How many out there have every had a beer from Anchor Steam Brewery?
Answer: none of you.
Don't be ashamed - the shocking truth took me by surprise as well. In fact, the company was originally established as Golden City Braueri back in the mid-1800s with German-borns Ernst F. Baruth and Otto Schinkel at the helm. Around the turn of the century when a wave of xenophobia crashed over the United States, a slew of breweries began to change their names in the hopes of eschewing any association with being "foreign." Instead, they favored simple, generic terms, and many speculate that the duo of Baruth and Schinkel may have chosen "Anchor" given San Francisco's proximity to the ocean.
But the now iconic beer of San Francisco wasn't always so glamorous, and by 1965 the entire brewery was on the verge of bankruptcy. Outdated equipment and a dirty facility led to declining quality and, in turn, a decrease in public favor. Until one day when Frederick "Fritz" Maytag III - grandson of the Maytag Dairy Farm founder Frederick (think Maytag Blue Cheese) and great-grandson of the appliance giant Maytag Corporation founder...also Frederick - attempted to save the company by purchasing 51% of Anchor in 1965 and obtaining sole ownership in 1969.
By 1971, he was already turning the business around by bottling the once draft-only beverages, including the first barleywine (Old Foghorn - another nautical nod) in production after prohibition, the first seasonal beer (Anchor Christmas Ale), and the Liberty Ale: released 200 years to the day of Paul Revere's ride.
About that funny bottle shape: they were actually made for another company who fell out of business. The glass manufacturer had already produced the bottles and sold them to Maytag for pennies on the dollar. So that distinctive Anchor bottle wasn't actually made for them. They were just cheap.
And what about Breckle's Brown? See that apostrophe? It must be his - who the hell was this guy anyway?
During the Gold Rush, it was Gottlieb Breckle who started what would eventually become Anchor. When Ernst and Otto purchased it in 1896, Breckle stayed on as the first official brewmaster, and this beer is a nod to the man who truly started it all.
But to address the question you've all been asking: from where did the term Anchor Steam come? Well, you see this shot of of the original location on Pacific Avenue?
With no refrigeration systems in place, it was on this very rooftop where brewers at Anchor would bring vats of boiling wort to cool down enough so that yeast could be added. As a result, continuous waves of steam wafted atop the brewery, and thus the "steam beer" was born.
Now I'm not normally into history, but the Anchor tour was enlightening, fun, and quite tasty: especially after trying eight beers at 11am on a Tuesday. But for me, food and drink is always more fascinating with a story behind it, and Anchor constantly nods to its roots.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a Maytag beer in the near future.
Cheers! ...and nosh on,
Flattened Masa Awaiting the Grill for Homemade Tortillas, Floral Linen from Everyday Maven
Back in May, Alyssa of Everyday Maven
and Faith of An Edible Mosaic
put together the inaugural Food Blogger Prop Swap
. A simple premise: in an effort to help connect the food blogging community in a more real, interactive manner, each participant packs a box full of gently used, photogenic kitchen items and sends them along to a fellow food blogger to inspire a new post that each participant publishes on the same day.
Now I consider this blog to be slightly more unconventional than most. With a focus on the people and experiences surrounding the food world, I rarely have the need for, "props," per se. However, I am always game for extending beyond my comfort zone and embracing a new and exciting challenge. So, I filled my USPS medium sized flat rate box with jars, bottles, linen (and a sieve for good measure) and mailed it across the country to my match: Julie of SavyEats. Eagerly I awaited the box from my match like a puppy by the windowsill searching longingly for my owner. What would be in there? How could I use each piece? Who was my mystery counterpart? Every day I anticipated the delivery, but as the days strung along, I grew increasingly weary that my match had forgotten me.
On reveal day, June 17, I had no box, and nothing about which to blog.
A few weeks went by, and when I returned from my camping trip in southern Utah, a medium sized, flat rate box sat at my doorstep. With a glimmer of hope that my mail had just been delayed, I cautiously looked at the return address. The package was from Everyday Maven herself, filled to the brim with bowls, plates, and a delightful hand-written note.
