Episode 1 Rick Stein's Road To Mexico


Episode 1

Rick Stein journeys from northern California to Mexico. In San Francisco, Rick tastes legendary dishes, such as the hangtown fry - oyster pancake.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

It was 1968 when I first came here

to San Francisco.

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I wanted to do my own road trip from

the United States to the Mexican

border

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and beyond. My dad had just died.

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I'd finished school and I had no

idea

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what I wanted to do with my life.

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It was the year after the summer of

love and things like enchiladas,

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burritos, guacamole, I had only

heard of from the radio,

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but they sounded wonderful.

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But it wasn't just the food.

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I wanted to live a little bit

dangerously...

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And I did.

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MEXICAN MUSIC

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Mwah!

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Mm!

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In the 1960s there was a song that

really caught my imagination.

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It started, "All the leaves are

brown and the sky is grey.

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"I've been out for a walk on a

winter's day."

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And it was, of course,

California Dreaming.

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And it sort of filled me with a

desire to come here to California,

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where the sun shone all the time,

where the fruit was bigger,

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where the vegetables were riper, and

finally, I made it in 1968.

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So, here I am again, starting a

journey here in San Francisco and

going all

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the way to Mexico.

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Because I want to find what has

changed,

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what's Californian cooking like and

what's the food of Mexico that is so

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much part of my culinary

imagination?

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MICROPHONE:

Ladies and gentlemen,

we're taking it down

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to the dock of the bay right here in

San Francisco.

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# Sitting in the mornin' sun

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# I'll be sittin' 'til the evening

come

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# Watching all the ships roll in

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# Then I watch them roll away again

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# Oh I'm just sittin' on the dock of

the bay... #

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Is there a better introduction or

a more fitting place

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to start my culinary jaunt?

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I don't think so.

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This is Fisherman's Wharf.

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If you like seafood, or Otis, it's a

must.

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Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay, Otis

Redding.

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Right here in San Francisco.

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Thank you sir, appreciate that.

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You know what? That song is so good,

I might have to do it twice.

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The famous Fisherman's Wharf was

started by Sicilian fishermen who

came

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during the gold rush of the 1840s.

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It has a similar feel, I think,

to Southend,

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with a smidgen of Margate thrown in.

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Anyway, instead of cockles and

whelks and jellied eels,

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there's cod and grouper with

coleslaw, snow crabs,

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fettuccine with scallops, chowder of

course,

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and loads of seafood cocktails.

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Well, I was last here on

Fisherman's Wharf aged 21 and my

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first thought was, how has it

changed?

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Well, not a lot. It's got a bit more

commercial.

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But what matters to me is they're

still selling boiled Dungeness crabs

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and clam chowder. So I bought myself

some picked Dungeness crab with

some nice

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cocktail sauce. I just really like

the way the Americans do a cocktail

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sauce. It's just ketchup and

horseradish. It works a treat.

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And this Dungeness crab, wow.

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It's lovely to be back

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here in San Francisco.

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I'm always sort of thinking, it's a

small city,

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it's more sort of European in its

feel.

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But that's something to be said for

many a city that's on the ocean.

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There's a sort of feeling of, I

don't know, excitement.

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The one thing about America that I

really think,

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every time I get off the plane,

I feel excited.

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And a lot of people say,

"Oh, America this, America that."

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But I guarantee that most of them,

when they get to the States,

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they feel the same way.

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There's something exciting,

there's something...

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great anticipation, there's great

food, there's great sights, it's

lively.

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And San Francisco is that for me.

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It's my city by the bay, too.

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San Francisco is the start of my

journey.

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I'm going south, past LA, crossing

the border into

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Baja, Mexico and onwards through the

mainland,

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ending in Yucatan and the warm

waters of the Caribbean.

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Most of the time when I first came

here, for food I just grabbed what I

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could. A hot dog, a burger, a pizza.

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But one of my foodie friends in the

UK... and remember,

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I wasn't even a chef then,

I actually wanted to be a DJ.

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..one of my friends suggested that

if in San Francisco,

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you've got to go to the

Tadich Grill.

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By American standards,

it's practically medieval.

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168 years old.

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It's been here ever since the

Gold Rush.

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In fact, it's as old as

San Francisco

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and their most famous dish is one

called Hangtown Fry.

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It's a sort of oyster omelette for

those about to die.

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The boss here is David Hanna.

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So it's a bacon, oyster and egg

frittata.

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Very good. How did it get its name,

then?

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Well, Hangtown was a nickname of

Placerville, California,

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where they had a jail.

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And obviously, they...

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Hanged people.

Hung people there,

exactly.

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So it was very difficult to

transport eggs

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to the Placerville area and to

get oysters, fresh oysters,

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from the Pacific there was very

expensive, as well.

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So... And it took a lot of time.

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So what people would do who were on

death row,

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they would ask for a Hangtown Fry.

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Seems an odd thing to ask for just

on the eve of your death!

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Absolutely. But it would extend

their life by a few days

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because to get all three of those

ingredients in the same place at one

time was kind of a feat.

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They're good stories!

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It's a great story and you know,

it's a great dish.

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We're one of the very few places

that still serve this.

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More important, for me,

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is eating this very traditional

Californian dish from

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the Gold Rush days

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in this beautiful restaurant which,

I mean, it's just so American.

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This sort of enormous bar.

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It's sensational. With everybody

sitting round it eating.

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Well, we love it. It's called the

dining counter.

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I mean, it's a great place.

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We've had senators from, you know,

from Washington DC

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who have come

out here and have a meal.

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There are actors, actresses, other

politicians.

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People just up the street come in,

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mix and mingle together and enjoy a

meal together.

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I was sort of thinking, yeah, I

might open a restaurant like this.

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It's just so convivial, really,

isn't it?

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You know, you never know who you'll

find yourself sitting next to,

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that's the thing.

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I love the menu here

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and this dish is the most

sought-after.

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It's a fish stew made with the best

of what's landed the night before,

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plus a few clams.

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Some say it's from Sicily,

or maybe Liguria.

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But anyway, it's definitely Italian.

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I'm really liking this dish.

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It's really simple. It's just a load

of seafood, bit of olive oil,

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bit of white wine and their sauce,

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tomato-based sauce, which actually,

Barney won't give me the recipe!

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Which I perfectly understand!

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Apparently it's called cioppino and

it was a recipe from Italian

fishermen

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who chipped in with various seafood,

presumably that they'd caught.

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But the other thing I really like

about this kitchen is

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it's very hot in here.

There's a charcoal grill here,

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a coal grill and this solid top

is really, really hot.

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It reminds me of my first kitchen

which was similarly hot.

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Sometimes it was hellishly hot,

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but I feel quite nostalgic about it

now.

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I suppose a very useful by-product

of my travels is to find recipes

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that I could cook when I got back

home.

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Especially to adapt the ingredients

to what we find in our shops and

local supermarkets.

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I got the idea for this dish in

San Francisco,

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but my version is very much

a fish stew, Padstow style.

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The first thing I do in order to

make this Italian style stew

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is to peel these raw tiger prawns.

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And they DID come from my local

supermarket!

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Take the shells off, like so, and

put the skins, the heads, the tails,

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into a well-seasoned fish stock.

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So now to make the base.

This is the sauce.

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First of all, some butter.

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Now, this isn't an Italian element,

I don't think, in this sort of dish.

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This is very much Californian.

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And now some olive oil, plenty of

olive oil.

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It really richens it up nicely.

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And garlic. You might be surprised

about the amount of garlic,

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but it really does pay off.

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That's about five cloves, that.

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And now some onions, a small onion,

all chopped up,

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because it's not going to be

strained, this.

