Monday, December 26, 2005

What a Happy Christmas That Was!

(With more than a Nod to William Blake)

And did those beets in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain green?

photograph picture some dark satanic beets

And was the Lamb stew of God M & T
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the gougere divine
Shine forth upon our clouded rain-drenched Potrero hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic beets?

photograph picture some golden beets

Bring me my bowl of burning gold!
Bring me my meatballs of desire!
Bring me my roast beef! O clouds strudel, unfold!
Bring me my empanadas of fire!
I will not cease from each delicious bite,
Nor shall my sword spatula sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

photograph picture image golden beet salad with blood oranges and avocado recipe beet salad

Sam's Seasonal San Francisco Christmas Salad

Rub the skins of some ugly, evil-looking dark satanic beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a pan, covered with foil, in the oven until tender. This takes at least an hour, probably more. Leave beets to cool and then deskin. Refrigerate until chilled. At the same time make sure you have some blood oranges and ripe avocados on chill too. To assemble salad, shortly before serving, thinly slice beets and layer them on the bottom of a plate or bowl. Grate a bold serving of fresh horseradish over them. Next layer thinly sliced avocado on top, followed by supremed slices of blood orange. Crumble some of your favourite blue cheese over the top. Squeeze excess orange juice over the salad, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

photograph picture images christmas dinner for twenty 2005
Yesterday, we had a Christmas dinner for 20 at our friend Vinny's house. It was so much fun and a great mix of people who all brought scrumptious dishes to share. Gougere, freshly made ricotta, lamb stew with noodles, meatballs, empanadas, potato pie, strudel, roast beef, horseradish cream, salads, cheese, mashed celeriac, cheesecake, cookies galore and choux puffs filled with burnt caramel pot de creme. Secret Santa was followed by sessions of karaoke and rock guitar on the Play station. Outside it was so warm and raining so hard that I decide the best footwear for walking the one block to Vinny's house was nothing more than a pair of flip-flops. It wasn't a traditional Christmas, but it was certainly a good one.

PS. Becks & Posh is going to take an eight day break. Have a Happy New Year and see you in 2006.

PPS. A thought just crossed my mind: How come Arnie is against killing a goose for its liver, but will do nothing to save the life of an imprisoned human being?

Archive Alert! On this date in 2004: Home cured Gravadlax on Loft-cooked Potato Chips.

| | | | | |
What a Happy Christmas That Was!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A French Christmas Eve

In San Francisco

photograph picture of an empty Foie Gras tin

I had the pleasure of spending Christmas Eve in the company of six French people. I always wondered about how the French do Christmas.

photograph picture of Fatted Calf Guinuea Fowl Rilette
How to abruptly stop six French people from talking French: Give them some Fatted Calf Truffled Guinea Hen Rillettes. Sigh. Peace for the approximately 37 seconds it took everyone to demolish the entire portion.

photograph picture collage of foie gras
How to eat really good foie gras on Christmas Eve (and lots of it): Make friends with a Frenchman whose father agrees to send a humongous slab of foie in the mail, simply labeling it "gift", for the sake of customs. Yes! It really does work. (Remember: Be polite and try to make sure to leave just enough for the gracious hosts to have some for breakfast the next morning.)

photograph picture collage christmas eve 2005
Drink wine, eat duck, eat potatoes cooked in duck fat and champignons, followed by the best Buche de Noel in the world (details to follow, one day, I hope).

Mercie a Del et Presd, the gracious hosts. I can't believed Del blogged it before me. And, to the rest of the world, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Archive Alert! On this date in 2004 How Fred Made me Cry.

| | |
A French Christmas Eve

Saturday, December 24, 2005


You Guys Rock!

photograph picture a menu for hope

Thank you to everybody who contributed to and took part in the Menu for Hope.
Thanks especially to Pim for inspiring us all to do a little good in the world. Thank you to all my kind sponsors (currently listed on the right) who contributed to the cause. If I did my maths correctly, Becks & Posh prizes raised over $2,000.

Archive Alert! On this date in 2004: Holiday Greetings!

| | | |

Friday, December 23, 2005

Your Last Chance

To Make a Little Difference in the World...

photograph picture a menu for hope...and win some fabulous food prizes. Today we are giving one last push to our Menu For Hope Campaign which is raising money for Unicef to help victims in stricken areas of Pakistan and India.

