June, 2018
Ep #95: Give Space A Chance: Gastrodiplomacy in Orbit

Ep #95: Give Space A Chance: Gastrodiplomacy in Orbit

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Russians preparing dinner for Americans in space? Sounds good to us.

There’s been a lot of jabber these days about creating a “Space Force,” a sixth branch of the US military to dominate outer space. Over the years we’ve talked with astronauts about what it’s like up there – about the food they eat and the teams they work with daily while orbiting the earth. It turns out they have other ideas about what can happen in space, like educating our youth and “gastrodipolmacy”— the use of food as a diplomatic tool to help resolve conflicts and foster connections between nations.

NASA astronaut Bill McArthur talks about the power of sharing meals with Russian Cosmonaut Valery Korzu during their six months together on the Space Station.

South Korea’s first astronaut, Astronaut Soyeon Yi, describes Kimchi Diplomacy in space, the Korean government’s efforts to invent kimchi for space travel, and the special Korean meal she prepared for her Russian comrades in orbit. Soyeon Yi, one of 36,000 applicants, became South Korea’s first astronaut in 2008. She talks about how she was selected and about the power of food: “Having kimchi in space, you are far from your home planet,” she says. “When you eat your own traditional food it makes you feel emotionally supported. I can feel my home.”


24kimchi-span-600-Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute

Bowled Over: A Look Back

Bowled Over: A Look Back

Dear Friends,

It was Friday, the day after Bowling with Grace. I was texting with Vinny Eng from Tartine Manufactory thanking them for the astounding cakes they contributed to the night and for the Tartine Bread and Portuguese wine as well. I was trying to describe what it meant to us, their love and support across the years, the sweetness and generosity of their contributions. “We are all friends walking each other home,” Vinny texted me. Nikki and I were in the middle of an edit with our NPR editor on the third story for our upcoming series, The KeepersArchive Fever: Henri Langlois and The Cinémathéque Française. I read Vinny’s quote to Nikki and Jacob, we all stopped and just took it in.

That’s exactly what it felt like in the Alley, in that magic space that is Mission Bowling Club, in the spell of Amazing Grace Mulloy and all who came to support her and The Kitchen Sisters. We were all friends, bowling each other home.

From the bottom of our bowling ball, thanks to everyone who came and everyone who contributed. Thank you to all the businesses in this community who helped support The Kitchen Sisters Amazing Auction and who provided food, drink and chocolate-covered bacon for the event. Thank you Cowgirl Creamery for stepping out and becoming Lead Sponsor. “Bowling with Cheese” was our code name for the night.


With Grace turning 95 this year our other code name for the night was “Summon the Elders.” The Elders must have heard us because they showed up in the form of two queens, legendary blues, jazz and folk singer Barbara Dane, 91 years old now, opening at Joe’s Pub next week. Barbara belted a verse of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around that tore up the Bowling Alley. And the extraordinary Betty Reid Soskin, at 96, the oldest park ranger in the National Park Service, stationed at the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond, a Civil Rights pioneer and social activist in the first circle.

Speaking of extraordinary, we were also graced by Bowlin’ Bonnie Raitt. Need we say more?

If we had been able to keep our wits about us during all this magic we would have introduced and congratulated Eleni Kounalakis who came to support The Sisters, who just ran a stunning primary campaign for California Lt. Governor and now goes into the November election the frontrunner. CONGRATULATIONS, Eleni. Don’t slow your roll.

And another thing — somehow the list of “Bowling Celebrities” got separated from the Cocktails created in their honor. Time to right that wrong.




Those of you who couldn’t join us this year, next year Grace will be 95. We thought this year was the last, but the night was such a blast Grace wants to do it one more time. See you Thursday night, June 6, 2019, Mission Bowling Club. Bowling with Grace: The Legend Continues.

One last thing. Don’t put your checkbooks away just yet. The Amazing Auction is going back online in a few days with a few treasured, surprise items. Trust us, you won’t want to miss it.

