aboutWe are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
Browse by Travel
Browse by Food
TheRoadUnleashed.com
Tag: Global Cuisine
picnic at the presidio
in san francisco

Picnic at the Presidio

Picnic at the Presidio

It sounded too good to be true: good food and drinks, stunning views overlookign the Golden Gate Bridge, baby friendly, and completely free.  But, Off the Grid's Picnic at the Presidio in San Francisco met all our expectations and more.  In fact, it was one of the best foodie events we have been to this year.

Off the Grid ups the game for the food truck lover.  They organize and work with hundreds of food trucks and food vendors across San Francisco to organize and coordinate food trucks at different locations.  They've got a brilliant constantly updated map that shows the location of food truck vendors across the city.  And, they run special weekly events throughout the year, including a twilight event at the Presidio and a Friday weekly market at Fort Mason Center.

Dogs at the Picnic at the Presidio Picnic at the Presidio
Picnic at the Presidio
Picnic at the Presidio Picnic at the Presidio

Views of Picnic at the Presidio, including the bar and Bubbly Bar

We headed to Picnic at the Presidio on a glorious Sunday afternoon, sun and warmth replacing San Francisco's usual buffeting wind and fog.  We flung aside our fleeces and meandered through the Presidio's Main Lawn, unsure of which of the thirty vendors we should visit.  People sipped on champagne and mimosas, purchased from the Bubbly Bar, and beer and wine from the main bar in the center of the lawn. 

Amara trying pierogis Amara trying pierogis
Pierogi truck at the Picnic at the Presidio Pierogis at the Old World Food Truck
Creme Brulee cart Creme Brulee Cart
Amara trying creme brulee Patrick and Amara at the Picnic at the Presidio

Picnic at the Presidio

Behind me, a group of food lovers debated the respective merits of Napa Valley Merlots and Rieslings, while we tasted and judged our own food.  Funny thing is that we're definitely raising a foodie.  This kid will clamp her lips shut if you try to give her frozen fish nuggets but will happily devour an adult's portion of $12 per pound North Georgia smoked trout.  And, truth be told, most of her food choices are the exact ones that we would have picked.

Her winners at the Picnic at the Presidio were our winners, as well.  Amara was so delighted with Patrick's pierogis from the Old World Food Truck --- creamy, soft, and delicately spiced potato dumplings --- that we barely got bites. She wasn't impressed with my lemongrass tofu on a vermicelli salad from the Little Green Cyclo Vietnamese truck and I agreed that the flavors were bland and uninspired, lacking in punch and spice.  We rounded out our meals with vanilla and nutella and strawberry creme brulees from the Creme Brulee Cart and all of us preferred the cleaner and lighter vanilla option.  The fresh strawberries in the nutella creme brulee muddied the texture and flavor of that creme brulee.

But, honestly, those are just nitpicks.  I would suggest Picnic at the Presidio even if the food wasn't good, and, for the most part, it was good.  It was one of those lovely events --- full of good food, drinks, pups, babes, and happy people in the bright sunshine --- that I wish every city had.

. . . keep reading picnic at the presidio in san francisco after the jump

5 comments

the atlanta food and wine festival
delicious southern

Peach sliders at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2014

Peach sliders from Revolution Donuts

Recently, I was telling a friend about how I was at Ben & Jerry's on a press trip and heading to the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival for media coverage.  They laughed and said that it didn't sound like "work." 

It is work.  It's just that I happen to have a great job.

Every now and again, I pinch myself to make sure that this is real.

Andouille sausage with polenta Crab benedict
Peach and ricotta dumplings
Pancakes Empire breakfast at AF&WF

Empire Breakfast at Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

I landed head-first into this whole writing thing, because a passion for food, travel, and writing came together on this personal pet project, and people liked what I had to say.

Passion rules the world, yes?  And, when, we are passionate, we produce great things.  It's the story of humanity. 

And, it's the story I heard over and over again at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

French Broad Chocolates Olive & Sinclair chocolates

                                                                                                                                 French Broad and Olive & Sinclair chocolates

Dan and Jael Rattigan quit law school and business school to hit the road and head to Costa Rica where they started a small chocolate shop and bakery that quickly became popular with the expats.  After a few years, they moved to Asheville, North Carolina to open up the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, one of the best chocolate shops we've ever visited.  At the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, they presented a talk on Sipping Chocolates, and we tasted a maple and smoked sea salt Liquid Truffle.  The silky smooth ganache floated on the tongue and the smoked sea salt contrasted beautifully with the velvety sweet maple syrup. 

Olive & Sinclair chocolates

Olive & Sinclair chocolates

Like French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Cacao Atlanta and Olive & Sinclair are bean-to-bar chocolate makers, starting with finding high quality cocoa beans across Central and South America, importing those beans, and producing their own beautiful chocolate.  They are working to change the way we look at chocolate, developing something purer and more complex than the typical Hershey bar.  I took a Raw Chocolate class with Kristen Hard of Cacao Atlanta and we learned how to taste chocolate as the master chocolate makers do; it's an intense process where we compared and contrasted quality, style, flavor, and texture.

 

. . . keep reading the atlanta food & wine festival 2014 recap after the jump

12 comments

balsamic glazed cipollines

Balsamic glazed cipolline onions

Venice is still busy in November.  There are tourists everywhere in the bright and sunny days.  (Though, is there ever a time when the tourists leave Venice altogether?  Probably not.)  We like the November evenings better than the summer evenings.  There's less heat, humidity, and stench.  I pull my fleece jacket close around my shoulders and Patrick zips his up to his neck. 