My Food Blogger Prop Swap Box from Everyday Maven
With such a sweet and unnecessary gesture, I was motivated to return the favor in kind, using each of the items at my breakfast taco brunch that very Sunday.
The two brown bowls were perfect for serving the harissa-roasted red potatoes and my roommate's "schmoo" - peppers and onions reduced down in Armstrong Brewing Company's Smoked Pale Ale.
Harissa-Roasted Red Potatoes and Schmoo
One of the bowls also doubled as an improvised tortilla press for the fresh masa we purchased.
An Improvised Tortilla Press
Our bright red mortar was almost too perfect for our guacamole.
And what breakfast taco would be complete without eggs, nested comfortably in this ceramic dish?
Scrambled Eggs en Boat
Colorful toothpicks for colorful fruit, a pinch bowl for cilantro, a small dipping tray for limes and some of our own dishes made for a complete breakfast taco bar feast!
Let the Taco Feast Begin!
So thank you for the incredibly thoughtful prop box, Alyssa! This brunch never would have been the same without you.
My Breakfast Taco: Hand-Pressed Tortilla, Egg, Chorizo, Bacon, Avocado, Cilantro and Schmoo. Lime Squeeze.
The ice cream battle runs deep in San Francisco. Some swear by Bi-Rite's salted caramel; others crave Mitchell's unique ube; die-hards clamor for the eclectic flavor combinations at Humphry Slocombe; and many more marvel at the creations of Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. My vote?
I love 'em all for different reasons.
But Smitten Ice Cream
holds a special place in my heart. I think I was spoiled living in Hayes Valley, with the shop in the little red container a dangerous three blocks from my front doorstep, and surely I took it for granted as time went on and I became more of a regular than I'm proud of. The flavors were always delicious and seasonal, and the texture was inconceivably velvety - a quality unrivaled by any other in the city. But really: how hard is it to dump out some liquid nitrogen into a base and mix?
As it turns out, much harder than you may realize.
There is a lot more that goes into the seemingly simple process, as was explained to me by Robyn Sue Fisher, owner and founder of Smitten, who filled me in on some of the finer points during our, "Ice Cream for Breakfast" event.
Here's how it works. First, a base made of milk, cream, sugar salt, and a given flavor is poured into the bowl of the Brrr machine by a Brrrr-ista, the mixing paddles are lowered, and the liquid nitrogen is pumped in via a 1000 L dewar (the fancy word for a vacuum-sealed flask) in the back.
Next comes the stage about which I knew the least (and quite frankly, still do) but the one that truly separates Smitten from the pack. Pipes don't merely funnel in a set amount of liquid nitrogen and hope for the best. Rather, patented software constantly reads the goings-on inside of the bowl and the beaters, sending feedback to the computers monitoring the system. Given a variety of factors, each batch may mix in a different manner.
As the base and beaters spin, the once liquid mixture solidifies before your eyes, and in a matter of 60 seconds...
...yields July's signature flavor: honey nectarine. With a nearly 2:1 ratio of dairy to organic Frog Hollow Farm nectarines, the fruit really shines through while maintaining an ideal level of creaminess to remind you that it is still ice cream and not a fruit pop. Top with any of Smitten's house-made toppings ranging from chocolate crispy treats to their famous pistachio brittle and prepare to be smitten.
Despite so few ingredients, the taste is consistently bold, powerful and complex. For every flavor, the nuances and depth are achieved because of the attention to quality of the components and control of proportions. Fruit, for example, has much more water than flavors like their fresh mint chip (infused with real, honest-to-goodness mint leaves), and as such they must adjust to allow for as much fruit as they want by altering other aspects. By not being tied down to any specific quantities, each ice cream might have a different butterfat content to maximize flavor and maintain that ultra-smooth texture every single time.
In addition to receiving an education on just some of the science behind Smitten's magic, two more exciting pieces of news were bestowed upon me. First, seemingly eons away from her first Brrr machine, hand-welded and set atop her little red Radio Flyer wagon rolling through the streets of SF, Fisher will be opening two more locations in Rockridge and Los Altos, each with a full kitchen equipped to handle the second surprise: brioche ice cream sandwiches*.
