Sobre Mesa

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Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of being a guest at the first Sobre Mesa catering event. Peter and Roberto, friends who grew up together in Tijuana, started Sobre Mesa after repeatedly daydreaming together about bringing Mexican street food to the East Coast. And let me tell you, these two know how to impress when it comes to food…

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I’ll have more about Sobre Mesa for you in the future, once their website is up. But if you’re in the Washington, D.C. area and want an invite to their next event (likely dollar tacos in March), drop me an email and I’ll get you invited.

Baked Figs

Not every baking story I have to tell is a wild success, especially when I’m desperately trying to recreate an incredible dish. I had hoped. I understood all the elements, but something was missing from the baked figs I made (and it wasn’t the ice cream — I added that after taking this photograph). Maybe it was time or distance or the ambiance of the Edinburgh restaurant I first had this dish in. Maybe it was because the first time I ate it without the distraction of company: just me and a spoon and a heavenly dessert before me. I’ll never really know.

But I will try again. Because my world needs nights with baked figs surrounded by pieces of amaretto cookies topped with vanilla ice cream, nights where I slow down and savor every glorious moment: the smell of the cookies, the taste of the figs, the heat in my mouth, the warmth in the air, the light draping itself across the table…

Edinburgh Eats

I’m not sure who said to me “you don’t go to the UK for the food.” Whoever it was never has spent any time in Edinburgh — or really, the rest of Scotland for that matter. I left having prepared myself for breathtaking scenery and beautiful castles, but I return craving the food I had there. I had intended to do one massive “things I ate in Scotland” post, but the food was so good, I need to linger over a few of my favorites, especially my eats in Edinburgh.

The Outsider in Old Town Edinburgh, just off the Royal Mile, came highly recommended to me by Naomi — and I’m so glad she sang this restaurant’s praises. I spent a good two and a half hours dining there (alone nonetheless) because I was savoring every bite of their pumpkin leek vegetable roulade (above) and baked figs dessert, which was so good that it needs two photos to just begin to convey its awesomeness.

Mum’s is a cute little 50s-ish inspired homestyle real British food (with a healthy twist) diner just south of Old Town. Their veggie haggis warmed me right up on a rainy day. It was all the deliciousness of real haggis with none of the brow-raising questionable meats — not that I’ve ever had real haggis, and I don’t think I’ll ever have to given how yummy this one was.

I was also lucky enough to stumble upon a great outdoor market on my last day in Scotland where I ran into Kaori, who hosted me the first two nights I was in the country. Kaori is the culinary mastermind behind the delicious Japanese food at Harajuku Kitchen, and I was so thrilled I had the chance to try some of her food while I was there.

So as not to overwhelm you with food porn, I’ll save the rest of my Scotland culinary discoveries for next week.

Is your tummy rumbling? Mine is.

The Fig Thief

I’ve been stealing figs off of neighborhood trees lately. I can’t help it: they’re so perfectly ripe and I know if I don’t eat it, a bird will. The tree owners just can’t pick them fast enough.

For a few months now, I’ve been scoping out the scene of my crimes: a gorgeous Black Mission Fig tree just a block and a half away from my apartment. I’ve been greeting the tree and figs every weekend, watching as they have grown and darkened and called to be picked.

I sent a handwritten letter in the mail addressed to “The Owners of the Beautiful Fig Tree”, hoping to buy some from the couple that lived in the house with the sweet porch. Majorie called me and apologized — they have so many friends who want figs, they simply couldn’t give me any, but (she did say this) I was welcome to try one when I passed yet.

So technically, I may not be stealing at all. But I like to think I am: stealing a moment, stealing a taste, stealing a little miracle (because figs are precisely that).

Today, for the first time, I noticed the fig tree directly across the street from my apartment building. I’m not sure how I’d missed it for so long, except that I never come and go on that side of the street. I paused to inspect the growing figs and began plotting my 4:50am raids (always just one, always the ripest that would waste if it weren’t for me).

It looks like I’m becoming a serial fig thief.

If I still lived in California where figs are plentiful, or in New Jersey across the street from the generous neighbor with fig trees (he has since moved), these are some recipes I would make:

Black Mission Fig Crème Brûlée
Fig, Hazelnut, and Buckwheat Financiers
A Figgy Cake
Fig Ice Cream

What would you do with an abundance of figs? (Please feel free to link me up to some recipes.)

{plate of figs photograph by Rowena, used under Creative Commons license; figgy cake photograph by Julie Marie Craig of Always With Butter, no licensing information available}

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.