|“When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.” Alice Waters|
This past Sunday, my husband and I attended a luncheon at Boulevard for Alice Waters, who was promoting her new book “The Art of Simple Food”. A few years ago, the World Affairs Council organized a program where Alice Waters spoke about Slow Food and her involvement. Her discussion was engaging; she was warm in her delivery. As a champion of Slow Food, she is a passionate supporter of all things organic, sustainable, and delicious (and simple). I walked away in earnest evaluation of my daily food consumption and curious about her edible education movement.
When I heard that Book Passage was hosting an event with Alice Waters, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to see her in a more intimate setting – not a small room but not an auditorium either (And, I really enjoyed their lunch event with Anthony Bourdain a few months ago.). I guess, as intimate as I could get aside from dining at Chez Panisse. Her talk was not as long or detailed, and she answered just a few questions. That being said, she did touch on some interesting subjects like the success of former Chez Panisse chefs – she applauded their successes and described the flexible program in which each cook follows upon entering the restaurant. If I remember correctly, 9 months in the restaurant and 3 months to “discover” (e.g. cooking abroad). Someone asked why there are no edible schoolyards in San Francisco, similar to her famous one in Berkeley. Without getting too political, it came down to how the local government chooses to spend our money. I’ll stop there.
Here’s the fun stuff – the uncomplicated menu! All dishes are from “The Art of Simple Food”.
Marinated Beet Salad
Herb Roasted Almonds
~ This was such a nice way to begin lunch - the simplicity! - yet each dish was fresh tasting as well as lovely to look at. I like small dishes that have lots of flavor, color, but aren't heavy - the mix of cold beets and warm salty olives as well as warm almonds were the perfect play.
Sauteed Scallops with Salsa Verde
Celery Root Remoulade ~ The scallops looked whimsical among the greens. A nice match with the salsa as well as the celery root.
Braised Duck Legs with Leeks & Green Olives
Soft Polenta, Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Hot Pepper ~ If you know me, you know dish was a winner. The duck was tender and savory; dare I say comfort food. And, who doesn't like a little comfort?
Tangerine Ice ~ a citrus burst that was also felt quite cleansing on the palate.
Ginger Snap Ice Cream Sandwich ~ I do love the spicy flavors with vanilla.