The issue with traditional ice cream sandwiches is that the exterior cookies tend to be too crispy and the ice cream too soft, causing the innards to ooze out from all sides before your teeth get all the way through. The typical solution is to freeze the entire sandwich to prevent such a travesty, but since Smitten churns-to-order, that just isn't an option.
Enter brioche: a logical answer to the issue at hand. The fluffy, sweet brioche envelops the star of the show, cradling it on all sides so that any excess is blocked from exiting, and any runoff simply soaks into the dough before dripping down your arms.
Sadly for San Franciscans, the brioche ice cream sandwiches will only be available at the two new locations, but are absolutely worth the drive. And never fear about the expansion. Smitten doesn't plan on changing anything about their ice cream: four flavors a day will stay the standard with the same passion for local, organic ingredients.
Just one more reason why I'm consistently smitten by Smitten.
*Disclaimer - The wonderful women of Smitten included a candle for my birthday. You may or may not receive one with your order. But do it anyway,
Fried Doughnuts, Crème Anglaise, New Speedway Bitter (Branthill)
My first beer as a resident of San Francisco was at Magnolia
. I moved into a house on Page St. between Central Ave. and Masonic Ave., and my roommates took me out that very night for a drink right around the corner.
The walk took all of 45 seconds. Over the course of the next year, Magnolia would come to be a staple of my outings: half priced pint Tuesdays and fried chicken Thursdays were just some of my weekly pop-ins. Then o
ne Sunday, close friends of mine came over from Berkeley for brunch. Running late, the couple had foiled any chance of our getting in line early anywhere, turning our walk-in status into a minimum hour and a half wait. So, I decided to walk around the corner on the off-chance that Magnolia served brunch.
And there was no wait.
Our experience was stellar: phenomenal food, fantastic service, and wonderful beer pairings.
Brew Board, Hand-Drawn in Chalk, Magnolia
Since moving, it had been quite some time since I had made it back to the neighborhood: that three mile trip seemed like an eternity in comparison to what once was a hop, skip and a jump (and, let's face it – a stumble some nights). So when my friend and I had a spare weekend, we thought we would attempt to relive our experience.
My go-to beer here has always been the Proving Ground IPA – hop heavy and super bright – but General Manager Matt Costa steered me toward the New Speedway Bitter (Branthill). As it turns out, Magnolia has cultivated a relationship with Branhill Farm, from whom they purchase the malted barley that goes into this crisp, light, refreshing ESB. Sourcing ingredients from a specific farm, in much the same way that a winemaker would source specific grapes for a blend, is not something you typically see in the craft beer process, but is just one of the aspects that makes Magnolia unique.
We each started out with a glass of the New Speedway and a line of fried donuts nested on a bed of crème anglaise – one of chef Ronnie New's nods to his Louisiana roots. What looked like a stomach bomb and breakfast in and of itself turned out to be anything but. These pillows of happiness were impossibly airy with nearly hollow insides as traditional beignets should have. .
Hollow until we spooned in the intensely vanilla pastry cream.
My buddy placed his order for the BBQ Belly and Grits, which came with two poached eggs and crispy fried shallots. Once punctured, the yolks oozed out and added another layer of creaminess to the bowl. The sweet and tangy barbecue sauce was a salty counterbalance to the buttery grits, the tender pork belly was perfectly cooked, and both its crispy skin along with the fried shallots added a perfect crunch.
BBQ Belly and Grits
I opted for another grit based dish: the Axis Venison Maple Sausage served atop the same cheesy base, but accompanied by a buttermilk biscuit slathered with a chunky, smokey bacon jam. The sausage was rich and slightly gamey, while the maple cut through with a pronounced and welcome sweetness.
Under normal circumstances, I prefer a flaky, layered, delicate biscuit. However, that version would have absolutely collapsed under the heavier grains and shmear, so I was thrilled that a sturdier version stood up to it's surroundings and acted as a perfect sandwich anchor and subsequent scoop for last few bites.