Consider how much a year's subscription to a food magazine can cost these days: $30 or $40. Collectively, food blogs the world over can give as pleasure as any food magazine. Recipes are searchable, updates are more often than once a month, the photographs can be just as mouthwatering and professional-looking, restaurant news is more up-to-date and the degrees of specialisation about all aspects of food are manifold. If you read food blogs regularly and are going to continue to do so in 2006, please consider making a donation, today, to the cause we are supporting. If you can, please donate whatever our community is worth to you, in lieu of there being a subscription to read what we write. Any amount, from $5 up, will not only make a difference in someone's life, it will also give you a chance to win a great prize. The choice is yours:

In the Bay Area Becks & Posh are offering two prize packages that will knock your socks off. Check out The Ferry Building Bonanza and The Hungry Bay Hopper. For readers further afield, why not bid on the chance to win a bunch of local food books including one from Thomas Keller.

Head over to the organizer's site Chez Pim, for more details, or check out the full round up of prizes, here on Becks & Posh. Thank you very much, everyone, for all your support over the last year, I hope to serve you as well in 2006.

PS Fiji Fridays will return in 2006.

Archive Alert! On this date in 2004: Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany.

| | | |
Your Last Chance

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Desiree in The Presidio...

... to close its doors

Desiree closing closes closed - To the faithful friends of Desiree December 23rd will be our last day of operation as Desiree in the Presidio. We want to sincerely thank you for your loyal patronage over the last five years. It has been a privelege to provide the local community with sustainable cuisine prepared with love, foster an environment to nuture and educate our staff of young culinary minds and to contribute to the development of the Presidio National Park. Thank you all for contributing to our success. We have enjoyed providing you with delicious meals and hope to serve you again in the near future.

When I found out that the company I work for was moving from Marin to San Francisco's Presidio, I was really happy that at last I would be able to try out Anne Gingrass's Cafe, Desiree, that I had read so many good things about. In the last few months I have visited Desiree several times and eaten some excellent sandwiches, salads and desserts there. They even had a jar of Cote D'or bouchee 'elephants' which recreated a happy childhood memory for me. I will never forget my first visit to Desiree, studying Anne, as she created a delicious chicken salad crepe at the open kitchen counter. She was concentrating hard on the task in hand, to the point of almost looking miserable. Then, as I watched, someone she knew entered the sunny space of her cafe. As Anne looked up to greet the customer, her face burst into the brightest, sunniest smile you could ever hope to be welcomed with. I am glad I had the chance to experience Desiree.

photograph picture of a bacon and egg brunch sandwich from Desiree Cafe in the Presidio in Francisco

It sounds like Anne might have future plans up her sleeve. Keep an eye on the Desiree website to be posted on developments.

In the meantime we have news that Ray Tang's new joint is slated to open in the Spring, in the Presidio, so at least those working and living in the area have some new lunch options to look forward to.

PS. Please continue to support our Menu For Hope Campaign. Have you donated yet?

Archive Alert! On this date in 2004: Brunch at Cafe Bastille.

| | | | | |
Desiree in The Presidio...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Spirit of Christmas

Bah! Humbug!

photograph picture image of sam breach christmas 1968
The author, Christmas 1968

After pondering on what the Spirit of Christmas means to me for several days, my memory was eventually jogged by nothing more complex than a smell. Arriving at my office one Monday morning to find they had decorated the lobby with a tree and other decorations, I was immediately struck by the strong smell of fresh pine needles. Suddenly it felt like Christmas was just around the corner.

Christmas in my homeland, England, always felt more real to me than it does here in my adopted City of San Francisco. Maybe it's the chill temperature and the outside chance it might snow. Maybe it's the fact that British Children leave a cheeky glass of sherry and a Mince Pie for Father Christmas instead of the far less intoxicating milk and cookie that the American kids believe Santa prefers. I am surprised the youngsters here aren't complaining more often that they get the wrong presents. Surely the old boy in the red and white bobble hat must be drunk to the point of comatose by the time he crosses the Atlantic?

Since moving to the US, despite trying hard to forge my own traditions, Christmas has never felt quite right for me. Although a part of me longs to be in the bosom of my family for this grand, once a year feast, most of the things (crackers excepted) that are typically found at a British yuletide lunch have always failed to impress me . I don't care much for turkey, I detest brussel sprouts and as a kid I found every manner of vegetable abhorent, except for the delicious roast potatoes which, along with the bread sauce and the gravy, would have been the only things on my plate had my mother allowed.

