Category Archives: Chefs

Join the Food Gal and Manresa Bread’s Anna St. John For A Baking Demo

MacysManresaBread

Here’s your chance to learn how to make — and get a taste of — the best summer fruit tart. Ever.

That’s because none other than Pastry Chef Anna St. John of acclaimed Manresa Bread will join me for a baking demo, 2 p.m. July 22 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

St. John is responsible for all those tantalizing croissants, kouign-amanns, fruit danishes, and other pastries that tempt at Manresa Bread’s Los Gatos and Los Altos shops, as well as its stands at the Campbell and Palo Alto California Avenue farmers markets.

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Indian Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin

Corn with cumin -- as simple as it gets.

Corn with cumin — as simple as it gets.

 

Most times, I enjoy summer corn right off the cob that’s been charred on the grill or even nuked in the microwave for a few minutes.

But other times, I want something a little less basic.

That’s where “Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin” comes in.

It’s from the new “Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn” (Ten Speed Press) by Chitra Agrawal, chef-owner of the cleverly named Brooklyn Delhi line of condiments.

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Get Ready for San Jose’s Dine Downtown Restaurant Week, Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

DineDowntownSJ2017

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)

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.

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Escape to Esc

Escape to esc for this incredible dessert.

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.

Illuminated on the wall.

Take a load off in the newly revamped lobby lounge.

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.

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Izakaya Rintaro — Spot-On From Start to Finish

Ribeye (back) and King Trumpet mushroom (foreground) yakitori at Izakaya Rintaro.

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.

The front of the restaurant.

Chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett manning the grill.

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.

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