Get ready to do some serious eating, July 7-16, when Dine Downtown San Jose Restaurant Week gets underway.
Nineteen downtown restaurants will be offering special prix fixe or chef’s menus for the San Jose Downtown Association promotion that’s sponsored by Sysco.
Among them are: 71 Saint Peter Modern European Kitchen, the Farmer’s Union, La Pastaia, Loft Bar & Bistro, Poor House Bistro, and Nomikai Social Food + Drinkery.
For the full list of participating restaurants and a look at what they are offering, click here.
Girls’ night out at Loft Bar & Bistro. (Photo courtesy of the San Jose Downtown Association)
CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a $50 gift card to San Jose’s Olla Cocina. The gift card is good for use during Dine Downtown week or at any later date within a year.
Escape to esc for this incredible dessert.
Normally when we think of the esc button on our computers, it’s not with fondness or pleasure. It’s usually characterized by banging on the button out of frustration because our screen has frozen.
But there’s another esc in town now, one that’s sure to leave you mellow and chill.
It’s the name of the new lobby lounge wine bar/cafe at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto.
If you’re used to hotel lobbies being places you only hang out in to kill time before check-in or check-out, esc will surprise you with its comfortable mix of plush couches, upholstered easy chairs, and bar stools.
I had a chance to check it out last week, when I was invited in as a guest of the hotel to see the newly completed space.
Illuminated on the wall.
Take a load off in the newly revamped lobby lounge.
On a laid-back weeknight, people were working on laptops, and relaxing with glasses of wine, a few of which conveniently come in your choice of 2-, 4- or 6-ounce pours. You can even try Blend 122, the hotel’s new signature red wine by Byington Vineyards of Santa Cruz, a rich, robust sip that opens up as it sits in the glass.
Ribeye (back) and King Trumpet mushroom (foreground) yakitori at Izakaya Rintaro.
Rare is the restaurant where you sit down to an entire meal and never experience one mundane bite.
Izakaya Rintaro in San Francisco’s Mission District is such a place.
That was my experience a week ago, when I tried the Japanese small plates restaurant with my husband, where we paid our full tab at the end of a delightful dinner.
Izakaya Rintaro was opened two years ago by Chef-Owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett, who was born in Kyoto. Early on in his career, he was Alice Waters assistant at Chez Panisse. When I was a food writer on staff at the San Jose Mercury News, I would call him incessantly, in need of quotes regularly from Waters, which he remembered.
The front of the restaurant.
Chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett manning the grill.
At his izakaya, you’ll find the usual staple dishes and more. What truly sets them apart are the top-notch ingredients, detailed techniques, and flat-out care with which they are executed.
Loads of mint and cilantro give this minced chicken dish vibrancy.
If you’ve been to Burma Superstar in San Francisco, you’re all too familiar with the constant lines of diners waiting to get in.
Who can blame them, because once you get a taste of Burmese food, you can’t help but crave it again and again.
Now comes a way to satisfy your hunger while bypassing those queues — by making it yourself.
The restaurant’s first cookbook, “Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes From the Crossroads of Southeast Asia”
(10 Speed Press), was released this year. It was written by Burma Superstar owner Desmond Tan and San Francisco food writer Kate Leahy.
The restaurant opened in 1992 on Clement Street. But it wasn’t until Burma-native Tan and his wife Jocelyn Lee, who were regulars there, bought the restaurant in 2000 that Burmese food really found a foothold.
Your usual sandwich probably is nothing like this eel one at Bird Dog.
Bird Dog has been a hot ticket ever since it opened in downtown Palo Alto in 2015.
In April, it added lunch service, which is a much easier way to snag a table at the ever-popular restaurant run by Chef-Partner Robbie Wilson, and his wife, Managing Partner Emily Perry Wilson.
If you’re used to mindlessly grabbing a giant burrito or burger on the run, this is decidedly a more leisurely type of lunch that begs you to take time to really enjoy and marvel. That’s because Chef Wilson, who has worked previously at the French Laundry in Yountville, Craft in New York, and Maison Troisgros in France, creates food that is not only delightful but inspired. And when’s the last time you felt that way about lunch?