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And now some celery. And again, this

is very much a Californian element.

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You wouldn't get this in the

Italian.

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And neither actually, next, is the

green peppers.

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But this makes it different,

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this is the way food moves from

country to country and changes

slightly.

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There we go.

In goes the green peppers.

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And now some white wine, just any

old white wine will do.

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You know, any stuff you've got left

over,

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don't feel you've got to buy a

bottle of wine

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just to make a cioppino.

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There we go. Now I'm just going to

let that bubble down a little bit.

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Now this is what I call gastrique.

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Actually, the French

call it gastrique.

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It's actually red wine vinegar,

three or four tablespoons,

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and about a teaspoon of sugar,

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just reduced right down till it's a

syrup.

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And it just makes tomato sauce

come alive.

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And now oregano.

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That was definitely in the cioppino

dish.

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But I think there were some other

spices which they wouldn't tell me

about,

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but I could certainly pick up

oregano.

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And now chilli, and I have taken a

bit of a liberty here, too.

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We are on our way to Mexico,

so about a teaspoon of chilli.

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And then tomatoes, just tinned

tomatoes.

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As I always say, if you're not in

the right time of year,

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better to use tinned.

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Now salt, about a teaspoon, I

suppose.

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Needs to be a bit salty, it's a

seafood stew.

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And finally pepper, about ten turns

of the black pepper mill grinder.

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I never worked out how to actually

measure it.

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There we go. Just look at that.

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I mean, I know I use the word a lot,

but it's very unctuous.

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And now just to strain the stock in

there.

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And I always say, don't throw away

your shells,

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you get so much flavour from prawn

shells.

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There we go. In that goes.

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And now I'm just going to leave that

to simmer away for about another

ten, 15 minutes.

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Anybody can fillet a monkfish.

There's only the one backbone in it.

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And the great thing about monkfish,

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it's so firm and it doesn't sort of

shrink up massively when you put it

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into a stew like this.

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Interestingly, I've only got three

pieces of seafood.

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Monkfish, prawns and mussels.

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The Tadich Grill had about 11,

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as far as I can remember. Three

types of fish, mussels, clams, crab,

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two types of prawns.

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Scallops. Have I left anything out?

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I'm not sure. But when I looked

at it, it is a restaurant dish.

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It's magnificent. But nobody's going

to cook something like that at home.

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There's too many expensive pieces

of seafood in it.

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So I've just stuck with monkfish,

prawns and mussels.

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Once the fish and the prawns are in,

then it's virtually done.

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I'd say about five more minutes and

it's ready.

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One thing I always do before I put

mussels in an expensive dish like

that,

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is just give them a little sniff

because if there's one that's died,

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it will taint the whole stew and

ruin it.

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When the mussels have opened,

it's done.

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Put the lid on to help that process.

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And then to serve, a slice of

toasted sourdough.

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That's very San Francisco.

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Garlic, a good, rough rasp of it,

and olive oil.

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And now the stew.

It's smelling wonderful.

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Like a good old-fashioned fish

restaurant.

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Butter, garlic, and seafood.

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I think fish stews to do at home

should be as simple as possible.

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Only three main ingredients, the

mussels, the prawns, and the

monkfish.

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And simple, keep it simple and then

it becomes really cheap, too.

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When I first came to San Francisco's

Chinatown as a 21-year-old for my

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usual bowl of noodles in soup and

pak choi in a lovely oyster sauce,

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I remember thinking that this is a

real living, breathing Chinese

community.

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It wasn't a tourist Chinatown, at

all.

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This is where the Chinese live and

run their businesses and have always

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done so, since the days of the

Gold Rush,

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the magnet that first drew so many

Chinese to America.

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But of course this is now something

of a must for everyone who comes

here.

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I was very fortunate to meet a man

I've heard of for years.

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He's a chef, he has his own TV show,

he's brilliant

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and his name is Martin Yan.

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One, two, three.

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This first batch of Chinese

immigrants,

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they came over here to work in the

gold mines.

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They worked the railroad and then

afterwards they opened restaurants,

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chop suey house. And this is why I

call it the living Chinatown.

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People actually live here.

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All the woks in the world.

Wow.

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This is what I call a lolly shop!

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I don't know about you, I actually

have six woks in my kitchen!

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I've only got two!

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But then I'm not Chinese!

Yeah, I love that...

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The toss. The food toss.

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That is proper stir-fry.

The food tumbles.

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That's the reason why a round

bottomed wok is so functional.

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And also the liquid reduces really

quickly, so you concentrate the

sauce.

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That's right, because the heat

is concentrated right here.

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So you can concentrate,

you can reduce the heat.

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Just the right amount of sauce.

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And this has got two -

a handle and...

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It's heavy, that one.

Oh, yeah,

yeah.

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But that's more for...

What happens

is when you get older, like me.

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You're still young,

you're too young!

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Oh...!

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But then when you're not able to

lift up with one hand,

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you can use two hands.

Oh, of

course.

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That's the reason why. And then of

course, you know, steamers.

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I use steamers a lot. When you want

to steam,

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you just put it right on top of

here.

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And the steam...

So you've got a

steamer...

Yeah, you can stack them

all up.

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And if you want, you can have two

dishes together.

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This is good for fish, for ribs, for

chicken, for lobster, for crab,

everything.

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You'd get a whole lemon sole in

there.

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I've learnt everything there is to

know about a wok in about five

minutes!

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Five minutes. Actually, you could do

it in three minutes, or less!

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Are you hungry?

Yeah!

Let's go and have some...

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Dumplings.

Dumplings.

Dumplings,

Shanghai dumpling, OK.

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Yes!

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Now this is cooking theatre.

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These chefs know what turns the

locals on and that's making it a

cooking spectacle.

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They've been headhunted

in China and brought back here

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to San Francisco.

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This chef, Tony Wu, I'm told is the

master noodle-maker of the world.

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He is, I think, quite spectacular.

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What he's doing is putting air and

tension into the dough,

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to make it elastic enough to split

into noodles.

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He makes thousands of strands in

five minutes and the more he twists

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and turns and stretches the dough,

the thinner the noodles become.

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It's mesmerising.

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If you come here, then try the

dumpling dish.

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Chef Wu is making spinach dumplings.

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It's just spinach blended with water

and mixed with flour.

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Now the filling. It's chopped fresh

prawns and scallops,

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seasoned with salt and white pepper.

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And he wants to get a consistency

that's almost like a thick paste.

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This he puts into the shell,

a bit like making ravioli.

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Those little dumplings go into

boiling water

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for about eight minutes or so.

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For the sauce, and it's a really

good sauce,

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it's two tablespoons of grated

ginger

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and the same amount of garlic.

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Coriander, chopped spring onions,

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a couple of tablespoons of chilli

and garlic sauce.

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Chilli oil and also some sesame oil

too.

0:17:560:18:01

Soy sauce, a good lot,

about four tablespoons.

0:18:010:18:05

Then six of white vinegar.

0:18:060:18:09

Now sugar, four of those

tablespoons.

0:18:110:18:14

And give it a good stir throughout.

0:18:140:18:17

It's a brilliant sauce.

0:18:170:18:20

It's spicy, sweet, and sour

0:18:200:18:23

and it goes so well with these

dumplings.

0:18:230:18:27

Now, this is for you.

0:18:270:18:28

Something that everybody can learn

how to do.

0:18:280:18:31

Now, you pick one for me.

0:18:310:18:33

Oh, is that polite?

0:18:330:18:35

Beautiful! Yes.

0:18:350:18:37

Beautiful. Now then, this is so

important.

