As Naomi noted, tonight is the night for the San Diego Council on Literacy's Eat.Drink.Read event down at the NTC Promenade. This year, local chefs will be preparing dishes inspired by their favorite books, and Urban Solace's Matt Gordon was kind enough to give us a preview.
“I chose to go with a book that actually culinarily inspired me when I was reading it about nine or ten years ago. I don’t have a copy of it any more, and I couldn’t even remember the name of the book, but it had always resonated with me. I found it inspiring with regard to the whole movement for local and sustainable foods. I finally appealed to Facebook and Twitter, and someone came up with the name: Secrets of the Tsil Café by Thomas Fox Averill.”
The novel tells the story of Weston Tito Hingler, a Kansas City boy born into the food business. His father hails from New Mexico and runs a restaurant that serves only foods indigenous to the pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere. His mother, meanwhile, hails from the Italian enclave of St. Louis known as the Hill and runs a catering company. As Wes grows up, he digs into his parents’ pasts, partly through their culinary heritage. Eventually, he opens a restaurant of his own.
“Here at Urban Solace, we don’t go pre-Columbian, but we do try to use local stuff, so I thought the idea of learning about the foods native to the area was really neat. I created a dish inspired by a lot of the ingredients talked about in the book. I’m doing a turkey confit with mole sauce and a corn cake, all things indigenous to the Southwest and the Americas prior to the European expansion.”