Category Archives: Chefs

Prime Time For Prime Rib — At One Market

Prime rib with all the fixings along with a nice glass of red wine at One Market.

Prime rib with all the fixings along with a nice glass of red wine at One Market.

 

Of course, House of Prime Rib in San Francisco has pretty much cornered the market on that regal cut of beef for decades, attracting hordes every night for its throwback table-side carving.

But lately, it seems like more and more restaurants are getting into the prime rib game, including Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco ($55 with hamachi shooter and a side dish on Sundays), Dan Gordon’s in Palo Alto ($33 with fixings on Thursday through Saturday), Cockscomb in San Francisco ($55 with accompaniments), and One Market in San Francisco (Friday and Saturday, $47.95 to $55.95).

Who can blame them when prime rib holds such appeal? It’s a celebratory meat associated with Christmas and festive Sunday family get-togethers. It’s also a sizeable cut of meat that takes awhile to cook, meaning it’s not something you’re likely to prepare at home on the spur of the moment for just two of you.

My husband, aka Meat Boy, prepares prime rib for our extended family every Christmas. But even he was game to leave the cooking to someone else in May when we were invited to One Market as guests of the restaurant to try its rendition.

The rotisserie turns the prime rib over the flames.

The rotisserie turns the prime rib over the flames.

It gets wonderfully crisp all over.

It gets wonderfully crisp all over.

The expansive restaurant is outfitted with a wood-fired burning rotisserie just in front of the open kitchen. You can walk up to it to get a close look at the chickens rotating on the spit along with a massive bone-in prime rib. There’s a limited supply each Friday and Saturday night. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

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A Grilled Cheese That’s The Boom

A sticky, jammy center of caramelized shiitakes and onions takes this grilled cheese to another level.

A sticky, jammy center of caramelized shiitakes and onions takes this grilled cheese to another level.

 

Got cheese?

Got bread?

Then you know you have the makings for a simple yet sensational meal.

Especially if the cheese gets all melty and oozy all over that bread.

“The Great Grilled Cheese Book: Grown-Up Recipes for a Childhood Classic” (Ten Speed, 2018), of which I received a review copy, will show you just how special that combination can be.

The cookbook is by Eric Greenspan, a graduate of both the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris. He also trained under such celebrated chefs as Alain Ducasse, David Bouley, and Joachim Splichal.

The Los Angeles chef made a name for himself with his grilled cheese when he opened the Foundry on Melrose in 2007. He was also the owner of The Roof on Wilshire, where a grilled cheese is indeed still on the menu morning, noon and night.

GreatGrilledCheese

With 50 takes on grilled cheese, this book offers up both simple and fully loaded versions of this iconic sandwich, from the “Monterey Melt” (poached sush-grade tuna and sharp Cheddar), and “Frenchie” (crumbled blue cheese and date marmalade), to “Prime Time” (brie with roast beef and beet-horseradish mayo), and “Redberry Crunch” (Gouda with raspberry chutney and pecan brittle).

“The Boom” is a vegetarian grilled cheese that tastes downright meaty, thanks to caramelized shiitakes and onions that get coated with home-made Worcestershire sauce. That sauce is a breeze to make, too. Not only that, unlike store-bought Worcestershire sauce that uses anchovies, this one is vegetarian, even vegan.

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Inside the Cockscomb Cosmos

Behold the signature bacon chop at Cockscomb.

Behold the signature bacon chop at Cockscomb.

 

Cockscomb is a place you come for outright fun.

Chef Chris Cosentino‘s South of Market restaurant in San Francisco is all excess, abandon and liberation. Well, with an invisible layer of deft control over it all because it is by a “Top Chef Masters” victor who is one of the most skilled and versatile chefs around.

Inside the soaring two-story space, there’s a bit of a medieval lair feel to it. There are flames spewing from the grill where ginormous cuts of meat get seared, a buffalo head stuffed and mounted on the wall, and an eclectic assortment of items arranged on shelves such as a plastic pig sticking out of a vintage meat grinder. If Jon Snow walked in, it probably wouldn’t take him long to feel right at home.

On a recent Saturday night, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant, the place was packed with seats filled at tables and the counter by the open kitchen, along with a parade of folks filing upstairs to the second dining room (with its own Juliet-like iron balcony no less), where groups are usually seated.

A sign above the open kitchen.

A sign above the open kitchen.

The eclectic collection decorating the walls.

The eclectic collection decorating the walls.

Cosentino wasn’t there that evening. He may have been in Houston, where just days before news broke about his new restaurant planned there, Rosalie Italian Soul, with a menu inspired by his Italian grandmother. Located inside the C. Baldwin Hotel, it is expected to open this fall. It will join his mini empire of hotel-based restaurants that includes Jackrabbit in Portland’s The Duniway, and Acacia House in the Las Alcobas resort in St. Helena.

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East End — The Be All And End All

Wide ribbons of pasta enrobed in a pork-lamb ragu at East End.

Wide ribbons of pasta enrobed in a pork-lamb ragu at East End.

 

There are many pizza places where you go for pizza and nothing but pizza. Oh sure, there might be appetizers on the menu, and a few salads to consider. But really, the main attraction that overshadows everything else is the pizza. Anything beyond is just filler to bide your time while you wait for your pie to emerge.

East End in Alameda is as far from that as it gets. In many ways, it reminds me of fabled Roberta’s in Brooklyn. You brave the lines there because you’ve heard the pizza is all that and more. But then you discover every single other thing on the menu is worth shouting about, too.

Such is the case at East End, where everything from the cocktails to desserts stands as tall and proud as the incredible pizzas.

Co-owner and co-chef Jacob Alioto manning the pizza oven.

Co-owner and co-chef Jacob Alioto manning the pizza oven.

East End was founded by co-owners and co-chefs Jacob Alioto and Paul Manousos. (You can find out more about them in my new cookbook, “East Bay Cooks” (Figure 1), which will publish in September and include two recipes from East End.)

Paul’s wife, Michelle, designed the laid-back, light-filled spot that’s full of reclaimed wood and interesting touches like old player-piano music rolls repurposed as wallpaper.

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Chef Jen Biesty Designs “The Spaniard” for Zume Pizza; Plus The Winner of the Food Gal Contest

Zume's "The Spaniard'' pizza.

Zume’s “The Spaniard” pizza.

 

Sink your teeth into a pizza topped with piquillo pepper sauce, Spanish chorizo, Picholine olives, Manchego and mozzarella cheeses, and saffron onions.

And help renew a park in the process.

You can — by ordering a new pizza from Zume, the Mountain View company known for its innovative robots that help assemble pies to order. Although the pizzas used to baked en route on specialized trucks, they are now cooked at its headquarters before being loaded onto trucks for delivery.

“The Spaniard” is a new, limited-time-only pizza designed by Jen Biesty, chef-owner of Oakland’s Shakewell. The “Top Chef” alumnus is the first chef to be featured in Zume’s “Pies With A Purpose” program, in which 10 percent of net sales from that special pizza is donated to a local cause. In this case, the proceeds will go to the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation to help revitalize Tassafaronga Park, which is located in Biesty’s home neighborhood of East Oakland.

Zume's unusual circular pizza box.

Zume’s unusual circular pizza box.

This also marks Zume’s delivery expansion beyond the Peninsula and the South Bay to certain parts of Alameda County.

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