I didn't fare any better when it came to dessert. My lifetime aversion to raisins, sultanas and currants meant mince pies were out and the christmas pudding, burning with blue flames after being doused in brandy, was nothing more than an interesting spectacle. Hic, hic. There go the Brits, adding alcohol into the mix again. But talking of spirits, all is never lost on that count if your mother made it up to you with a good old sherry trifle. Maybe that's what I need to whip up for myself this year, to bring back a little bit of seasonal essence to my Bah! Humbug-heart.

This musing was taken from an interview with Andrew Barrow that first appeared on Slashfood.

PS There is nothing bah humbug about me when it comes to supporting this good cause. Have you made a donation to Unicef yet?

Archive Alert! On this date in 2004: Small Shed Flatbreads in Mill Valley.

| | |
The Spirit of Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ile Flottante de Brunch Américain

avec lardons caramélisé, essence de champignon "Candy Cap" et sirop d'érable

photograph picture of Isle Flotant de Brunch Américain

Blog appétit édition#06 - Une émotion face aux champignons

Pardon - aujourd hui je parle tres mal Francais pour blog appetit. Une émotion? Fred m'a dit c'est pas possible aver L'amour d'un champignon. Mais j'aime les champignons. Quand j'etait une petite fille je n'acheter pas les bonbons mais les champignons avec mon argent poche. Amour? Fred a dit puis "tu ne peut pas faire l'amour avec un champignon". Ah, je ne sais pas, Francais est trop difficile pour moi. En Anglais c'est tres facile: Je LOVE les champignons et je LOVE l'amour!

Ok, ok. Ce n'est pas une recette finale mais une idée que je veux developer.

Premierment faire une creme Anglaise infusee avec de l'essence de champignons "candy cap".
Deuxiement, cuire les lardons emincer avec une petite cuillere de sucre pour fair caramélisé. Ils sont delicieux!
Troisiement, pour l'ile, bat les blanchs d'oeufs et puis je melange les lardons caramélisé avec les oeufs. Mettre dans un ramekin et puis dans un bain marie et puis dans le four pour 40 minutes.

Avant de servir, demouler la "meringue de lardons caramélisé" sur la creme Anglaise, ajouter le sirop d'érable. Interessant!

Le Menu de l'Espoir en Francais ici.

A Menu for Hope 2, in English here

Archive Alert! On this date in 2004 The secret stash of Foie Gras.

| | |
Ile Flottante de Brunch Américain

Monday, December 19, 2005

Over 65 Wonderful Food Prizes

A Menu for Hope Roundup

photograph picture Menu for Hope 2 I hope you liked the prizes we put together, with the help of many generous local vendors, to try and encourage you into making a donation to Unicef to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Indian and Pakistan. We hope local readers are tempted by the varied free dining out options in the Hungry Bay Hopper prize or perhaps the chance to try out all sorts of great local produce in the Ferry Building Bonanza. Readers from further afield can have a taste of the San Francisco area in the form of Food Food Books from the Bay delivered to their door anywhere in the world. Once you have put a bid in for this trio of goodies, take a look at all the other gifts available from generous food bloggers all over the globe. Read through the list and be prepared to drop a fiver more to the cause. Cast your eye over this stunning list of food prizes, SOME OF THEM ARE YET TO ATTRACT ANY BIDDERS...

manresa eggFirst up, Pim, the tireless organiser of these fund raising efforts is offering a $200 gift certificate towards a meal at Manresa, headed up by her 4 star chef boyfriend David Kinch. If you win this prize, you too could be tucking in to one of his famous eggs. Read Pim's first ever review of Manresa here to see how the love affair began. [Cheeky aside: On second thoughts, perhaps you shouldn't bid on this particular prize, that way I have more of a chance of winning it for myself...]

