Monday, February 20, 2017

The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food

Being a lover and reader of cookbooks, I have many more tomes than can fit in my small kitchen cupboard. The solution, for me, has been to try out e-cookbooks! I recently picked up Phan's latest offering, The Slanted Door, when it was a part of the publisher's specially priced offering that passed through my email one day. If you love cookbooks and enjoy adventuresome eating/cooking, you will want to pick up a copy as well!

I love that The Slanted Door offers readers a bit of history of the restaurant after which the cookbook is named. As you read, you get a sense of San Francisco and the food scene therein. A travel guide within a cookbook is a "win win" to me! Phan also includes other stories and anecdotes about what it takes to run a food business, what the food he presents means to him, and glimpses into family life and history that connect readers and would-be at-home chefs to the dishes presented. This is what makes me devour a cookbook!

I like that dishes from all parts of the menu are included in the cookbook. If you are intimidated to try a full-blown entre (and you really shouldn't be with Phan's step-by-step instructions and careful coaching in each recipe), you can always start with an appetizer! Abundant explanations and gorgeous photographs accompany each recipe and provide encouragement. What a delight!

In this modern era with global connections, it's hard to imagine that anyone would find the ingredients in Phan's dishes to be too exotic. I live in the middle of America, in the "fly-over" zone where grocery stores have limited shelf space. However, I feel confident that I could procure most of the ingredients to make any dish in the book readily and locally.

Having this book on my e-reader is great because I can set it on the kitchen counter and follow along with the recipe as I cook, thus saving paper. (Do note it helps to increase the length of time before your screen times out before you start cooking if you don't want to have to swipe the screen with messy fingers!) While it will take a bit of getting used to (also, set it out of splatter range!), it makes me feel even more technologically savvy as well. I will certainly be indulging in more e-cookbooks in the future!

From the Publisher . . .

The long-awaited cookbook featuring 100 recipes from James Beard award-winning chef Charles Phan’s beloved San Francisco Vietnamese restaurant, The Slanted Door.

Award-winning chef and restaurateur Charles Phan opened The Slanted Door in San Francisco in 1995, inspired by the food of his native Vietnam. Since then, The Slanted Door has grown into a world-class dining destination, and its accessible, modern take on classic Vietnamese dishes is beloved by diners, chefs, and critics alike. The Slanted Door is a love letter to the restaurant, its people, and its food. Featuring stories in addition to its most iconic recipes, The Slanted Door both celebrates a culinary institution and allows home cooks to recreate its excellence.

About the Author . . .

Charles Phan is the award-winning Executive Chef and Owner of San Francisco's The Slanted Door and 6 other restaurants. He is considered to be the inventor of modern Vietnamese cuisine in the United States.

Born in Da Lat, Vietnam in 1962, Charles and his family - parents and five siblings - relocated to Guam just before the fall of Saigon. They spent two years on Guam before settling in San Francisco in 1977.

Always having had a passion for food, Charles opened his first restaurant, The Slanted Door, on Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission District in 1995. It was an immediate popular and critical success. The restaurant played a significant role in the revitalization of this vibrant area.

In 2004, the nationally acclaimed, The Slanted Door, became one of the principal tenants of San Francisco's historic Ferry Building and was instrumental in developing this landmark into one of the country's premier food destinations.

That year, he also won the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef of California and in 2011 was inducted into the foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America.

Since then, Phan has opened six successful restaurants, all located in San Francisco, a city with a famously vibrant food scene. His enduring vision to showcase farm-fresh, locally sourced ingredients and prepare everything from scratch has kept The Slanted Door Group of restaurants on the forefront of San Francisco's dining scene.

Charles' first book, VIETNAMESE HOME COOKING, hopes to inspire readers to make interesting, fast, flavorful and healthy Vietnamese dishes in their home kitchens. The book won an IACP award in 2012.

His second cookbook, THE SLANTED DOOR, offers one hundred recipes of modern Vietnamese food, cocktail and dessert. The book comes at the right time to celebrate James Beard Award's Outstanding Restaurant in May 2014 and its 20th anniversary in November.

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