Tuesday, September 17, 2013

KITCHEN VISIT: BOULETTE'S LARDER + BOULI BAR




For years now, I've been wanting to venture into the kitchens of chefs and cooks I admire, to take a peek and to share those glimpses (and a recipe of course!) with you here. I can't imagine a better place to start than Boulette's Larder and Bouli Bar.

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be welcomed into Amaryll's kitchen. From the crisp cool maritime light, to the steamy pots on the stove top, bushels of rosy apples, rows of copper pans of every imaginable size, and stacks of jars packed with spices, herbs, and other temptations, this place is magic. 


Boulette's Larder is amongst the favorite restaurants of pretty much everyone I know, and for good reason. There is something ethereal, yet earthy about Amaryll's cooking - her flavor combinations and use of ingredients are unexpected and inspiring, while at the same time her food is always deeply comforting and full of nourishment. For nearly a decade now at Boulette's, Amaryll and her partner Lori have been luring all of us in with cozy breakfasts, delectable lunches, and amazing dinner events. I'm guessing that all of you local Bay Area folks have tried Boulette's, but if you haven't, don't walk, run.

Lori and Amaryll's quiet corner of the SF Ferry Building has become a much busier place over the past few months since they've opened their second restaurant, Bouli Bar right next door to Boulette's. I've eaten a couple of scrumptious lunches since the doors opened and I'm looking forward to many many more. 



Abby, my best friend from high school - co-founder of international architecture firm Kallos Turin - designed Bouli Bar (and the quietly revamped Boulette's). She would be horrified at my gushing, but I can't help myself... the space is stunning. Another friend perfectly described Bouli Bar as modern and clean, yet jewel-like; and I have to say that the space has a freshness completely unlike any restaurant I've seen. There are cozy banquettes, warm communal tables, seating in the atrium of the bustling Ferry Building, while a beautiful brass-clad wood-fueled oven burns at the heart of Amaryll and Lori's new venture. 

Both Bouli and Boulette's feel just right and the food is unbeatable. We're so lucky. 


Amaryll was willing to share some cooking wisdom with me that I had to pass along to you. One of the most irresistible plates of food being served the morning I spent at Boulette's was a bowl of "corn cream" - kind of a fresh corn polenta - topped with buttery scrambled eggs, fresh lime and sea salt. Talk about comfort food!

How do we make this Corn Cream at home? I had to know. Here's the scoop...

CORN CREAM serves 2
printable recipe
  • 4 ears sweet corn
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • optional: heavy cream
Cut kernels from uncooked corn. Amaryll suggests cutting the kernels in a few phases: first, cut off the kernels at about 1/2 depth; next, slice the remaining corn from the cob; finally, use the back of a knife or spoon to scrape the length of the cob to get as much of the corn milk as possible. (Try doing all of the cutting and scraping of the corn over your blender or food processor, so you don't loose one tasty bit.)

Place cut corn in a blender or food processor. Press the kernels down with a wooden spoon to help release the liquid and to make blending easier. Thoroughly puree the corn for a minute or two until frothy like a cappuccino. (You can also run the corn kernels through a juicer, if you've got one). Feel free to strain the puree through a loose sieve if you want a very smooth texture, but a coarser texture is nice as well.

Pour your puree in a saucepan with butter and a few pinches of sea salt. Warm the corn over low heat, stirring occasionally. The corn will release its starches as it cooks, thickening the puree. The cooking also brings out the natural sugars of the corn, making for an amazing naturally sweet bite.

After only 5-10 minutes of gentle cooking, your Corn Cream will be ready to eat. Feel free to add a little cream for a looser consistency. Season with additional sea salt to taste.

I can imagine endless ways to serve the sweet creamy goodness: with poached fish, sauteed greens, grilled chicken, fried eggs, seared tomatoes.... So many delicious possibilities. 

Trust me, you need Corn Cream in your life.

Thank you, Amaryll.