We walk away from the Grand Canal, into small narrow alleyways, away, away, away from the noise.  We see a small door against a wall, light shining out as the door opens and closes, and men with half-filled wine glasses and burning cigarettes standing right before the entry, ushering us in with wafts of noxious smoke.  The decor is minimal, with a few wooden benches and tables crammed against the corner of a wall and men and women standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the long bar. 

Balsamic cipollines

We immediately see the attraction.  Cichetti are arrayed in platters and bowls across the bar.  There is a good variety at this one: peperoni grigliata --- grilled and peeled red bell peppers; baccala --- pureed salted dried cod; carciofi grigliata --- artichoke hearts, marinated and grillled; mozzarella e pomodoro --- fresh balls of mozzarella with sliced tomatoes; bruschetta with prosciutto; calamari; and more. 

Balsamic cipollines

Cipolline onions Cooking cipollines

And, there are the cipollines al aceto balsamico, or balsamic glazed cipolline onions.  The first bite surprises us.  Our mouths pucker from the vinegar and then relax as we taste the underlying sweetness of the reduced balsamic vinegar.  We try another bite.  This time we are prepared for the sensations of vinegar and sweet and we feel the texture.  Soft, billowing layers of onions melt against our tongue and we catch hints of rosemary and butter.  We go back to the counter and order them all.

And, we return the next night and order all the cipollines again.

balsamic cipollines

When we came back to the United States, I tried a whole host of balsamic glazed cipolline recipes including ones from Mario Batali, Deb from the Smitten Kitchen, and Bon Appetit magazine.  None of them had the puckering sweetness of the cipollines we tried in Venice and I realized that the problem is that every single one of these recipes relies on sugar to enhance the flavor of the balsamic vinegar.  I dropped the sugar and simplified the recipe.  The result has a less thick glaze than what you might get if you make Mario Batali's recipe but it is, I think, a purer and superior version of the dish.  It is a fundamentally Italian recipe --- very few ingredients of extremely high quality --- so that the cipollines take on the strong flavors of red wine and balsamic.  We serve it often in the winters, with rich casseroles and soups, as a small plate or side dish, sometimes for the holidays, to remind us of Venice's meandering canals.

Balsamic cippolines

 

 

. . . keep reading balsamic glazed cipollines after the jump
2 comments

July 2012


how to make baklava
at karakoy gulluoglu
July 24, 2012

vegetarian food in turkey
yummy veggies
July 10, 2012

grilled meats of turkey
in istanbul
July 4, 2012

June 2012


catalan cuisine
fresh and inventive
June 20, 2012

May 2012


delicious istanbul cooking class
yum
May 31, 2012

what travel bloggers eat
at tbu umbria
May 1, 2012

April 2012


truffle tutorial
in tuscany
April 19, 2012

understanding hungarian wine
tokaji and more
April 12, 2012

eat budapest
goulash, paprika, and more
April 5, 2012

March 2012


ummm croatian food?
between two cultures
March 22, 2012

mercat de la boqueria
at the market
March 2, 2012

February 2012


eat espana
yum
February 16, 2012

a week of good eats in london
from high tea to iraqi
February 7, 2012

January 2012


yuki's kitchen sushi class
January 24, 2012

December 2011


costa rican cuisine
creating a pais marco
December 22, 2011

from farm to table: doka estate coffee
December 13, 2011

November 2011


an ode to cream tea
in devon & cornwall
November 8, 2011

October 2011


dining on the queen mary 2
good eats
October 7, 2011

September 2011


the taste of two years
September 30, 2011

savoring zambia
a cooking class
September 6, 2011

August 2011


elizabeth on 37th
upscale in savannah
August 26, 2011

lunch at la colombe
at constantia uitsig
August 12, 2011

July 2011


fig charleston
new south cuisine
July 1, 2011

June 2011


waffle house south africa
unexpected yum
June 27, 2011

food unites
south african cuisine
June 6, 2011

April 2011


savannah southern food smackdown
paula v. wilkes
April 27, 2011

mabel francis potter's cupcake emporium
in savannah
April 1, 2011

February 2011


weekly photo: antico pizza
February 4, 2011

November 2010


chinese cuisine
diversity in deliciousness
November 19, 2010

October 2010


jiaozi (chinese dumplings)
October 25, 2010

August 2010


transnational fast food theorem
in south korea
August 13, 2010

japan: the low-down
a wrap up
August 6, 2010

July 2010


japanese desserts
sweet and squishy
July 30, 2010

splurge japanese cuisine
so worth it
July 20, 2010

budget japanese cuisine
many ways to eat
July 8, 2010

June 2010


powered by tofu
in kyoto
June 11, 2010

May 2010


vegetable summer rolls
May 6, 2010

March 2010


thailand: the low-down
a wrap up
March 23, 2010

January 2010


thai feast
asia scenic cooking class
January 29, 2010

unexpected funeral
at wat chedi luang
January 26, 2010

pongal
at mahabalipuram
January 22, 2010

kozhakattai (sweet coconut dumplings)
January 18, 2010

hangi in rotorua
geothermal steam and mud baths
January 5, 2010

December 2009


jaded in hokitika
power tools and jewelry
December 21, 2009

marlborough wines
why did we leave?
December 18, 2009

three best kept foodie travel secrets
December 8, 2009

November 2009


sweet potatoes, three ways
November 26, 2009

barossa valley
wined and dined
November 1, 2009

September 2009


cheap sydney eats
mamak, fish market, and more
September 30, 2009

August 2009


west maui
the easy way . . . or the hard way
August 27, 2009

July 2009


tuscany
the vino, the vino
July 6, 2009

June 2009


tuscany
happy stomachs
June 28, 2009

florence
ready to go
June 9, 2009

pisa
when the sun goes down
June 1, 2009