The Potato Puffs @ Gregoire, in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto

Like duchess potatoes, but deep-fried.

My regular readers may have been wondering why I haven’t been my prolific self this past month, and there’s a few reasons: (a) I’ve been golfing quite a bit lately, (b) cooking professionally has limited how much I dine out, and (c) I’ve been putting almost all of my mental energy into my new project, the Culinary Timeline (the site is still a definite work-in-progress, and not quite ready for prime time). Since returning to work in the kitchen earlier this year, I’ve not only expanded my culinary horizons in the present (étoile uses some really amazing and esoteric ingredients), but I’ve also become increasingly interested in the culinary past. I’ve been reading dozens of food history books, studying the evolution of fine dining, but also learning where it all went awry (America’s food industry is in disrepair at the moment, thanks to factory farms and rampant pre-processing). Anyhow, I went down to Berkeley the other day to load up on a few more books, and to have a quick bite to eat. The potato puffs with aioli, pictured above, staved off hunger for a bit.

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