44 comments:

  1. A lovely place! I love the atmosphere of this restaurant.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Rosa, you would love it! Both Bouli and Boulette's are beautiful and the food is totally inspiring and delish. Maybe if you come to SF one day?
      xo
      E

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  2. Oh what a beautiful place! I immediately noticed the lovely cookware and large wooden bowls, and that open kitchen! Thanks for sharing this place here.

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    1. Hey there Jess, Amaryll does have a dreamy kitchen and her food is so amazing. If you ever find your way to SF, you've gotta go.

      xoxo
      E

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  3. First, I adore the Ferry Building and just wish I got over there more often. Love your ambition to go inside the kitchens of restaurants, chefs and cooks - always fun to see the behind the scenes. I have yet to eat here but NOW I need to venture over and experience this wonderful food. Love, love the recipe you included - sounds so perfect for the impending fall season. Oh how I wish that summer would never end but I know that once fall is here, I will embrace the season with gusto. Hope you are doing well! Always enjoy your posts and food adventures. Lisa :-)

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    1. Lisa, I know what you mean. I'm happy every time I make it to the Ferry Building, which isn't nearly often enough!

      I know you will love both Boulette's and Bouli. They aren't open for regular dinners yet, but Bouli could be a fun spot for lunch for your restaurant adventure buddies.

      And the Corn Cream! It is so so good and ridiculously easy. With every batch I've made, I keep thinking... corn cream where have you been all my life?

      xoxo
      E

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  4. I actually have not yet been to Boulette's or Bouli for a meal - however, I've only been in the Bay Area for a year, and both are most certainly on my list! I've been admiring the new space, and this was a lovely look behind the scenes. Thank you for sharing it!

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    1. Stacy, I hope you'll go and enjoy yourself. So fun to get to try a new delicious spot! Amaryll has been a big player in our wonderful California food movement for decades now... her food has so much soulful goodness.

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  5. After living in the bay for four years, I still have yet to eat at Boulette's Larder. I've been meaning to check it out for so long, but after reading this I am definitely making it a priority!

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    1. Tovaree, try Boulette's for breakfast. You get to look out at the Bay Bridge and I think it's especially cozy on a foggy morning.

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  6. Erin,
    How fun! I've always wanted to do restaurant kitchen visits! So far I've taken pictures of restaurants and the food but no kitchen yet. I love your photos and story. Are you using a zoom lens here so you could take photos without interrupting the chefs?

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    1. Jenn, It was so fun! I used my zoom a little, but mostly my 50mm, because of the low light. I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, but thanks to Amaryll and her warm staff, everyone was open to letting me and my camera into the kitchen.

      Nice to hear from you Jenn. I hope all is well in your world.
      xo
      E

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  7. I love corn cream, so cool of them to share the recipe!! Beautiful space. Hugs!

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    1. p.s I want to eat all of those canelles in the last picture :))

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    2. Najwa,

      How have I been missing out on corn cream all these years? I guess I've had a little drizzled as a sauce, but never a big warm bowl all to myself;)

      I love canelles too! Since going GF, I haven't eaten one in years. Maybe I need to work on making a GF version:)

      xoxo to you,
      E

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  8. Lucky you! Looks like a fantastic place to eat and hang out!

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    1. Renee, I do feel lucky:) it was a special morning for sure.
      Xoxo
      E

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  9. I haven't made it there yet, but will have to! Thank you for putting it on my radar. I can't wait to make the corn cream as well. One question: Do you think it will get too frothy if I use my Vitamix? Yum!

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    1. Hi Douglas, a Vitamix should work perfectly for the corn cream. Amaryll uses her juicer for a very smooth texture and I used my standard blender because that's all I've got. The less smooth consistency was great too. Your Vitamix should be somewhere in between. I hope you enjoy! I love the stuff.

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  10. I dream that one day my kitchen will look like that, with gorgeous copper pans hanging up and huge worksurfaces... What a gorgeous place and beautiful photos!

