Category Archives: Chefs

Memories of Mint Chip Ice Cream

Mint chip ice cream made with plenty of fresh mint leaves.

Mint chip ice cream made with plenty of fresh mint leaves.

 

When I was a kid, Baskin-Robbins may have touted its 31 ice creams.

But in my book, there were only two that really mattered.

Chocolate chip. And mint chip.

OK, so my palate was not very expansive at that time.

But I knew what I liked.

And to me, you couldn’t go wrong with vanilla ice cream with crunchy bits of dark chocolate throughout. Or its green cousin with an unmistakable hue and a taste as invigorating as a light wind blowing across your face on a warm summer afternoon.

As an adult now, I still love those two flavors. But I am more finicky. I so appreciate a mint ice cream that gets its flavor from real mint leaves, not just a bottle of mint extract.

So when I spied this recipe for “Mint Chip Ice Cream” that infuses a heavy cream-milk base with a heap of fresh mint leaves, I was smitten from the get-go.

theresalwaysroomforchocolate

It’s from the new cookbook, “There’s Always Room For Chocolate: Recipes from Brooklyn’s The Chocolate Room” (Rizzoli), of which I received a review copy.

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True Food Kitchen — The New Face of Healthy

True Food Kitchen emphasizes anti-inflammatory foods. And hey, dark chocolate, in a flourless cake, qualifies.

True Food Kitchen emphasizes anti-inflammatory foods. And hey, dark chocolate, in a flourless cake, qualifies.

 

Perhaps it’s only appropriate that the new True Food Kitchen, which opened this week in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, is steps from SoulCycle and a Peloton indoor cycling bike showroom. What’s more, there’s even an art piece on the main wall that depicts a cyclist.

After all, this casual restaurant chain, which has 14 locations around the country and will debut a second Bay Area location in Walnut Creek at Broadway Plaza on Oct. 18, is all about a healthful lifestyle.

In fact, founder Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts, established True Food Kitchen with Dr. Andrew Weil, a physicianm noted guru of holistic health and alternative medicine, and proponent of the anti-inflammatory diet. That diet emphasizes whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, omega-3 fatty acid fish such as salmon and sardines, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. It cautions against too much saturated fat and animal protein, and recommends tea over coffee, and red wine of any other alcohol.

The new restaurant opened this week in the Stanford Shopping Center.

The new restaurant opened this week in the Stanford Shopping Center.

The large dining room at True Food Kitchen.

The large dining room.

To that end, the restaurant offers a wide selection of gluten-free, organic, vegetarian, and vegan options.  

But that’s not to say the food is austere by any means. Or hippy-dippy.

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Of Books, Stores & More

Ina Yalof has authored a new book, called "Food and the City"

Ina Yalof has authored a new book, called “Food and the City”

“Food and The City”

My favorite read of the year has to be Food and The City (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). Think of the legendary, mesmerizing oral histories done by Studs Terkel, only concentrated on the food industry.

That’s just what journalist Ina Yalof has created in this book by shining a spotlight on people in the New York culinary world who aren’t often in the limelight. The profiles are not the usual celeb chefs, though there are chefs included. But rather, they are people like Mohamed Abouelenein, founder of the wildly popular Halal Guys food truck who also happens to hold a doctorate in veterinarian medicine; Alessandro Borgognone, an Italian restaurateur, who was spurred by an argument with his wife and watching “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” to open what would become a four-star omakase in Manhattan with one of Jiro’s apprentices; and Tunisian-born Ghaya Oliveira, who was on her way to becoming a stock trader when family tragedy struck and she was forced to pivot, only to eventually find herself rising through the ranks to executive pastry chef of Restaurant Daniel.

It just goes to show that real-life can so often outshine the best fiction.

Yalof is not a food writer per se, but a reporter who most often delves into topics such as science, medicine and religion. But her keen investigative sense serves her well here as she delves deeply into these people’s lives to find out how they got where they are today. Because they are recounted in oral histories, and this is a New York-based book, one of the pleasures is the vernacular on display. If you’ve ever visited New York, especially the old-school delis and mom-and-pop stores there, you know how colorful and distinctive native New York-speak is. It leaps off the pages here, making you feel as if you’re ease-dropping on a conversation by old-timers at Katz’s.

If you’re looking for a book to get lost in, that’s full of fun yet also remarkable insight, this is the one.

Celebrate the New Williams-Sonoma in San Mateo

San Mateo’s Hillsdale Shopping Center will welcome a new Williams-Sonoma store that also includes Williams-Sonoma home furnishings.

Chef Ryan Pollnow will be showing off his Basque-style tapas at the opening of the new store. (Photo courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)

Chef Ryan Pollnow will be showing off his Basque-style tapas at the opening of the new store. (Photo courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)

To kick-off the opening, the store will host a series of events, starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 when Chef Ryan Pollnow of Aaxte restaurant in San Francisco serves up an array of pinxtos or Basque-style tapas with a gin & tonics. Register for this free opening party by clicking here.

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Forthright Serves Up Righteous Food

A perfect Scotch egg at Forthright.

A perfect Scotch egg at Forthright.

 

When two girlfriends and I recently dined at Forthright in Campbell to celebrate a birthday, we couldn’t help but notice that most of the parties there were all-female.

But then again, we women know a good thing when we see — and taste it.

And Forthright definitely makes for a great gals’ night out.

It’s the latest restaurant by long-time South Bay Chef Jim Stump, who also owns The Table in San Jose, The Vesper bar in Campbell, and Stumpy’s in San Jose. It takes the place of the old Hawg’s Seafood Bar.

It has a lot than appeals to the feminine side — great cocktails, a healthy-ish sensibility with all the fresh seafood, and just a little bit of naughtiness with a few guilty-pleasure dishes.

A specialty cocktail.

A specialty cocktail.

A view into the dining room.

A view into the dining room.

We paid our own tab, but Stump, whom I’ve interviewed many times over the years, and who can be found cooking on the line fairly regularly there, sent out a couple extra dishes.

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Bird Dog Soars

Irresistible curry-dusted fried chicken at Bird Dog.

Irresistible curry-dusted fried chicken at Bird Dog.

 

The tech world has been blamed for a lot of things of late — worsening traffic, skyrocketing housing prices, widespread impatience, and a growing lack of civility.

But one thing we can be thankful for is that it brought us Chef Robbie Wilson and his wife Emily Wilson.

Chamath Palihapitiya, venture capitalist, part owner of the Warriors, and former Facebook executive, and his wife, Brigette Lau, also a venture capitalist and former Navio Systems engineer, met the Wilsons and were so captivated by them, they agreed to partner and invest in their restaurant — as long as it opened in Palo Alto, the city where the influential tech couple lives with their kids.

Bird Dog opened last winter in downtown Palo Alto. The name refers to pursuing something with unwavering, laser-focus and determination, which is appropriate for a restaurant that’s been a hit since the doors opened. I had a chance to visit a few weeks ago when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

Chef Robbie Wilson brings impressive credentials to Palo Alto.

Chef Robbie Wilson brings impressive credentials to Palo Alto.

Robbie Wilson trained under some of the best: Michael Troisgros at Maison Troisgras; Tom Colicchio at Craft in New York, Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, and Nobu Matsuhisa at Matsuhisa in Aspen. Emily Wilson, who worked in luxury real estate development sales, is a gracious presence at the restaurant, darting from table to table, to welcome and chat with guests.

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