Category Archives: Chefs

The Wonder of Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta

A simple pasta with a big, bold taste. And it's vegetarian.

A simple pasta with a big, bold taste. And it’s vegetarian.

 

When I was a tot, as both my parents went off to work, my older brother would walk me a couple blocks away to the babysitter’s every weekday morning before he trotted off to school.

I didn’t always go gladly.

But what soothed me every time was lunch.

It was the same thing every single day, by my own choice — a bowl of Chinese wheat noodles, boiled until toothsome, then dumped into a bowl before being stirred up with a couple glugs of oyster sauce right out of the bottle.

Even then, a mountain of umami-packed noodles had the power to make everything seem right in the world.

One forkful of “Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta” was all it took to send me back to those childhood days.

Family Cookbook

It’s from the new cookbook “Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy. Written by food writer and cook Hetty McKinnon, it’s filled with vibrant vegetarian fare that I found a lot more imaginative than many books in this genre.

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Step Inside The Vault

The seafood sampler at The Vault.

The seafood sampler at The Vault.

 

The iconic Bank of America skyscraper in San Francisco’s Financial District holds a special place in my heart.

It’s where my Mom worked for years at a brokerage firm. And it’s where I’d work high school and college summers in her office for her boss, sorting and filing papers. The company was located on the 32nd floor, high up enough that when the Blue Angels were in town, you could gawk at the planes — and feel a rumble — as they whizzed by the windows practically at eye level. Now, that was something.

It’s been many years since I’ve been back inside that building. But recently, I had the chance, when I was invited in to dine as a guest at the new The Vault, located on the concourse level.

The newest concept by the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, it is also quite something to behold. The restaurant group may be known for its relaxed, neighborhood spots — Trestle, Corridor, and Fat Angel — but The Vault, which really is in the bank’s old vault area, is total swank.

As Hi Neighbor partner Ryan Cole told me, “It’s a different crowd than SOMA.”

The place where power people imbibe.

The place where power people imbibe.

Private liquor lockers for patrons.

Private liquor lockers for patrons.

That meant a different vibe was in order. After all, the building still houses some of the top financial services firms around. While one could easily still walk in here wearing the usual skinny jeans uniform, you will see far more suit jackets and blazers than you ever would in the South of Market area.

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Join Yours Truly and Michelin-Starred Chef Peter Armellino For A Cooking Demo

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Few things in life are as heavenly as handmade pasta. Learn how to make it at home from a true expert — Chef Peter Armellino of Saratoga’s Pasta Armellino — when he joins yours truly for a cooking demo, 1 p.m. June 8 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

Of course, Armellino is well known for the luxurious, sophisticated, fine-dining cuisine he creates at the Plumed Horse in Saratoga, where he’s held a Michelin star for years.

But pasta has always been especially near and dear to him. A year ago, he realized a dream of opening up a casual restaurant right across the street from the Plumed Horse to spotlight all manner of house-made pastas at approachable prices. It even has a street-front window, where passersby can watch cooks hand-forming and hand-cutting everything from tagliatelle to bucatini.

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The Marriott Santa Clara Welcomes Bosc & Bartlett

The ahi trio at the new Bosc & Bartlett.

The ahi trio at the new Bosc & Bartlett.

 

The Santa Clara Marriott, a hop, skip and a jump away from Levi’s Stadium, is undergoing a massive $30 million-plus renovation that will be completed this fall.

Step inside and you’ll already notice big changes — from the new gift shop, redesigned lobby, updated guestrooms, and a new restaurant and bar.

Fine-dining Parcel 104 is still there going strong, with Executive Chef Sergio Morales and Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez, so don’t fret. But the Marriott has added another more casual concept, Bosc & Bartlett, that’s been quietly open since October.

Like Parcel 104, which takes its name for the land designation for the former pear orchard property, the new eatery’s name also pays homage to that fall favorite fruit.

Chef Jason Kina helms the new restaurant, a sister establishment to the hotel's Parcel 104.

Chef Jason Kina helms the new restaurant, a sister establishment to the hotel’s Parcel 104.

Walk toward the lobby and you can’t miss Bosc & Bartlett because it’s wide open with an expansive square-sided bar at its center that seats 32. High bar-height tables ring it. To the side is also more lounge-y seating with couches and tables, all done up in calming, sandy tones. The restaurant also now services a newly redone pool-side patio just out back.

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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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