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    1. Oh me too! A dream kitchen, right?
      xoxo
      E

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  11. You had me at Corn Cream. Love Boulette's and can't wait to get a peek inside the new spot, although your photos tell a pretty good story.

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    1. Katie, Bouli is really fun and delicious and in a way very different from Boulettes. Maybe we should all meet there for lunch!

      xoxo
      E

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  12. This corn cream with eggs and lime? I'm not surprised that I would never have thought of that, but I am sad I hadn't heard of it until now! Amazing, and there is so much corn happening here right now -- perfect time to taste-test this application! Your photos are just gorgeous. Such a pretty place to cook and eat!

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    1. I too am loving all the sweet corn at the market these days. And now corn cream.... yipee!

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  13. Boulibar looks awesome. Great job Abby!

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  14. Oh my gosh, what a pretty place with enticing nooks and decor AND recipes! I hope one day to visit the area again, and wouldn't I be lucky enough to have you show me your GF-free ways at all of the lovely spots you have to frequent. One day....!

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    1. Emma, I think you'd get such a kick out of the Bay Area. We've got so much great food - Boulette's being one of the best spots for sure. And our nature ain't too shabby either, though I don't know that we could compare to the beauty you see every day out in the woods.
      Yes come to SF and we'll eat together.
      xoxo
      E

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  15. I'm in love with that first photo... what a magical place. Your lens captures such wonderful ambiance. Even more stunning that your best friend designed the space! Looks like a wonderful evening, thank you for sharing this :)

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  16. Gorgeous photos! I love the copper pots and the open shelves behind the bar. Really beautiful shots, Erin!

    Kristen

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    1. Thanks Kristen. Though I've gotta say... Bouli Bar and Boulette's Larder are both so gorgeous that it's hard to take a bad shot;)
      xoxo
      E

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  17. LOVE Boulette's Larder. And Amaryll has done so much to shape California cuisine. We're lucky to have her in our midst.

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    1. Carolyn, I couldn't agree more. Amaryll's a gem!
      I'm wondering if you've been to Bouli yet. I like knowing that Boulette's has a bustling sister restaurant.
      xo
      E

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  18. I loved reading this post and your photographs are fab, all those gorgeous copper pans! I never really come across creamed corn here but this looks delicious and worth a try!

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    1. Hey Anna, thanks! I have serious copper pot envy. Hope you enjoy the corn cream:)
      xoxo
      E

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  19. Totally love these photographs Erin, you really capture a sense of place and it looks like a wonderful space.

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    1. Hey there Kathryn, if you ever come to California, this is a spot you can't miss! Someday?
      Hope you're well.
      xoxo
      E

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  20. This is gorgeous! And yes, I'm sold on visiting BouliBar. (I haven't been to the Ferry Building since coming back.) Did you shoot film?

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    1. Hey you! Yes, let's go eat there for lunch when we get together! I'm sure you'll love it.
      I didn't use film, but I had to work a little magic without having much natural light to work with.
      xo
      E

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  21. This looks like such a great addition to the FB, can't wait to try it!
    Love how you photographed the place, it really shows the vibe and lovely details.
    I would like those copper pots and big glass jars for my own kitchen.

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  22. Erin, its been a bit since I've checked out your blog (any blogs, actually!) but I am so happy I came back....your photos have gotten even richer, more lush. I love what you do. How is that book coming? Oh, and do you mind sharing what lens you use most often??

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    1. Hey there Paige, so nice to hear from you! I hope you and your little one are doing well!

      The book is coming along great!!! We're just doing a few final details and getting ready for launch - August 19th. I can't tell you how exited I am. Thanks for asking.

      I mostly use a 50 1.2 on my Canon 5DII. I sometimes use a 100mm macro and rarely my 24-72 zoom.

      I'm going to pop over and see what you're up too. It has been way too long.

      xoxo
      E

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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