Berry Nice

Setting aside our truly excellent wordplay for a moment, we’d like to share an observation with you, and it’s about strawberries. We don’t really know what’s going on, but somehow we’ve been in the midst of the best strawberry run of our lives, and while we’re not complaining, we do find it odd. See, we love strawberries. Like, LOVE ‘em, but, in our experience, finding really great ones is an uphill battle. Over the last month, however, we’ve somehow stumbled upon the best run of strawberries of all time, and not only are they just, like, truly gigantic, they’re truly delicious. For the most part, they’ve come from Whole Foods—we’re talkin’ Driscoll’s—and while we know farmers markets and local shops are worthy of our attention and intention, we’re on the lookout for sick-ass berries, and we’re gonna take ‘em wherever we can get ‘em.

And so it goes that we’ve begun vacillating between chopping them up and dumping a little container of Brown Cow vanilla yogurt all up on them (Brown Cow is the one with the cream top, and is amazingly good). We’ve also popped some of that cherry-vanilla Brown Cow in the dish from time to time, and the results are the same—we’ve done it several times a day for a couple weeks now, and not only do we become the mayor of Berry Town, we have ourselves a nice little sweet treat when we might otherwise be eating total garbage. Full disclosure, though—we’ve also plopped some whipped cream on those bad boys. And it was good. So take it from us, Fork Frenz—strawberries are here in a very real way right now.

So you know what that means—it’s time to break it down:

We generally associate strawberries as summertime things, particularly since one of the most popular varieties, known as June-bearing, go absolutely bonkers in—get this—June. This is kind of one of those give-or-take situations, and they can come a little early or a little late, but know that they come in huge numbers. That, of course, doesn’t take the Everbearing variety into account. These aptly named bad boys have smaller yields, but they grow a little more quickly and regularly. They’re like the when-you-just-need-some-effing-strawberries kind. Lastly, you’ve got your Day-neutral, which are neutral to day, we assume, and which pop up throughout the summer, stepping on June-bearing’s toes and bolstering berry production for you and us and everyone we know.

If you’ve got trypophobia (fear of holes in things), you might be bummed to know strawberries are the only fruit out there with seeds on the outside of their fleshy...ness. It’s a whole thing, and a single berry can have, like, 200 seeds on the outside. It looks a little creepy, but we’re still gonna eat them. Anyway, we hear the real stickler type botanists consider each separate seed its own separate fruit. Cool!

We find it rather adorable that strawberries belong to the rose family. It’s evident in the smell which, by the way, almost invariably means insects will pollinate them in the wild. Why? Well, insects are big on perfumes and scents and stuff, whereas birds are all about aesthetics. Being the two most important natural pollinators out there, these scent/color preferences dictate a very important part of the ecosystem puzzle. You ever watch The Private Life of Plants with David Attenborough? It’s great!

If you’re an average American, chances are you eat a little over three pounds of strawberries a year. We’ve eaten a little more than three pounds of strawberries today, but food’s our job, dammit, and we’re going to do it right!

If you’re looking for foods that are high in vitamins C, K, B6, fiber and other good stuff, look no further than the noble strawberry. They’re the best!

As far as humankind knows, the first strawberries grown in a garden (as in not just out there in the wild) were cultivated in France, circa the late 18th century. Ah, France—such wonderful food, such beautiful architecture—homeland of the Marquis de Sade (Google that fool for some real nutty stories).

What do y’all think of strawberries? Any tips or recipes? And no, we don’t want shortbread and cream—we want something weird.

There is a man in Japan who grows pure white strawberries. White Jewel, he calls them. We want them bad. What about you, Kit-Kat Marc? Can you get these? Just kidding. They’re expensive.

Also

-A new book from the University of New Mexico Press aims to teach folks how to road trip across the state while eating like geniuses. Carolyn Graham’s New Mexico Food Trails looks pretty good to us and, given how people are probably gearing up to travel again soon, it might be worth a little look-see. Now, if it were us, we’d plan it around enchiladas or something. Or, like, if we ate meat, green chile cheeseburgers. Dang, it would be really cool to travel the state scarfing. Y’all ever been to Tinkertown? It’s not about food, but it’s cool!

-When we tried to visit Churro Bar recently, it was sadly closed for the day, but when our frenemy Kristen Cox Roby at the Santa Fe New Mexican went, she had a grand ol’ time. How on Earth could one have a bad time at a truck dedicated to churros? They couldn’t. THEY WOULDN’T!

-Lest you forget our own dedication to the mighty churro, click this-here link for a reminder about the time we heard there was a milkshake at Santa Fe’s Oasis Paleteria—with a full-ass churro sticking out of it. We went, we saw, we ate til we thought we’d die.

