Red Boat’s Newest Product: Kho Sauce

Red Boat's new braising sauce turns simple pork and Japanese turnips into something special.
Red Boat’s new braising sauce turns simple pork and Japanese turnips into something special.

The maker of artisan fish sauce, Red Boat, just debuted its newest product, Kho Sauce.

This flavorful bottled sauce, of which I received a sample recently, is designed to make braising a breeze.

Based on Red Boat Founder Cuong Pham’s family recipe, the sauce is a savory blend of the signature fish sauce (fermented with only anchovies and salt in the time-honored way), plus ginger, shallots, green onions, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and organic coconut sugar.

It’s briny, sweet, peppery, and a little spicy. It’s also gluten-free.

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Dining Outside At Be.Steak.A

This is how Be.Steak.A does a deviled egg. With truffle shavings, of course.
This is how Be.Steak.A does a deviled egg. With truffle shavings, of course.

Chef-Owner Jeffrey Stout weathered not only three years of permit approvals and construction, but a worldwide pandemic, to finally open his splashy new Be.Steak.A.

For diners, it was more than worth the wait.

The fine-dining Italian-influenced steakhouse playfully named for the classic Italian steak known as bistecca Fiorentina, initially was limited to only takeout during the pandemic. But now, with both indoor and outdoor seating available, it can be enjoyed in its full glory.

Whereas his Orchard City Kitchen, just steps away in the same Pruneyard complex, presents a casual and eclectic array of global small plates, Be.Steak.A is pure luxe. It’s where 5 ounces of Hokkaido Snow Beef (aka A5 strip loin) with a “snow” of cacio e pepe will set you back $288. And no, that’s not a typo. It’s where food is presented on famed Italian blue and white ceramics by Richard Ginori. But it’s also a restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not stuffy in the least, not when deeply bronzed beef fat popovers ($9) with smoky deviled ham butter (like the most elevated version ever of Underwood Deviled Ham) and pickled cucumbers is served under a cloche shaped like a lounging pig.

The inside of a beef fat popover.
The inside of a beef fat popover.
The popovers are served with deviled ham butter and pickled cucumbers.
The popovers are served with deviled ham butter and pickled cucumbers.

When you check in at the host stand, you’re presented with a soothing cup of warm bone broth. As you’re escorted to your table, you pass a huge long window that affords a direct view into the kitchen, all done up in stainless steel with accents of lipstick-red all around. If you happen to time it just right, you might even get to see cooks making pasta by hand at a massive table in front of the window.

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Cool Off With Pineapple, Thyme, and Coconut Water Whip

Hot weather was made for icy, fruity drinks like this one.
Hot weather was made for icy, fruity drinks like this one.

When temperatures soar, you definitely want to “Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days: 100 Easy, Satisfying, and Refreshing Recipes that Won’t Heat Up Your Kitchen.”

That’s the apropos title of this cookbook (Rizzoli), of which I received a review copy, that couldn’t have debuted at a more opportune time, given that the first day of summer starts this Sunday, and we’re already in a full-blown heatwave.

The book is by Maine-based Vanessa Seder, former associate food editor for Ladies Home Journal and a culinary instructor at Stonewall Kitchen.

It includes 100 recipes to beat the heat. They’re designed to nourish and refresh without requiring hours at a hot stove. Among them are “Chilled Corn and Lobster Soup,” “Pan-Seared Pork Sandwich With Spicy Papaya Slaw and Spicy Pepper Jelly on Sourdough,” “Coconut Milk, Turmeric, Ginger, and Black Pepper-Poached Cod With Israeli Couscous,” and “Red Grapefruit-Rose Sorbet.”

I couldn’t resist trying my hand — and blender — at “Pineapple, Thyme, and Coconut Water Whip.”

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 33 (All-Sweets Edition)

The St. Honore tart by Tarts de Feybesse makes any day that much more special.
The St. Honore tart by Tarts de Feybesse makes any day that much more special.

Tarts de Feybesse, Vallejo, and Pop-Ups Around the Bay Area

When you first lay eyes upon the creations of Tarts de Feybesse, you find yourself astounded that they were made by two chefs whose forte has come on the savory side of the professional kitchen.

But when you realize that husband-and-wife founders, Paul Feybesse and Monique Feybesse met while working at Geranium, the rarefied Copenhagen restaurant that was the first in Denmark to receive three Michelin stars, you realize the talent, precision and artistry they obviously possess.

They began baking for friends and family, plying what they had learned on their own and from pastry chef colleagues along the way. Baking required an attention to detail to which they were already accustomed, so it was not that great a leap, Monique says. If their savory side does come into play, it’s in their restraint of sweetness in their desserts. Instead, she jokes, they’re always wanting to add just a touch more salt, in order to create harmony and balance.

The jaw-dropping brioche feuilletee.
The jaw-dropping brioche feuilletee.

Pre-pandemic, they started to craft a baking business out of their Vallejo home, quickly building a clientele through social media for their breads and fine pastries, done up in a strikingly singular, modern aesthetics. Then, once the pandemic hit, the business really took off. Because who can turn down strawberry tarts, opera cakes, and eclairs with such distinctive fillings as blackberry violet?

Definitely not me. So, when Tarts de Feybesse held a pop-up last Sunday at Camper restaurant in Menlo Park, I threw calories to the wind and pre-ordered.

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Mister Jiu’s Heavenly Parisian Dan Tat

Just-baked Parisian Dan Tat that's like a giant Portuguese custard tart.
Just-baked Parisian Dan Tat that’s like a giant Portuguese custard tart.

When I was a kid, my dad would often tote home a pink box tied with red string from his shopping trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Inside could have been anything from pudgy dim sum dumplings to triangles of airy buttercup-yellow sponge cake to a double-crust apple pie so shiny and bronzed that it nearly looked lacquered.

More often than not, though, what was hidden inside was a custard pie.

It had a simple crust, which honestly, wasn’t anything to write home about. The real star was the smooth, eggy custard filling, almost the pale hue of eggnog, soft and just barely jiggly, and with a taste of both comfort and lavishness all at the same time.

It was my dad who gave me my first taste of this nostalgic pie, proferring an affection for it that I still possess to this day.

So, when I baked this “Parisian Dan Tart,” I couldn’t help but think of him immediately.

No doubt he would have loved this majestic version of a custard tart.

And no doubt he would have been tickled to know that its origins are also from Chinatown.

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