As you drive south on Oakland’s Grand Avenue toward Lake Merritt, on the right hand side, you’ll notice a beautiful exposed brick building. Its lines are symmetrical, and the roof is tiled with waves of red terra-cotta. There are beautiful wood beams framing street-side windows expansive from sidewalk skyward. Camino is a special restaurant owned by chef Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain. It’s a place that tells you a lot about the two of them through a whole range of details – some loud, others more quiet. A wide open interior with long tables of family-style seating frames an open hearth where much of the cooking takes place. Camino is known for impeccably sourced ingredients made into meals prepared in open fire. It’s also known for having great style – you see it in everything from the food, to the cooking vessels, to the custom crown chandeliers, and the arches of hand-cut paper masks on the walls when I walked in the other night. Russ and Allison hosted a dinner at Camino last week to celebrate the release of Near & Far. They do this sort of thing on occasion, where they host an author, and bring people together for a meal related to a (typically) newly released cookbook title. For an author, it’s magic – to have a night where the Camino staff focuses on your recipes and cooking style, friends at every table.
So, I wanted to share a few things today. First, some photos from that evening. Second, a recipe for Chicory Soup. It is one of my favorite recipes from Near & Far, and it was one I was worried people might skip over. When I saw that Russ was going to do a version of it – so thrilled. It’s a brothy, restorative barley soup with chicories punctuated with flecks of preserved lemon, a bit of chile confetti, and a silky dollop of creme fraiche. I could eat it everyday with no complaints. Russ sources and likes to cook with Anson Mill’s whole farro piccolo, and did a version with that for the dinner. The flavor was so nice and pronounced. And you all know how much I like soba-yu (scroll forever)- whether you use barley or farro, this soup has some of that spirit woven in.
xo to anyone who grabbed my camera and took photos that night while I was signing books. Mostly Wayne 😉 Also, hop on the Camino mailing list to be notified of future dinners – they’ve hosted some of my favorite people in the past including David Lebovitz, Yotam Ottolenghi, Chad Robertson, Deborah Madison, and James Oseland. Next up for them is Hartwood with Eric Werner and Mya Henry.
3917 Grand Avenue
San Francisco Booksigning Party: Mark your calendars! We’re having a booksigning party in San Francisco THIS SATURDAY on October 3rd – 4-6pm. It’s my only San Francisco event, it’s free (ideally with the purchase of a book), I’ll be signing, and I’d love to see you there. Here are the details and invitation. Please come! Santa Cruz, Seattle, and New York, are up after SF. xo-h
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