Author Archives: foodgal

Route 11 Potato Chips — Addicting!

Lightly Salted Route 11 Potato Chips.

Lightly Salted Route 11 Potato Chips.

 

When one of my former magazine editors told me I had to try Route 11 Potato Chips, my ears and appetite perked up.

And when he told me that none other than celebrated Chef Jose Andres was a big fan (he even calls for them specifically in his recipe for a Spanish tortilla), well, how could I not order some?

Now, I don’t normally buy or even keep potato chips in my house. Yes, they are too much temptation to have on hand. So the thought of actually mail-ordering potato chips from Mount Jackson, VA was rather mind-boggling.

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Fruit and Yogurt Granola Tarts

A delicious -- if finicky and fiddly -- little tart.

A delicious — if finicky and fiddly — little tart.

 

I think of this recipe as Beauty & The Beast.

It’s a beaut because once “Fruit & Yogurt Granola Tarts” get all dressed up with summer berries, peaches, plums and whatnot, they’re not only dazzling but delicious.

But it’s also a beast because even though these are extremely simple little tarts to make, they are a monster to get out of their pans without crumbling.

You’ve heard how the third time is the charm?

Well, not in this case. I actually made this recipe three times — that’s how determined I was to try to solve the problem of getting the tarts out of their mini pans intact. But even tweaking the recipe not once, but twice, still didn’t help.

So why am I still including the original recipe here? Because I love the notion of creating a mini tart crust out of oats, butter, maple syrup and walnuts. It really is like a granola bar with its extremely nutty, oaty taste. And because you are using Greek yogurt and fresh fruit to top it, it’s nearly guilt-free as far as desserts go. Well, at least in my book. In fact, I think it’s as tasty for breakfast as it is for a finale to dinner.

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Le Marché At Santana Row

Cardamom snail and sticky bun from The Midwife & The Baker stand at the Santana Row farmers' market.

Cardamom snail and sticky bun from The Midwife & The Baker stand at the Santana Row farmers’ market.

 

If you haven’t yet checked out the new summer farmers’ market at Santana Row, you’re missing out.

Le Marche takes place every Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., through September. The main Row is closed off to cars, so you can stroll both sides of the street easily to check out the wares of more than 50 vendors.

A bevy of stands to check out.

A bevy of stands to check out.

Beautiful summer tomatoes for sale.

Beautiful summer tomatoes for sale.

There’s everything from organic produce to fresh seafood and meat to cheese to baked goods.

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Alfred’s Steakhouse — Where Old-World Meets New World

Flames tableside at the landmark Alfred's in San Francisco.

Flames tableside at the landmark Alfred’s in San Francisco.

 

Walking into Alfred’s Steakhouse in San Francisco is like stepping back into another era.

To a time when dining rooms weren’t cloaked in reclaimed wood and Edison lights, but in crimson walls, sparkling chandeliers and oxblood-hued, tufted leather booths; when cell phones didn’t exist (as there actually isn’t cell service available there now); and when people actually dressed for dinner (save for the table of tourists decked out in shorts that night, not realizing summer in isn’t all that in San Francisco).

The venerable restaurant, which opened in 1928, still exudes classic bygone mores, and that’s a testament to Chef Daniel Patterson, whose Alta Group took it over in 2015. He spiffed it up, but wisely kept the cherished old-school atmosphere.

It’s a place you walk into thinking: They don’t make ’em like this anymore. And thank goodness it’s still around.

Located on a side street in the Financial District on the edge of Chinatown and North Beach.

Located on a side street in the Financial District on the edge of Chinatown and North Beach.

The old-world dining room.

The old-world dining room.

At least that’s what I felt when I visited recently as a guest of the restaurant. Even though I’m a native San Franciscan, I’m embarrassed to admit this was my first time at the restaurant.

As we slid into the roomy booth in the old worldly elegant dining room, my husband, who normally orders a glass of wine or a beer at dinner, declared out of the blue, “I’m having a martini!”

Because these surroundings just inspire a thirst for that.

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How to Make Alexander’s Steakhouse’s Sensational Uni Fried Rice

An unforgettable fried rice that I can now make at home. Woot!

An unforgettable fried rice that I can now make at home. Woot!

 

Fried rice is typically a frugal dish, something you slap together at the last minute with meager ingredients on hand.

This is not that fried rice.

Not when it is enveloped in whipped uni butter, and crowned with fresh uni.

And certainly not when it is on the menu at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino for $25.

When Food Gal reader Kristy implored me recently to get the recipe for the uni fried rice after falling for it at Alexander’s, I could commiserate.

After all, I had enjoyed it at the restaurant only once — and I still dream about it. It’s that kind of dish — loaded with bold flavors that grabs you from the get-go with its uncanny mix of comfort and luxuriousness.

Fresh uni, plus a range of textures in every bite.

Fresh uni, plus a range of textures in every bite.

Executive Chef Jared Montarbo was kind enough to actually provide the recipe. As chefs are wont to do, there weren’t precise measurements for every single ingredient, so I tinkered a little. After making it at home recently, I can tell you confidently that his recipe does indeed make for a fried rice dish just about as delicious as the one he makes at the restaurant.

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