 The Eiffel Tower November 2005 photo by Sam And FredPrizes from Paris and France.
Vivilicious from A Life in food not only gives you the opportunity to shadow Michelin-star chef Stéphane Molé of Les Ormes in Paris for the day, you also score one of my own personal favourite kitchen appliances, the Salter Electronic scale. Wow!
Eat Berthillon ice cream, in Paris, with David Lebovitz and take home a signed copy of his Chocolate Book.
Louisa of Movable Feastwill prepare you a personalized Fixer's guide to Paris.
Picnic on Pierre Herme pastries in Paris with Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini.
Michèle from Oswego Tea wants to share Mariage Freres Tea with the winner of her giveaway.
Meg and Brett from Too Many Chefs have put together a goodie basket of French products to include foie gras, sea salt, snails and more.
Kate Hill from French Kitchen Adventures offers a basket full of gourmet treasures from her adopted home in Gascony.
Pascale from C'est moi qui l'ai fait has donated a gourmet box of a cool Zyliss peeler and some fancy chocolates from the fabulous chocolatier Michel Cluizel in Paris.
Le Menu de l'Espoir en Francais ici.

 slice pizza blog logoPrizes from New York
The Hungry Rose will take you on an historic tour of Chinatown restaurants in NYC.
Slice, the definitive blog on all things pizza have two prizes up for grabs: An invitation for two to a Slice Grilled Pizza party at their headquarters in New York or a pizza stone, pizza peel, and Peter Reinhart's American Pie, to be mailed to your home.
Or how about starring in a New York Foodie video with Amateur Gourmet Adam and his Amateur Gourmette Lisa?

 rose wine image by SamBoozey Prizes.
Eve, the Chocolate Lady offers up a bottle of vodka infused with Buddha Hand Citron.
Alder of Vinography will create a customized Napa or Sonoma Wine Country Tour Itinerary just for you.
Beau of Basic Juice will fly a free wine class to you and up to ten of your friends in any US or Canadian metropolitan city. Very Cool!
Winemonger are offering a mixed case of 6 Austrian wines for you to try.

 Life begins at 30 photograph by JasonPhotographic Prizes
Win a Set of lovely produce prints from Jen and Jason at Life Begins at 30.
Or how about a food photography lesson with Heidi Swanson in San Francisco?

Sam and Fred's PantryInternational Pantry Prizes.
Belly Timber's Island Insanity Gift Package.
A Persian Pantry, or a Persian meal from Fatemeh of Gastronomie.
A gourmet basket with all the ingredients needed to make a traditional Kashmiri meal from Brett of In Praise of Sardines.
A gift pack of foods from Seattle and Paris plus your choice of one of Viv's current favourite cookery books from Seattle Bon Vivant.
Shauna James of Gluten Free Girl offers a Seattle food basket: smoked salmon; organic coffee; Fran's gray salt caramels and a copy of Tom Douglass' cookbook.
Keiko of Nordljus is giving a green tea, Matcha, from Japan plus a recipe for one of her own matcha desserts.
Alice of Epicurean Debauchery is offering a Make-Your-Own Sushi Starter Kit with roller mats, a shamoji, recipes and some seaweed and wasabi.
Megan of I Heart Bacon has donated a Casina Rossa Truffle Salt to the cause.
Sarah of Slash Food has put together a basket full of gourmet goodies from Oregon.
Nupur of One Hot Stove would like to share a Chai Hamper containing everything you'd ever need to make heavenly and authentic Indian Chai.
Al, the City Hippy, offers a set of fair-trade goodies, with a box of Clipper Organic tea bags, Organic Fairtrade Ground Coffee and a jar of Organic Hot Chocolate.
Aki and Alexander of Ideas in Food are giving two bottles of Blis maple syrup: one bourbon barrel aged and one infused with Tahitian Vanilla bean.
A box of Japanese fare is on offer from Obachan. The box contains very hard to find items like dried Yuzu zest and Anko azuki bean paste powder.
Un Menu por la Esperanza, Espagnol.

chocolate grapefruit tarragonChocolate Treats
Rachael of Fresh Approach Cooking has a delicious-sounding Jin Patisserie 12 Piece Box to give away.
Here and There have a box of Deb's Delectables to give away.
Little Fancies not only has a surprise tool and a book to give away, she is also tempting us with homemade truffles.
Beatrice from La Tartine Gourmande is offering 3 bars of the excellent New Tree chocolate from Belgium.

elise simply recipes apple butterHomemade Prizes
Elise of Simply Recipes is giving away two jars of her homemade apple butter.
Vanessa, she who craves, has donated a homemade jar of marmalade.
Amy Cooking with Amy with give the Very Maple Syrup cookbook and her very special homemade Maple Nut Granola.
Bilbo's surprise includes some of the Biscotti mom makes.
Charlotte from Love & Cooking will include Home made truffles and lemon curd.

