Friday, July 20, 2007

NOCA Sizzle

In Western New York (WNY), from whence I moved about 12 years ago, the opening conversation is always about the weather and why it's so awful (it frequently is awful there; Rochester and Buffalo are infamous for it).

In the Bay Area, the starter conversation topics are two: one's commute and all its permutations, or food. I take BART to work so my commuter conversation is enthusiastic but not all that interesting; my food conversation, however, is a lot more fun.

It's not uncommon among my friends to be eating one meal and comparing notes about each person's entree, while reminiscing about other memorable meals or restaurants - the topic is absorbing, to say the least.

There's a reason for it - here in NOCA (Northern California), we have it all. Fresh organic veggies, fruits, meats, dairy and eggs, all locally grown and offered at charming farmers' markets, Mom-and-Pops, or excellent grocery chains like Andronico's or Whole Foods. We are blessed.

And then there's the seafood. OMG. Last night, MB and I grilled wild salmon of staggering price and deliciousness on our vintage '70s JennAir grill. It was beautifully striped, still sizzling and on the medium rare side when we slid it onto our plates alongside a nice, big artichoke from Castroville and a little dish of melted butter.

When I talk to my friends from WNY, I start the conversation by telling them that NOCA rules!


Blogger Rev. Biggles said...

Sounds as though you need a wood fired grill. Here's how you do it.

Go to Pastime hardware in EC and buy yourself a round metal grill, just the grill, not the whole beast. Should be about 14 dollars.

Then, go home and dig a hole. Get 3 nice rocks and place them as a tripod. Build a hardwood fire in the pit. When mellow, throw metal grill on rocks and cook food.

Your 14 dollar grill will out produce a 5k gas grill on any day or night. Funny, huh?


Friday, July 20, 2007  
Blogger Dagny said...

Sounds delicious. But your forgot Berkeley Bowl in your list of stores. I cannot say enough times how much I love that place.

Friday, July 20, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Biggles, we do have a barbecue (Weber that uses gas briefly to start the charcoal) but we were too lazy to light it last night. The salmon was great grilled but we also love it planked or barbecued, when we aren't so lazy. And our lot is too steep for the hole you suggest - all the coals would run downhill.

Dagny, having heard similar praise, we tried the Berkeley Bowl once but were nearly flattened by pushy patrons wielding like weapons those huge shopping carts! I'm a peaceful soul, not competitive enough for the BB. Same goes for Whole Foods in Marin and SF - too scary! Love the food, too timid to shop there. I admire your fearless spirit, if you shop there regularly.

Friday, July 20, 2007  
Blogger Dagny said...

You have to know the right time to shop at Berkeley Bowl. I am never insane enough to go there on weekends. One of my friends works under the theory of if you can't find a parking space immediately, then there are too many folks in the store. Fortunately my job allowed me to shop at non-peak times since I got off work at 3:10. Also the best way to navigate the produce area is to either use a hand basket or to leave your cart on the periphery.

Saturday, July 21, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Dagny, Aha! We made several mistakes: hard to find a parking spot but we persevered; hard to maneuver the carts but we didn't give up; went on a Saturday. Next time I get a mid-week day off, I might find the courage to try again...

Saturday, July 21, 2007  
Blogger SteamyKitchen said...

My husband is from Clarence and all they talk about is snow. snow. snow.

We live in GDHWF which stands for Goddamn Hot West Florida and all we talk about is heat. heat. heat.

Saturday, July 21, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Wow, I don't envy you all that humidity! Here in the Bay Area, I'm more likely to complain of chilly summer days than being too hot, but that's a good thing!

Sunday, July 22, 2007  

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