Archives for posts with tag: California

Thai Brunch

Berkeley has many culinary treasures but one of my favorite is brunch at the Thai Buddhist Temple. It is a unique experience that draws a huge crowd every Sunday.  Thai brunch is a fundraiser for the temple but it has become a Berkeley institution. It is extremely popular and tops the list of places to take visitors to give them a real Berkeley experience.

The food is served cafeteria style in a courtyard behind the temple. There is a wide selection to choose from and it is all tasty and cheap. Tents, folding tables, and chairs make up the dining area but it is often so crowded that diners spill into the front yard to sit in the grass.  It is a bit chaotic but it’s a lot of fun.  The temple is tucked in a neighborhood in South Berkeley and I am lucky enough to live around the corner!

This weekend my friends Stephanie and Dakota came over from San Francisco to have a taste of Thailand with me. We got there late, so there were long lines and they were starting to run out of entrees but we were still able to get a good selection of vegetarian curries. Seating was limited, so we took the food back to my apartment to enjoy it on the back porch. It has been unseasonably warm and sunny, so it was a great day for some porch sittin’. The lovely weather and sharing good food with friends made for an excellent Sunday.

If you’re ever in Berkeley on Sunday, I recommend you swing by the temple and give Thai Brunch a try!

Curries

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Until recently, pomegranates were a bit of a mystery to me. I didn’t know how to tell if it was ripe, how to peel it, or even what to do with it once I managed to get it peeled. Pomegranates are fairly common here in California but back home in North Carolina they aren’t as widely available. They only appear around Christmas and at several dollars a pop, they always seemed too pricey to take a chance on. So when I noticed them at the Berkeley Bowl for a dollar, I decided to buy a few and figure out what to do with this mysterious fruit.

My first attempt ended in a pulpy mess. The dark purple juice splattered everywhere (including on my sweetie’s white laptop) and I destroyed a majority of the seeds. Realizing brute force wasn’t the best method for extracting the tasty seeds from the membrane, I did a little research. Turns out there is an easy and much less messy way to peel a pomegranate.

Step one: Slice the pomegranate in half. You may want to place a paper towel on your cutting board to prevent the juice from staining the board.

sliced pomegranate

Step two: Submerge the pomegranate in a bowl of cold water. Keeping the pomegranate under the water reduces the mess and makes it easier to separate the seeds from the membrane. Push on the outer part of the peel to begin separating the seeds from the pith. You may have to push hard to crack the peel and white membrane.

Step three: Gently remove the seeds from the white membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float. Once you have removed all of the seeds, pick out any pith that is floating on the surface of the water. Using  a small mesh strainer is the easiest way to do this, but you can pick it out by hand.

Step four: Strain the pomegranate seeds.

Not too bad, huh? Now that you have the fresh pomegranate at your disposal, there are a number of ways you can enjoy it. It’s great in a fruit salad or on a spinach salad with blue cheese. Of course you can always snack on them straight up. So delicious!

One of the biggest differences between living in small town North Carolina and Berkeley, California is the food. Obviously, there are huge cultural differences and the fact that I don’t have to own a car… but if you’re looking at day to day differences in how I live my life, it’s the food. My God, it’s the food. Anyone who knows me well will tell you, I am a hungry person. I probably eat 4 meals a day with a few snacks in between. My insatiable hunger is the butt of many good natured jokes and jabs from friends and family. Needless to say, food is important to me.

A little Bay Area Love for my family.

This year for Christmas, I brought home a taste of the Bay Area for my family. Freshly roasted coffee, amazing citrus, avocados, and pomegranates are all things that are hard to come across in our small home town. All of the fruit survived the journey and and everyone was excited to sample all the tasty foods. They especially loved the Satsuma Mandarin Oranges. I promised to send another package of the Satsumas after I go back.

Moving to Berkeley, the foodie capital of the world, was a huge improvement to my hungry lifestyle. The produce is varied and fresh, the restaurants are amazing, and there are Farmer’s Markets everyday of the week. I don’t know if I would call myself a foodie, there are too many snobby connotations. Okay, so maybe I’m a foodie, but only a slightly snobby one. I love good food and I love to share my culinary adventures. This blog is dedicated to my two loves, illustration and food. I hope to share good food and good art with you, my readers, my friends. Here we go!

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