Category Archives: Chefs

JuneBaby Is All That

Sundays are fried chicken night at JuneBaby.

Sundays are fried chicken night at JuneBaby.

 

SEATTLE, WA — It was named the “Best New Restaurant” of 2018 by the James Beard Awards. It is owned by the “Best Chef Northwest” of 2018, as bestowed by the same. And it is worth every single accolade.

JuneBaby is even worth waiting in line for 90 minutes to snag two seats at the crowded, shoulder-to-shoulder bar, as I managed to do a week ago, paying my own tab at the end.

Chef Edouardo Jordan is the first African-American to win that coveted national title. A Florida native, Jordan has some serious cooking chops, having spent time at the French Laundry in Yountville, the Herbfarm in Washington state, and Per Se and Lincoln, both in New York.

He opened Salare, just a block away from JuneBaby, in 2015, which also won acclaim for its globally-inspired fare inspired by all the places he’s worked and lived.

Winner of two James Beard Awards.

Winner of two James Beard Awards.

JuneBaby, which opened in 2017, is his love note to Southern cooking, particularly the dishes his mother made him while he was growing up. He uses local ingredients, including many heirloom ones, to execute soulful, rustic fare with refined technique. The portions are generous, and the prices relatively moderate for all that you get.

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A Taste of Nikkei Cuisine at Kaiyo

Grilled octopus at the new Kaiyo in San Francisco.

Grilled octopus at the new Kaiyo in San Francisco.

 

Just what is Nikkei cuisine? It’s the cross-cultural deliciousness that results when Japanese immigrants meld their traditional cooking with that of their new adopted land.

Kaiyo, which opened in September in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, takes influence from the journey of Japanese immigrants in Peru. That’s why ceviche and tiradito are as prominent on the menu as nigiri and spicy miso lobster soup.

Chef Michelle Matthews, formerly of Whitechapel in San Francisco, the restaurant’s sister establishment, heads the kitchen here.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. The narrow, hip restaurant is dominated by a long, marble bar backlighted in blue. On the other wall of the dining room is a dramatic 35-foot-long living moss wall by Planted Design that you can’t help but want to put a finger on to touch it.

The front doors can be opened up completely, blurring the indoors with the outdoors.

The front doors can be opened up completely, blurring the indoors with the outdoors.

The restaurant has been open less than a month, but already was packed on the Saturday night I was there.

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All Hail: Syrian Kale and Carrot Salad with Shattered Dates

Not your typical kale salad by any means.

Not your typical kale salad by any means.

 

Can you stand just one more kale salad recipe?

Oh come on, sure you can.

You know your love of this leafy green hasn’t waned even if you don’t want to admit it publicly.

Just embrace it. After all, in our society, how many times do we actually value something that’s crinkly and wrinkly, right? Ever more reason to never let go of this green beauty.

Especially when it’s showcased with a spectrum of flavor, texture and downright scrumptiousness in “Syrian Kale and Carrot Salad with Shattered Dates.”

This easy recipe is from “Seattle Cooks” (Figure 1), of which I received a review copy. Seattle food writer Julien Perry spotlights 40 of the city’s top restaurants with recipes and profile stories.

Seattle Cooks

Enjoy everything from “Fava Santorini” from Chef Zoi Antonitsas of Little Fish to “Shrimp and Shittake Pot Stickers with Riesling Dip” from Chefs Tom Douglas and Brock Johnson of Dahlia Lounge, and “Kalua Pork Belly with Korean Chimichurri” by Chef Rachel Yang of Revel.

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A Grand Time At Grand Lake Kitchen

Comfort in a bowl -- matzo ball soup at Grand Lake Kitchen.

Comfort in a bowl — matzo ball soup at Grand Lake Kitchen.

 

If you’re walking up to Grand Lake Kitchen in Oakland for the first time, it’s easy to spot yards before you get there. Just look for the line.

Especially for brunch on weekends, there is always one.

But just put your name in, give your cell phone number, and you can mosey around nearby Lake Merritt until you get a text that your table is ready. That’s what my husband and I did one recent Sunday, paying our tab for the meal at the end.

Because our wait was about 20 minutes for a table in the early afternoon, we just missed enjoying the brunch menu by about 5 minutes. Drat, because there are some especially intriguing items on it that I was hoping to try, including the Savory French Toast ($14) made with rye bread that’s dipped in porcini batter. How good does that sound, right?

A line almost always means that a place has got to be good.

A line almost always means that a place has got to be good.

Instead, we contented ourselves with the afternoon menu, that’s served from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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Theorita — A Modern-Day Throwback

The stellar apple-raspberry pie at Theorita.

The stellar apple-raspberry pie at Theorita.

 

Whether you’re too young to remember or old enough to reminisce about the charm of dining at a lunchenette or dinette back in the day, you are sure to fall for San Francisco’s new Theorita.

It’s very much reminiscent in spirit of those old-school casual eateries with roomy booths and checkerboard floors. Only, the food has been brought into the current century with precise techniques executed by alums of New York’s Michelin three-starred Eleven Madison Park.

It’s from the same team behind red-hot Che Fico, which is upstairs in the same building. Theorita is named after Pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton’s grandmother.

The neon sign behind the bakery case.

The neon sign behind the bakery case.

One of each?

One of each?

It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or you can get baked goods to go, which is what I did right after my recent dinner at Chef Fico, paying the tab, myself.

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