Ice Cream Refined at Humphry Slocombe

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It is an uncharacteristically warm day in San Francisco. I have the day off of work and have made camp in the office of a good friend and mentor to post and work. In this office there is a library of cookbooks. They span the room’s walls and call to be perused. I read my copy of The Professional Chef and page through Nate Appleman’s cookbook before being quickly overcome by belly-churning hunger. I have brought with me no food and am in desperate need of a snack.

Oh, joy.

Just five blocks from this wonderful office is Humphry Slocombe, the mount Olympus of ice cream parlors. While I delight in traditional parlor offerings of rocky road and caramel swirl, Humphry Slocombe stands apart from its peers and competitors, lending its freezers to innovation. The hip spot offers flavors like crème fraiche and honey thyme, all scooped generously into paper bowls to be lasciviously devoured with plastic spoons.

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To the Streets: SF Food Trucks Delight

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San Francisco is a playland for lovers of haute cuisine. Boasting countless michelin-starred restaurants and a population of discerning gourmands to keep them in check, the city is a wonderful place to blow last week’s paycheck on tonight’s dinner. I have eaten at several San Franciscan temples of high gastronomy, but the city’s normal food is what so endears me to the scene.

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À Côté de la Mer

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There comes a calm with living by the sea.

Now free from the year’s collegiate madness, I am fortunate enough to come home to San Francisco where  I live by the beach.  The Pacific a mile from my house, it covers my neighborhood with a blanket of fog at night but, on sunny days, lends to the air a gentle ocean breeze, a fresh respite from the dry torridity of Arizona. I have written very little since my return almost two weeks ago.  I have been by the water.  My golden retriever has been my faithful companion on evening walks along the beach and early morning runs in the sand.  She swims in the ocean and emerges exhausted, falling soundly asleep minutes after we cross the warm threshold into my old home.

The ocean, to my Arizonan delight, is full of delicacies uncommon in states arid and landlocked: fish.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have eaten fish in college.  It always arrived at the restaurant in half-frozen fillets in a box of ice shipped overnight from Santa Cruz.  It was expensive and just okay.

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That Finals Time of Year

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Brace yourselves and prepare for impact.  Hide your marijuana, discard your beer, and shun your fleshly pursuits for finals are upon us, looming ghastly in the distance! There in choppy waters they stand, canons ready and crew fresh. Though you, at year’s end, stand sick and weary with collegiate exertion, prepare immediately for battle or be smote by roaring volley of papers, exams, projects, and presentations.  To the library with you, young men and women of academia.  Seek now your final assistance while tired professors still  dribble on thirsty tongues and sleepy minds the sweet milk of knowledge.

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$30 Dinner: The Arrogant Butcher

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While empty downtown Phoenix sleeps on Thursday night, hipsters, businessmen, and downtown residents in the know come to dine and imbibe at The Arrogant Butcher.

The space is warm and inviting.  A dimly-lit dining room set with its crown jewel of a rocking open kitchen is fun before you sit to eat.  The restaurant is chic yet casual and pulses with energy refreshing as stepping out of Arizona’s summer heat.

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How About That Airline Food?

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My flight is domestic and short.  They journey from Phoenix, Ariz. to Park City, Utah takes two hours and makes me question whether or not I like flying.

My plane is not large or spacious or comfortable.  Plastic-walled with blue vinyl seats, it is packed tight with passengers.  I wonder if they share my sense of docile irritation.  We sit like sardines packaged in bottled air ready to be shot into space.  I consider my seatbelt.  How will it help me in the event of a crash?  The fasten seat belt sign blinks and I obey, strapping myself to the plane.

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My First City, My First Love

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What is home?

Since moving to Tempe, Ariz. for college, I have been grappling with the concept.  A sophomore now, my freshman year was spent pining for my hometown of San Francisco.  I missed the cuisine, the throngs of  colorful people, the electric crackle of city air.

Being far from water was unsettling.  No longer could I walk along the ocean at sundown or the black bay at night.   During my first months of college I would, unbeknownst to my parents, use my food stipends to buy greyhound tickets in the dead of lonely nights to San Diego or Los Angeles to walk along the beach, feel that familiar sliding squish of sand between my toes.

Home, I have concluded through nights of restless thought, is not a physical place.  It is a mental and emotional state in which familiar comforts abound, whether they be people, images, foods, sounds or  activities. While I have created for myself a wonderful home in Arizona, I still miss my coastal abode in the city by the bay.  My San Francisco is in neither the Golden Gate Bridge nor the Trans-america Pyramid or Lombard Street.  My San Francisco is in her restaurants, between alleyways, on rooftops, aside sparkling waterfronts, atop steep hills and amid twisting streets swimming with hurried traffic.

I miss her like a first love and always will.

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Fresh Pasta Dough: A Tutorial

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When I first started cooking, I was astounded that pasta could be made from scratch.  My spaghetti always came from long rectangular boxes.  Funny shapes like farfalle, I thought, must have always been the product of some elaborate machinery housed in the giant pasta factory in the sky.  Ravioli came in sealed plastic containers, packaged and sold like supermarket action figures.

Outside of Italy, we think more of the sauce than the pasta.

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