Category Archives: Chefs

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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Che Fico — San Francisco’s Hottest New Restaurant

The distinctive artisan pizzas at Che Fico.

The distinctive artisan pizzas at Che Fico.

 

Anderson Cooper has eaten here. So has Gwyneth Paltrow. Finally, so, too, has the Food Gal.

OK, I may not rank in that celebrity stratosphere, but I still count myself lucky to finally have gotten into Che Fico, which arguably is the hottest new restaurant to hit San Francisco of late.

Since the doors opened to this Italian eatery in late-March, reservations have been near-impossible to get and the walk-in line has snaked down the block. All this for another Italian joint in the city? Yes, when the team behind it is Chef David Nayfeld, Pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton and partner Matt Brewer, all alums of the illustrious Eleven Madison Park in New York.

Follow the arrow and walk upstairs to the restaurant.

Follow the arrow and walk upstairs to the restaurant.

Chef David Nayfeld and business partner Matt Brewer in the kitchen.

Chef David Nayfeld and business partner Matt Brewer in the kitchen.

 

I admit I scored a Saturday night reservation with the help of a publicist, but paid my own tab at the end, though Chef Nayfeld did bring out a couple of gratis dishes for us to try.

Che Fico is housed on the second floor of a building in the Nopa neighborhood that also has a Boba Guys on the first floor. Also on the ground level is Theorita, the diner-bakery also from the Che Fico team, which opened in August.

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Jammin with Jam

A variation on the usual thumbprint cookies, and made with Jamnation jams.

A variation on the usual thumbprint cookies, and made with Jamnation jams.

 

As a Stanford University economics major, Gillian Reynolds was only too familiar with the law of supply and demand.

Now, she’s living it — supplying delicious jams that aficionados are demanding more and more of with gusto.

Reynolds is the founder of San Francisco’s Jamnation. With her brother Christopher, a trained chef, they make jam with local organic fruit, surprising flavorings and a big dose of wittiness.

Just get a load of some of the jam names: “Plum and Get It” (pluot with honeysuckle essence), “Midnight in Pearis,” (Bosc pear butter with vanilla and nutmeg), and “Cardamom Knows Zest” (Seville orange marmalade with cardamom).

Gotta love the cute names -- as well as the deliciousness inside.

Gotta love the cute names — as well as the deliciousness inside.

I had a chance to try a couple samples recently: “Rose to the Grindstone” (Arctic Star nectarines with rose essence), and “Sublemonal Message” (Meyer lemon marmalade with ginger).

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered, And Yours (Sept. 2019)

Look for my new "East Bay Cooks'' cookbook to join this group in summer 2019.

Look for my new “East Bay Cooks” cookbook to join this group in summer 2019.

 

See that stack of beautiful cookbooks above? Soon to join them will be “East Bay Cooks” — by yours truly.

Yes, that’s what I’ve spent the better part of this year working on. In fact, I just finished the manuscript this month.

The cookbook, which will debut in September 2019, will feature 40 of the top restaurants, bars and bakeries in the East Bay, with their stories and recipes. The photography will be by the incredibly talented Bay Area-based Eva Kolenko.

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It’s Not Too Soon For Pumpkin Spice, Is It? Plus Wine Time

Perfect with coffee or tea, Donsuemor Pumpkin Spice madeleines. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Perfect with coffee or tea, Donsuemor Pumpkin Spice madeleines. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Tender, cake-like and full of autumnal spices, Donsuemor’s Pumpkin Spice Madeleines are a sweet treat hard to resist.

Yes, you might not be ready for pumpkin spice season yet. But it is upon us in full force already. So you might as well embrace it wholeheartedly. Especially when it means indulging in cookies like these.

Donsuemor has been baking French madeleines in the East Bay since 1976.

A package of six pumpkin spice ones are about $4. Find them at Raley’s, Mollie Stone’s and other retailers.

You Know You Want A Pumpkin Spice Latte

It is indeed that time already at Starbucks. The frenzy over pumpkin spice lattes has begun.

But why slog over to Starbucks, wait in line, and fork over bucks when you can get your fix by making your own pumpkin spice latte at home for a lot less money.

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