0:18:370:18:40

Yeah.

I watched these being made.

0:18:400:18:42

Yeah.

0:18:420:18:43

They're fabulous! So lovely.

0:18:460:18:49

I just wanted to ask you two

questions about,

0:18:490:18:51

well, I suppose Chinese food in

San Francisco particularly.

0:18:510:18:55

Those two dishes, chow mein and chop

suey.

0:18:550:18:59

What are they and where did they

originate from?

0:18:590:19:02

You know, that's a great question.

0:19:020:19:03

A lot of people always think you

know, chop suey, chow mein,

0:19:030:19:06

is very Western.

0:19:060:19:08

Very European. Very American.

0:19:080:19:11

Actually, chow means stir-fry.

0:19:110:19:14

Mein is noodle.

0:19:140:19:15

Stir-fried noodles.

0:19:150:19:17

Pan-fried noodle is chow mein.

0:19:170:19:19

So it's just a way of cooking?

0:19:190:19:21

It's just, we've got fried noodles

on the menu here.

0:19:210:19:23

Right, how you present the dish and

the basic amount of sauce that you

put it in.

0:19:230:19:28

So you could never find the

definitive chow mein,

0:19:280:19:32

because there isn't such a thing.

0:19:320:19:33

No such thing. Because everybody

would do it differently.

0:19:330:19:36

What about chop suey, then?

0:19:360:19:37

Chop means mixture.

0:19:370:19:39

Suey means cut up pieces.

0:19:390:19:41

Basically all the Chinese dishes,

0:19:410:19:43

is a mixture of cut-up pieces

in the plate!

0:19:430:19:47

So in the true sense, all the

Chinese dishes are chop suey.

0:19:470:19:52

Well, I'm blowed. So

it just means we've got

0:19:520:19:55

fried this and that?

0:19:550:19:57

Right.

Yum Cha.

0:19:570:19:59

In Chinese, Ganbei.

0:19:590:20:01

Ganbei?

Ganbei.

0:20:010:20:02

That means cheers?

Cheers.

0:20:020:20:05

Bottoms up.

Bottoms up. Ganbei.

0:20:050:20:07

When you think about it,

Chinese food here in San Francisco

0:20:130:20:17

is every bit American as a

hamburger,

0:20:170:20:20

the hot dog, and Mum's apple pie.

0:20:200:20:23

But what I wanted to see was how

they make the famous fortune

cookies.

0:20:230:20:28

I find them really amusing.

0:20:280:20:29

A lovely smell.

0:20:310:20:33

Smells good outside. Smells better

here.

0:20:330:20:35

It does, doesn't it?

0:20:350:20:37

Now, this is our semi-automatic

fortune cookie machine.

0:20:370:20:40

Take a look. It smells good. It's

amazing.

0:20:400:20:45

Fresh-made cookies always taste

better.

0:20:450:20:48

So, what's in them? They're lovely.

0:20:480:20:50

Basically it's sugar, butter, flour.

0:20:500:20:52

That's basically it. Very simple.

0:20:520:20:54

And, "Regular and chocolate

adult X-rated" fortune cookies.

0:20:540:20:58

Check your fortune.

0:20:580:21:00

Hm. I don't think I can repeat that

one.

0:21:080:21:12

OK.

0:21:120:21:13

Well, this is a really nice one.

0:21:160:21:18

It says, people find it difficult to

resist your persuasive manner.

0:21:180:21:22

But my wife has this thing that

whenever you open a fortune cookie,

you add

0:21:220:21:26

the phrase, "In bed", afterwards.

0:21:260:21:28

So, now it reads, people find it

difficult to resist your persuasive

0:21:280:21:32

manner in bed.

How about mine?

And yours, Martin, is...

0:21:320:21:34

Check mine.

0:21:340:21:36

.."You'll make many changes before

settling satisfactorily in bed."

0:21:360:21:42

It just... It's funny because even

kids love it, you know?

0:21:420:21:45

Check this one, check this one.

0:21:450:21:47

Right.

There's so many fortunes in

life.

0:21:470:21:49

"Rely on long-time friends to give

you good advice in bed."

0:21:510:21:56

It's so silly.

0:21:580:21:59

OK, this one means...

You do it.

0:21:590:22:00

You do it then.

No, this one's...

0:22:000:22:02

"You're lucky because today you'll

meet a new-found friend."

0:22:030:22:07

You!

In bed?

0:22:070:22:09

No, not in bed.

I don't think so,

Martin.

0:22:090:22:11

In restaurant.

0:22:110:22:12

Well, in 1968 when I was here, the

film that, well,

0:22:330:22:37

just wiped the board for me was

Bullitt.

0:22:370:22:40

People have seen it recently and

said, "Oh, it's dated."

0:22:400:22:43

But no film that Steve McQueen ever

made could be dated for me.

0:22:430:22:48

But what they all say is that what

isn't dated was the car chase going

0:22:480:22:52

down this street - Taylor - is the

car chase by which all others are

judged.

0:22:520:22:56

Right, I've got an urge now just

to put my foot down.

0:22:560:23:00

And if you've seen it you know that

every time they go over the hill the

0:23:000:23:03

car sort of leaped up

0:23:030:23:05

in the air, but I can't do that now.

0:23:060:23:08

Of course not.

0:23:080:23:09

I'm quite proud of the fact the

director of such an iconic film

0:23:110:23:15

was a British man, Peter Yates.

0:23:150:23:17

Paradoxically, he also directed Sir

Cliff's film, Summer Holiday,

0:23:170:23:22

where they all stop work for a week

or two,

0:23:220:23:25

hopped on a double-decker bus

0:23:250:23:27

and sang for much of the time

in a carefree sort of way.

0:23:270:23:31

What's so wonderful now is I never

would have believed that I would be

0:23:360:23:42

driving the same car, a Mustang,

down the same street.

0:23:420:23:46

Fabulous. And now I should put my

foot on the accelerator!

0:23:460:23:49

Look at that!

0:23:490:23:51

Ask a San Franciscan, or indeed any

American of a certain age,

0:24:160:24:20

what is the most famous dish you

associate with the city?

0:24:200:24:23

And the chances are it would be

mac and cheese.

0:24:230:24:27

They say this dish saved thousands

from starving during the Depression.

0:24:270:24:32

One box of it satisfied a family of

four for 20 cents, and it's lovely.

0:24:320:24:39

So, just pouring my

macaroni into some boiling,

0:24:440:24:46

well-salted water.

0:24:460:24:48

And now to make the roux.

0:24:480:24:50

Basically, you just put some butter

into this pan.

0:24:500:24:53

And now stirring in some flour.

0:24:550:24:58

About an equal quantity of flour,

just stirring that in.

0:24:580:25:01

And now a teaspoon of mustard.

0:25:030:25:05

That just gives the sauce a little

piquance, of Dijon mustard, that is.

0:25:050:25:10

Don't let that cook too much or else

it turns the mustard bitter.

0:25:100:25:15

And now some milk, a lot of milk.

Here we go.

0:25:150:25:18

Stirring that full cream milk in.

0:25:180:25:21

I always tend to add it in about

three thirds

0:25:210:25:24

when making bechamel sauce

which, essentially, this is.

0:25:240:25:27

You have to be a bit patient.

0:25:270:25:29

I like jobs like this.

0:25:290:25:31

I used to do gallons of it in

the hotel I worked at as a lad.

0:25:310:25:35

There we go. That's thickened up

very nicely.

0:25:360:25:38

And just adding a bay leaf here

and some nutmeg.

0:25:380:25:42

Enough nutmeg that you can really

taste it in the final dish.

