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Indian summer notwithstanding, autumn has arrived and the transition is apparent at the farmer’s markets. Peppers, melons, and tomatoes are becoming scarce, and the fall crucifers and hard squashes are taking their place.
In keeping step with the season, today we debut a new iteration of the tlayuda, the crispy Oaxacan masa flatbread. It is topped with black bean puree, smoky chipotle salsa, queso Oaxaca, spicy caramelized onions and fried Brussels sprout leaves.
We were honored to be featured in the NY Times’ popular “36 Hours” Travel section column when they profiled our beloved Berkeley. Click here for the full article, or check out the writeup of Comal below.
Last year when Corin brought in a paper bag filled with tiny Santa Rosa plums and asked “Can you do anything with these?” I felt instantly twelve years old again, puckering at their sour taste for the first time. My summers growing up in the East Bay hills were spent building tree forts with friends and pelting one another with the overripe plums that had fallen to the ground. Everyone seemed to have these trees but no one ever ate their fruit. Once we tasted their bitter contents, it seemed wiser to use them as projectiles that had the added benefit of staining the opponent’s clothes.
With no idea of the outcome or what its final purpose in a cocktail would be, I macerated the plums on tequila with an oversized masher and waited. I knew it would be tart, probably enough to act as the sour/bitter component in a drink, and it was. What I didn’t account for was the skin and pit, which created a tannic, earthy finish. In the end, I think it tastes closer to a sour Maraska cherry tequila, but it’s still really delicious and works perfectly in a stirred drink that’s bright and light. Aperol and Cocchi Rosa vermouth lend balance and finish to the tart, fruit-forward tequila. Manzanilla sherry provides a touch of sea salt and brings out the background flavors of the vermouth. Grapefruit zest always pairs well with Aperol as it plays up the fruit components while toning down the bitterness. An easy drinking, apertivo-style cocktail – perfect for the end of summer while there’s still sunshine on the patio…
Matthew McKinley Campbell
While Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer, we who live here in the Bay Area know that the best weather of the year is yet to come. The days are certainly shortening, but we will be blessed for the next two months with an explosion of summer produce even as the first pumpkins are showing up at market. Many folks pushed heirloom tomatoes onto their menus months ago, but in my opinion, the peak of our local tomato season is from the beginning of September through the first significant fall rains, usually around Halloween.
Tonight we will be debuting a new heirloom tomato salad that also features local heirloom muskmelons and cucumbers. Tossed with a red wine vinaigrette and spiked with toasted arbol chiles, the salad is finished with chopped black olives, raw goat feta, and sunflower seeds providing brininess, pungent richness, and crunch respectively.