Author Archives: foodgal

Liholiho Yacht Club Offers Up A Delectable Voyage

Beef tongue poppy-seed buns at Liholiho Yacht Club.

Beef tongue poppy-seed buns at Liholiho Yacht Club.


At Liholiho Yacht Club, Chef Ravi Kapur wants you to know first and foremost that he’s not cooking Hawaiian food.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t daydream about the islands when you sit down to dine at his San Francisco restaurant.

“The people who visit Hawaii say this isn’t like Hawaiian food at all,” Kapur told me in an interview earlier this year. “But the people from Hawaii say this reminds them of what they ate in Hawaii. It’s all about the flavors.”

Indeed, it is. It’s all about a pantry heavy on Asian ingredients that allow him to think of making duck liver mousse with Shaoxing wine, rather than the usual Calvados. It’s about a mire poix that’s not based on carrots and celery, but on scallions and ginger.

Kapur’s cooking is a blend of his Indian and Chinese ancestries, his time growing up in Hawaii, and his fondness for the Bay Area’s impeccable ingredients.

The restaurant’s name is taken from the street where Kapur’s uncle lived on Maui, where he’d host blow-out barbecues to help support his catamaran racing habit.

“The idea refers to the past, but also to the idea of the ocean and migratory nature of what Hawaii is,” Kapur says. “It’s my journey and voyage to this restaurant.”

Chef Ravi Kapur in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night.

Chef Ravi Kapur in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night.

The view from the end of the bar.

The view from the end of the bar.

And it seems, everyone wants to come along for the ride, as evidenced by the crowds every night at the casual, brick-lined dining room.

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A “Vegetarian Dinner Party” For Me, Myself — and Meat Boy?

Tofu that's pretty enough for company, don't you think?

Tofu that’s pretty enough for company, don’t you think?


My husband likes to say he will gladly eat a vegetarian meal.

(Insert eye rolling here.)

But when I cook a vegetarian entree at home, I will see him sneak a few pieces of salami on the side.

What can I expect from someone nicknamed Meat Boy, right?

When I received a review copy of “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” (Rodale, 2014), though, I had high hopes he might actually keep to his word for once.

Not only was the book named the “2015 People’s Choice Award” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, but it was written by our friends and most prolific cookbook writers, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. After all, if you can’t enjoy a vegetarian dish by two people you know and like, when can you?

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Julian Yeo of Roots & Rye For A Macy’s Cooking Demo


If you’ve spent anytime lately wandering around San Jose’s Santana Row, then you’ve seen the construction currently going on to finish the new restaurant, Roots & Rye, which is set to open its doors any day now.

Be one of the first to enjoy a taste of this new establishment, when its chef, Julian Yeo, joins me for a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 6 p.m. July 16.

If Julian’s name sounds familiar, it’s because his father is noted Chef Chris Yeo, a pioneer in bringing Singaporean cuisine to the Bay Area.

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Monsieur Benjamin Est Tres Bien

Quail at Monsieur Benjamin.

Quail at Monsieur Benjamin.


In the Bay Area, it’s Asian flavors that seem to be on everyone’s plate and palate these days.

So much so that French cuisine — though not its classic techniques — seem to have fallen out of favor.

But leave it to Monsieur Benjamin, which opened last summer in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, to remind us why French food — just like a sharp little Chanel suit — truly never goes out of style.

Korean-born Corey Lee may imbue his Michelin three-starred Benu with breathless Asian flair, but with his second, more casual restaurant, Monsieur Benjamin, he stays the course of timeless French dishes yet gives them a touch of modernity.

His right-hand man is Chef Jason Berthold, late of RN74 in San Francisco, who worked with Lee when both were at the French Laundry.

Chef Jason Berthold deep in concentration in the kitchen.

Chef Jason Berthold deep in concentration in the kitchen.

The bistro doesn’t try to recreate the look of one in Paris. Instead, it very much fits in with its San Francisco surroundings, incorporating a lot of stainless steel, clean lines and striking black walls.

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Get the Fireworks Started with Dorie Greenspan’s Blueberry-Corn Tart

A dazzling tart topped with blueberries and corn. Yes, corn!

A dazzling tart topped with blueberries and corn. Yes, corn!


On a recent episode of “MasterChef,” the contestants were initially befuddled when asked to make a dessert using the secret ingredient: corn.

It’s not such a daft ingredient for a sweet, as you might first think.

Sure, we may associate it most with the savory side — grilled corn on the cob, succotash, corn salads, corn chowder and the like.

But I can remember digging into a bowl of corn ice cream and a warm, airy corn souffle at restaurants, and breaking into a delighted smile.

After all, corn is naturally sweet, especially modern-day varieties, which are bred to be higher in sugar.

So last fall, when I finally got my hands on a review copy of the newest cookbook by culinary treasure, Dorie Greenspan, “Baking Chez Moi” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), I waited to bake from it. And waited. And waited.

Until fresh corn and fresh blueberries finally came into season, which is now.

Greenspan’s “Philadelphia Blueberry-Corn Tart” is worth all of that patience.

Imagine a crumbly shortbread-cookie crust mounded with a creamy, honey-scented filling that’s heaped with gorgeous jammy blueberries and fresh corn kernels.

It’s a beaut. A real attention-getter. Just the dessert you want on a summer holiday like the Fourth of July.

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