Axis Venison and Maple Sausage
As we sat there, devouring each and every morsel we could scrape from the bottom of our respective plates, I thought back to all the times I had been to Magnolia. It occurred to me that I had been in at pretty much every time of day – a weekend breakfast of french toast covered in bourbon maple syrup, lunchtime for a sandwich, 'prevening' (that odd time after lunch but before anything is open for dinner) for a snack of devils on horseback (incredible goat cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates drizzled with kölsch gastrique), pre-dinner for brews and late night for one of the most underrated burgers in the city.
There's a seamless fluidity to the turns at Magnolia. At any point from open to close, you can walk in and eat elevated pub food, drink consistently killer beers, convene with friends, make new ones at the communal table, or sit at the bar and chat up the amiable staff and neighborhood regulars. Few places can offer all of that while still maintaining an extraordinary level of quality time and time again.
Oh, and not to mention they're doing all of this while simultaneously building out their new brewhouse and restaurant in the Dogpatch
Magnolia is everything a neighborhood bar should be and so much more: even if you don't live in the neighborhood.
Panucho de Pollo al Pibil and an Empanada from Nopalito
When I first began writing this blog, I had no idea where it was headed – I started merely to keep my family across the country updated with stories of my adventures in San Francisco. I'm not sure who else reads, who simply looks at my photos, or who even knows that NoshWithJosh exists.
Then, I had the honor of being recognized by Refinery29
, and suddenly my inbox was flooded with emails. Not in some sort of celebrity fashion, but rather with invitations to events, offers for cookbooks and requests for features. I was wary to accept any of them – both because I wasn't sure which brands with which I wanted to "align" myself, and second because, due to my readership reach, I didn't want to take something that wouldn't be equally reciprocated.
One email in particular did catch my eye, however – an invitation from General Motors to attend a curated tour hosted by Joe Hargrave and Telmo Faria of Tacolicious
. The two would show a few food bloggers some of their favorite San Francisco restaurants, chefs, meals and culinary inspirations as part of GM's new blog called Drive the District
. Despite rave reviews and gorgeous photos (I'm looking at you Sonya
!), I had yet to eat at Tacolicious. So, I decided to take a chance and go along for the ride.
Joe and Telmo were incredible hosts, and after I got over the awkwardness of a camera floating around the entire night, it truly was a fantastic experience. Throughout the evening, we ate, drank, talked and learned about each other, as well as what made these places stand out to Joe and Telmo. We began with a delicious start at Nopalito
before making our way to Zaré at Fly Trap: another San Francisco staple I had yet to try. Here, chef Hoss Zaré came out to greet us with open arms.
Famous for his, "Hossy Hugs," he gives his friends (or anyone who is willing, really) gigantic bear hugs. In fact, he lifted me off the ground! After we dined on impossibly soft braised lamb, sipped Minted Memory cocktails, and finished with goat cheese cheesecake with kumquat and baklava, Hoss let me in on his secret sage advice for success:
"Every day, hug someone, make someone smile, make someone feel wanted."
I still have that sticky on my phone.
We ended the night at Tacolicious, where I was finally able to find out just what makes Joe's and Telmo's restaurant so special: at least in the form of albacore tuna tostadas and a variety of tacos – in short: culture, history, and authenticity mixed with California flair. If you haven't been, change that as soon as possible to experience what I mean.
Check out the video from our evening, and read more about the night on the District Drive page.
Salty Bea Arthur: Vanilla Soft Serve, Dulce De Leche and Sea Salt Rolled in Crushed 'Nilla Wafers (Big Gay Ice Cream)
Three weeks ago, I took at job with an amazing startup as a copywriter and content production manager.
On Thursday, I was let go.
This was one of the first times in my life where I truly believe I had failed. I gave it my all, worked atrocious hours in an attempt to keep up, and ultimately just couldn't cut it. I was a bit inexperienced and, despite learning quickly, I was not learning quickly enough. To my credit, they did recognize that I was improving and mentioned that in another environment there was tremendous potential for me to succeed. They just didn't have the luxury of time. I lasted all of seventeen days at a tech startup in San Francisco before being fired.
And that's alright.
