Category Archives: Chefs

Anchor Steam In Cans, San Jose Restaurant Week & More

Anchor Steam's flagship beer is now available in cans.

Anchor Steam’s flagship beer is now available in cans.

Anchor Steam Now In Cans

No doubt you know Anchor Steam for its bottles, barrels and kegs. Now, for the first time in its 122-year history, its flagship beer comes in cans.

Not just any cans. But big 19.2-ounce ones.

The new cans are enough for two moderate drinkers to share or one thirsty person to enjoy more than a beer and a half.

It’s the same copper colored brew with malty, hoppy, deep caramel flavors that’s been made since Fritz Maytag acquired and revived the brand in 1965, making it the first hand-crafted beer to be brought back in the United States after Prohibition, launching today’s craft beer movement.

The tall distinctive gold cans with a big blue logo anchor retail for $2.49 each. Just in time for summer barbecues, picnics and camp-outs, the iconic beer is now easier to tote.

Hungry for A “Little Taste of San Francisco”?

If you are, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of the adorable and compact “A Little Taste of San Francisco” (Bluestreak Books) by Bay Area food writer Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen.

a-little-taste-of-san-francisco-9781681883496_hr

The 72-page book, of which I received a review copy, serves up more than 30 of the city’s quintessential recipes — from “Clam Chowder in A Sourdough Bread Bowl” and “Irish Coffee” to “Tofu Banh Mi” and “Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches.”

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Why Just Have A Regular Burger When You Can Have…

A shu mai dumpling turned into a burger instead. You know you want this.

A shu mai dumpling turned into a burger instead. You know you want this.

 

A shu mai burger.

Oh, yes, I did just type that.

And it’s as divine as it sounds.

Leave it to Mark Bittman to come up with this pork-shrimp burger that tastes just like your favorite Chinese dumpling.

It’s from his new cookbook, “How To Grill Everything: Simple Recipes For Great Flame-Cooked Food” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy.

And when Bittman says “everything,” he means everything. This cookbook features 1,000 recipes and variations for everything from appetizers to seafood to meat to vegetarian dishes to condiments to breads to desserts.

It’s enough to make you want to stock up on charcoal or propane.

HowToGrillEverything

Bittman also covers the in’s and out’s of both types of grilling, too, as well as grilling tips that are useful no matter if you’re a novice or a pro.

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The Oasis of Ambience

Ostrich mousse with black truffle at Ambience.

Ostrich mousse with black truffle at Ambience.

 

The elegant Ambience in downtown Los Altos may have opened more than four years ago, yet it still flies relatively under the radar.

But thankfully, more people are finding out about this fine-dining gem on the Peninsula, as evidenced a few weeks ago when I was invited in for a repeat visit as a guest of the restaurant. The first time I dined there in 2015 on a weeknight, I have to admit I wondered how it managed to stay in business. I think my party of two was only one of three tables filled that night in what albeit is a small restaurant. But on the return visit, I was happy to see that about two-thirds of the restaurant was filled on a weeknight.

Cobalt water glasses.

Cobalt water glasses.

A sip of warm almond tea to get in the mood.

A sip of warm almond tea to get in the mood.

A tasting menu-only restaurant can be a gamble, especially in too-impatient-to-wait-for-anything Silicon Valley. It’s one thing to devote 2 hours or more to a meal on a weekend or special occasion. But on a Wednesday night after work? For a lot of people, that’s a big ask.

Chef-Owner Morgan Song makes it worth your while, though. Song, who cooked for years in Sacramento and San Francisco, most notably at Kiss restaurant, and his wife, who manages the front of house and greets guests warmly when they arrive, have created a subdued restaurant, cloistered from the stresses and vagaries of the day with a candlelit dining room with smoky glass windows that seems to make the outside world disappear.

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Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar Opens First Bay Area Locale — In A Big Way

Soft shell crab, Baja fish, and seared ahi tacos (front to back) at the new Puesto.

Soft shell crab, Baja fish, and seared ahi tacos (front to back) at the new Puesto.

 

When I first read that a new Mexican restaurant in the Santa Clara Square Marketplace cost $8 million to build, I thought surely that must be a typo.

Oh, but it’s not.

One visit to Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar confirms its over-the-top design.

This is the Southern California restaurant group’s fifth outpost, and the first that’s in Northern California. A second one, in Concord, is in the works.

I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant a couple of weeks ago. It is a cavernous 9,000 square feet covered in a riot of colors, thanks largely to the dramatic artwork by Bay Area graffiti artist Chor Boogie.

A custom mural.

A custom mural.

And another.

And another.

The restaurant, done up in concrete tiles, copper touches and wood tabletops, can seat more than 300. There’s also an expansive patio.

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Get Your Mojo Working with Sweet Potatoes with Mojo Picon Sauce

Jazz up your summer barbecue with sweet potatoes tossed with almonds, pumpkin seeds and a smoky Spanish dressing.

Jazz up your summer barbecue with sweet potatoes tossed with almonds, pumpkin seeds and a smoky Spanish dressing.

 

A chef of German heritage recently told me she was flabbergasted upon immigrating here to discover that Americans, for the most part, only cook turkey once a year — on Thanksgiving. In her native country, turkey is enjoyed with gusto year-round.

I often think that about sweet potatoes. We bring them to the table with great fanfare for Thanksgiving, and even Christmas. But after that, we kind of lose interest until November rolls around again.

Why not have them in June? I just did, and am so glad I did.

Because “Sweet Potatoes with Mojo Pican Sauce” is one of those great side dishes that feels right anytime of year. Heck, I even paired them with smoked baby back ribs, and they were a phenomenal accompaniment.

The recipe is from “The New Spanish: Bites, Feasts and Drinks” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook is by Jonah Miller and Nate Adler, native New Yorkers and childhood friends who opened Huertas in the East Village in 2014.

NewSpanish

Their food is Spanish to be sure, but flavored with their own twists. “Tortilla de Calabazi” adds butternut squash and fried sage to the traditional egg and potato tortilla; “Spanish Kimchi,” a European twist on the Korean staple with swett and hot pimenton; “Arroz Al Chino,” fried rice with saffron, bacon and shrimp; and “Flan de Maiz,” the classic flan turned on its head by the use of fresh corn.

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