In the meantime, to fill the boredom between now and the Auction, SUBSCRIBE to our Webby Award-winning podcast, The Kitchen Sisters Present…

All of you who took photos and videos of the night, we’re starving to see them. Upload, please. Remember how Michael Pollan called us Keepers? We’re creating an Archive for god’s sake.

All you Amazing Auction winners, you’ll be hearing from us shortly. Congratulations and thank you for bidding up The Kitchen Sisters.

Keep it rolling,

Davia & Nikki, Brandi & Nathan


We leave you with this. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was on our minds daily as we summoned the elders, was unable to attend the fête, videotaped this poem to be shared that night. We share it with you and let Lawrence have the last word.

P.S. It’s not too late to contribute to our Bowling with Grace Fundraising Campaign. It’s your support that makes our stories possible. Thank you. You can donate here.


All non-vintage photos by Roman Cho.

Episode #94 – Tequila Chamber of Commerce & The Birth of the Frozen Margarita

Episode #94 – Tequila Chamber of Commerce & The Birth of the Frozen Margarita

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The Agave Goddess with 200 breasts; jimadors stripping lethal thorny leaves off agaves; farmers battling cambio climatico (climate change); distillers contemplating mono-culture production and the environmental impact of tequila; generations-old tequila makers versus globalization. Stories of tequila from the Tequila Region in Mexico and beyond.

Tequila does not only mean alcohol—it means Mexico’s culture, history and future. The biggest tequila companies are not Mexican anymore. They are internationally owned. The Tequila Chamber of Commerce is helping producers promote the drink. They are expected to sell millions and millions of liters to China in the future.

Guillermo Erikson Sauza, the fifth generation to make tequila in his family talks about how his grandfather unexpectedly sold the company in 1978 and how he has worked to build up a small a distillery making his Fortaleza brand in the traditional way. And Carmen Villareal, a tequilera, one of the few women in Mexico to run a Tequila company—Tequila San Matais, now 127 years old.

And Mariano Martinez, from a fourth generation family restaurant business in Dallas,Texas. How he developed the first frozen margarita machine in 1971, based on the 7-Eleven Slurpee machine, using a soft serve ice cream maker “suped up like a car.” The machine is now at the Smithsonian.

Mariano pulling from the Original Frozen Margarita Machine in Bandido Outfit

The Amazing Auction is Live!

The Amazing Auction is Live!



Dear Friends,

Two exciting additions to The Bowling with Grace Experience — Roman Mars is joining our roster of Celebrity Bowlers and today our Amazing Auction is live online!  From now til next Wednesday, June 6, the bidding is open to all, whether you are joining us at Mission Bowling Club on Thursday or not. 

Check out these incredible items from our incredibly generous community. Many of the Bay Area’s wonderful restaurants, cheesemongers, kimchi makers and saltsmiths are offering a dazzling array of one-of-a-kind delicious experiences and unforgettable meals.   And many of the Bay Area’s cultural icons have donated their time, talent and tickets as well. Read on and see these exceptional offerings.

Deep thanks to all the businesses, individuals and icons who have contributed. Your story is told below.

And deep thanks to you, dear friends, for your spirit and support across the years.

Don’t slow your roll,
Davia & Nikki

All proceeds from this Amazing Auction go to support The Kitchen Sisters’ mission and work, our intern and mentoring program, and our efforts to bring seldom heard voices and perspectives to the air, to keep the airwaves vibrant, imaginative and public, to build community through the storytelling.

P.S. Tickets for Bowling with Grace are rolling out the door. Get yours!

Get Tickets Now

Dinner for 4 at Cala 

Gabriela Cámara, the restaurateur behind Mexico City’s groundbreaking long lunch seafood restaurant, Contramar, opened Cala in San Francisco just three years ago.  Mexican food so fresh and bright and unusual, handmade tortillas, beautiful tequilas, mezcals, and staffed in large measure by people who have been through the criminal justice system and are re-entering society and the workforce working in this stunning place.    Along with its food, drink, and commitment to social justice, we are inspired by the sound system  Meyer Sound created for Cala that let’s conversation, music and the music of making food all be well- heard together.  Bid now.

