A Modelle Hashcapade in the Mission

Yes, you read that correctly…Modelle Hashcapade…as in Sabrina Modelle, a.k.a. TheTomatoTart! We became acquainted through the Bakesale for Japan effort, which has raised over $140,000 in relief funds. As luck would have it, I was in town to run the San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon and Sabrina knew a great restaurant – Local Mission Eatery. Can you say hashcapade?

The Local Mission Eatery and Knead Patisserie at 3111 24th Street in the Mission.

As we walked from my brother’s flat at the edge of the Mission, the sleepy streets were waking up – latin music blaring at 24th and Mission, hungry diners lining up outside hip restaurants and vendors hawking their wares. I was especially struck by this über cool food truck, Brunch Box, sporting impressive, stylized art – talk about high-end!

Brunch Box also happens to have Pork Belly Hash on their menu.

Despite my best efforts to hitch a ride on the Brunch Box to Local Mission Eatery, we walked a little further to find LME tucked into a quiet block on 24th. The front part is the restaurant and the back part is actually Knead Patisserie, an amazingly tasty purveyor of fabulous pastries. In fact, my brother thinks their Pain au chocolate is superior to Tartine!

Behind the scenes at Knead – French Presses lined up like caffeinated sentinels.
Local Mission Eatery has an extensive cookbook library to loan – sign up!

Sabrina and her husband, Joshua, met us there and we quickly fell into chatter like old friends. Besides the countless tweets over bake sales, food and hashcapades, I had been following her recent purchase of a 1940’s era house. Very exciting! (Social networks is real, skeptics, believe it!)

After catching up, we all went to the counter to order our food. Horror of horrors – hash was not on the menu! Fortunately, the staff morphed the Chicken & Potato Scramble into hash – huzzah! Thank you, LME, I love you 🙂 Three of us had the Pork & Polenta, Bill had the Farm Eggs & Farro and Sabrina had the Smoked Spinach & Egg.

Chicken & Potato Hash

When my hash arrived, I was impressed with the simplicity of the presentation. And the flavor? A.MA.ZING! Moist & tender chicken, succulent roasted red tomato, pickled jalapeño, fresh cilantro, earthy roasted Yukon gold potatoes, topped with crème fraîche and a creamy poached egg. Everyone else was equally impressed with their brunch & pastry selections.

Sabrina, you rock! Thanks for an epic hashcapade!

Happy Hashcapades,

Cheesecake Factory Brunch

While searching hash tweets, I stumbled upon a tweet about Baja Chicken Hash. My interest piqued, I discovered that  he scored his hashcapade at The Cheesecake Factory – holy frijoles! Turns out that Sunday brings out not only a Baja Chicken Hash, but a Crab Hash as well. Who knew?!?!

Baja Chicken Hash
Typical architecture at the Washington Square Mall

I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about a restaurant chain like The Cheesecake Factory in terms of decor, funky atmosphere, or intimate booths. Nor will I talk about the funky neighborhood – it’s in a bloody mall! (sorry, offended Brits!)  However, I will say that I expected a monster plate based on countless stories of mega plates of food after a mega wait. Happily, Alex and I were seated immediately and when the hash arrived, it was just the rights size. No leftovers for this guy (thumbs extended back at me)!

Close-up of my Baja Chicken Hash – yum!

Let’s get down to business. The presentation was decent. I liked the fried tortilla on the bottom that provide a nice crunch with each bite. The chicken and chorizo were complemented by corn, red pepper, roasted poblano chiles, potatoes, green onions and cheese.  Topping it all off was a poached egg smothered in a pseudo-spicy hollandaise sauce, which was somewhat sweet. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised – a decent hashacapade!

Happy Hashcapades,

The Big Easy Hashcapade from Emeril

BAM! No other introduction comes close to describing this hashcapade, courtesy of Emeril Lagasse. This masterpiece is a big, bold hash edifice from The Big Easy. So let’s kick it up a notch and get this blog started!

Roast Beef Hash with Poached Egg and Wild Mushroom Sauce on Garlic French Bread

My son, Alex, and I were chatting about my blog so I suggested that we create a Celebrity Chef Hashcapade. Whipping out his new Galaxy tablet, he quickly zeroed in on Emeril Lagasse’s prodigious list of hashes and simply said, “This recipe sounds delicious.” Talk about an understatement!

Hash is, after all, about lots of dicing – plenty of hashing here!

Alex started to make a gorgeous, tasty and addicting mushroom sauce with Shitake mushroom, shallots, beef broth, green onion and heavy cream – heaven! While he worked on that, I started on the main section with beef, bacon, onions, red pepper, parsley, thyme, tomato paste and more. Things came together reasonably well, but plan on lots of prep work. Thank God for my sous chef and saucier, Alex! 🙂

Big chunks of succulent roast beef going in – BAM!

