You’re Invited to #Foodtography
Join yours truly and award-winning photographer Craig Lee, when we host #Foodtography, 7 p.m. May 25 at the Four Seasons in San Francisco.
In this age of food-ecentric social media, this fun event will teach you how to be a better food critic and how to take better food photos.
You’ll get to sample gourmet tastes from the Four Seasons’ Chef Alexander La Motte — after you get a chance to photograph the dishes, of course.
At the end of the evening, you’ll take home a copy of “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), my cookbook that was photographed by Craig. We’ll personally sign it to you, too.
The event is $35 per person. If you don’t take public transportation, and need to park your car, the hotel is offering a discounted valet rate of $15 that evening. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A Taste of Le Cirque” in San Jose
San Jose’s Capital Club, normally open to members only, is opening its doors wide for a special event this Friday, May 13 that celebrates the fabled New York restaurant, Le Cirque.
“A Taste of Le Cirque” will feature Le Cirque’s corporate executive chef Massimo Bebber cooking a five-course dinner paired with Sicilian wines.
Pork shoulder at Little Gem.
Imagine a restaurant, in which all the food is gluten-free. And dairy-free. And sans refined sugar.
No doubt, you’re probably fearing it also will be flavor-free and dismally low in satisfaction.
Not so. Not when it’s Little Gem in San Francisco, which opened in December.
After all, when the head chef is Dave Cruz, formerly of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, you’re guaranteed to be in good hands with the food, as I found out when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant last week. Little Gem’s other partners are Eric Lilavois, former chief operating officer of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, and John DiFazio, an investment banker, who has such an appreciation of good food that he did an apprenticeship at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York.
Chef Dave Cruz, formerly of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc.
The compact kitchen.
This is clean eating the way it should be — with bold flavors, freshness, finesse but not fussiness, and great ingredients from purveyors such as Marin Sun Farms, Five Dot Ranch and Rancho Gordo.
Say hello to the Scarlet & Gold at Oro.
San Francisco’s Mint Plaza has been a revolving door of restaurants over the years.
So many have come and gone that it’s hard to keep track of them all.
Here’s hoping Oro, which opened last year, has sticking power.
I think the downtown location, while an easy hop across the street from the Fifth & Mission garage, can be a hurdle. It’s hard for people to remember that behind the imposing ornate edifice of the historic Mint Building is indeed a plaza ringed by restaurants.
The three-story Oro presents a sleek veneer with floor-to-ceiling windows and a steel-cable glassed staircase that dominates the first floor.
The sleek staircase that bisects the main dining room.
The artsy dining nook.
The restaurant also has a lot going for it, most notably Executive Jason Fox of San Francisco’s marvelous Commonwealth restaurant.
When I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant recently, I started with a Scarlet & Gold ($13) cocktail served in a pretty retro glass. This is the perfect sip for those who want something delicate and not-so-boozy. With gin, fennel, lemon, soda and a froth of egg white, it was light and refreshing.
What makes the menu so fun is that you can make a meal out of a traditional appetizer and entree or several snacks and single bites if you’re more in a grazing mood.
Dark Chocolate Petit Pot with Vanilla French Mini Cookie.
When you shrink down desserts, they just get so adorable, don’t they?
Not to mention irresistible since you so want to covet one all to yourself.
Petit Pot’s pot de cremes and shortbread cookies make that easy to do.
The South San Francisco company was founded by Frenchmen, Pierre Coeurdeuil, a former Valrhona food engineer; and Pastry Chef Max Pouvreau, who has worked at Coi and Radius restaurants, both in San Francisco.
They specialize in certified organic French pots de creme in various flavors that are sold in individual glass jars, as well as little round shortbread cookies. Of course, the two together make for a perfect dessert duo. I had a chance recently to try samples.
My idea of a post workout snack.
Back in the day, my friend Julie and I would spend the few minutes after before our cycling class trading stories about our baking conquests.
Yes, it’s not uncommon for me to talk about food at the gym. No matter if my fellow gym rats know what I do for a living or not, we somehow always manage to gab about what we’ve cooked or eaten lately.
But then again, I guess that’s why we all go to the gym in the first place — to do penance for all the calories we’ve either already consumed or are about to after that grueling class ends.
Like me, Julie loves to bake. After pedaling like there’s no tomorrow, she’d tell me about the fruit pies she baked during the holidays and the biscuits she labored over to perfect, even going so far as to mail-order just the right flour to ensure they’d bake up extra light and flaky.
Although Julie has since moved on to do her pedaling at another gym, I remember how she was especially excited about traveling to the South to take a few baking classes. When she came back, she surprised me with a gift: a copy of the “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook” (Artisan, 2012). Autographed, too, by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day, the owners of the Savannah, GA Back in the Day Bakery.