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The Counter Debuts A New Menu

Friday, 28. March 2014 5:26

Southeast Asian ahi burger at The Counter is a staple on the menu now.

Southeast Asian ahi burger at The Counter is a staple on the menu now.

 

It’s not every burger joint that offers quinoa, kale and deviled eggs.

But The Counter, which has locations worldwide now, started in Santa Monica, where gourmet, healthful grub is definitely appreciated.

That’s why the build-your-own burger chain has introduced a new menu this month at its Northern California locations that will eventually expand to encompass all its outposts.

Don’t worry — you can still design your own burger to your heart’s content from type of bun, meat and cheese to a full arsenal of toppings. But there are now new salads, drinks and set burger options, as I found out when I was invited in recently to be a guest of The Counter at San Jose’s Santana Row.

The Santana Row outpost.

The Santana Row outpost.

Among the new selections are a Veggie Club ($7) with grilled zucchini, roasted red pepper, grilled carrot, avocado, tomato, mozzarella and pesto; the Un-Brie-livable ($9.50 for 1/3 pound or $12.50 for 1/2 pound) ground turkey patty with brie, organic mixed greens, dried cranberries, tomato, and apricot sauce on a multigrain bun; and the Sonoma Bowl ($10.50 for 1/3 pound or $13.50 for 1/2 pound) beef burger in a bowl with organic greens, quinoa, herbed goat cheese, red onions, roasted tomatoes and pesto.

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Category:General, Restaurants | Comments (4) | Author:

A Dutch Coffee Ritual Comes to the Bay Area

Wednesday, 26. March 2014 5:25

Place a Rip Van Wafel on top of a hot cup of coffee to warm it before enjoying. You can see it start to sink in the center from the heat.

Place a Rip Van Wafel on top of a hot cup of coffee to warm it before enjoying. You can see it start to sink in the center from the heat.

 

So many great ideas start in a garage.

But this one had its humble beginnings in a dorm room.

Amsterdam-native Rip Pruisken was a student at Brown University when he grew homesick for warm wafels enjoyed with a cup of coffee — an afternoon pick-me-up ritual beloved in the Netherlands. When he couldn’t find any wafels in the United States, he set about making his own. He bought a waffle iron and started churning out batch after unsuccessful batch in his dorm room until he hit on going to Holland to study how they are made. Upon his return, he set up a stand on the main green of the university, selling his handmade wafels to curious classmates.

Armed with ingenuity and a knack for using the resources around him, he recruited engineering students to design an automated wafel press. Next, he joined with fellow entrepreneur Marco de Leon of Brazil to win the Brown Business Plan Competition. Emboldened by that honor, they relocated to San Francisco, lured by its fanatical coffee culture.

Now, Rip van Wafels are available in every Peet’s Coffee & Teas, as well as at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, Bay Area Whole Foods and the Atlas Cafe in San Francisco.

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Category:Chocolate, General, New Products | Comments (5) | Author:

Duende in Oakland Welcomes the Food Gal for A Book-Signing Event

Monday, 24. March 2014 5:26

SanFrancisoChefsTableCover2

If you’ve yet to enjoy the signature fideua with duck at Duende in Oakland, then head there, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 6.

That’s when Chef-Proprietor Paul Canales will be hosting a special book-signing event in the lively bodega side of the restaurant featuring yours truly.

Canales’ recipe for the classic Spanish paella-like dish made with noodles rather than rice is spotlighted in my cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press). The book is a compilation of more than 50 top Bay Area restaurants with their stories and their famed recipes.

Fideua with duck and olives at Duende is featured in my debut cookbook.

Fideua with duck and olives at Duende is featured in my debut cookbook.

You’ll not only enjoy glasses of bubbly cava and tastes of the fideua, but go home with a copy of the cookbook, signed by Canales, book photographer Craig Lee, and myself.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person, Restaurants | Comments (5) | Author:

Bright Lights and the Big City at Epic Roasthouse

Friday, 21. March 2014 5:26

Hawaiian ono at Epic Roasthouse, which lists on the menu where all its seafood is from and how it was caught.

Hawaiian ono at Epic Roasthouse, which lists on the menu where all its seafood is from and how it was caught.

 

Epic Roasthouse on San Francisco’s waterfront is the kind of place you go to impress.

There’s the unparalleled view of the Bay from most any table, including the jaw-dropping LED “Bay Lights” flickering installation on the Bay Bridge.

There’s the over-the-top clubby decor by famed restauranteur-designer Pat Kuleto that showcases the dining room in a sort of pump-house-gone-glam look.

And of course, there is the menu, full of luxurious ingredients and spendy dishes including a 4-ounce A5 Miyazaki Wagyu steak for $98 and “An Epic Meal for Two” (a 32-ounce Tomahawk rib steak plus a 2-pound lobster) for $198.

The view outside the windows.

The view outside the windows.

The dramatic dining room ceiling.

The dramatic dining room ceiling.

Part of the pump house-like decor.

Part of the pump house-like decor.

Last fall, Park Ulrich, also executive chef of adjacent restaurant Waterbar, took over the same position at Epic Roasthouse when founding chef, Jan Birnbaum, departed. I had a chance to dine at Epic Roasthouse recently as a guest of the restaurant, though, it was a night when Ulrich was not there.

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Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants | Comments (2) | Author:

Tartine Bakery’s Salted Chocolate-Rye Cookies

Wednesday, 19. March 2014 5:26

Dark chocolate, rye and salt combine to make these fudgey cookies.

Dark chocolate, rye and salt combine to make these fudgey cookies.

 
There’s a reason why this “Salted Chocolate-Rye Cookies” recipe is one of the most publicized ones from the new “Tartine Book No. 3.”

First, it’s one of the simplest recipes from the book (Chronicle) by Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery, of which I received a review copy. If you’re familiar with Robertson’s other two books, “Tartine” (written with wife, Elisabeth M. Prueitt) and “Tartine Bread”,” you know how painstaking his recipes can be, particularly the bread ones. “Tartine Book No. 3” is no exception, especially because it’s all about baking with whole grains such as flax, spelt and kamut. The master method for Tartine loaves spans eight pages alone. Even the fruit scone recipe requires the making of a leaven (or starter).

Second, these cookies are a guaranteed hit. They are extremely fudgey and chocolatey tasting with the perfect sophisticated crunch of sea salt over the top.

I had one more reason for tackling these cookies: the bag of rye flour taking up space in my freezer that was left over from making Nancy Silverton’s amazing pizza dough recipe.

The rye flour replaces whole-wheat in these cookies. Rye contains gluten. It also lends a slight malt taste to baked goods. With chocolate, it’s a natural.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, Chocolate, Favorite Cookie Recipes | Comments (10) | Author: