Building the Bakery Boxes

Our homemade Oreos are ready to go!

Our homemade Oreos are ready to go!

It’s a tradition at school that partway through the 16-week classroom instruction period, the pastry students decide on some of the “greatest hits” from the first portion of the term and send out filled boxes of treats throughout the San Francisco area to important movers and shakers in the food industry. The list of recipients is decided by the school, but includes supporters of the school, food bloggers, chefs and more.

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Dessert Circus at State Bird Provisions

State Bird always saves some tables for walk-ins, and the line forms about ninety minutes before they open.

State Bird always saves some tables for walk-ins, and the line forms about ninety minutes before they open.

Rarely – but occasionally – one meal deserves its own blog post. Maybe it’s the quality of the food or the inventiveness of the chefs. Maybe it’s the atmosphere or the company I’m keeping. In this case, it was all of it.

As I mentioned in a previous post about my night with Chef Glenn Kang, State Bird Provisions is one of the hardest restaurants to get into in San Francisco because it’s one of the best. Not just here, but in the country. Who says? Bon Appetit magazine, who named it THE BEST new restaurant in the United States in 2012. Three years later, it is going strong and just as impossible to get into as it was back then.

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Stretching Strudel

Before I get to Tuesday’s very cool lesson on how to make and stretch strudel dough, I did spend the three-day weekend enjoying more of San Francisco’s delights – including exploring the Oakland and Berkeley areas, and the Bernal Heights neighborhood in SF.

On a walk through Chinatown on Saturday morning, there was plenty of dead animal to go around.

On a walk through Chinatown on Saturday morning, there was plenty of dead animal to go around.

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Pancake Overload and Biscuit Bonanza

Flaky phyllo dough, custardy filling and cinnamon powdered sugar sprinkle on top. Delicious Semolina Pie!

Flaky phyllo dough, custardy filling and cinnamon powdered sugar sprinkle on top. Delicious Semolina Pie!

If Chef thought moving us off of sweet items during Pastry Dough Week and into savory was going to kill our appetites or gluttony, she was wrong. I think more of us felt sick after Thursday and Friday than after Wednesday’s festival of pies. Why? Two things: scallion pancakes and biscuits!

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Pie-Palooza

Megan and Lexi's mini Salted Caramel Apple pies look amazing out of the oven.

Megan and Lexi’s mini Salted Caramel Apple pies look amazing out of the oven.

I wander into pastry school each morning trusting that whatever Chef has in store for us will be fun, educational and delicious. I don’t get consumed with the schedule, or wonder what’s down the road too much; I just let things unfold as they are designed to do. I was aware, on Monday, that we were beginning two weeks of Pastry Dough, but beyond that I hadn’t given it much thought or consideration. As it turned out, “pastry dough” meant – at least initially – to be pies!

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Worldly Weekend Whirlwind

The woman behind the counter at Holy Gelato! was having just as good a time as we were.

The woman behind the counter at Holy Gelato! was having just as good a time as we were.

From the moment we exited school after our test on Friday afternoon and continuing through until Saturday night, my friends and I went on a whirlwind tour of cuisines from all over the place. Most of it wasn’t intended that way, although some was by design. No matter, it was a delicious blend of flavors and satisfying to the belly.

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Entremets Are Delicious

Wednesday afternoon at the coffee shop, studying for Thursday's written exam.

Wednesday afternoon at the coffee shop, studying for Thursday’s written exam.

What is an entremet, you ask, other than the item we focused on for the last two days of Cake Week Part Deux? According to one nicely concise definition I found, an entremet is “a multi-layered mousse-based cake comprising of different complementary flavors with varying textural contrasts.” So, basically, a bunch of deliciousness covered in mousse. How could you go wrong? Answer: you couldn’t.

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