“From Puerto Rico: Comfort In A Bowl Of Corn” for SF Chronicle

September 12, 2017

Working with Paolo Lucchesi has been awesome, he’s a dream editor. The Chronicle allowed me to write another story for them and this time it was about a recipe I had been developing for a few years. It’s something I came up with on a whim, but turned out to represent me pretty well: A blend of traditional Puerto Rican ingredients with seasonal Northern California produce. When Carrie Sullivan asked if I’d like to do a demo at the CUESA chef demo tent at the SF Ferry Building, I chose the shrimp and funche recipe.

Get the recipe by clicking on the photo.

First article in the SF Chronicle Why aren’t there more Puerto Rican restaurants in the Bay Area?

August 6, 2017

Chicharrones de pollo at Parada 22 in the Haight. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez

I had been pitching the idea around for a year, why aren’t there more Puerto Rican restaurants in the Bay Area? I pitched it to several publications and if I wasn’t met with radio silence, it was a kind rejection. On a whim, I decided to pitch to the SF Chronicle. In December 2016, they asked if I could contribute a little something to their holiday food traditions piece. Based on that alone, it gave me the balls to approach them. And it paid off. They were totally into the idea and after some back and forth editing between myself and Paolo, the idea was in print June 2017.

It allowed me to reach out to the Puerto Ricans who I admire in the food industry. Those making a real change and doing things no one else is doing. I’m grateful that Manolo, Paxx and Alicia gave me the time of day because they’re all so damn busy. They’re all so damn talented.



March 30, 2017

I got another book in the mail not long ago! I was totally excited because the cover was so beautiful. Harvest is a how-to guide on how things grow, when to harvest them, and what to do with them. The pages are filled with stimulating and beautiful photos of seasonal produce, herbs and flowers. It’s a feast for the eyes. Writing and getting a book published is such a long process, you always have to admire and respect the authors that stay the project through. Harvest is full of how to dry herbs, flowers and citrus. After all, the book lists unexpected projects using 47 garden plants. It also includes recipes for quince paste, pomegranate margarita and hostess gifts like edible flower pressed cheeses.

Unfortunately, in a time where most chefs and restaurants are trying to find ways to reduce and eliminate food waste, this book seems like the epitome of food waste. Most of the “what to do” with the things you harvest seem like a waste. It seems like the book uses the most expensive products as tablescapes instead of ingredients: artichoke flower arrangement, apricot facial scrub, blueberry dye, persimmon wreath. It would have been helpful if they added a sidebar on what to do with these ingredients after you use them for frivolous uses. A recipe could have been added to assist the reader in maximum utilization of a beautiful (and expensive) product, rather than just using it as a floral arrangement. While creative, a waste of food.

However, just looking at the beautiful photos will inspire you to grow or exercise your green thumb in the garden. #sponsored I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

The dumpling galaxy cookbook

February 10, 2017


The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook is a deliciously compact and affordable book that packs a wallop. With the ever prevalent “overhead” cluttered food photography on hand-thrown pottery and the classic closeup.

The book is separated into six chapters, while the first chapter contains all of your classic dumpling fillings, pork and cabbage pork and mushroom pork and pork,  I love that there is a “how to” photo showing a set of hands filling, shaping and closing the notorious XLB dumpling. The other chapters contain more non-traditional fillings, titled “faraway flavors,” and one chapter is called, “Green dumplings.” Is it because the six recipes in the chapter have some kind of green vegetable included; cabbage, spinach, chive…ect? This chapter contains the Pork and Green Chile recipe, that is more of a Southwestern dumpling than a Chinese.

There are a few more photos of how-to shape and fill different types of dumplings, which is always helpful. The book has the steps on how to make the dumpling dough depending on how you want to prep them: boiled, pan-fried or steamed. The recipes and sidebars are very clearly written, easy to follow and don’t include a lot of fluff. You don’t need any special equipment for to prep or cook the dumplings. Great photos and short chapter introductions. A great book to have for yourself and for any beginner or adventurous seasoned cook. #sponsored I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


February 4, 2017

Don’t forget to come and check out my market to table demo at the SF Ferry Building, with the help of CUESA.

rice and beans

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 –12:00PM TO 12:45PM

Stop by the CUESA Classroom for a cooking demo featuring the seasonal bounty of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

EatGordaEat is the name of Illyanna Maisonet’s self-published Puerto Rican cookbook and her popups. Illyanna grew up in the Sacramento Delta, surrounded by an abundance of produce that grew wild in her backyard.

When Illyanna started documenting her grandmother’s cooking, she thought she was just putting her family’s recipes in writing for the first time. Little did she realize that the series of recipes she’d collected would turn into a little cookbook and would serve as a time capsule for a diminishing craft; cocina criolla (country cooking). Since then, she has developed recipes for Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo, been featured as a writer for Paste and Lucky Peach Magazine, and been invited as a guest speaker for La Cocina’s Voices from the Kitchen. She is currently working on a cookbook with her editor, Lesley Tellez, writer of acclaimed cookbook Eat Mexico.

All demos take place in the CUESA Classroom (under the white tents in front of the Ferry Building) and are free to the public, with recipes and samples for all.

SF Chronicle asks bay area cooks about holiday traditions

January 8, 2017

Many thanks to Jonathan Kauffman of the SF Chronicle for reaching out to me inquiring if I’d like to participate in their edition of bay area cooks, chefs and restauranteurs family holiday traditions. Quite a diverse addition to the holidays, don’t you think?