After about 90 minutes of total time, Alex and I were ready to scale record-setting hashcapade heights – a garlic toast base topped with  beef hash, then a fried egg smothered in mushroom sauce. We each took a bite and looked at each other, blurting out simultaneously, “BAM!”

Halfway through this masterpiece.

We followed this recipe to the letter, except for the poached egg, which seemed too precarious to be perched on top. Suggested changes for next time would include:

1) Pan fry the potatoes – boiling them can result in a little mushiness
2) Make a reduction sauce of the wine and beef broth – don’t want to boil the beef any further
3) Find a better serving dish – plate is awesome, but a deeper dish might work better

If you try these mods out, let me know what you think!

Happy Hashcapades,

Post Smoked Sturgeon Hash Daze at Ned Ludd

I’m delighted to introduce Matt Devincenzi, one of my twitter friends (@mattdev) and hashcapade converts. With the promise of blog celebrity, he eagerly agreed to write a guest post! Matt is an intern at Yelp and a freelance photographer. Oh, and he’s very involved in the beer community as a brewer  and drinker. I share Matt’s passion for beer – Saluto e molto grazie, Matt!!!

I must say, I’m quite honored that Clark is allowing me to be a guest blogger. Since meeting him and Lisa at Taste of the Nation back in May, I’ve actively followed this blog and even attended a couple of Hashcapades as well! Whenever I go to a new breakfast place, I now find myself thinking,  “Where’s the hash?”
After losing my Hashcapade virginity at Podnah’s Pit, Clark invited me back for second helping at Ned Ludd. I’ve been looking for a reason to eat here for some time now, so this was the perfect opportunity!
Ned Ludd at 3925 NE MLK
When I first stepped in to the restaurant, I found myself quite entranced by the interesting décor. It’s as if they based interior decorating on my eccentric aunt’s house, all they way down to the re-purposed liquor bottles used to pour the water. It wasn’t kitschy by any means, but rather some combination of quirky, warm, and comfortable.
Ned Ludd sports lots of axes and a wood-fired oven.
The doors had rustic “book ends” – including a box of blasting caps!
Interior decorating aside, the main reason we came to this place is for the HASH!  While the rest of the breakfast menu looked quite divine, I just couldn’t resist the smoked sturgeon and seasonal vegetable hash.  That behemoth of a fish is my inamorata!
The dish arrived beautifully presented. Two perfectly over-easy eggs atop a mound of roasted potatoes, diced green beans, greens, and most importantly, sturgeon. I felt terrible having to ruin such a beautiful presentation by cracking the yolk and mixing everything up, but I did it in the name of hash.

Smoked Sturgeon and Veggie Hash
At first, I was a bit alarmed at how strong the sturgeon was. It wasn’t offensive by any means, but just a very rich and intense flavor. After just a few bites, my palate got used to how sapid it was and the rest of the dish came alive. The vegetables were vibrant and fresh, the potatoes were perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and substantial on the inside, and the farm fresh eggs rounded out everything and gave the dish a beautiful mouth feel. Bravo!

Lisa, Matt and Ori at Ned Ludd

A huge thanks goes out to Mr. Hashcapade for organizing another one of these and massive props to Ned Ludd for preparing such a beautiful meal. Even though Ori and I had to dodge out a bit early, it was wonderful seeing Lisa, Vivianne, Matt, and Clark again! It was sad that we missed Paul and Lindsay, but there will definitely be a next time. Keep on hashin’!
Thanks, Matt, I shall! 

We also missed Lilly, Lindsay, Nich and Jenn, but our next hashcapade is never very far away 🙂 Also, a special thanks to Jason French and Kara for making our visit extra special!

Happy Hashcapades,

Humpday Hashcapade

Wednesday. Humpday. Staring down an empty stomach and a pledge to friends that I’d create a hashcapade at their casa. Thankfully, I’m resourceful and consult my List of Celebrity Chef Hashes! Hmmmm, Ina Garten’s Basil Chicken Hash catches my eye, but so does Cat Cora’s Balsamic-Glazed Duck Breast Hash. After a quick consultation with Mike, the Barefoot Contessa wins – nothing fancy and it needs to go with beer…lots of beer!

Basil Chicken Hash at Chez Tierney – Delicious!

You see, my friends, Mike and Mary, hosted a Hood to Coast pre-meeting last Saturday. My contribution was a keg of Widmer Drop Top Ale, which I had won at a silent auction, Taste of the Nation – Portland. (Check TasteStrength.Org and their wonderful programs so that no kid goes hungry.) Needless to say, our team of 12 plus other invitees barely made a dent in the keg! Thus, the Drop Top and Basil Chicken Hash pairing. Yusss!

