Wonton Cookies

Way back when I was in the fifth grade i had a teacher named Ruth Omatsu. She was always one of my favorite teachers at Lawton Elementary school because she got us excited about learning. While we learned a lot about science and reading and math in her class it was the special side things she taught us that really stuck with me like wonton cookies.

Bringing a deep fryer around 10 year olds isn’t something you’d get away with doing today, but she decided to teach us to cook one week and she had come up with the novel idea of wonton cookies. They were really simple and delicious. You’d take a wonton skin and drop some coconut, brown sugar and chocolate chip on one half. Then you’d wet your finger and run it around the edge and fold it over into a triangle and deep fry it.

My Mom loved the idea and invited Ruth over one day to show her how to do it. My Mother took it a step further and chopped up banana and pineapple to add into the mix. Really anything sweet would probably work in one of these. If you’re adding in a harder fruit like apples you’ll definitely need some brown sugar to help loosen them up.

While I haven’t seen any Chinese restaurant offering them I think it would be a great idea for them to start. It’s a novelty that I haven’t seen anywhere else and could be a new San Francisco tradition. The only thing that comes close is a Philipino dish called Turon. I’ve seen it in stores, but I’ve yet to try it. From what I understand it’s banana, chocolate and star fruit made to look like a lumpia, but is sweet inside. Even though I dated a girl who was Philipino for six years I had never heard of this before, but it sounds like something I’m going to have to try. In the mean time I’ll stick with the wonton cookie version because it brings back memories of school. I’m sure some of my Asian persuasion friends will chime in on this one. Steve? You out there?

Hat’s off to you Ms. Omatsu!

Devil’s Teeth Baking Company

I like the idea of a new bakery in the Sunset, but they usually have an aim at a French flair or Italian flair, or no flair whatsoever and end up closing quickly. I have to say that my trip to the Devil’s Teeth Baking Company definitely had that funky outer Sunset flair with a dash of techie added to it.

This is a relatively new place that I actually heard about at Squareup.com’s website. When you walk into the place it has a bit of that funky industrialized look that you see on the food network with everything laid out in the case with very little adornment so that you focus on the food first. My first surprise was that most bakery’s focus on just cakes and cookies, the sweet things of life. This place offered dishes of sustenance to balance out your sweet tooth such as lasagna, curried chicken, soup and quiche. My wife and I figured we would just get some cookies and cake and head home, but she chose the lasagna so we’d have lunch covered, a chocolate chip cookie for our daughter and a blondie for me.

Total cost: $10.50. Now here’s were the surprise came in. The $5 lasagna was about eight inches long and five inches high. This was a huge slab that could have fed us for two meals. It probably had about 3 days servings of vegetables in it, so we were eating pretty healthy. It was so big that we had to put the sweets aside until we had more room for them. Lasagna is one of those things that you rarely go wow over. It’s usually good. For Italian Americans it’s kind of a staple. This is was pretty good lasagna and for the price, that made it even better. Later on in the day we got to dive into the cookie and blondie. The cookie was big and my daughter only ate half of it. We ate the rest and it was soft, but not soft like the Mrs. Field’s softened by some chemical type of soft, but a buttery soft. This was one damn fine chocolate chip cookie. Biting into the blondie was a burst of butter and brown sugar topped off with white chocolate and dark chocolate chips finished off by the crunch of the nuts. I know I definitely will be returning this week.

For the techie side of things, the store’s cash register is an iPad running the square software. This is the software I’ve talked about previously that lets small businesses take credit cards without the monthly charge or transaction fee. They swiped my card and I signed on the iPad after which I received a text message that allowed me to hook up with the bakery via the square app. Now when I go in I can just pull out my iPhone or Android and open a tab that makes paying quicker. Because they are only charged a percentage  and no transaction fee you won’t see a sign that says, “Credit Card Minimum $10” or “Cash Only” like you do at other places. This is a pretty slick piece of free software.

Devil’s Teeth Baking Company also boasts Blue Bottle Coffee and Beignet Sundays. Expect to wait in line when you go, not because they are slow, but because they are busy. Check them out. NOW!

Bugia Cookies: FOUND!

I had a flashback to being a kid this week. I was down in the Mission and happened to be walking by Lucca’s Delicatessen (not to be confused with Lucca’s in the Marina) when I saw in the window a box of Bugia cookies. I had totally forgotten about these cookies of my youth and I had to buy a box.

The cookies derive their name from the Italian word, Bugia which translates to liar. They are called liar’s cookies because when Mama makes them and puts them in the cookie jar she’ll know immediately if you’ve stolen one by the trail of powdered sugar that leads up to your mouth. They make them all over Italy, but everyone does it a bit differently. These where oddly enough just like the one’s I ate as a kid. As it turns out they are made at the Liguria Bakery on Stockton Street. That would make sense since my family who came from Jackson, CA where there are a large population of Ligurian Italians (my family originally came from Genoa which is in Liguria).

These are puffy fried chips of dough covered in powdered sugar. There’s a little bit of citrus and anise in the dough that give them a wonderful taste. This isn’t like the fried dough they sell on the east coast. Nothing like zeppole which is a fried Italian doughnut, but crunchy and addictive. If some one could make a sweet potato chip it would probably taste a little bit like this.

Oddly enough they aren’t very bad for you even though they’re fried. Ten chips only have 150 calories and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. I’m not saying that you should change your diet for them, but they’re a great treat you should try.

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