The East Bay hot dog empire traces its roots to a common Armenian-American ancestor, Kasper Castigian. According to his grandson, Paul Rustigian, these days, a Caspers sausage company also makes the hot dogs for Kasper’s.
She looks beyond celery root’s gnarly exterior to expose a sweetly nuanced vegetable that can be used in myriad ways to enhance some of your favorite dishes or even be the lead culinary star all on its own.
Besides bringing prelude showers to May flowers, this April—as is often the case—includes two major cultural holidays: Easter Sunday, April 21; and Passover, Friday, April 19-Saturday, April 27. Easter, more so, has morphed into popular culture, with Easter bonnets, Easter eggs, Easter baskets, Easter rabbit and Easter parades. But both include food traditions.
If there’s a national Cuban dish it’s clearly ropa vieja. This is shredded flank steak that has been brazed in a zesty tomato-paste and beef-broth sauce. Throw in onions, bell pepper and garlic, then season with cumin and cilantro. Finally, a dash of olive oil and vinegar are added for mouth-feel and balance. But ironically, most Cubans don’t eat it, because beef is controlled by the state in Cuba, and is too expensive for the natives.
Now’s a great time to crack a Metacarcinus Magister, whom we know as Dungeness crab. After five years of Latin during high school and college, the literal translation is somewhat whimsical: “teacher crab.” This crustacean is renowned along the West Coast, and especially in the Bay Area. Dungeness crabs are a very important in California as one of the oldest and most valuable fishing grounds, creating jobs for coastal fishermen and processors, as well as emerging in local folklore.
Neck and neck with February for the year’s coldest month, January better personifies cold and damp. There’s one food that satisfies and warms the body and soul in the heart of East Bay’s winter. A cup or bowl of steaming soup is like a soft woolen sweater for your innards—and your outlook.