A little lamb to call your own...
Farmgirl Susan's new born lamb
Farmgirl Susan is offering the unique opportunity to become the "honary owner" of one of next Spring's new born lambs. That means ewe get to name the newborn. (It doesn't mean that lambsie comes to live in your inner-city appartment.)

recipe booksFood and Recipe Books Galore
Rachael of Fresh Approach Cooking has managed to get together two sets of Chronicle Cook Books and Menu Cards.
Wena of Mum Mum: Nonya cooking, Foods of my childhood : Penang Nyonya Cooking by Cecilia Tan
Derrick of Obsession with Food: one year subscription to The Art of Eating magazine.
Melissa of The Traveler's Lunchbox: Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.
Owen of Tomatilla: Digital Dish, Five Seasons of the freshest recipes and writing from food blogs around the world.
Stephanie of the Happy Sorceress:Giada de Laurentis's new book.
Sweetnicks :Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.
Faith Kramer of Blog Appetit: Bouchon cookbook
Luisa, The Wednesday Chef: Anne Willan's Cooked to Perfection.
recipe books from A la CuisineClement of A La Cuisine!: The Cook's Book by Jill Norman and three jars of Anton Kozlik's Canadian mustard.
Anne of Anne's Food: Swedish Cakes and Cookies.
Christina, of the Thorngrove Table: Barbara Santich's The Original Mediterranean Cuisine: Medieval Recipes for Today.
Laura of Cucina Testa Rossa: autographed Jacques Pepin, Fast Food My Way book.
Kate of Accidental Hedonist: Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and Marcella Says... : Italian Cooking Wisdom.
Andrew of Spittoon: Cook Until Desired Tenderness by Cleo Papanikolas.
Barbara at Tigers and Strawberries: Hunan Style Chinese Cookbook and Sichuan cookbook Land of Plentyby Fucsia Dunlop.
Judy at Divina Cucina: a copy of her very own cookbook.
Miss Ginsu of the Hedonista: a t-shirt and a copy of James Peterson's Essentials of Cooking.
Silverbrow of Silverbrow on Food: The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard, The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden.
Hillary of Blonde Food: Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook.
Paige at Chef-Girl:The Food Lover’s Trail Guide to Albertaand its sequel, The Food Lover’s Trail Guide to Alberta: volume 2.

recipe booksMiscellaneous Foodie Items
A Wusthof Classic Paring Knife from Rachael at Fresh Approach Cooking.
Gerald of Foodite is offering a Benriner Kanechi Slicer.
VK from My Dhaba is helping out by donating a treasured cast iron Kadai. One of my favourite prizes.
Decent Content is giving a $100 gift certificate to spend at CB2, a new offshoot of Crate and Barrel.
Noodlepie in Vietnam is offering a copy of Saigon Street Cast DVD and some vietnamese coffee...

To enter for all or any of these prizes, click on the donate to Unicef button. Make sure you state which prize or prizes you are interested in the comments section when you make your donation. You can make as many donations as you like, as many times as you like. Each entry for a prize requires a donation of $5.

Thank you for your generosity.

PS. Good luck everyone!

Archive Alert! On this day in 2004 Naan and Curry in the Tenderloin

| | | |
Over 65 Wonderful Food Prizes

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Giving & Receiving

(Both Feel Good)

photograph picture of lovely leftovers

A few weeks ago I entered a competition on Slashfood. The challenge was do something creative with Thanksgiving leftovers. I used a leftover vegetable side dish of braised chard with pine nuts to make an omelette which I cut into circles and stacked up with toast and Fatted Calf bacon before topping with cheese and bubbling under the grill. The fun part was in trying to create a fancy presentation out of a fairly normal dish. It looks like I succeeded! Slashfood announced that I was one of the winners and promptly sent me a $50 Amazon voucher. Cooking with Amy was at my house the other night where she solemnly declared I didn't have nearly enough cookbooks so I put the voucher to good use and increased my collection to include Michael Recchiuti's Chocolate Obsession and Real Food, because it's about time I got to know Nigel Slater.

Around Christmastime, we all think a lot about giving. This year I decided, that instead of giving physical presents, I would give my friends and family entries into the Menu For Hope draw. It was really fun choosing a potential prize to suit each individual. I just thought I'd share the idea incase there is a friend you having trouble finding a gift for. Maybe for them, a donation to Unicef is the answer.

Thank you for your generosity.

| | |
Giving & Receiving

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bay Area Blog of the Week # 27

 Sfist Logo Today I am pimping up the food section of local blog SFist. In fact - I am even going to go so far as point you in the direction of a specific post I wrote for them that features a fabulous bunch of local food bloggers all rallying together for a good cause!

