"In Your Dish": A Video Spotlight on Sweet Elena's
August 18, 2011
It might be the culinary equivalent of a secret Big Sur trail: It delivers mind-trampolining experiences drawn from simple but powerful fundamentals. It’s been there seemingly there as long as time, but remains hidden, beautifully pure and under-trafficked. It feels like a discovery no matter how many times you’ve been.
Only instead of sky, sea and redwood, Elena Salsedo-Steele of Sweet Elena’s in Sand City (393-2063) uses basics like sugar, lemon juice and flour to create something heavenly in her signature, ever-so-lively lemon tart. In Sand City, “since 1992” counts as forever: Salsedo-Steele was a pioneer here long before the West End Celebration—celebrating its 10th year next weekend (Aug. 26-28) with an absurd amount of high-grade live music and endless art for free—picked up a paintbrush. But given its funky diagonal street and industrial neighbors, you really have to know where it is to find it.
Now the Sweet One Herself, who evolved her French cooking genes further at Big Sur’s Ventana Inn for a decade and a half before her Sand City chapter, shows you how she does the lemon tart.
The video is the latest installment of the Weekly’s chef-centric In Your Dish video series by Joel Ede and me. (For the lemon curd/filling ingredients, click here; for the shortbread pie crust inputs, click here.)
I took a friend by Saturday for some lorraine and spinach-tomato-feta quiches that I’ll take to a baked-breakfast-good showdown with anything around here. My other favorites include the pizza that seduces every week at Friday’s MPC Farmers Market, the can’t-miss pies and incredible cookies—and a new fave, the eggplant mozzarella, which she also puts together for the people on the blog. (Get the eggplant-mozz ingredient list here.)
And while we’re here, there’s another commonality I feel at both Elena’s and Big Sur: The urge to return. Soon.