A seafood trio at Michael Mina restaurant.
At Michael Mina’s flagship eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, tasty things definitely do come in threes.
It’s been more than a dozen years since Mina first made serving composed trios a signature of his. Now, he’s brought that style back as an option at his downtown restaurant.
The trios menu, which just debuted a couple weeks ago at Michael Mina restaurant, offers a three-course prix fixe for $105. Because each course is composed of one highlighted ingredient served three different ways, it feels like much more than just a first course, a second course and a third course. It’s like experiencing a much more extended tasting menu — but in a truncated way.
The special menu also offers a couple of Mina blasts from the pasts, regular-sized dishes that can be ordered instead of a trio, such as his famed ahi tartare.
I was prepared to enjoy three courses when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant recently. But the kitchen had other ideas — wanting me to try pretty much every option offered on that menu. Out they came, one by one, until my husband and I had to wave the white flag. Even Executive Chef Ron Siegel jokingly apologized at the end for the avalanche of food.
But it’s hard to turn down morsels so delicious.
The parade started with a trio of sashimi — Spanish bluefin belly with yuzu citrus gel, medai with roasted tomato puree, and kamasu with compressed cantaloupe and geoduck. Each was firm, fresh, just impeccable. A nice touch was the fresh wasabi grated right at the table.
If you like to read and if you like to eat — I mean, who doesn’t? — you won’t want to miss all the fun at Litquake’s “Eat, Drink, and Be Literary” event, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Z Space in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Especially because yours truly along with photographer extraordinaire Craig Lee will be on hand to sign copies of our cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press).
Craig and I will be doing our signing at San Francisco’s premier literary festival from 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. that day. For added incentive, I’m bringing cookies baked from a recipe from the book that will be doled out until they run out.
We’ll be in great company, too. Others participating in the signings and panels include:
Say yes to loaded, smashed potatoes at Roots & Rye.
I have joked with Chef-Restaurateur Chris Yeo that some day he will end up operating every restaurant at San Jose’s Santana Row.
Which would be pretty impressive for a guy who describes himself as retired.
Yeo may no longer be in the kitchen these days, but he’s still plenty active. In fact in July, he opened his third restaurant at that upscale outdoor retail-housing complex.
Roots & Rye is a slight departure for Yeo in that unlike his other two restaurants here, Straits and Sino, this one is not heavily Asian-influenced.
Instead, it’s a gastropub, featuring New American cuisine, offered in both small and large plates, as well as about 100 different whiskeys on the menu.
The large lounge area.
The expansive, backlit bar.
What it does share in common with his two other establishments is a boisterous, lounge-y vibe with pulsating music playing noon and night. His penchant for bar hostesses in short, tight, black attire also has been carried over here. So much so that I jested that I hoped my husband would not end up with whiplash when we dined here one recent evening when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.
The front of Roots & Rye opens up to bring the outdoors in. The bar area takes up about half the restaurant and spills outdoors with chairs set up around cool-looking glass-fronted fire pits. The dining room toward the back makes for a slightly quieter area.
Move over, banana bread. Make way for banana upside down cake.
There’s no denying banana bread is so comforting, so nostalgic, and so easy to make.
But I think it’s high-time to branch out of that ol’ banana rut.
It’s time to flip things around. Upside down to be precise.
As in “Banana Polenta Upside Down Cake.”
This delightful recipe is from “Vanilla Table” (Jacqui Small LLP) by Natasha Macaller, a pastry chef and restaurant consultant who splits her time between London, Los Angeles and New Zealand.
As the name implies, this cookbook, of which I received a review copy, showcases vanilla in every recipe, both savory and sweet.
If you’ve ever accidentally left out vanilla extract from a cookie recipe — ahem, yes, I have so blundered on one occasion — you know exactly how flat tasting it ends up. Vanilla adds an unmistakable lovely, natural sweetness to anything it touches.
Eggplant, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and a whole lot of love.
She may be most know for her gutsy nose-to-tail cooking. But celebrated New York Chef April Bloomfield wants you to know she’s equally equipped with root-to-shoot flair.
Her first cookbook, “A Girl and Her Pig” (Ecco, 2012) may have been meat-centric. But her follow-up, “A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden” (Ecco), decidedly puts the emphasis smack dab on a cornucopia of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Bloomfield is the award-winning chef-owner of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, and The John Dory Oyster Bar, all in New York, as well as Tosca Cafe in San Francisco. She was also the star of season 2 of “The Mind of A Chef.”
In her cookbook, of which I received a review copy, she offers up dishes that home-cooks can actually make. That includes delights such as “Asparagus Quiches with Mint,” “Roasted Young Onions with Sage Pesto,” and “Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Butterscotch.”
With stands at my local farmers market piled high with brilliant purple eggplants at this time of year, I was drawn to Bloomfield’s recipe for “If-It-Ain’t-Broke Eggplant Caponata.”