After my departure, I wasn't quite sure where to go. So, I called my family and started walking – somewhere, anywhere. Until I ended up at Bi-Rite
and ordered myself a double scoop of rhubarb cheesecake and ricanelas (cinnamon ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies) – which tasted like an amazing fruit pie in ice cream form. Not as some sort of reflexive emotional reaction that women seem to always have after a bad breakup or fight (at least, I don't think...), but as a comforting consolation from something familiar.
Ok fine. Women: I get it now.
The next morning, I woke up, and brewed myself some fancy coffee...
Stumptown's Holler Mountain in the Aeropress
Kale Omelet, Acovado, Bacon and Sliced Picnic Pork
...grabbed a strawberry and cherry buckle with vanilla almond streusel from the Blue Bottle at Heath Ceramics while reading the newest issue of Kinfolk Magazine (which has a phenomenal article on page 105 you should check out)...
...and had myself the BIGgest, GAYest Ice Cream
I've ever had. Seriously, that Salty Bea Arthur (which was the normal Bea Aurthur with my requested addition of sea salt) was outrageous: simultaneously creamy, salty, sweet, and crunchy.
Then, during a quick run to Whole Foods Market for a few groceries, I finally met Wes Anderson
in person (no, not that one...), who directed me to Golden Road's Among Weeds IPA
So, here I sit – on my patio, drinking a beer, writing to those of you who read, and thinking about what my future holds.
Perhaps it was a revelation, or perhaps I was all hyped up on sugar and emotion-enduced adrenaline, but in the 24 hours since my...um...'parting of ways' with the corporate startup world, my activities have centered around the very core of what launched my writing career here: food. Maybe it is time to recognize that this is my calling – be it long-form writing, teaching, or even working in a kitchen. Somehow, I keep falling back on what got me started here, and it might just be the case that this was the lesson I needed to learn: no matter how hard it was.
I've always said that there is no such thing as failure if we learn from it, move on, and grow. Now, it's time to start believing it.
The other week I met Ilana Freddye
, culinary school graduate and food blogger extraordinaire. She was on her way through San Francisco before starting a six-month stint as a traveling member of Outstanding in the Field
For the longest time, I had been wanting to attend an Outstanding in the Field farm dinner. However, be it timing, cost, or distance, I simply couldn't make it happen. Until, seemingly out of the blue, Ilana sent me this text message on Friday afternoon:
"Funny question: any chance you want to work the event tomorrow?"
This was it – my way of attending a dinner at long last. Sure, it wasn't going to be exactly
what I had envisioned but hell, I was going to be there! Plus, I was even getting paid – eliminating my previous financial concerns.
I arrived at McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma to an open farm, two trailers full of tables, chairs, linens, an entirely deconstructed kitchen: not to mention a dozen wonderful, easy-going, hard working staff members ready to give 163 guests a meal they would never forget.
Only Half the Chairs to be Placed
I understood Outstanding in the Field's premise of converting a farm into a fine-dining experience.
But after four hours of hands-on hard work, sweat (lots and lots of sweat), heavy lifting and meticulous attention to detail, the transformation from rugged agriculture to pristine elegance can only be described as magical.
Magic Through The Trees
Chef Mourad Lahlou of Aziza was our guest chef, and knocked it out of the park with a killer four course menu including a chilled English pea soup with grapes and a hazelnut "soil," alaskan smoked salmon (smoked the night before) with fennel roasted beets, radish, toasted almonds and greens tossed in a sherry shallot vinaigrette, ras-el-hanout braised short ribs, and an olive oil cake with whipped cream, albion strawberries, tarragon, nasturtium, cinnamon streusel and anise syrup.
Olive Oil Cake, Whipped Cream, Albion Strawberries, Tarragon, Nasturtium, Cinnamon Streusel and Anise Syrup
From my end, the evening was phenomenal. I had an absolute blast with my two tables, and I can only hope they had half as good a time dining as I did serving. Speaking of the local and sustainable ingredients in the dishes, the qualities of the wine, and the meal as a whole was more enjoyable than I could have imagined. Conversing with the diners was as natural as if we had been friends for ages.
