Author Archives: Anna Mindess

About Anna Mindess

A sign language interpreter by day; a food writer by night. Endlessly fascinated by looking at the world through the eyes of different cultures -- and tasting its variety. Anna lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and daughter. Author of READING BETWEEN THE SIGNS and now a freelance writer for KQED's Bay Area Bites, Oakland Magazine and other publications.

For Lunar New Year, the Horse Gallops in with Traditional Foods of Tết

The Vietnamese celebration of Lunar New Year, Tet, serves up a range of traditional foods, including thick wedges of sticky rice filled with peppery pork and candied kumquats and nutty cookies. For the Year of the Horse, Son Tran, owner of Oakland’s aptly named Le Cheval Vietnamese restaurant, shared with me the details of these essential holiday dishes and other cultural traditions. Continue reading

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Don’t Poison Your Guests: Tips for Hosts on Food Allergies, Intolerances and Sensitivities

Eggs, strawberries, wheat, nuts, fish, dairy–seems like everyone is allergic to something. What’s up with that and what’s a host to do? This illustrated guide explains the difference between intolerances and allergies and provides tips for cooking for guests with these conditions (and having them leave sated –and alive.) Continue reading

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Making Chevre with a Cheese Whiz, San Francisco’s Own Milkmaid

Louella Hill, a modern day, milk maid, views cheesemaking as an art form that embraces the microbial world and can’t be rushed. She teaches classes around the San Francisco Bay Area in making goat cheese, brie, feta, ricotta, mascarpone and more. Continue reading

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Gruesome Goodies: Halloween Bentos to Make for your Little Bats and Ghouls

Surprise your child with a Frankenstein sandwich, Vampire bunny egg or Severed sausage “fingers”. Make frighteningly easy Halloween Bentos with these tips and tricks for healthy treats Continue reading

Posted in cute food, Japan, Japanese food | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Icy or Spicy? Cooling Foods Across Cultures

Although the Bay Area doesn’t suffer the swoon-inducing heat and humidity of Japan, Peru, India or the Philippines, we can still enjoy their edible solutions for cooling relief. Some like it icy cold with mounds of shaved ice doused with syrups, while others turn to peppers and spice to induce a natural cooling response. Continue reading

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From Peaches to Persimmons: A Taste of Two Seasons (in Japan)

I tasted the essence of two seasons–summer and fall–in two fruits–white peach and persimmon–during two weeks in Kyoto, Japan. Continue reading

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A Sushi Maniac Serves Me an Oishii (Delicious) Day in Osaka

An Osaka brain surgeon with a passion for sushi shares his culinary hobby with me, an enthusiastic visitor and fellow sushi fanatic. We sample Osaka style pressed sushi, shop for fresh ingredients and make an “oishii” (delicious) sushi dinner. Continue reading

Posted in Japan, Japanese food, tasting tours | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Chinese Carver Jimmy Zhang Makes Melons Bloom and Carrots Fly

Watch video as Chef Jimmy Zhang, Master of the Chinese Art of Fruit and Vegetable carving, creates exquisite watermelon roses and shares the secrets of this ancient craft. HIs passion started with a potato and now he fashions rearing horses out of taro, tropical fish from carrots and a feisty dragon out of giant radishes.. Continue reading

Posted in Chinese food, Thai food | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

ZATAR – A Mediterranean Oasis Nurtures Diners with Homegrown Produce

Growing up near a fertile riverbank in Iraq, Waiel Majid’s family naturally enjoyed cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant and squash from their garden. Now the transplanted Majid and his wife serve their own homegrown vegetables on plates of Mediterranean delicacies at their Berkeley restaurant ZATAR. Continue reading

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Dinner with The Spice Whisperer

Vinita Jacinto told us to close our eyes and taste the sun, moon, stars and earth in the food she had lovingly prepared: saffron-kissed basmati rice and creamy lentils flavored with cumin and turmeric, topped with a dollop of pureed … Continue reading

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