My name is Dani Hannah and I’m a Bakersfield-born college graduate who now lives in East County San Diego. My days are filled with baking, cooking, and working a 9 to 5 in advertising. I have degrees in theatre arts and dance, as well as culinary arts, and my at-home bakery, Choice Confections, is my sweetest pride and joy.
Some of my favorite things to cook are soul-warming classics like mac and cheese and lasagna, especially in the colder months. One of my favorite things to eat, especially after living in LA for so long and now being so close to the border, are tacos!
A kitchen tip I love and value is to season your food as you go and taste your dish throughout the cooking process. This helps you become more familiar with how ingredients develop and ensures your final product is one you truly love. I’m also big on cleaning while you cook to avoid a big mess at the end and recommend preparing some items the day before, especially if you’re like me and don’t have a ton of time to cook. Since I bake all the time, my favorite tool by far is my stand mixer; I have a small one and a large one and love them both equally!
One of my beloved indulgences is definitely horchata. But when winter comes around, I love a warm cinnamon chai latte with oat milk!
San Diego has an abundance of fresh local produce, so when the seasons change, so should your ingredients. Right now I’m loving on butternut squash, parsnips, and definitely sweet potato.
My favorite thing about San Diego’s food scene is the variety! As a recently converted pescatarian, I never feel like I’m missing out because there are so many vegetarian and vegan options, even when it comes to my favorite cuisines like soul food and Thai. And there’s always a new street food fair or popup–I love to support small, local businesses such as myself.
One of my favorite spots to shop, aside from traditional grocery stores like Sprouts, is Specialty Produce. They have the coolest, most unique ingredients–things I never even knew existed like produce in all these wild colors and fancy edible flowers to level up your dish and desserts. When it comes to dining out, I love to frequent Hillcrest and Ocean Beach. Both neighborhoods have some “hidden” gems and the atmosphere is always inviting.
I’m very mindful of my own wastefulness, especially with so many children and families in San Diego with food insecurity and health problems. Global warming has done so much damage that cannot be undone, and the generations to come are going to really feel that. I like to support local organizations who are joining this fight and also help educate the masses on how we can all do our part.
I love meeting people who are as passionate about food as I am. I love to cook, I love to bake, and I love to eat! But food is also about sharing culture, heritage, and history. I want to connect with other foodies who have a story to tell through their cuisine. And I want to be a part of the community that takes care of each other by making sure everyone has a seat at the table and a plate in front of them.