The ambiance was familial, genuine, and sincere. It radiated with charm and class without remotely touching snooty. Roosters crowed and geese honked every so often as a reminder to everyone of their surroundings - as if being inches from the same olive trees that provided the table's oil weren't enough.
An experience here is unrivaled. We were mere miles away from the gardens that grew many of the vegetables we enjoyed that evening. We were mere miles from vineyards where grapes for the accompanying wines were grown. We were back to the roots of our food, our farmers, and ourselves.
Outstanding in the Field has honed in on something truly unique, and over the next six months will provide this same quality evening over 75 more times: and there is no doubt in my mind that each one will be as magnificent as the last.
While sitting shiva after my Grandma Doris's funeral, my mother finally asked my grandfather a question that had been plaguing her since she was a child. After all, she has three older bothers, the youngest of whom is seven years her senior.
"Dad, was I an accident?"
"No - your mother planned you."
"Well...how about you?"
"Me? I was drunk."
Poppy Harold had many gems in his day - some slightly racist (merely a product of the times, I'm sure), and others as direct and straightforward as, "That son of a bitch rat bastard stole my laundry." Yet of all quips, puns and sayings, the one that stuck with me the most was one I didn't hear until just yesterday. My uncle vividly recalled sitting at the kitchen table as a child, stressing out over a major exam he had the next day. Poppy Harold, simply turned to him and said, "Just do the best you can do: that's all anyone can ever ask of you."
On Sunday, my grandfather, Harold Hills, passed away.
The man was 91 years old, and lived one hell of a life - perhaps even two! On what we presumed to be his death bed, we told him he could have whatever he wanted to eat: anything at all.
"Moo shu shrimp and hot and sour soup with lots of spicy mustard."
...AND THE MAN LIVED FOR ANOTHER MONTH!
Lately, I feel as though I haven't always been putting my best foot forward: slacking on posting regularly, not responding to emails in a timely manner, and becoming lazier with my photographs. People become busy, tired, social. Life gets in the way.
But I refuse to accept that as an excuse any longer. Yesterday, I finally took an active role in changing all of that. I had the opportunity to shoot with one of my favorite photographers, Sonya Yu
, as she taught me invaluable tips and tricks of the trade. She taught be to become more cognizant of my surroundings, and how to look at subjects differently through the lens of a camera. She taught me about the importance of light, and how to recognize its power, its presence, and its beauty. She taught me shoot, and shoot, and shoot some more, to be comfortable with failure, and to use it as a learning opportunity for the next reel.
So, this is my pledge: my resolution to be better, to try harder and to work my ass off every single day. The only variable in the equation of life over which we have control is our level of effort: beyond that, we are at the mercy of a million other factors. I'll almost certainly fail, and I may even succeed, but when I am positive that I've given 110%, the outcome is out of my hands and I've done all that I can do.
After all, that's all anyone can ever ask of you.
Asparagus In Season
I rarely set foot in grocery stores anymore: I find them to be cold, irritating, and fake.
A vast majority of my home-cooked meals are made with produce from farmers' markets. Spring has sprung, and as I peruse the aisles lined with vendors, I become giddy with excitement spotting asparagus in season, strawberries adding vibrant red hues to the lineup, and gladly welcoming the first peaches and blueberries popping in to say hello.
During any given week, there are between 25 and 30 markets from which I can purchase local, seasonal, organic goods from farmers who bring their crops to my city. Not to mention that as I shop, I am able to physically shake the hand of the man or woman who, just days or hours prior, plucked my carrots from the ground and cut my kale straight from the plant. I can listen to live music, watch cooking demonstrations, enjoy my choice of hot food and buy flowers just because I can.
From Mission Mercado to the Upper Haight, and the Castro to Fort Mason, every neighborhood has a home for those who appreciate the importance of such high quality ingredients and who care about supporting their local communities. But if it weren't for one market in particular, none of this would be possible. An integral reason we are able to enjoy such luxuries due is thanks in no small part to, "The Grandaddy of them All," the pioneer market in San Francisco: The Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market.