-The pop-up dinner event champs at Dig & Serve enlisted Paloma executive chef and co-owner Nathan Mayes for its Dine in the Wild series—an outdoor dinner AND glamping thing. For those who don’t know, glamping is when you might as well not even be camping but you act like you are, and Paloma is the BUSINESS. We’re particularly down with pastry chef Jessica Brewer’s amazing treats.

¡CROISSANT UPDATE ALERT!

Many a Fork Fan wrote with concerns about our list of croissant favorites with their own beloved pastries.

“Dear Forkress—have you not eaten at Chez Mamou? The bakery is mah-velous.”

So sayeth Fork reader Lynn G, who is right about Chez Mamou. Please just know we are plain bad at remembering that place exists, not because it isn’t great, but because we just forget sometimes.

“How about the croissants at Madame Matisse?”

So asks Fork reader Thomas R. We have sampled them, Thomas—and we feel awful spacing it, especially since we got a whole mess of emails about how this is one of the best croissants in this or any town. We agree! Nobody come for us! Actually, good luck finding us and our Forktress of Solitude.

Dolina’s croissant is heavenly, too. Also French Pastry Shop.”

We agree, Joshua R, and we LOVE French Pastry Shop, though admittedly it’s more the place we go when we want a crepe than a croissant. Maybe we get both next time? OK OK OK OK OK—we’ll get both! Either way, lots of others agree with the French Pastry Shop.

“I really love the croissants from Sage Bakery—especially the almond croissants.”

It’s on the list, Cathy L!

“My little helpful tip of the week is that Revolution Bakery has recently been making gluten free croissants. That was the most wished for baked item when [the owner] asked her customers. Many of us haven’t been able to enjoy a croissant in many years. She makes dreams come true.”

That IS helpful, Bridgett M!

As for the rest of you? Maybe look up what “reprehensible” means, or think about whether or not we have better things to do than figure out what restaurants you like and purposefully leave them out in attempts to hurt said restaurants or you. Dang.

In keeping with the recent third-wave ska theme, we present a musical representation of how we feel about our croissant judgment after being yelled at in email form so many times this week.

More Tidbits

-We’ve missed Anthony Bourdain since he died in 2018, and that’s in no small part due to the subtext of his traveling and eating adventures—that we need not fear other cultures. If you feel like we do (said like Peter Frampton), know that Bourdain’s longtime assistant Laurie Woolever has worked super-hard to complete a book he was working on called World Travel: An Irreverent Guide. Feels good to know there’s one last bit of Bourdain out there, untapped.

-Celebrity something-or-other Demi Lovato has apparently deemed to take on Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt shop Bigg Chill via Instagram. Seems Lovato feels judged by the layout of the store, particularly a line of diet-caliber foods from brand Eat Me Guilt Free, which she says unfairly makes people feel bad about their bodies and eating habits. We kind of see both sides of this for what it’s worth. Don’t yell at us. We’re fragile.

-What do you know about sustainable packaging? Not a whole lot, probably (we didn’t...we still might not), but the folks at Thrillist-dot-com have a cool piece on hemp, biodegradable and reclaimed ocean packaging. In case you missed that NASA study that says humans are responsible for climate change (obviously), this is just one small thing you can do—though we’d point out it’s less about you using a straw now and then and more about corporate responsibility.

-McDonald’s is slated to release a new menu item/meal inspired by Korean pop superstars BTS. Word is, it’s the band’s favorite order (yeah, right, because BTS is all about all ordering the same thing at McD’s). Anyway, we literally are putting this piece of news in here for an SFR employee alone, and we don’t care if you readers never try it...no offense, we just like her more than you. Anyway, BTS has to go into the army, so hopefully this McDonald’s thing helps them feel OK on those lonely military nights.

Finally

In the print edition of SFR, find out why everybody loves Anthony’s Grill.

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence

Number of Letters Received

45

*So...y’all do or don’t like Madame Matisse? We’re unclear.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)

“Fuck off with that croissant list.”

*No, thanks!

Actually Helpful Tip(s)

This oven fry plan from reader Phil C:

OVEN FRIES

-Peel potatoes—russets work fine cut into fries, but red potatoes cut into 1″ cubes are dynamite!

(a wonderful crisp outside and creamy inside)

-Put in a bowl of water, swish, rinse, dry on a towel well.

-Put in a dry bowl and drizzle & mix in olive oil—they shouldn’t be dripping, but have a good sheen of oil.

-Line a sheet pan with foil (preferably non-stick) and lay the potatoes out evenly. The more room you have the better—if they touch, they steam.

-Something like Tony Cachere’s seasoning is good before you bake them, but you can also just salt them afterward, your preference.

-425 degrees, middle rack—flip around with a spatula a couple times while cooking.

-Cook to your liking. Depending on the size you cut them, could be 15-20 minutes total.

-Fries forever again!!

We had it but we lost it,

The Fork