Sunday, March 2, 2014
Back in November, I successfully defended my dissertation. All of the summer and the autumn months leading up to November 5 (aka: D-Day) were wrapped up in this cocoon of thesis-ing. Then, as soon as I passed the defense, it felt as though the whole world exploded back into my life. The weekend immediately after D-Day, I was on a plane to Boston for a conference. Then came a month of bouncing back and forth between Los Angeles and the Bay Area for more work. Then another work trip to Minnesota, right before the Polar Vortex hit. Then, then! I started teaching at Berkeley! As a faculty member! Okay, okay, albeit this is just a visiting teaching position for the semester.... but still! For someone who grew up in one of the most underprivileged public school districts in California, getting to actually teach at a University of California campus is kind of like the highest honor. You know, public school pride. :)
In other exciting news, the day after my dissertation defense, I got a super exciting call to shoot for San Francisco's 7x7 magazine--you know, the magazine that basically has its finger on the pulse of what's cool in SF. For their recent February issue, I got to shoot Bar Tartine's famous smoked potatoes dish. AND OMG, you guys, you HAVE to try making this at home. And if not the potatoes, than at the very, very least, the black garlic vinaigrette that goes with these potatoes. Basically, as Chef Nick Balla explained to me, when developing the dish, they tried to pack as much umami flavor as humanly possible into one bite. The result is one of the most intensely flavorful things I've ever eaten. I seriously wolfed down two plates of this stuff as soon as we finished shooting, and then asked if they'd ever consider making the dish into potato chip form so that I could continue pigging out on it at home. At Thanksgiving, I made the black garlic vinaigrette and poured it over a side dish of toasted Israeli couscous, toasted walnuts, shiitake mushrooms, and dried apricot slices. So. Good.