Dinner For Two at the Secret Kitchen Table in the Kitchen of Chez Panisse Restaurant 

This is a one-of-a-kind, dream meal for you and that special someone.  Tuck away inside the downstairs kitchen of this legendary restaurant that changed the course of food history in America.  Sit inches away from where the desserts are being crafted and the wood burning oven and small battery of chefs who are creating that night’s meals at Chez are working their magic.  An inside, in-the-thick-of-the-kitchen perch with the most of divine of dinners awaits.  Bid now.

Cowgirl Creamery Tour and Cheese Tasting for 4 at Tomales Bay Creamery & Shop in Pt. Reyes Station

A cheese-making demo at the original cheese works. of the ultimate kitchen sisters, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in Pt Reyes Station with an extravagant cheese tasting for 4 to follow. Chase all that cheese down with a beautiful hike in the Point Reyes National Seashore.  One of the most delicious, environmental, community, and civic-minded of businesses in the Bay Area, and the nation, we thank The Cowgirls & Co for their years of support of stories of The Kitchen Sisters, MALT, The Edible Schoolyard and so many others.  Bid now.

Lunch for Four at 54 Mint

Treasure in San Francisco, 54 Mint.  Delicious flavorful food in a stylish room in historic Mint Plaza.  After a long morning at SFMOMA, The African Diaspora Museum, The Jewish Museum… how about Italian lunch for four… with wine.  A menu especially made for you, oh gentle bidder.  A joyous, elegant lunch to share with your people.  With thanks to our new friends at 54 Mint!  Bid now.

Lunch for 2 in Angelo Garro’s Forge    

A mythic lunch it will be.  Artisan blacksmith and saltsmith, Angelo Garro lives in his Forge, where for decades he has forged bronze staircases and gates and all manner of metal wonders, and where he now masterminds Omnivore Salt.  Angelo lives and cooks with the seasons, hunting and gathering, foraging, pickling, curing prosciutto, salumi, and olives. (His new, soon-to-be launched Caponata is an eggplant masterpiece)   Lunch at Angelo’s is a journey to another time and country.   You’ll be fighting The Kitchen Sisters for this one. Bid now.

Gnocchi-Making Lesson/ Dinner for Ten at Heirloom Cafe

Matt Straus is a Keeper — of wine and a way of eating and drinking.   Owner of Heirloom Cafe in SF and publisher of kitchen work, a quarterly journal about what and how we eat and drink,  Matt is a collector of wine and wine knowledge .  Matt will lead a private gnocchi-making class for ten people on a Sunday evening over the summer at his intimate kitchen at Heirloom Cafe.  The ‘class’ which lasts an hour will be followed by a private dinner with wine.  Sounds like a perfect summer Sunday. Bid now.

An Oral History of your choice done for you by The Kitchen Sisters

Davia & Nikki go Full-On Kitchen Sister recording and producing an oral history for you. Bid now.

A $200 Gift Certificate to Outerlands

One of our favorite Hidden Kitchens.  Ok, so it’s not exactly hidden, but it’s out there in the avenues and the fog and the surfers and the magic.  Breathtaking bread, one-of-kind-cooking, mostly biodynamic wines, and inspired cocktails, and a staff that rocks, a trip to Outerlands (45th & Judah) is a journey worth making.  Bid now.

Wendy MacNaughton Portrait

Wendy MacNaughton is an exceptional artist and activist amongst us.  She is a New York Times bestselling illustrator and graphic journalist and collaborator.  A short list of her credits include Meanwhile in San FranciscoSalt Fat Acid Heat, The Life, Art & Cookbook of Cipe Pineles: Leave Me Alone with the Recipes and other books.  In a great act of generosity to The Kitchen Sisters Wendy has offered to draw a portrait of your choice.   Bid now.

Bowling for Six at Mission Bowling Club

Our dear friends at Mission Bowling Club have generously donated an hour of Bowling for Six (with shoes) in their wonderful, soulful Alley.  Black leather couches, a wonderful bar with great cocktails, delicious food including the legendary Mission Burger.   You and your posse will have a time!!!  Bid now.