0:25:420:25:45

And now some cream.

0:25:450:25:48

I really like dishes like this.

0:25:490:25:51

In fact, when you first go

to somewhere like California,

0:25:510:25:53

and I noticed this time,

0:25:530:25:55

the Italian food tends to be

not like you get in Italy.

0:25:550:25:59

It's generally much richer.

0:25:590:26:02

If you've got a pasta dish, there's

always tonnes of sauce

0:26:020:26:05

and the sauce

tends to be rather creamy,

0:26:050:26:07

and you think, well,

this isn't proper Italian.

0:26:070:26:10

Then you suddenly realise, well,

this ain't Italy, it's California.

0:26:100:26:14

And a dish like this,

mac and cheese,

0:26:140:26:16

it's very much a Californian

sort of dish.

0:26:160:26:19

It's all about excess, I think.

0:26:190:26:21

There's lots of milk in it,

lots of cream, lots of cheese,

0:26:210:26:24

and when you eat it, you just think,

0:26:240:26:27

that's what I like about

American food.

0:26:270:26:30

There we go.

0:26:300:26:31

Now to fry off the pancetta,

the bacon.

0:26:310:26:35

We all know macaroni cheese,

0:26:370:26:39

but macaroni cheese with smoked

bacon or smoked pancetta

0:26:390:26:43

is something else.

0:26:430:26:45

Good chunks of dry-cured, smoky

bacon,

0:26:450:26:48

no salty water coming out of it into

the pan, now hard fry and out.

0:26:480:26:56

I'm using grated Cheddar.

0:26:560:26:57

I'm told the Americans

use Monterey Jack.

0:26:570:27:00

This dish has the honour to be known

0:27:020:27:04

as the American housewife's

best friend.

0:27:040:27:07

The United States' president

Thomas Jefferson

0:27:070:27:10

loved mac and cheese so much

he served it at a state dinner.

0:27:100:27:15

And why not? It's lovely.

0:27:150:27:17

Top with a mixture of Parmesan and

breadcrumbs and into a medium to hot

0:27:200:27:25

oven for about 20 to 25 minutes,

until golden brown.

0:27:250:27:30

And that's it.

0:27:300:27:32

Oh, god, it smells so good.

0:27:360:27:37

I mean, just that mixture of cheese,

hot cheese and bacon,

0:27:370:27:40

a little bit of breadcrumb,

a little bit of Parmesan too.

0:27:400:27:43

It is a fabulous dish.

0:27:430:27:45

Well, I feel I need hardly tell you

where this is.

0:28:140:28:17

Just look around.

0:28:170:28:19

It's Haight-Ashbury.

0:28:190:28:21

And I came here in 1968,

the year after the Summer of Love.

0:28:210:28:25

I was a bit of a serious boy

at the time.

0:28:250:28:27

I was 21 and wasn't really

interested in marijuana.

0:28:270:28:32

I was more interested in the fact

you could get gallon cartons of milk

0:28:320:28:36

in fridges in San Francisco

0:28:360:28:38

and that hamburgers were not just

fried onions

0:28:380:28:42

in a hamburger, but you could

get mayonnaise and salad,

0:28:430:28:47

and particularly dill pickles.

0:28:470:28:50

And also down at Fisherman's Wharf

you could get fantastic Dungeness

crab.

0:28:500:28:55

Now, I was a little bit serious,

and in fact, my first wife, Jill,

0:28:550:29:00

when I told her I'd been here in

1968,

0:29:000:29:03

she said, "You're probably the only

21-year-old that didn't go to

0:29:030:29:08

Haight-Ashbury and turn on."

0:29:080:29:10

I fancied some oysters and

I was told to go to Hog Island,

0:29:170:29:21

about an hour or so

north of San Francisco.

0:29:210:29:25

Well, I would have driven twice that

distance

0:29:250:29:28

just to have a real bite of

the sea.

0:29:280:29:30

I find the countryside in this part

of California very appealing.

0:29:360:29:41

There's something about Scotland

here, or Ireland.

0:29:410:29:44

It seems so familiar.

0:29:440:29:46

It is, in its own way, very inviting

for the traveller,

0:29:460:29:50

for the wandering gourmand in search

of something good to eat.

0:29:500:29:54

This is a great thing to do.

0:30:030:30:05

Oysters, I know, are not everyone's

cup of tea,

0:30:050:30:08

but for me they're a real delight.

0:30:080:30:11

Well, not all of them,

0:30:110:30:12

because so much depends

on the quality of the water,

0:30:120:30:15

where they grow up and the delicate

cocktail

0:30:150:30:18

between saltwater and fresh.

0:30:180:30:20

I'm no expert but it smells just

right here.

0:30:220:30:26

And these are the oysters.

0:30:280:30:30

Compact, lovely texture and colour,

and great smell.

0:30:300:30:35

They're the sort of oysters that

people who don't know if they like

0:30:350:30:38

oysters or not would love.

0:30:380:30:40

The man who loved them

as much as I do

0:30:410:30:44

is the oyster farmer, Terry Sawyer.

0:30:440:30:46

You see, these are the Hog Island

Sweetwater Pacific.

0:30:490:30:52

So, I don't know how you open

oysters.

0:30:520:30:55

Just traditionally on the hinge.

Yeah, go to the hinge.

0:30:550:30:57

Yeah.

And then what we do is we have

just a little bit of purchase.

0:30:570:31:00

Yeah, a bit of a worry,

0:31:000:31:02

I always like to say it's a bit of a

worry on the end.

0:31:020:31:05

Worry, I like that.

0:31:050:31:07

This is in beautiful shape.

0:31:070:31:10

The meat is firm.

0:31:100:31:11

Yeah.

It's got good colour.

0:31:110:31:13

I want to see that it's actually got

0:31:130:31:15

a certain amount of what we would

call fat.

0:31:150:31:18

It's plump.

That's the fat there, is

it?

0:31:180:31:20

Yeah. But certain times of year

you'll come in and this will be

0:31:200:31:23

a very clear oyster, and that's just

got no flavour.

0:31:230:31:25

This is just ready to go

for the market.

0:31:250:31:29

We're not going to look at it the

whole time.

0:31:290:31:31

We're going to enjoy this.

0:31:310:31:33

So, this is...

0:31:330:31:35

Ah!

0:31:380:31:40

What did you get?

That's a good oyster.

0:31:400:31:41

I get... I get minerality,

I get saltiness,

0:31:410:31:44

I get sweetness and I get

meatiness...

0:31:440:31:47

..and a fragrance,

a fresh beautiful fragrance.

0:31:480:31:50

GULL CRIES

Somebody else agreed there.

0:31:500:31:53

You know, what are we, an hour,

0:31:530:31:54

an hour and a half from

a major metropolitan area?

0:31:540:31:57

Yeah.

And, yet, it's an area that

will produce that water quality.

0:31:570:32:01

The plankton that they're feeding

on is just rich,

0:32:010:32:05

the water quality is great.

0:32:070:32:09

So, this is what I get to share

with you,

0:32:090:32:13

which is an enjoyable way

of making a living.

0:32:130:32:16

Cheers.

Cheers. I've just had

two while you've been talking,

0:32:160:32:19

which probably is a bit rude of me.

0:32:190:32:20

You're ahead of me.

0:32:200:32:21

I'll let you get that open and then

I'll cheers you.

0:32:210:32:24

Good.

Cheers.

Cheers.

0:32:280:32:30

Oh.

0:32:340:32:35

I sort of wonder why people don't

like oysters because that, honestly,

0:32:370:32:40

is one of the true tastes of the sea

really, wouldn't you say?

0:32:400:32:44

It brings me right here every time.