Until recently, I failed to grasp just how fortunate I am to have this tremendous bounty at my fingertips each and every day. I simply assumed that markets had always been a standard part of San Franciscan life: never really thinking twice. Yet as it turns out, when the market debuted in September of 1992, it was only billed as a temporary offering after the freeway running across the Ferry Building was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. However, thanks to the outpouring of chefs who now had easier access to some of the finest, freshest ingredients around, the market's popularity grew exponentially, people clamored for more, and simply everyone demanded that it become a staple each and every week, thus providing the impetus for what we expect, and often times take for granted, today.
Ginger Scone, Carbonated Strawberries, Almanac Beer Honey Saison Foam, Candied Kumquats
is much more than a market organizer. They are committed to sustainability in both the vendors they choose and they phenomenal programs they run. Their "Schoolyard to Market" initiative is a youth development, entrepreneurship, and gardening program that allows students to grow vegetables at their own schools and sell at the market. "Foodwise Kids" targets a younger demographic, children grades 1-5, and introduces them to the items available and facilitates a cooking class with the ingredients they had just purchased. Lectures, farm tours and "Discovery Stations," are also available adults year round.
So swing by and wish Cuesa a Happy Birthday, thank a volunteer for keeping the markets friendly and clean, and take a moment to wonder what life would be like without that first market down at Ferry Plaza 20 years ago.
The Original, The Party Girl, and Brothers Not Lovers
"Sweet" is hardly the first word that comes to mind when talking about the Tenderloin. But for the past three years, David Williams has been changing all of that, one sweet treat at a time.
Healthcare professional turned graphic designer by trade (because that's a normal progression), David fell victim to the economic downturn in 2008. Looking for that next step, he, "simply had a craving for caramels," and four months home experimentation led him to develop some killer recipes he felt proud to share. When his two close friends started The Perish Trust, David's first opportunity to showcase his new creations presented itself at the opening party.
People clamored for the candies, asking where they could buy more, and David thought more seriously about opening a spot of his own. Having lived in the Tenderloin for a spell, he watched a "For Rent" sign hang for more than five months before he contacted the landlord, who loved his concept, and pulled the trigger.
David "Hooker" Williams Turning This...
At any given time, David has about four different caramels, each of which has a fun little tounge-and-cheek story behind it. The "Party Girl" is named for both an old painting of a woman he found and restored as well as for a friend in Reno who sends along party mix every Christmas. Studded with toasted pecans, coconut, corn and oat cereal and pretzel bits, this caramel sits atop a smoked sea-salted dark chocolate base for the best-of-both-worlds sweet and salty combo. The Brothers Not Lovers caramel is an ode to his close friends and Sightglass Coffee'
s Justin and Jerad Morrison, who were often confused as a couple instead of siblings, and contains the company's Owl's Howl infused inside. As for the 3rd Nut Caramel, David just had trouble deciding on the third nut to use.
Bread pudding is always on the menu, and was a no-brainer as an homage to his New Orleans roots. Still using his mothers secret recipe, he tweaks the flavors based on the season. When nothing is really shining, he falls back on his staples like banana salted caramel or bourbon chocolate chip, served warm from the oven, and smothered with a rich sauce and loaded with nuts.
A Smörgåsbord of Sweets, Including Strawberry Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
As for the name? It has absolutely nothing to do with the Tenderloin tenants - that part was just a (somewhat happy?) accident. David's nickname is Hooker, which evolved, oddly enough, because he used to call his friends hookers when shooting pool. Thus, he became "Hooker Dave," until people just dropped his real name.
I won't try and sugarcoat it - the TL is still somewhat sketchy with its share of crazies. In fact, while chatting with Hook, there was a man doing his version of parkour (a.k.a. - jumping and spinning from the street to the curb...continuously). But Hooker makes a great point by virtue of his success - when things seem at their worst, remember that we each have the power to actively make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of those around us by following our passions. They radiate onto others, and can turn even the most uncertain futures (or neighborhoods) into something special.
Trust me, brave the 'hood during daylight hours, snag a sweet treat, and get "hooked" on these mind-blowing caramels.
After all, there are certainly worse addictions to have in the Tenderloin.