Don't forget, too, that SFist has several regular features that will be of interest to local fans of food and drink. Read Ced's Gastronomique, for restaurant news, me for my Alphabetical restaurant reviews, A to Zed and Drew for his Staggering Through the Fog, about getting drunk in San Francisco.

And for those of you who aren't in the Bay Area, there is a food feature with more of a global appeal. Derrick reports back on the produce he finds at the market each week, including recipes and tips about how to cook the featured item in his Kitchen series.

Thank you for your generosity.

Previously Featured Bay Area Food & Drink Bloggers:
Chez Pim | The Blue Bottle Clown College | The Novato Experiment | Amuse Bouche | Feeding Fashionistas | All In | Dr Five Pints | SF Gourmet | Small Farms | In Praise of Sardines | Life Begins @ 30 | Gastronomie | Confessions of a Restaurant Whore | Bunny Foot | Sweet & Savory | I'm Mad and I Eat | Yummy Chow | Nosheteria | Vivi's Wine Journal | Epicurian Debauchery | Food Musings | Pfiff | Marga's Food Blog | Where the Wild Things Are | Eggbeater

| | | |
Bay Area Blog of the Week # 27

Friday, December 16, 2005

Exotic Fruits

photograph picture image of bananas, papaya, pineapple and banana flowerAt Home in Their Natural Habitat

If you are one of those people who tries to eat locally as much as possible, the chances are that, unless you live in a tropical climate, bananas, papayas and pineapples are not on your menu often.

photograph picture image of bananas, papaya, pineapple and banana flower

If you visit somewhere tropical like Fiji, those fruits you consider to be exotic become the norm. At the end of two weeks, you might even find yourself longing for a plum, a fig or a strawberry. These photographs were taken on the island of Kuata in the Yasawas.

Previously on Fiji Fridays:
Forbidden Food | Nature's Communal Oven | Nama Sea Grapes |

PS. Please consider supporting our efforts to raise money to help Unicef's efforts to send earthquake relief to India and Pakistan. Anyone who gives a donation will have the chance of winning a great prize. Read more details about each prize package here: For Bay Area locals we have The Ferry Building Bonanza and the Hungry Bay Hopper. Our International readers might like the chance to win some fantastic food books from the Bay.

Archive Alert! This time last year" E.Guittard Chocolate

| | |
Exotic Fruits

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hungry Bay Hopper - Menu For Hope 2

The Perfect Prize Package for Adventurous Locals
Lunch at Tabla | Hangar One Tastings | Fizzy Lizzy Soda | Tante Marie Cooking Demonstrations | Dinner at Tres Agaves | Dinner at Couleur Cafe

photograph picture Menu for Hope 2 Perhaps you have noticed by now that Food Bloggers all over the world have pulled together to raise money for Unicef's efforts to help out Earthquake-stricken area of India and Pakistan. Here at Becks & Posh there are three prize packages up for grabs. We hope, that by tempting people with the opportunity to win the gifts our kind sponsors have generously donated, the people who enjoy our food blog will make a donation to Unicef.

Today I am featuring Prize #1, The Hungry Bay Hopper. I asked some of my favourite Bay Area food vendors to help me out. I wasn't prepared for the eagerness and generosity with which they all responded and gave to help this great cause. Please join me as I guide you through this amazing selection of goodies, some of my favourite things, that could all be yours with a donation...

photograph picture Tabla MarinUntil last Summer I worked in Marin. When my company moved to the City I knew the only thing I would really miss about not having to trek 16 miles over the Golden Gate Bridge every day would be Tabla. At least once a week, Fred and I would visit Tabla for lunch. Not only is the food delicious, it is all bought from local sustainable sources. Imaginative salads, fancy filled dosa and divine desserts, whoever wins in this prize is in for a real treat. We absolutely love the dosa with spicy potatoes, spinach and egg, followed by one of their dense chocolate brownies or their mint chocolate ice cream. If you win, lunch for 4, please will you take me? (Just kidding.) We still drive the 30+ mile round trip there for lunch some times, how can we resist?