0:32:440:32:46

I can be anywhere and it brings me

right back to here.

0:32:460:32:49

Smelling the smell of the weed and

the oysters and all that, it's just

0:32:490:32:52

poetry. Poetry.

0:32:540:32:55

Well, you say it better than I do.

0:32:550:32:57

In California - I'll go

on the California side -

0:32:570:32:59

we call it a full-body experience.

0:32:590:33:01

Fantastic. That is so typically

Californian, isn't it?

0:33:010:33:05

Terry is a devoted oyster man and

I love people who love oysters.

0:33:070:33:11

He's sensible enough to open his

farming business

0:33:110:33:15

as an alfresco restaurant.

0:33:150:33:18

I mean, you don't need much when you

eat oysters.

0:33:180:33:20

A view of the sea will help,

0:33:200:33:22

but this little sauce really helps

them slip

0:33:220:33:25

down beautifully.

0:33:250:33:26

It's made up with a chopped,

deseeded jalapeno pepper,

0:33:290:33:34

then chopped coriander and then a

shallot.

0:33:340:33:38

Shallots go really well with

oysters,

0:33:380:33:40

hence shallots with red wine

vinegar.

0:33:400:33:44

Now rice vinegar.

0:33:440:33:45

Well, it is California.

0:33:450:33:47

A squeeze of lime

0:33:470:33:49

and then black pepper.

0:33:490:33:51

There's a lot going on there.

0:33:510:33:53

Terry calls his sauce hogwash.

0:33:530:33:56

I'm glad I did that.

0:34:010:34:03

It was indeed, as Terry said,

0:34:030:34:05

the most perfect Californian

full-bodied experience.

0:34:050:34:09

But now back to the city

for a late lunch.

0:34:110:34:14

Funnily enough, the crew don't

really like oysters

0:34:140:34:17

but don't get me started on that.

0:34:170:34:19

CHANTING

0:34:220:34:25

One of the things that interested me

was to find out how much

0:34:270:34:31

the Californians owe to the Mexicans

in cooking.

0:34:310:34:35

And this is what I like about making

these films -

0:34:350:34:38

I learn things as I go along and

this, I think,

0:34:380:34:41

is very pertinent to my journey.

0:34:410:34:44

It's a tribute to a Mexican hero,

Cesar Chavez,

0:34:440:34:48

a man who in the '50s and '60s

fought for the rights of thousands

0:34:480:34:54

of Mexican fieldworkers

0:34:540:34:55

in the mighty Salad Bowl of America,

California.

0:34:550:34:58

It was for those who planted

the seeds, weeded the land,

0:35:010:35:05

watered and nurtured

and harvested the crops.

0:35:050:35:09

They who also cleaned the pools,

looked after the kids, fed the dogs.

0:35:090:35:15

It was a tough, long battle that

inspired generations of Mexicans.

0:35:150:35:20

Today is his day, and in my humble

experience

0:35:290:35:33

where there are festivals,

0:35:330:35:35

never mind what country,

what culture or creed,

0:35:350:35:38

there is always food nearby.

0:35:380:35:41

I know because of the journey ahead

I'll probably be having quite a lot

of these.

0:35:430:35:47

But, well, I can't say no.

0:35:470:35:52

I was just looking at the festival

out there and this guy came up and

said,

0:35:520:35:55

"You should have some tacos in

here."

0:35:550:35:57

He said they're the best tacos

in San Francisco.

0:35:570:35:59

So I'm just going to try.

0:35:590:36:01

These are, by the way...

0:36:020:36:04

..carnitas. Oh!

0:36:060:36:09

Oh!

0:36:090:36:10

Carnitas come from Michoacan

0:36:120:36:14

and it's pulled pork.

0:36:140:36:16

The pork is cooked really,

0:36:160:36:18

really slowly in lard with a bit of

cumin and a bit of orange normally,

0:36:180:36:23

and this is served

with some chopped onions,

0:36:230:36:26

some chopped coriander and a bit of

chilli and tomato sauce

0:36:260:36:29

and a bit of

salsa verde, green chilli sauce.

0:36:290:36:32

Seriously, you would not get a

better taco than this in Mexico.

0:36:340:36:38

If you're of a certain age,

0:36:460:36:48

it's impossible when you're here

0:36:480:36:50

not to think of those heady days of

the Summer of Love.

0:36:500:36:53

However, for me it's pretty hard

not to think of sourdough bread,

0:36:530:36:59

introduced to San Francisco by

European bakers during the days of

0:36:590:37:03

the Gold Rush in 1849.

0:37:030:37:06

In fact, the local football team are

the 49ers and their official mascot

0:37:080:37:14

is Sourdough Sam.

0:37:140:37:16

Whoops. Slipped on a chip.

0:37:200:37:23

Anyway, sourdough is still alive and

well and doing big business

0:37:230:37:27

at the famous Tartine Bakery.

0:37:270:37:30

The head baker is English.

0:37:300:37:32

Richard Hart, a real sourdough

evangelist if ever there was one.

0:37:320:37:38

This is our dough.

Yeah.

It's been

sitting here

0:37:380:37:40

for probably three and

a half hours.

0:37:400:37:42

Yeah.

It's going through

bulk fermentation stage.

0:37:420:37:45

It's very soft. It's very...

0:37:450:37:46

It's very wet and airy...

0:37:460:37:48

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

..and full of life.

0:37:480:37:50

The job of a baker...

0:37:500:37:51

Yeah.

..is you're almost like...

0:37:510:37:53

You're like a farmer,

you're a yeast farmer.

0:37:530:37:57

And the yeast are your cattle

and the dough is your plain.

0:37:570:37:59

And this is a bit of a crazy

concept,

0:37:590:38:01

but, like, it's real because it

makes you think about the fact

0:38:010:38:04

that you have to look after it

like it's alive.

0:38:040:38:06

So, it's not like if you think of,

sort of, industrial bakers,

0:38:060:38:09

it's all about timing,

it's all about, like,

0:38:090:38:12

retarding the dough and having these

special proving things and all that.

0:38:120:38:16

So, here it's kind of like this is

the boss. The bread's in charge.

0:38:160:38:20

Like, we believe that we know what

we're doing but the reality is this

0:38:200:38:23

is the boss...

Yeah.

..and it tells us what to do.

0:38:230:38:25

Yeah.

And some days it kicks

our arses

0:38:250:38:28

and other days we feel

that we're all good.

Yeah.

0:38:280:38:30

Can we try some?

Yeah,

let's try it, let's try it.

0:38:300:38:33

I mean, just look at that.

Look at the colour of that

0:38:370:38:40

and also the pockets.

0:38:400:38:41

Pockets, yeah, of air.

0:38:410:38:42

Yeah.

I mean, that was really,

really lively yeast, wasn't it?

0:38:420:38:46

Do you know what I think?

0:38:460:38:48

Sourdough is what this part of

California is all about.

0:38:480:38:51

Like, it's this passion you've got.

0:38:530:38:55

Yeah.

But it's attention to detail

and it's back to what is really good

for you, you know?

0:38:550:39:00

I've been here from England ten

years

0:39:000:39:02

and I walked into another

bakery.

0:39:020:39:04

It was a barn on a farm

with two wood-burning ovens...

0:39:040:39:07

Yeah.

..and it could have been

baking at any moment in history.

0:39:070:39:09

And at that moment I was like, OK,

I have to learn how to do this.

0:39:090:39:13

Like, I have to do this.

0:39:130:39:15

And you're exactly right, this part

of California started that.

0:39:150:39:19

There was a guy called Alan Scott

and he was an oven builder...

