Thai spring roll wrappers

Back at home, Alex and I go out for Thai food pretty regularly. We don’t order spring rolls as often, but when we do, they’ve always come in a thin, transparent rice wrapper. Yesterday I learned that the rice wrapper is a Vietnamese-style spring roll and Thais traditionally use a wheat-based wrapper. Who knew?

Our first order of business in cooking school was to stop by the local store that makes spring roll wrappers for all the neighboring restaurants. Actually, “store” is a bit of an overstatement. It’s a one-woman show that includes a big vat of a flour-water-salt dough mixture and a heavy cast-iron griddle over propane. She steadily cranks out spring roll wrappers from sun up until sun down to meet the local demand. I really like this short video Alex took of the action (I couldn’t sit in that position all day…and I would definitely burn myself!):

Our incredible instructor, May, wrapped spun sugar in the still-warm , crepe-like wrappers and passed them around for us to munch on.

Alex and I debated whether or not the wheat ones are better than the rice wrappers. He prefers them. I like them better for sweet dishes (like, with bananas), but I think I prefer the rice wrappers for spring rolls. One thing that’s nice about the wheat wrappers, though, is that when they’re fresh they’re very easy to work with.

Regardless, it was fun to learn about a new type of spring roll and see them being made! The outside of the shop is so understated that I would have never wandered in on my own. It was fantastic that May brought us by. Loved cooking school so much — more tomorrow!

Food and Fleury in Napa

After our recent trip to Tres Sabores and Buehler, we couldn’t wait to follow it up with another trip to Napa. Alex happened to be working in the area (and staying in a nearby hotel), so it was almost by accident that we ended up spending a full day in Napa. Unlike other weekends in wine country, we had no plans, didn’t really feel like drinking much wine and felt great about taking it easy.

We woke up and rolled into town to grab coffee and cupcakes breakfast at Oxbow Public Market. Ritual Coffee Roasters has a storefront there (the same Ritual Coffee that I tried out in the Mission) and Alex wanted to give their coffee a go. He ordered a pour over coffee, begrudgingly paid ~$4, but loved the coffee. I focused my efforts on a latte and a carrot cake cupcake from Kara’s.

After Ritual, we got sidetracked by Whole Spice. I’m pretty sure they aren’t affiliated with Whole Foods, but I think that is the association they might be going for.

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On a pastry-ice cream-coffee mission in the Mission

This afternoon I pushed aside my books and hit the streets of San Francisco’s Mission district with my sister and her boyfriend, who are visiting from New York City.  Our goal?  To sample as much pastry, ice cream and coffee as humanly possible.  We started at the 24th St BART and headed toward pie.  Here’s an overview:

Stop 1. Mission Pie

We kicked off the day by ordering up one slice of Lemon Shaker (highlight: full slices of lemon cooked in the pie!) and one of Walnut.  Each was selling for $3.14 in honor of Pi day.  Amazing.  I’m looking forward to going back and sampling some of their savory pies.

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An airport oasis: Icebox Cafe

Located around D8 in Miami International Airport (and apparently also South Beach).

I had a 4 hour layover in the Miami airport today. I was so hungry I was about to chew my arm off. After walking from one end of the airport to the other, I was super bummed about the veggie food options (not that this is a new problem – every vegetarian knows that veggie road food is typically, um, wanting).  That is, I was bummed until I spotted a cute food counter with wine bottles, freshly baked goods and a chalkboard wall with the day’s specials. Whaaat? In an airport?!

Here’s a view from one side of the counter:

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