As a snack on crackers or as a dessert, here are descriptions of three Palate favorites. Venture beyond the norm to sample and savor one, or all, of these proud imports at your favorite dinner house or cheese shop.
Brie is creamy and buttery with flavor that varies from sweet to musty; made from raw or pasteurized cows’ milk in the south of France.
Farmhouse Cheddar is firm and sharp with fruity, nutty and cara-mel-like tastes with a tangy edge. It’s churned from raw cows’ milk at Somerset, England and surpasses more familiar cheddars.
Gruyere is complex and rich with a fruity, nutty flavor. Firm and earthy, it’s made from raw cows’ milk in the mountains of Switzerland.
Sushi Style There are scores of sushi places in the Valley but most people still wonder how to order and eat those Asian treats. Start by sitting at the sushi bar and making instant eye contact with your chef. To prove you’re serious and informed, ask what’s fresh and follow his tips. If the first course is a nigiri sushi of rice topped with fish, eat with your fingers to avoid crumbling but pick up those chopsticks for sashimi, which should properly be downed in one bite, but if the cuts are oversized, bite twice.
The best starter course is sashimi followed with sushi and then miso soup. If you discover bits of fruit or cream cheese, the chef is teasing your palate; it isn’t authentic sushi you’re nibbling so don’t go for seconds! Eat sushi with or without sake; it’s a matter of choice but not the rule. I like my sake hot from the pot but that’s up to you.
Speaking of Asian cuisine, even celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has gone aboard for the Oscar Sunday Governor’s Ball menu which includes Sesame Miso Cones and Chopped Chino Fars Veggies. Authentic or not, the guests will be ready for good grub after the red carpet and endless Kodak Theatre ceremonies. The winners arrive with bigger smiles, 8-pound statuettes and heartier appetites but all will have a ball. For me, it’s pass the popcorn and pizza time.