0:39:190:39:22

Yeah.

..and he had toured around

this part of Northern California

0:39:220:39:25

building these old wood-burning

ovens.

0:39:250:39:27

Yeah.

And it kind of ignited

this bakery movement.

0:39:270:39:31

And getting here ten years ago,

it just blew me away

0:39:310:39:33

and I moved from being

a chef to a bread-maker,

0:39:330:39:36

and I've never looked back.

0:39:360:39:38

I love it.

0:39:380:39:39

Back home in Padstow I was searching

my mind to come up with something

0:39:430:39:47

that would honour a delicious

sourdough loaf

0:39:470:39:50

and my wife Sarah suggested this.

0:39:500:39:52

The ultimate Californian open

sandwich.

0:39:520:39:57

Her favourite.

0:39:570:39:58

Well, here's some bread

that we've made in our own bakery.

0:40:020:40:05

I must confess I couldn't make it as

good as that

0:40:050:40:07

but it looks pretty Californian.

0:40:070:40:09

It's got that lovely dark colour

to it.

0:40:090:40:12

So, I'm just taking a slice or two

here.

0:40:120:40:15

Look at the bubbles in that.

0:40:150:40:16

And I'm just going to brush them now

with a little bit of olive oil,

0:40:190:40:22

one side and then the other,

0:40:220:40:24

and put them on my griddle here.

0:40:240:40:26

Just a little bit of a toast,

but not too much.

0:40:260:40:30

So just trying to get a few bar

marks in this hot griddle pan.

0:40:300:40:33

I think it's impossible to overstate

the importance of sourdough

0:40:360:40:41

to California. I mean,

it came to California...

0:40:410:40:44

..in 1849, the 49ers, you know,

the Gold Rush.

0:40:450:40:48

Apparently, it was a couple of

French bakers that brought it over,

0:40:480:40:51

and of course, it was perfect food

for the gold miners because it keeps

for ever.

0:40:510:40:56

Do you know, I keep sourdough

for about two or three months

0:40:560:40:59

in the fridge in a little bag.

0:40:590:41:01

That's how long it will keep without

going mouldy.

0:41:010:41:03

Right, then. Onto my chopping board

0:41:050:41:07

and now I asked my wife, Sass -

the perfect open sandwich?

0:41:070:41:11

Sydney, California, very similar,

and that's where she comes from.

0:41:110:41:15

She said, well, first of all,

some good lettuce.

0:41:150:41:17

So, just chiffonade these little

baby gem lettuces,

0:41:170:41:23

sprinkle those on top of the bread.

0:41:230:41:26

And then she said

this is very, very important.

0:41:260:41:29

Chicken breast, but they mustn't

be grilled,

0:41:290:41:32

they've got to be poached so they're

nice and moist.

0:41:320:41:34

So I've done that. Thin slices,

0:41:340:41:37

there you go, chicken breast.

0:41:370:41:38

And some good tomatoes.

0:41:400:41:42

Well, this time of year in the UK

we've got Heirloom tomatoes.

0:41:420:41:45

You know the ones, lovely fancy

colours - greens, browns, reds.

0:41:450:41:50

Thinly sliced as possible.

0:41:500:41:51

Just layer those on.

0:41:510:41:53

That's beginning to look rather

nice.

0:41:540:41:56

Now, avocado. Now, the thing I want

to say about avocado -

0:41:560:41:59

I read recently that avocados cause

more domestic accidents in

0:41:590:42:04

the kitchen currently than anything

else,

0:42:040:42:07

so this is how you cut up an

avocado.

0:42:070:42:09

Put it on the chopping board.

0:42:090:42:11

Cut round. Make sure you're cutting

towards the chopping board,

0:42:110:42:14

not towards your hand.

0:42:140:42:16

Cut round like that.

0:42:160:42:18

Open it up and then just take your

knife

0:42:180:42:20

and take the heel of your knife

and just above the heel,

0:42:200:42:24

cut into the stone and then just

knock it against

0:42:240:42:27

a chopping board to knock the stone

off.

0:42:270:42:29

And now this is the easiest way

to take an avocado out of its skin.

0:42:290:42:33

You just get a dessert spoon

and scoop it out like that.

0:42:330:42:38

And now slice it.

0:42:380:42:39

It is very ripe,

so it's difficult to get neat slices

0:42:390:42:42

but it's almost, the neater the

slices the underripe the avocado,

and vice versa.

0:42:420:42:48

So that goes on like that.

0:42:480:42:49

So that goes on like that.

0:42:490:42:50

Now, a little bit of salt, not too

much, and some black pepper.

0:42:500:42:55

And finally some mayonnaise,

but not any old mayonnaise.

0:42:580:43:01

It's got to be Mexican.

0:43:010:43:02

So much of what you see in

California

0:43:020:43:05

is influenced by Mexican cuisine.

0:43:050:43:07

So, I'm making chipotle mayonnaise.

0:43:070:43:10

First of all, sour cream.

0:43:100:43:11

Equal quantities of sour cream

and mayonnaise.

0:43:110:43:17

And now the wonder ingredient, which

is called chipotles in adobo,

0:43:170:43:22

and that's basically chipotle

chillies cooked down

0:43:220:43:27

with a tomato and garlic sauce

0:43:270:43:30

till it's got a really deep, smoky,

rich flavour.

0:43:300:43:34

Fabulous. And now just drizzle

that on top.

0:43:340:43:37

Look at that. I mean, that is so

appetising.

0:43:390:43:41

That is California to me.

0:43:410:43:43

Fabulous.

0:43:430:43:44

It's my last day here and I've got

one final trip before I leave

0:43:520:43:57

San Francisco on my journey south

to Mexico, and it's Berkeley,

0:43:570:44:01

about 40 minutes from the city,

and the famous Chez Panisse,

0:44:010:44:06

the restaurant of Alice Waters.

0:44:060:44:09

She's a bit of a hero to me because

she thinks about food the same way

as I do.

0:44:090:44:13

It's all about buying local

and cooking what's available from

0:44:130:44:18

the market, or fish market,

or fisherman that day.

0:44:180:44:23

I'm really excited.

0:44:230:44:25

I look upon Alice as the nearest

America has

0:44:260:44:29

to our own Elizabeth David,

0:44:290:44:31

and therefore, young chefs flock

here to work and learn

0:44:310:44:36

in her - I must say, very agreeable

- kitchen.

0:44:360:44:39

It's full of the most fabulous fresh

produce,

0:44:390:44:42

from rose petals to rhubarb.

0:44:420:44:44

She tastes all the new seasonal

dishes the young chefs make.

0:44:450:44:50

This is a sweet pea ravioli with

ricotta and morel mushrooms.

0:44:500:44:54

Simple, not too many ingredients,

and all very much in season.

0:44:540:45:00

My kind of ravioli.

0:45:060:45:07

I hate to say this

0:45:090:45:10

but maybe the peas want to be cooked

one tiny bit more.

0:45:100:45:15

OK. OK.

They're just a little...

0:45:150:45:17

Taste them.

They're just a little crunchy.

0:45:170:45:21

Just that one little thing,

0:45:210:45:22

but it's delicious.

0:45:220:45:23

This restaurant's been here since

the early '70s

0:45:250:45:27

but it was borne out of a

very simple eating experience

0:45:270:45:31

in France nearly 50 years ago.

0:45:310:45:34

Gosh, I love these.

0:45:350:45:37

Do you call them favas?

We call them broad beans.

0:45:370:45:39

Broad beans.

0:45:390:45:41

I must say, I feel a bit nervous,

because when I set out my wish list

0:45:410:45:45

before we even travelled here,

0:45:450:45:47

the first thing I put down

was a chat with Alice Waters.

