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Recipe inspiration, tips, and kitchen hacks from the Chowhound editors.

Indecently Attracted to a Sandwich

What Cafe Gabriela does with pork adobo and a toasted baguette is indecently good. The homey, Filipino-style pulled pork is subtly perfumed with bay leaf and the tang of vinegar, says Pius Avocado III. "A note of soy occasionally steps forward from the background to add a slightly salty note to the tender yet toothsome, porky meat. A hint of braising liquid just begins to flirt with the baguette's interior, coyly seeping in to provide counterpoint to the not-quite crusty crust." And by not-quite crusty, Pius means the "perfect balance between resistant yet crunchy crust and pillowy dense interior."

10foot5 seconds the recommendation, saying, "I'll definitely get this sandwich again—and soon." Incidentally, 10foot5 adds, the reliably excellent Cafe 15 has a pulled pork sandwich that's "similar in its porkliciousness." Also at Cafe 15, the salmon salad with "huge chunks of lovely salmon, equally large chunks of perfectly ripe tomatoes," plus fava beans, cucumber, and mesclun in a dressing "bristling with fresh dill and the tang of sour cream," has become a favorite for 10foot5. "I’ve been working in SF and Oakland for over 20 years now and I can’t think of any other lunch place in all that time that offers/has offered so many consistently good options."

Cafe Gabriela [East Bay]
988 Broadway, Oakland
510-763-2233

Cafe 15 [East Bay]
597 15th Street, Oakland
510-891-3990

Discuss: Cafe Gabriela, downtown Oakland– pork adobo sandwich
In praise of the Salmon Salad w/ Dill Sour Cream dressing at Café 15 – Oakland

Homestyle Mexican in Berkeley

"I don't get the line at Chipotle when you can get food like my mom would have made had she been a Mexican mom, right across the street," says lmnopm, referring to the family-run La Palmita Cafe, where ernie in berkeley gives the pozole high marks. "It's an excellent rendition, stew-thick with corn kernels and sliced pork, assertively spiced with New Mexico chiles, subtly seasoned with garlic, oregano, and a hint of lime," he says. The usual garnish of shredded cabbage and lime come on the side.

Based on ernie's tip, ShepherdBGoode checked out La Palmita, "and let's just say I had pozole three times over the weekend." It's "spicy but not thermal," and a large bowl is positively mammoth-sized. It's currently a special but may be added to the regular menu. The chile verde, the pollo verde burritos, housemade chips and salsas, and aguas frescas are also good, notes ernie.

La Palmita Cafe [East Bay]
1335 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley
510-525-4589

Discuss: Excellent pozole at La Palmita (Berkeley)

Oysters for a Song

At 50 cents apiece, the weeknight happy hour (5–7 p.m.) price for oysters at Zuppa is the deal of the century, says Paul H. Even with the limit of a dozen oysters a person and the one-drink minimum, that means a glass of wine and a dozen oysters comes to about $11, notes Pei. Actually, the cocktails are better than the wine, says Windy, and those oysters are perfectly delicious. If you're inclined to make a meal of it, all the pizzas are good and the pork ragu with rigatoni is excellent, says Pei.

Zuppa [SOMA]
564 Fourth Street, San Francisco
415-777-5900

Discuss: Zuppa—50 cent oysters, anyone?

Overheard on the San Francisco Bay Area Board

"Amazing Kenyan peaberry being served out of a Chemex right now; heavily caramely and smooth, rich, and to my taste low in acid." – Pei, on Sightglass Coffee

"After my favorite European sausage guy (Joe's in Chicago) closed its doors I feared I would never have sausage that good ever again. I was wrong." – Eric B 22, on Seakor Polish Deli

"The flavors were so fresh you'd think they just picked everything." – Mick Ruthven, on a dynamite meal at Ristobar

A Benihana Family Brouhaha

Two years ago, we marked the passing of Rocky Aoki, founder of the famed and sprawling Benihana restaurant chain. Little did we know at that point in time that this colorful character* would leave a legacy of family and financial strife that DailyFinance quite reasonably compares to the plot of King Lear. READ MORE

Grow Food, Not Foliage

Nan K. Chase thinks you should be making your dirt work for you. She's the author of Eat Your Yard: Edible Trees, Shrubs, Vines, Herbs, and Flowers for Your Landscape, and took the time out from a busy book tour to answer some questions for CHOW.

READ MORE

I Spit on Your Meat-Raising Livelihood

I Spit on Your Meat-Raising Livelihood

How do I break my vegetarianism to my boyfriend's meat-loving family? READ MORE

Ambrosial Summer Figs, Sweet or Savory

In summertime, Chowhounds' fancy turns to fresh figs, sweet and intensely flavored. Figs work well in both sweet and savory dishes. "Remember," says maria lorraine, "they're best just before the birds get them. Very soft, wrinkled, and prune-y—that's when they're at their peak."

BigSal suggests cutting figs in eighths and tossing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; add arugula and serve as is or use to top bruschetta. Cherylptw toasts bread in butter in a skillet and tops with sliced figs, crumbled queso fresco, black pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic or champagne vinegar.

Figs are amazing grilled, says goodhealthgourmet. Halve them, brush with oil, and grill cut side down for a few minutes, until the sugars start to caramelize; you can also grill them whole just until they seem like they're about to burst. Serve with soft cheese and herbs, or ricotta and honey. Others like them wrapped with prosciutto or bacon and grilled (you can also broil these).

For dessert, Karen_Schaffer simmers halved figs in marsala or red wine with cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, and Cherylptw sautés them in butter and brown sugar. Use either to top ice cream, yogurt, or pound cake. pikawicca removes the stems, chops figs, covers with fresh orange juice, and freezes to use in smoothies or sorbet.

Discuss: What to do with fresh figs that are going bad quickly?

Icelandic Yogurt Further Devalues Iceland

Icelandic Yogurt Further Devalues Iceland

This week's mission: Siggi's Skyr is not doing the country any favors. READ MORE

Secrets of Super-Fluffy Popcorn

To get the biggest, fluffiest kernels of popped corn, use good-quality popcorn, and store and cook it correctly. Most hounds feel that Orville Redenbacher popcorn sold in a jar pops up fluffier than generic brands. Storing the jar in the refrigerator preserves the kernels' moisture, which makes for better popping. Try nestling a little open container in the jar and inserting a damp paper towel or cotton ball into it to give the kernels extra moisture, suggests greygarious; when the water evaporates, add more.

weezycom makes popcorn on the stovetop in a soup pot with a mesh splatter screen instead of the pot's lid, allowing the steam to escape, and says the popcorn is fluffier and more tender this way. visciole recently got a Whirley-Pop popcorn maker and says, "It makes far fluffier popcorn than I've ever made in a regular pot, no matter how careful I am to release condensation. If you eat a lot of popcorn it's worth the 20 bucks or so."

Discuss: How to pop really fluffy popcorn?