Two Tickets in the Front Row of the Conductor’s Box for a Michael Tilson Thomas Concert at the San Francisco Symphony

Jump on this one, music lovers.  MTT is moving into his last season with the San Francisco Symphony soon. Watch the Maestro conduct from his own private box in Louise Davies Symphony Hall.  Michael is in his prime and so is the Symphony. Seeing him from this view as he conducts some of the most classic and the most daring works is not to be missed. The only thing MTT and his husband, Joshua Robison like more than music is stories — stories, food, dogs, gardens, social justice… We thank them for for their spirit and support of our stories and our community.  Bid now.

Dinner for 6 at Nikki’s gorgeous Commune in Santa Cruz

One Kitchen Sister lives in San Francisco.  The other lives on a ten-acre 30 year-old commune in Santa Cruz County overlooking Monterey Bay and strawberry fields forever.  Three families have lived together there for decades.  What’s their secret?  THE KITCHEN.  Come explore their commune where artists, activists, stockbrokers, painters, golfers, builders and their brood all co-exist and COOK.  Enjoy the outdoor fireplace, the pizza oven, the grill, but most of all THE VISION of these friends and co-housers who have made a remarkable communal life together.  Bid now.

Kimchi Bonanza from Sinto Gourmet

“There is an old saying in Korea: Sinto buri. It is written ‘신토불이’ in Korean and literally translates to ‘body and soil can not be separated.’ Sinto buri means our bodies and spirits are at their best when eating foods that grow on the soil we step on. In Korea it is used to emphasize the importance of local food and where food comes from. At Sinto Gourmet we integrate sinto buri into all the food we prepare and everything we do.””Chef HyunJoo, Sinto Gourmet, SF

We met HyunJoo Albrecht, the creator of a wondrous world of kimchi products when we interviewed her for our Hidden Kitchens NPR story “Kimchi Diplomacy.”  Hyun Joo told us stories of the tradition of kimchi making and kimchi season in Korea. She also gave us a taste of her bounty. Now she’s sharing it with you. her kimchi’s are made with non-gmo products. with  a selection of her 4 kimchis — Spicy Red Napa Cabbage, Spicy Radish, Mild White Napa Cabbage, and ‘Plenty Roots’ Kimchi —  along with her new Gochu Jang, the fermented hot pepper paste that has a history over 1000 years.  All her kimchi’s are made with non-gmo products, HyunJoo wants to make sure you know that.

Bid now.

Red Sauce Dinner for Four at Tosca Cafe

The legendary Tosca Cafe, one of San Francisco’s most legendary bars, turns 100 this coming year.  Now a restaurant, Thursday night at Tosca is The Red Sauce Dinner — Caesar Salad of heirloom chicories, house-baked garlic knots, braised pork shank, sausage and meatballs in tomato sauce, and bucatini.  An Italian soul food dinner in one of the most historic and beautiful bars/restaurants. Think of Sam Shepherd when you’re there.  He loved Tosca and it’s owner, Jeannette Etheredge, who basically hosted a 30-year salon there that brought actors, cops, ice hockey players, artists, musicians, Russians, ballet dancers, beat reporters and the town together at its long bar and time capsule of a juke box.  Bid now.

Dinner for 8 in the Chandelier Room at Zuni Cafe

The jewel in the crown of San Francisco restaurants and this year’s recipient of the James Beard Best Service Award so you know you’re going to be treated ultra-well.  The Chandelier Room, a hidden gem upstairs at Zuni where you and your people can eat, drink, and make merry.  Zuni and Gilbert Pilgram have been stalwart supporters of The Kitchen Sisters for decades  and The Kitchen Sisters have been stalwart supporters of Zuni.  Bring your scene to Zuni for dinner and you’ll know why.  The food, the people, the staff, the politics, the compassion, the cocktails… Zuni supports artists, immigrants, civil liberties, farmers, musicians… They stand for the right things.  And then there’s the chicken…

Includes margaritas and Zuni wine.  Gratuity is NOT included.  Tuesday–Thursday 6:00 or 9:00pm  Bid now.




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