0:45:470:45:51

I didn't think we'd meet.

0:45:510:45:53

I thought it was a real

outside bet, but here we are.

0:45:530:45:57

Well, I'm so delighted to be here,

Alice, because, I mean,

0:45:580:46:02

as you... Well, you probably don't

know,

0:46:020:46:04

but it means an awful lot to me

to meet you

0:46:040:46:07

because you're just so...

0:46:070:46:08

..You're so important in the sort of

food that I love to eat.

0:46:080:46:13

Simple local food.

0:46:130:46:16

Just tell me that sort of epiphany

moment, if you like,

0:46:160:46:19

when you suddenly saw the future.

0:46:190:46:23

That epiphany kind of happened out

in Brittany

0:46:230:46:26

when I went to a little

tiny French restaurant

0:46:260:46:30

and I had this really perfect lunch.

0:46:300:46:34

And it was so simple.

0:46:340:46:36

It was a piece of melon and some

prosciutto, or ham, French ham.

0:46:360:46:42

And I had a trout with almonds,

0:46:420:46:44

and I had a raspberry tart.

0:46:440:46:46

And I thought, well, why are these

so delicious?

0:46:460:46:51

And I came back home and tried to

make that raspberry tart

0:46:510:46:56

but I couldn't

find the raspberries.

0:46:560:46:59

And then I wanted to find trout

and there wasn't any trout.

0:46:590:47:04

And it was like that, that I was on

a search for taste.

0:47:040:47:09

And at the beginning of the

restaurant, I wanted that thing.

0:47:090:47:15

And I ended up finding it at the

doorsteps

0:47:150:47:20

of the local organic farmers.

0:47:200:47:23

And then we became friends

and the rest is history, really.

0:47:230:47:29

Well, I mean, you know how important

you are to food,

0:47:290:47:32

and certainly the food I love to eat

and cook, and so many other people.

0:47:320:47:38

I suppose it was almost a case of

being in the right place

0:47:380:47:41

at the right time in California.

0:47:410:47:43

I just thought I would open

a restaurant for my friends.

0:47:430:47:47

I never thought that this would be

anything more than that.

0:47:470:47:52

Truly, I didn't. But because it was

in such contrast to a fast food

world out there,

0:47:520:47:59

what we were doing just

seemed...

0:47:590:48:02

Almost, you know, like you were

going into somebody's house,

0:48:040:48:10

and just eating at home

0:48:100:48:11

and so almost quaint and naive.

0:48:110:48:14

And I wanted everybody to have a

good time, so we only had one menu.

0:48:150:48:21

So we were pushed very quickly

to finding ingredients

0:48:210:48:26

to make the menu interesting.

0:48:260:48:30

I think that

0:48:300:48:31

was how we started to build

this network of suppliers.

0:48:320:48:37

Well, that's how food should be,

completely uncluttered by design,

0:48:390:48:43

fancy tricks, latest trends,

just good,

0:48:430:48:46

fresh ingredients, prepared

expertly, with care.

0:48:460:48:49

Take this rhubarb tart.

0:48:530:48:55

I couldn't take my eyes off the

preparation here.

0:48:550:48:59

She is using orange zest, sugar,

0:49:000:49:03

new season's rhubarb,

picked that morning,

0:49:030:49:08

and juice from the orange.

0:49:080:49:11

A bit of white, sweet wine...

0:49:110:49:13

Now, this is probably a recipe

that goes back

0:49:130:49:16

maybe before the

French Revolution.

0:49:160:49:18

Alice was never taken by

the fancy restaurants of Paris.

0:49:190:49:23

She loved the small, no-menu places

of the French countryside

0:49:230:49:28

but cooked whatever was fresh

that morning from the market.

0:49:280:49:31

It was so simple,

as simple as apple pie.

0:49:310:49:35

So, I've watched all the stages of

this being made by Laura.

0:49:400:49:44

Now to taste.

0:49:440:49:45

The taste is wonderful,

0:49:470:49:48

it's very lovely vanilla ice cream.

0:49:480:49:51

I think what's so special about it

0:49:520:49:54

is it's so crisp.

0:49:540:49:56

And it's sweet

0:49:560:49:57

but it's not too sweet.

0:49:570:49:59

It's the sort of pud,

0:49:590:50:01

the sort of pud I absolutely love.

0:50:010:50:03

So, now I'm heading south to the

coastal town of Monterey.

0:50:220:50:27

When I came here 50 years ago,

0:50:270:50:29

most of the travelling was done on

the bus.

0:50:290:50:32

Greyhound buses were featured

in loads of films then,

0:50:320:50:35

and they were regarded as cool.

0:50:350:50:38

However, I think it's fair to say we

spent far too long at Chez Panisse,

0:50:380:50:42

and the sky is starting to darken.

0:50:420:50:45

There are prettier routes,

but the hotel is beckoning.

0:50:470:50:51

That and the prospect of a nice,

cold beer.

0:50:510:50:54

For some reason, I didn't come here

0:51:090:51:11

on my earlier travels as a

21-year-old.

0:51:110:51:15

I was in too much of a hurry,

I think, to get to Mexico.

0:51:150:51:19

Anyway, I wish I had,

0:51:190:51:20

simply to catch the last days

of the famous Cannery Row,

0:51:200:51:25

when sardines were in their plenty.

0:51:250:51:27

It's a pretty rich part

of the world, this.

0:51:270:51:30

First, the Gold Rush.

0:51:320:51:34

Then 50 years or so later,

the sardine explosion.

0:51:340:51:38

This, of course, provided the

perfect backdrop

0:51:380:51:42

for the writer John Steinbeck's

Cannery Row.

0:51:420:51:45

The story relied on a

group of disparate characters

0:51:460:51:50

led by a lovable rogue

called Mack.

0:51:500:51:52

All their lives revolved

around the canning factories,

0:51:520:51:56

and it was set in the days

of the Depression.

0:51:560:51:59

It was a sort of Under Milk Wood,

but set on a Californian shore.

0:52:000:52:05

I can't believe there's many a

person of my age or probably younger

0:52:080:52:12

that hasn't read John Steinbeck's

Cannery Row.

0:52:120:52:16

When I read it as a teenager,

I just wanted to be in that world

0:52:160:52:20

of Doc and Mack and his collection

0:52:200:52:22

of ne'er-do-wells

in the Palace Flophouse Grill.

0:52:220:52:27

It was a really gritty book about

Cannery Row.

0:52:270:52:31

I mean, Steinbeck started the whole

book by saying,

0:52:310:52:35

"A poem, a stink, a grating noise,

a quality of life."

0:52:350:52:40

Actually, when I hear those words

and read those words,

0:52:400:52:42

it's a bit like many

a British fishing port,

0:52:420:52:46

and indeed many a British fishing

port that has lost its fish.

0:52:460:52:51

Because that's what happened here

in Cannery Row. The sardines went.

0:52:510:52:55

Nobody quite knows why. Some people

think the current just changed

0:52:550:53:00

and the fish went elsewhere.

0:53:000:53:02

Perhaps a bit like

Cornish pilchards.

0:53:020:53:05

But maybe the answer is a little

more simple than that.

0:53:050:53:08

A local marine biologist here was

asked about that,

0:53:080:53:11

what happened to the sardines, and

he said, "They are all in tins."

0:53:110:53:16

I met with a local restaurateur,

Ted Balestreri,

0:53:160:53:20

who was one of the first to set up

a restaurant

0:53:200:53:23

in an old abandoned

canteen for the factory workers.

