Black Hawaiian Sea Salt from the San Francisco Salt Company.
Boxers or briefs?
Pie or cake?
Salty or sweet?
In answer to the last question, I decidedly favor sweet.
But that’s not to say I don’t appreciate salty, and in particular, how a pinch of salt evens out sweetness or rounds out the flavor of most anything.
The San Francisco Salt Company understands that. Its British founder Lee Williamson originally started the company to sell bath salts, because he was hooked on its therapeutic and relaxing effects from soaking in the tub after a long day of work.
It wasn’t long, though, before he turned his attention to culinary salts, too.
Ocean trout as imagined by the newly anointed chef of San Francisco’s Coi.
Daniel Patterson is a hard act to follow.
The cerebral and celebrated chef created a very personal oasis of zen elegance in a neighborhood of strip clubs when he opened Coi in San Francisco.
Last year, he decided to step down as executive chef to devote more time to overseeing his growing roster of restaurants — Alta CA in San Francisco, Aster in San Francisco, Haven in Oakland, and Plum Bar in Oakland — as well as his new Locol fast-food concept in partnership with Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ Truck fame.
But he has found a most accomplished successor in Matthew Kirkley, who took over COI in January. The Baltimore-reared chef has worked at such renowned establishments as the Fat Duck in London, L20 in Chicago, Restaurant Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas, and Le Meurice in Paris.
His flawless technique and breathtaking food attest to the fact that Patterson has left Coi in extraordinary hands.
The restaurant offers three wine pairing options.
The intimate dining room.
I had a chance to experience it when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant earlier this month.
Plump, juicy kumquats simmered in sake, sugar and shiso make a divine topper for so many things.
Anything simmered in sake sounds pretty good to me.
Make it cute little kumquats, and I’m sold.
“Kumquats Simmered in Sake” is from the new cookbook, “Preserving the Japanese Way” (Andrews McMeel) by Nancy Singleton Hachisu, of which I received a review copy.
Singleton Hachisu is a native Californian who moved to Japan after falling in love with a Japanese farmer. Ever since, she’s dedicated herself to learning, documenting and teaching the ways of farm food life in Japan.
It’s a cookbook that will leave you with newfound appreciation for the art of preserving — salting, pickling and fermenting the Japanese way. You’ll learn how soy sauce is made, as well as her favored brands; and how to make your own miso, kimchee, tofu and soy milk.
There are inspired recipes such as “Cucumbers Soused in Soy,” “Green Beans Cloaked in Miso,” and “Sake Lees Ice Cream with Figs.”
I snagged kumquats at my local Japanese market for this easy recipe, as well as the shiso leaves and sake that was needed. In fact, I bought so many kumquats that I ended up making a double-batch of this recipe.
Durham Ranch bison ribs right out of the smoker.
Love the brawny taste of beef, but feeling a tad guilty about all that fat and cholesterol that go along with it?
Then, take a taste of bison.
Buffalo meat has much the same satisfying flavor, but with less fat and cholesterol, as well as fewer calories. Consider that a 3.5-ounce serving of choice beef has nearly 19 grams of fat, while the same portion of bison has just 2.42 grams. The bison also has more iron, B-12 and protein.
I admit I’ve eaten far more beef than bison, simply because it’s easier to find in most stores. So, I jumped at the chance when Durham Ranch of Wyoming offered to send me some samples to try.
The 55,000-acre ranch was started in 1965 by Armando Flocchini, a former butcher in San Francisco. It remains one of the largest bison ranches in North America.
Three sauces at the ready at Black Bark BBQ in San Francisco.
On his many walks around San Francisco’s Fillmore District, Chef David Lawrence remembers stumbling upon an intriguing sign imprinted in the sidewalk across the street from his elegant 1300 on Fillmore restaurant.
It read: Kansas City Hickory Pit Bar-B-Cue, 1335 Fillmore.
The long-gone business hinted at the Fillmore’s past as a neighborhood where barbecue once reigned, including in spots such as at 1911 Fillmore St., the former site of Leon’s Bar-B-Q, and now home to the celebrated SPQR.
In much the same way that Lawrence and his wife Monetta White brought back a stylish jazz supper club feel with 1300 on Fillmore to this neighborhood that historically attracted black artists and musicians, they sought to return a vestige of delicious smoke and fire to the neighborhood.
Owners Monetta White and David Lawrence.
In January, they did just that — opening their second restaurant, Black Bark BBQ, right in front of the old Kansas City sign that first piqued their interest.