Author Archives: foodgal

Nouveau Vietnamese Fare at Khai

Under glass -- white seaweed salad at Khai.

Under glass — white seaweed salad at Khai.

 

With the exception of sushi, we’ve become so accustomed to cheap Asian food in heaping quantities, that we fairly balk when we come across an Asian restaurant daring to focus on premium ingredients, handled with precision, and plated with finesse and restraint.

Khai, which opened in December in San Francisco’s Design District, is a modern Vietnamese restaurant that serves only one menu — a 10-course tasting for $95. If your eyes are already rolling back in their sockets at the thought of just how much food you could get for that price at your neighborhood pho joint, you are missing the point. Because at $95, this dinner experience is a relative bargain as far as tasting menus go in the Bay Area.

For a dozen years, Chef Khai Duong oversaw Ana Mandara in San Francisco. After it closed, he traveled around Asia, reconnecting with his roots. He even won a gold medal in the International Beijing Culinary Competition, besting 200 other chefs.

At 58, he opened a very personal restaurant.

At 58, he opened a very personal restaurant.

A candle illuminates each table.

A candle illuminates each table.

He always knew he wanted to come back to San Francisco, though, to open something unique. At age 58, he did just that.

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Tartine’s Champagne Gelee With Strawberries

A Jell-O for adults only.

A Jell-O for adults only.

 

When sommeliers and Champagne producers admonish people to drink bubbly more often rather than just for the most special of occasions, they probably didn’t have this in mind.

In fact, when a publicist sent me a sample of the Taittinger Prestige Rosé, I was almost afraid of telling her how I planned to enjoy it.

Yes, in a grown-up version of Jell-O.

But when I spied the beautiful and super easy recipe in the new “Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes For The Home Cook” (Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press), I couldn’t hep but want to try it.

TartineAllDay

The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is by Elisabeth Prueitt, co-founder with her husband Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s beloved Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Ryan Ellison For A Macy’s Demo

MacysRyanEllison

San Jose native Chef Ryan Ellison has cooked his way across the Bay Area from Oakland’s Oliveto to Santana Row’s LB Steak to Portola Kitchen in Portola Valley, as well as in Hawaii at the Canoe House on the Big Island.

Now the executive chef of the Fairmont San Jose, he’ll show off his moxie in the kitchen when he joins me for a cooking demo, 2 p.m. June 11 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

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One Owner, Two Restaurants: Handline and Peter Lowell’s

Enjoy soft serve and a whole lot more at Handline.

Enjoy soft serve and a whole lot more at Handline.

 

Sebastopol, CA — On a summery day in this Wine Country town, there’s no better place to plant yourself than at a table at Handline, the sunny restaurant that opened last year in an old Foster’s Freeze.

Restaurateur Lowell Sheldon and his girlfriend Chef Natalie Goble also operate the decade-old Peter Lowell’s nearby. I was invited earlier this spring to be a guest at both of the restaurants.

You’ll almost always find a crowd at this breezy restaurant, which has plenty of outdoor seating and windows that open completely to let the outdoors in. Order at the counter, then find a table, where your food will be brought to you.

The small parking lot fills up fast, so go early, if you can.

The small parking lot fills up fast, so go early, if you can.

The fun interior.

The fun interior.

It specializes in California coastal cuisine. Much of the produce at both their restaurants is sourced from their own farm, which grows everything from tomatoes to squashes to kiwis. Goble learned the art of tortilla-making from the folks at El Molina Central in Boyes Hot Springs. Like them, she also starts with masa made from scratch, which makes all the difference in bringing out the true corn flavor.

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Grilled Chicken Puttanesca For National Olive Day (Sponsored Post)

Who says puttanesca has to be relegated to just pasta?

Who says puttanesca has to be relegated to just pasta?

 

Loaded with olives, garlic, capers, tomatoes and anchovies, puttanesca is one of my favorite sauces.

It’s not weigh-you-down rich like carbonera. Nor retiring like delicate fresh tomato-basil. Instead, it’s decidedly in your face — with a forceful punch.

So why relegate it to just tossing with pasta? With summer barbecuing season upon us, why not dress up mundane grilled chicken with something more exciting? Yes, puttanesca!

For those following a paleo, gluten-free or no-carb diet, it’s a way to have your puttanesca — and eat it, too.

There’s no time like now to dig into this dish, too, what with June 1 marking National Olive Day.

Lindsay's Naturals Italian Medley variety of olives.

Lindsay’s Naturals Italian Medley variety of olives.

Did you know that 99 percent of all olives grown in the United States come from California? California’s family-owned Lindsay knows all about olives, producing 36 billion olives annually or enough olives to go around the Earth 22.8 times.

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