0:53:230:53:27

When you opened, what was

Cannery Row like?

0:53:270:53:29

There was nothing here.

It was all canneries.

0:53:290:53:31

I don't know if you realise,

0:53:310:53:33

this was the sardine capital of the

world.

0:53:330:53:35

Eight blocks of canneries,

all deserted.

0:53:350:53:38

One was still going,

the Hovden Cannery,

0:53:380:53:41

where now the aquarium sits.

0:53:410:53:43

Eight blocks deserted, so why did

you open a restaurant here?

0:53:430:53:47

My partner and myself,

27, 28 years old,

0:53:470:53:50

that's the only rent we could

afford.

0:53:500:53:52

But you opened in 1968?

0:53:520:53:54

October 2nd, 1968.

0:53:540:53:56

We flipped the lights on, didn't

know if anyone was going to come in.

0:53:560:53:59

I haven't been to California

since 1968.

0:53:590:54:01

I never came here in 1968.

I went to San Francisco.

0:54:010:54:04

Good thing we don't have to depend

on you to make a living, Rick.

0:54:040:54:07

You are a little light

on the tourism department.

0:54:070:54:10

Well...

0:54:100:54:11

I suppose it's because it would have

been, in its rundown way,

0:54:120:54:16

it would have had a lot of

atmosphere, wouldn't it?

0:54:160:54:18

Oh, it was the kind of place that

nobody knew about,

0:54:180:54:21

it was your special place.

Yeah.

0:54:210:54:23

We had a saying, then -

0:54:230:54:25

if we made you feel at home,

we made a million-dollar mistake.

0:54:250:54:29

Our job is to make you feel better

at home.

0:54:290:54:31

Or why would you go out?

0:54:310:54:32

Why would you go out?

0:54:320:54:35

We never, ever advertised

home-cooked meals.

0:54:350:54:37

If you and I can't do a better job

than that,

0:54:370:54:40

then they might as well stay home.

0:54:400:54:42

But I have to ask you something.

0:54:420:54:43

You know, when you would come in,

Rick,

0:54:430:54:45

you'd come to the restaurant 20

years ago, you know, shirt, tie...

0:54:450:54:49

I would allow two hours for dinner.

0:54:490:54:51

You would dine. People don't dine

any more, they eat.

0:54:510:54:55

We have lost the ability, Rick.

0:54:550:54:56

Where did it go?

0:54:560:54:58

Everybody is like...

0:54:580:55:00

Like this.

Yeah.

0:55:000:55:01

I'm doing this all the time as well,

now.

0:55:010:55:03

Absolutely. Absolutely, I just

wanted to check you out,

0:55:030:55:06

now you'll get a reservation.

0:55:060:55:08

But, I mean. If you don't

get back a little sooner,

0:55:100:55:13

I'm going to scratch

you from the list.

0:55:130:55:15

Ted, we've all got too

much, that's the thing.

0:55:150:55:17

We've got too many things

and not enough time.

0:55:190:55:21

Too many things

0:55:210:55:23

and not enough time.

0:55:230:55:24

My dad used to say, you know,

I'm proud of you,

0:55:240:55:27

because you did what we call

the American dream.

0:55:270:55:30

A man or a woman who never had

a chance, never took a chance.

0:55:300:55:33

And you did and I'm proud of you,

Rick.

0:55:340:55:36

I'm proud of you, too.

0:55:360:55:39

We've got a lot in common.

We do.

0:55:390:55:42

We do.

Yeah.

0:55:420:55:43

It's about time. How come it took

you so long to get to see Steinbeck?

0:55:430:55:46

I don't know.

0:55:460:55:47

If I depended on you, I'd go broke.

0:55:470:55:49

I found Ted very entertaining.

0:55:510:55:54

I'm sure he won't take this the

wrong way,

0:55:540:55:56

but he could take a significant part

in the series The Sopranos.

0:55:560:56:01

I said, Ted, don't take this

the wrong way.

0:56:010:56:04

It's a compliment!

0:56:040:56:06

Welcome to the sardine factory,

Rick.

0:56:060:56:08

Yes. Lovely.

By the way, right over

here,

0:56:080:56:10

that bar is where Clint Eastwood

has his seat.

0:56:100:56:13

That's where he directed his

first movie, Play Misty.

0:56:130:56:17

Gosh. Well, I...

0:56:170:56:19

We have five different dining

rooms.

0:56:210:56:23

I want you to come by and meet my

partner, the chef.

0:56:230:56:25

Oh, good stuff.

0:56:250:56:26

This is Ted's long-time partner,

Bert Curtino.

0:56:280:56:32

He is cooking one of the

restaurant's specialities,

0:56:320:56:35

sand dabs with breadcrumbs and

Parmesan.

0:56:350:56:38

Then, in another pan,

0:56:450:56:46

he cooks some Swiss chard with the

tough stalks removed,

0:56:460:56:51

fried gently in butter with shallots

and seasoned.

0:56:510:56:54

Now the fish, I can't really say I

recognise it,

0:56:580:57:02

but they look like lovely fillets.

0:57:020:57:04

I bet this is the most popular dish

on the menu,

0:57:040:57:07

because it is what it is,

it's simple.

0:57:070:57:10

He naps the dabs with

their own maitre d' butter sauce,

0:57:100:57:13

and that's it.

0:57:130:57:15

I must say, when I heard about sand

dabs,

0:57:160:57:18

I thought I have got to taste these.

0:57:180:57:20

I have read about them,

0:57:200:57:21

but I've never tasted a sand dab

before.

0:57:210:57:24

What have I been missing

0:57:280:57:29

all my life? I love the seasoned

flour.

It's really light.

0:57:290:57:34

You probably know our Dover sole.

0:57:340:57:36

Yeah, it's one of the finest fish

in the world, the Dover sole.

0:57:360:57:39

I've got to say, we have a little

competition with our sand dab,

0:57:390:57:42

it's our Dover sole.

0:57:420:57:43

You've got good taste, Rick.

0:57:430:57:45

Well, it's time to say goodbye to my

new friends, Ted and Bert.

0:57:480:57:52

Men after my own heart, I feel.

0:57:520:57:54

Because now I'm heading south,

through the Salad Bowl of America.

0:57:580:58:02

First stop Pismo Beach,

for clam chowder.

0:58:020:58:07

I'll take in the vineyards,

0:58:070:58:08

particularly because the Pinot Noir

is so famous here.

0:58:080:58:11

I'll do my best to enjoy the

restaurants and bars of Los Angeles.

0:58:120:58:16

And I'll even pay homage at one

of the settings

0:58:180:58:21

for my favourite film,

Some Like It Hot...

0:58:210:58:24

..before I hit the Mexican border.

0:58:250:58:26

Rick Stein journeys from northern California to Mexico, enjoying unique dishes and the enduring legacy of Mexico. It was 1968, and having heard the Mamas and Papas' California Dreaming, Rick was filled with a desire to embark on his own road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway to the Mexican border and beyond.

Nearly 50 years later, he's back to retrace his steps. In episode one, Rick enjoys sitting on the dock of the bay in San Francisco, tasting legendary dishes like the hangtown fry - oyster pancake; a dish that can trace its origins to the California gold rush, which created the most famous Chinatown in the world.

San Francisco is also the home of sourdough and where America's love affair with seasonal cooking took hold. Particularly important to the spread of this philosophy were groundbreaking restaurants like Chez Panisse, run by the legendary Alice Waters, who Rick is keen to meet. But it is also where he got his first taste of Mexican food. Enchiladas, guacamole and burritos were no longer names he had only heard on the radio, so the food of Mexico, an essential part of his culinary imagination, became real.