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Bomba Is the New Black

A taxonomy of rice and noodle dishes. 

From Beso

From Beso 


Fideuà: A Catalan specialty, fideuà is typically cooked risotto-style, with a small amount of liquid in a cazuela or a paella pan, but substitutes fideus, or dried pasta, for rice. At Beso, Nick Ronan embellishes his fideuà (pictured above) with shrimp, Manila clams, and squid ink; at Duende, Paul Canales serves his topped with chicken, white shrimp, manzanilla olives, aioli, and a scattering of arugula.

Paella: the famous Valencian dish is made with short-grained, ultra-absorbent bomba or calasparra rice, endowed with a panoply of meat, seafood, and vegetables, and cooked in a wide, round pan. The Absinthe group’s 888 Brannan space will serve several versions; at Berkeley’s La Marcha, opening this spring, Sergio Monleon and Emily Sarlatte plan to offer varieties ranging from traditional to California fusion. “My grandmother was from Valencia, and she was very strict,” says Monleon, whose unorthodox ingredients have included fava beans, arugula, and chorizo. “She’s probably turning over in her grave.”

Bomba: The bomba is a hyperlocal invention, born at Oakland’s Shakewell when co-owners Tim Nugent and Jen Biesty decided they wanted to use earthenware dishes in their wood-burning oven instead of metal paella pans. The bomba is their version of paella, made in a cazuela. Like traditional paella, it’s made with bomba rice; unlike traditional paella, it includes ingredients like wild nettles and duck confit. “We thought ‘bomba’ was really fun and made sense,” says Biesty. “it’s our personal take on paella.” 

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Happy Ending: Churros to rock your world


Originally published in the March issue of San Francisco

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