Coming up this week: Worlds of Flavor at the Culinary Institute

I’ll be spending Friday and Saturday at Greystone, checking out what’s
next on the world culinary stage during their annual Worlds of Flavor
. This year’s theme is Mediterranean Flavor, featuring Italy,
Spain, the South of France, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon,
ancient Persia, and the other food cultures of the Silk Road that
connected the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East with Asia.

Stay tuned for more details or check out what’s on the plate at the
CIA’s World’s of Flavor Website. The event is sold out, but you know
I’ll keep you up to speed.

Read on for a steal on the elBulli book at Costco, Peanuts Gone Wild and Meadowood’s 12 Days of Christmas extravaganza.

If you’re an eater worth your salt at all, you’ve heard of Ferran Adria’s world-famous restaurant elBulli (it is pronounced “L boo-yee”). The restaurant all but defined molecular gastronomy and is considered by a number of critics to be the best restaurant in the world.

There’s a ridiculous swirl of dada-esque creativity and intrigue about the place. Located in a remote village in the Catalan region of Spain, elBulli is open just six months of year and takes only 8,000 reservations for the season — out of an estimated 2,000,000 requests. And you thought the French Laundry was hard to get into.

A number of books have been released about elBulli in the last couple of years, mostly in the $250+ range. If you hustle your rear over to the Santa Rosa Costco, however, you can get a copy of the recently released “A Day at elBulli” released by Phaidon for around $30. It’s a fascinating look at the inner workings of the kitchen and staff that’s more than 500 pages thick.

Also on the molecular gastronomy tip are two other recent offerings from Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz. Keller recently published “Under Presssure: Cooking Sous Vide” (a process of cooking food slowly in a water bath). You can get it on the cheap at Amazon ($47.25 as opposed to $75). Alinea’s Grant Achatz recently authored Alinea, a coffee table book outlining his breathtaking culinary feats in Chicago.  So, uh, now you know what’s on my Christmas list.

Got a spare $1225 sitting around, I’d be glad to accompany you to one of Meadowood’s Twelve Days of Christmas dinners. from Dec. 9 through the 24th, the restaurant is hosting some of the tip-toppest toques to cook for a lucky handful of big spenders. Each will be paired up with some killer local winemakers. On the list:
– Michael Symon (the new Iron Chef and owner of Lola) and Quixote Winery
– Anita Lo and Screaming Eagle/Jonata
– Roland Passot of La Folie (SF) and Colgin Cellars
– Traci Des Jardins of Jardiniere and Chateau Boswell
Get all the details at

Peanuts Gone Wild
A shout out to Chef John Ash who hosted a peanut recipe challenge on his KSRO radio program this weekend, live from G&G Market. BiteClub was one of the judges who sampled the top four recipes from more than 60 submitted. The finalists had some seriously great flavors, but the ultimate winner turned out to be the Veggie Queen, Jill Nussinow’s African Peanut Stew. Yum. I asked Jill for the recipe, but she’s holding it close for now. You can sign up for her newsletter to get more vegetarian recipes.