crab, caught from the comfort of his kayak.

Every few weeks Hoffman, a biology major at SF State who lives a few minutes drive from Baker Beach, loads his kayak into a pickup truck and heads out to make good on what the San Francisco Bay has to offer.

About two years ago Hoffman started kayak crabbing, adding to the other water-related activities he enjoys. He says crabs are abundant in San Francisco and come in shallow waters to spawn, making them an easy catch.

After sending out his nets and waiting a few minutes in the kayak, Hoffman has his first crab, and continues until he’s satisfied. Pulling in the final net, Hoffman paddles in, packs up, and heads home to unload his equipment and catch.

Arriving home, its time for Hoffman to finish the job.  He boils a pot of water with table salt, measuring only with his eyes, and drops in the sweet crustaceans. Once the crabs are done cooking, they must be cleaned.

Hoffman begins by separating the telson—the pointy-triangle on the bottom—from under the abdomen, allowing the body to be detached from the shell. He then removes the gills and guts from the body, leaving legs, claws and torso meat.

A relaxing day on the water, followed by a meal fit for kings—not bad for a day in the life of a student.

Bon appétit!

  • Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, carries his kayak through is backdoor to load it in his truck. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, carries his kayak through is backdoor to load it in his truck. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, untangles the ropes for his nets before crabbing at Baker Beach Oct. 30, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, untangles the ropes for his nets before crabbing at Baker Beach Oct. 30, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, pulls up a crab net at Baker Beach, Oct. 30, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Daniel Hoffman, senior biology major, pulls up a crab net at Baker Beach, Oct. 30, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • The California Department of Fish and Wildlife requires that Dungeness crab be a minimum five and three quarters of an inch on the widest part of the carapace—the second notch of the shell—in order to be legal. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife requires that Dungeness crab be a minimum five and three quarters of an inch on the widest part of the carapace—the second notch of the shell—in order to be legal for catching. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • To trap the crabs, Hoffman uses nets, similar to basketball nets, that have a smaller, webbed rim on the bottom. When the net hits the ocean floor, the larger top rim collapses flat over the bottom, so crabs can crawl onto the net to nibble on the bait. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    To trap the crabs, Hoffman uses nets, similar to basketball nets, that have a smaller, webbed rim on the bottom. When the net hits the ocean floor, the larger top rim collapses flat over the bottom, so crabs can crawl onto the net to nibble on the bait. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Hoffman lights his portable stove to boil crabs in his backyard on the first day of the recreational season, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Hoffman lights his portable stove to boil crabs in his backyard on the first day of the recreational season, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
  • Hoffman cleaning the crab he caught earlier. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
    Hoffman cleaning the crab he caught earlier. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

Get Your Greens

An example CSA subscription box, put together by Blue House Farms, sits on the back of their truck during a farmers market event in the Mission District. Photo by Kate O'Neal / Xpress.
An example CSA subscription box, put together by Blue House Farms, sits on the back of their truck during a farmers market event in the Mission District. Photo by Kate O’Neal / Xpress.

It’s an expensive lunch in San Francisco. There’s that seven dollar sandwich, that six dollar salad- convenient but hardly satisfying. Fast food has taken away our desire to cook. Many blame it on high produce prices- or simply not having time to shop. With the new trend of “going local” when it comes to food, students of San Francisco State are turning to affordable Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions for their daily dose of vegetables.

A CSA subscription is the equivalent of buying stock in a farm. Subscribers help the farmers to speculate how much to grow for the season. When subscribing to a CSA, customers receive an affordable box of produce anywhere from 7-20 lbs. of seasonal fruits and vegetables to be delivered to their house. “Our weekly rate of $22 gets you between 8 and 10 items from the farm, at prices slightly below what we charge at the farmer’s market,” says Mia Riddle, The CSA coordinator of Blue House Farm.

Inside these produce boxes is a random grab bag of pesticide free, seasonal produce. Although customers won’t know what’s inside their subscriptions until they receive it, they are assured with something even better: fresh produce. “I like it because it is a surprise, you don’t get to pick or choose what you are getting,” says Cat Collins, a SFSU student who receives her CSA box from a farm in Watsonville called Ground Stew. “If you get a bell pepper that is a little bit shriveled that you would never pick up at a farmers market and you cut it open and you see that it is completely fine you really understand there is no reason to be wasting produce.”

Supermarkets provide a colossal amount of produces that shoppers, at times, never anticipated needing.  The USDA estimated in 2012 that collectively supermarkets threw away $15 billion in unwanted fruits and vegetables. CSA subscriptions help lessen this wasteful act. “You get access to much fresher produce than what you’d see at a grocery store, and a chance to help out a small organic farm directly and be part of the movement for a better food system,” says Mia Riddle, the CSA coordinator at Blue House Farm outside Pescadero. Subscribers not only get fresh produce; they help unsold produce find a happy home and a hungry stomach.

It really is up to the eater to decide how much they want to consider their meals before injesting them. Supermarkets will always be available and needed. CSA subscriptions cannot replace them. However as these produce boxes become affordable and available many, shoppers can feel good about supporting a local cause. The risk is really in the surprise – if you’re afraid to try new things, a CSA probably isn’t for you. Many of our subscribers tell me ‘I never tried that before! I loved it!’ and that always makes my day. A CSA has the power to change the way you eat, forever.”