Posts that reference Tabla: Mum would Love | Duck Confit | Beautiful | Local | Spring Colour

photograph picture Hangar One Vodka Over the bridge, at Alameda in the East bay, you will find Hangar One, a small company with an amazing selection of carefully made liquors. You might consider a taxi or a designated driver when you find out what is in store if you win this prize. Hangar One make some of the best vodkas I have ever imbibed and you could soon be trying them too. The lucky winner and 5 friends will be treated to a free tasting from their wide range of spirits with a total of three complimentary bottles to take home*. [*Excluding the limited release items, De Profundis and Heirloom]. I love their raspberry vodka so much, that last year I awarded them First Prize in the 2005 Independent Festival and Food Awards. Hangar One will hopefully have a couple of new products to check out by the time you pick up your prize. Tempted yet?

Posts that reference Hangar One: In the Beginning | Jammy Vodka | Truffles | In Vegas
photograph picture fizzy lizzy grapefruit
Fizzy Lizzy are my favourite most recent discovery. Until about 6 weeks ago I was precisely the kind of girl who totally shunned soda of any kind. Well, not quite. I have been known, it's true, to have been taken in by some fancy packaging, an unusual colour or a tempting sounding flavour combination of various sodas and I have tried quite a few. But! I have never stuck with any of them, until I discovered Fizzy Lizzy Grapefruit. This has everything I am looking for in a soda: Grapefruit, natural ingredients, the colour pink and a mild fizz. Better still, everything I am not looking for a soda isn't there. No corn syrup, no added sugar - hooray! I really can't get enough of this soda. It quenches my thirst completely. It's perfect. It's hard for me to get over my grapefruit obsession so, apart from the sweet-treat raspberry lemonade I haven't tried any other of their flavours, yet. Maybe the winner of this prize package will be able to report back on some of the other tastes when they've picked up a complimentary mixed case of Fizzy Lizzy Juices from their nearest Wholefoods.

photograph picture tante marie cooking school Earlier this year I took a Local, Artisanal cooking class at Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco. I had such a lot of fun, I can't wait to sign up for another course. I resisted the pressures of work and turned down social engagements for four hours every week whilst I listened to local Artisans talk about their produce before teaming together with my class-mates to cook and then feast on delicious recipes. Tante Marie have kindly donated five of their afternoon Demonstration Classes for our lucky winner to enjoy.

Posts that reference Tante Marie: Guess Who? | Risotto | Something Fishy

photograph picture tres agaves san francisco After all that hard work you will deserve someone else cooking for you. Not far from the Embarcadero, close to the Ballpark, Tres Agaves, a high end Tequila bar serving Jaliscan food has recently just opened. It's loud, it's noisy, it's huge and it's full of people who know how to have good fun and enjoy themselves. What's more, they are serving some of the most interesting Mexican food in the City. Everything we tried on our recent visit was delicious, particularly the slow-roasted Pork carnitas, the spit-roasted chicken and the grilled corn. Our winner and 3 guests will be able to share a great meal, family style, courtesy of Tres Agaves. Oh - and of course, don't forget to try the Tequila!

photograph picture couleur cafe potrero hill san francisco Sometimes dining out is less about the food and more about the welcome. Fred and I are regulars in Belden Lane, a little street in central San Francisco packed with European restaurants and outside cafe tables. There we met Thierry who until recently was the manager at Plouf, a French restaurant specialising in mussels. We were upset when we found out that Thierry, my favourite manager in town, was leaving to head up his own new business, but then delighted to find out his new place would be in our own neighbourhood. If you are familiar with Chez Maman, you will find that Couleur Cafe is in the same vein. Reasonably priced small plates, salads, sandwiches, burgers and French cafe fare. Best of all, Couleur is open until 3am from Wednesday through Saturday - the perfect place to stop for a late night snack. The short wine list is very reasonably priced and you can be sure that Thierry will give you the warmest of welcomes. Couleur is open for breakfast and brunch too. Our prize winner will enjoy dinner for two, courtesy of Thierry and his team.

For the chance to win this fabulous prize package, please donate to Unicef by clicking on the following button. You will have one entry for every $5 you give. Important - If you would like to win this particular prize, please be sure to specify "Hungry Bay Hopper" in the comments section when you make your donation. If you want to first check out the other prizes I have up for grabs look here and here.

Thank you for your generosity.

PS. Thank you, everyone, for your support so far. Please feel free to forward details of this fundraising campaign to any food-loving friends in the Bay Area.

Archive Alert! On this day in 2004 The Seafood Pasta Kitchen in San Rafael had just opened.

| | | |
Hungry Bay Hopper - Menu For Hope 2