Author Archives: foodgal

Blissing Out On Bread At La Fournee

Impeccable pastries at La Fournee.

Impeccable pastries at La Fournee.

 

I have Deborah Kwan to thank for the added inches on my waist.

You see, the former pastry cook turned restaurant publicist, recently went on a bakery crawl around the East Bay, posting photos on Facebook along the way. When she got to La Fournee in Berkeley, I was so overcome with longing for the glorious pastries she showed, that I knew I had to make a beeline there the next time I was up that way. Thankfully, that came last Thursday.

La Fournee has been around since 2013. It was started by Pastry Chef Frank Sally, who used to teach at the San Francisco Baking Institute. It’s a little slip of a bakery, not far from the Claremont Club & Spa.

Like a little slice of France in Berkeley.

Like a little slice of France in Berkeley.

Walk inside and it’ll be as toasty as a fresh-baked loaf, owing to the fact that the ovens are only a few yards away from the entrance.

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Patricia Wells’ Easy Steamed Cod with Rosemary and Seaweed Butter

Embrace the steam.

Embrace the steam.

 

I always think that steaming is an under-appreciated and so often under-utilized cooking technique.

I think people fear that steamed foods will turn out bland, mushy, almost hospital-like sterile in nature.

But when done right, steaming is a gentle way of cooking that preserves moisture and flavor.

Case in point: fish.

I love grilling fish or sauteeing it, especially to get the skin crisp. But being Chinese-American, I also adore steamed fish. There’s nothing like a whole steamed fish brought to the table at a banquet meal. The flesh falls apart with impossible tenderness. Its texture is rendered beyond silky. And there’s just a lovely delicacy to it, no matter how small or large the fish.

my_master_recipes

Patricia Wells knows fully well the merits of steaming. In fact, the five-time James Beard Award-winning writer and cooking teacher devotes an entire chapter to steaming in her new cookbook, “My Master Recipes: 165 Recipes to Inspire Confidence In the Kitchen” (William Morrow), of which I received a review copy.

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Comfort Food Reimagined At Finn Town

Thanksgiving supper served up fancifully at Finn Town.

Thanksgiving supper served up fancifully at Finn Town.

 

At San Francisco’s Finn Town, every Thursday is Thanksgiving.

Well, Friendsgiving to be exact.

You can’t help but have a soft spot for a restaurant that serves a homey yet restaurant-worthy plate of turkey and all the fixings every Thursday night as a weekly special.

It’s one of the Castro District’s top-selling dishes, too, says Executive Chef Steve Dustin. who came on board in July, after having been culinary director of operations for the Big Night Restaurant Group, which includes The Cavalier, Marlow, and Leo’s Oyster Bar, among others. Celeb Chef Ryan Scott originally opened the restaurant in December 2016, but cut ties with the establishment six months later.

The name “Finn Town” apparently was what the Castro was once dubbed in the 1800s, owing to its then-large population of Finnish seamen.

The restaurant is an ode to San Francisco's irreverent history.

The restaurant is an ode to San Francisco’s irreverent history.

The bathroom walls are covered in old San Francisco newspapers.

The bathroom walls are covered in old San Francisco newspapers.

A recent Thursday night, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant, definitely proved how popular the New American tavern is. The bar was standing-room only, and the dining room full. It’s a bustling place with a fun, slightly baroque interior, owing to the gilded wall paper and tufted, studded leather chairs in a rainbow of colors.

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Tacolicious School Project Starts Up, Santana Row Welcomes “Top Chef Mexico” Winner, And More

Visit Tacolicious on a Monday to help local schools. (Photo by Eleanor Palmieri)

Visit Tacolicious on a Monday to help local schools. (Photo by Eleanor Palmieri)

Tacolicious School Project

You probably already know that the Bay Area’s Tacolicious turns out delectable tacos. But what you might not know is that the restaurant company is now in its fifth year of raising funds for local schools.

In fact, its Tacolicious School Project has now raised $852,000 for local public schools, and is closing in on its goal of raising $1 million.

Every Monday from now through May, all Tacolicious restaurants in San Francisco, as well as the Santana Row San Jose location, will donate 15 percent of a month’s proceeds to 36 neighboring public schools.

To see which schools will benefit each month, click here.

What’s more, this year Tacolicious will donate proceeds from its sixth annual Taco Open golf tournament to Parents for Public Schools and the San Francisco Education Fund. The tournament will be held Oct. 19 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Tacolicious owners Joe Hargrave and Sara Deseran started the school project in 2012. With kids of their own, they knew all too well how public schools struggle these days for enough funds to operate properly.

So if you’re hankering for tacos, be sure to visit Tacolicious on a Monday, when you’ll satisfy not only your hunger, but put your dollars to work for local schools.

Santana Row’s Chef Table Dinners with A “Top Chef” Winner

Las year’s “Top Chef Mexico” champ Chef Rodolfo Castellanos will headline two chef table dinners at Santana Row this month.

Sept. 13, he will cook a $99 four-course dinner at LB Steak, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Guests for this special Oaxacan-influenced dinner will be seated on the patio to enjoy dishes such as Chilhuacle pepper crusted seared Ahí tuna, and pan-roasted duck breast with flying ant mole manchamanteles.

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You Barely Have To Lift A Finger For Featherweight Slaw

A crunchy slaw with loads of flavor to make in a flash.

A crunchy slaw with loads of flavor to make in a flash.

 

This slaw may be featherweight, but it’s a heavyweight in flavor.

With a flurry of napa cabbage, sesame seeds, almonds and green onions, it’s a little like Chinese chicken salad. But not.

The secret is freshly grated ginger that really gives a ka-pow of bright, sharp throaty warm heat. Since I’m an avowed ginger addict, I even added a little more ginger, well, because why not, right?

“Featherweight Slaw” is from “Food52 Mighty Salads” (Ten Speed Press) by the editors of Food52.

Food52MightySalads

The book, of which I received a review copy, features 60 recipes for an array of salads perfect for dinner or lunch. There is everything from leafy salads such as “Chard Salad with Garlic Breadcrumbs & Parmesan” and grain salads such as “Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts & Crispy Quinoa” to pasta salads such as “Half-Blistered Tomato Pasta Salad” and meat salads such as “Thai Pork Salad with Crisped Rice.”

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