When I arrived, we retapped the keg and relaxed a little before tackling Ina’s creation. After a few pints, it was time to sharpen the knife and get to work. My deal was simple: I’ll cook, you clean – easy! We chatted while the fresh ingredients were hashed and minced into submission, destined for a colorful, fresh melange of decadent hash!

Amazing what a sharp knife and decent veggies can do!
His Hashness, Lord Clark; The Dutchess, Lady Mary; and The Duke, Lord Cap’n Spanky!

Needless to say, my adaptation* was a big hit as we drank more beer and wine. In between bites and sips, we talked about nutrition. We talked about healthcare. We talked about running Hood to Coast. Five hours later, we were no closer to finishing the beer, but we had solved most of the world’s problems! What a lovely Humpday Hashcapade. Thanks, Mike and Mary!

Happy Hashcapades,

* I used (1) shredded rotisserie chicken, 3 Tbps fresh chopped basil, a drizzle EVOO and mixed together and let sit for the basil-chicken combo. Also, I only used 1 1/2 big Russet potatoes, 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow bell pepper; 1/2 red onion and 1/2 sweet onion;  used smokedpaprika; and omitted the tomato paste. I cooked all of this in one pan in stages. Potatoes for first 15 minutes, add onion for 5-10, add peppers, then chicken. This still made 4 servings!

Thai Yellow Curry Veggie Hash

A friend of mine (we’ll call him Jeff) quietly confessed his secret. “I dabble in Thai food,” he practically whispered. Jeff must have known he could confide in me. After all, he had reviewed my Chicken Curry & Potatoes with Mustard Seed Hash. So, I quickly reciprocated and confessed, “I’m, uh, thinking of doing a Thai hash.” With a knowing smile, he gave me the thumbs up and thus was born my Thai hashcapade!

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato and Shitake Mushroom Hash with Thai Yellow Curry

The only problem was what style to make? Veggie? Meat? Red, green or yellow curry? I consulted The Ultimate Thai and Asian Cookbook by Deh-Ta Hsiung, Becky Johnson and Sallie Morris. This massive cookbook full of gorgeous photos and 300+ recipes is my go-to Thai bible, especially for making curry from scratch. I quickly found my culinary muse in a lovely veggie dish called “Sweet Pumpkin and Peanut Curry”. Perfect! Now off to Uwajimaya for the best ingredients for any Asian dish!

Simple, fresh vegetables and a few canned goods to zip this hashcapade along!

Have you ever been to a place that makes you feel like you’ve landed in a foreign country? That’s how I feel whenever I enter the sliding glass doors of Uwajimaya. Wonderful aromas, Asian characters (fonts, not people!), massive sacks of rice, dried fish flakes and the best place to buy Hiyao Miyazaki DVDs are super concentrated in this Asian cornucopia.

Love exotic produce? Countless veggies and fruits like Chinese long beans and curry leaf or dragon fruit and lychee fruit await the adventurous shopper. In my experience, the anchors of a good Thai curry are galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, lemongrass, and chilies, which Uwajimaya has in abundance. To save time, I opted to buy a can of yellow curry.

Roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes.

The basic process was simple, lots of hashing of ingredients and roasting of the squash and sweet potato. I had some extra jalapeño and red pepper which I threw in to add a nice bit of color. Once all the ingredients were mixed together, I simply scooped out the curry with a slotted spoon so it wouldn’t be to soupy in the food ring. Add a little bit of cilantro for garnish and voila!

Another perspective of my Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Thai Hash

The moment I tasted my latest creation, I was giddy with excitement! This was a super flavorful veggie hashcapade that anyone could easily make. As an added bonus, I could tell this would make an awesome soup, which I actually did a few days later – yum! There’s something about an exotic dish that translates perfectly into a hashcapade at Chez Clark. 🙂

Send me your ideas for my next adventure like Jeff did!

Happy hashcapades,

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato and Shitake Mushroom Hash with Thai Yellow Curry*
Before you start your journey, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and sharpen your knife!

1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and hashed into 1/2″ pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and hashed into 1/2″ pieces
> Add the squash and potato on a rimmed baking sheet.
> Drizzle with olive oil and add fresh-ground salt and pepper
> Roast at 375 for 20 minutes, or until al dente
> NOTE: While roasting the squash and sweet potato, continue on with the next steps…

2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
> Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat, then add garlic and shallots
> Stir until soft to avoid burning the garlic and shallots

1 Cup chicken stock (original called for vegetable stock)
2 kaffir lime leaves, torn

1 Tbsp fresh galangal, finely chopped

> Add the yellow curry paste to the wok and mix in with the shallots and garlic, until it foams
> Add the stock, leaves, and galangal and bring to a boil
> Reduce heat and let simmer gently for about 15 minutes
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeño, finely diced (set aside a scant tsp for garnish)
5 shitake mushrooms, hashed into 1/2 inch pieces
> Add the rest of the above ingredients and let simmer for 5 minutes
> Remove the kaffir lime leaves and discard
> Add the roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes and gently fold into curry
> Remove from heat and let the squash and potato absorb the curry for 5 more minutes
4 Tbsp top cream of the coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp yellow curry paste
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
> Mix coconut milk and curry paste and spoon almost all on the plate in a circle bigger that the food ring
> Use a slotted spoon to get the squash, potato and mushroom hash out of the wok for the next step
> Using a 4″ diameter, 2″ high food ring, carefully pack the hash to the top
> Spoon the rest of the coconut/curry paste plating sauce, top with a scant spoon of the hash
> Garnish the plate and the hash with cilantro and the jalapeño set aside earlier

NOTE: Makes 1 serving with my 2 inch high, 4 inch diameter food ring. Two days later, I made into a yummy soup by busting out my Cuisinart. I pureed it, adding some more chicken stock and cream until I liked the consistency. Talk about a flavor bomb in your mouth!

* Adapted from The Ultimate Thai and Asian Cookbook by Deh-Ta Hsiung, Becky Johnson and Sallie Morris. Major modifications – roasting squash (instead of pumpkin) and potato for richer flavor, no peanuts or pumpkin seeds, chicken stock for richer flavor and the extra red pepper and jalapeño.

Dine and Dashcapade at Mission Beach Cafe

A hashcapade – my nearly religious and, at times, quixotic mission to sample and create hash – is always an adventure. Getting recommendations (thanks, Sabrina – @thetomatotart), coordinating schedules, and getting there take on a sense of urgency and expectation. Will there be a line? Will it be good? Are the proprietors cool?

And so my adventure began on a particularly gorgeous June morning in the Mission. I strolled from my brother Jeff’s flat and walked right by Mission Dolores…on my way to Mission Beach Cafe. I immediately interpreted this as a divine blessing for my sacred mission! The weather was perfect for a stroll. I had ample time before business meetings. Finally, I had confirmation from other friends that MBC was da bomb. Onward, hashing soldier!

Mission Dolores Basilica

But first, some history. The Misión San Francisco de Asís was founded in 1776 by Fray Junípero Serra and is known as “Mission Dolores.” Apparently, a nearby creek named Arroyo de los Dolores, or “Creek of Sorrows” was the inspiration. Sadly, I missed the picture of the original mission, but the bright sun gloriously venerated the Mission Dolores Basilica, which was  built 1913-1918. Surely my hashcapade would be epic!

Mission Beach Cafe on 14th and Guerrero
Delightful pastry case greets customers.

From outside, Mission Beach Cafe is unassuming and low-key. Inside, the vibrant colors, Euro furniture, pastry display case and feng shui mirrors impress! An assortment of decent music played while I waited for breakfast service to start at 9AM. As I sat down in my comfortable oasis listening to Steely Dan’s Aja, cars zipped along Guerrerro and 14th, driven by dreamers bent on their own missions.

Delicious Pain au chocolat au Pain and mug of joe.

My brother’s friend, Jaina, insisted (or dolores would ensue) that I order any of the pastries created by Alan Carter, MBC’s talented pastry chef. So I did. Can I just say how incredible the Pain au chocolat was? The flaky, buttery croissant gently gave way to rich, creamy chocolate. The combination created a sublime symphony on my palate. If this was sinful, I’m pretty sure no amount of confession could ever atone! (Pssst! For the sharp-eyed readers in-the-know:  Yes, that is a Heath Ceramics mug!)

Braised Prather Ranch Short Rib and Sweet-Potato-Apple Hash

When the short rib hash arrived, I was impressed by yet another presentation innovation: the eggs were on the bottom. How smart is that?! It let the hash dazzle the eye instead of coyly hiding under common breakfast eggs. Divine inspiration? I think so! Similar to my Huckleberry Cafe hashcapade in LA, the short ribs were “stewish” and succulently delicious. Zucchini, roasted red pepper, carrots, corn, potato, horseradish creme fraiche and basil played supporting roles, but were equally tasty. 

As I finished my hash and looked at the bill, Steven Winwood’s, “Bring me a Higher Love” played over the speaker. Then, I proffered my credit card…(insert scratchy record noise).

Emily (the waitress): “Sorry, we don’t take American Express.” 
Me: “Yikes! I left my Visa at my brother’s apartment. Is there an ATM?” 
Emily: “Laundromat or Safeway”. 
Nadia (barista): “I’d go for the Safeway.” 
Devil (on my left shoulder): “Dine and dash, Clark!” 
Angel (on my right shoulder): “You’ll do no such thing. Hurry back!”
Me: “So sorry. Here’s my driver’s license and business card. I’ll be right back.”
Nadia: “No problem!”

…(re-cue Steven). Ahhhhhh! Mission Beach Cafe in the Mission with awesome staff – heaven! 

Happy Hashcapades,