Category Archives: Chefs

Sacramento’s Grange To Get a Facelift

 

The top-selling zabuton at Grange.

The top-selling zabuton at Grange.

When Sacramento’s Grange reopens tomorrow, it will have a refreshed look.

I’m curious to see how this farm-to-fork downtown restaurant will re-imagine itself, as I had the chance to check it out a month before the redo, when I was invited in as a guest of Grange and the swank Citizen Hotel.

Downtown Sacramento is undergoing its own renaissance, what with the opening of Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings, just a stroll away.

With Chef Oliver Ridgeway’s farm-to-table sensibilities and an industrial, masculine setting of concrete columns, soaring windows all around, and black steel pendant lights, the restaurant has long been a popular venue. The bar area in particular gets packed early in the evening whenever there is an event going on at the arena.

Grange's former look.

Grange’s former look.

I started with a Blueberry Shrub ($13), a refreshing sip of gin, lemon, thyme, and Luxardo sour cherry syrup, made extra puckery with Buckeye Creek blueberry rice vinegar. It’s a great way — and a pretty one — to rev the palate up.

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Thankful For Apple Custard Tart

A tart full of tender apples and delicate custard.

A tart full of tender apples and delicate custard.

 

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Me? I’m grateful for good health, great friends and family, and a writing career, that though a wild roller-coaster ride at times, has brought enormous satisfaction, wonderful opportunities, and a contingent of loyal, supportive readers who are the very best anyone could ever ask for.

And I’m glad for “Apple Custard Tart.” Because it’s equally delicious and appropriate for the Thanksgiving feast or for the lazy, spent morning after.

Don’t rush out to the mall that Friday. Instead, enjoy a slice of this pretty tart with a cup of coffee or tea, and a retelling of the fun, delightful moments that happened during the holiday night before.

buttercelebrates

This straightforward recipe is from “Butter Celebrates! Delicious Recipes For Special Occasions” (Knopf), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Rosie Daykin, owner of Butter Baked Goods in Vancouver.

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From Roy’s — Or The Story of the $50 Panettone

From Roy's dark chocolate panettone -- fit for a king or queen.

From Roy’s dark chocolate panettone — fit for a king or queen.

 

When I told my husband, who is notoriously frugal (he’d call himself, “cheap”), that I was writing a story about a pastry chef who makes a $50 panettone, he was beside himself.

He rolled his eyes, completely flabbergasted. Who in their right minds, he thought, would pay that much for an Italian Christmas bread that you can get for a song on the shelves at Cost Plus?

Then, I cut him a thick slab of the handmade dark chocolate panettone made by From Roy’s of Richmond. He put a forkful in his mouth. He let out a sigh. Then, he actually said, “OK, I can see paying $50 for this.”

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Eating on Maui’s Kaanapali Coast

Hula Grill's poke tacos.

Hula Grill’s poke tacos.

 

MAUI, HAWAII — Imagine three miles of sand and water so entrancing that it was once the retreat for Hawaiian royalty. That’s what Kaanapali beach on Maui’s west side is all about.

I had a chance to check out some of the food in the area when I was a guest on the island last month, courtesy of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau.

There’s almost always a line outside Hula Grill — for good reason. It has a coveted place right on the beach. In fact, the outdoor tables and chairs are planted right in the sand with a stunning view of the ocean.

There’s often live music, too, including the likes of Derick Sebastian, an award-winning ukulele player and singer.

A popular place to dine where you can dig your toes into the sand.

A popular place to dine where you can dig your toes into the sand.

It’s a perfect place for a casual, no-nonsense lunch. The Hula Caesar ($9) features local upcountry romaine, garlic focaccia croutons and shredded parmesan. I added seared ahi for another $10. I missed having anchovies, but I appreciated that the salad was lightly dressed.

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Basking in Luxury at the Four Seasons Oahu

Brunch -- local fruit, banana bread and honeycomb -- is served at the Four Seasons Oahu.

Brunch — local fruit, banana bread and honeycomb — is served at the Four Seasons Oahu.

 

OAHU, HAWAII — Staying at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is every bit as posh as it sounds.

When my husband told a co-worker that we’d be staying there complimentary, as guests of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, she gasped, “Do you have the right clothes for that?”

My husband and I also quickly calculated that the total price of our room for two nights nearly approached the cost of one month of our mortgage.

But if you possess the means, wow, what a way to relax in paradise.

A former Marriott, the property was completely renovated a year ago. Its 17 floors sport 371 rooms, the majority of them ocean front.

Our room with a view.

Our room with a view.

The resort will deliver cold beverages to you by the pool or beach via these babies.

The resort will deliver cold beverages to you by the pool or beach via these babies.

A wedding chapel on the grounds.

A wedding chapel on the grounds.

The lobby decor.

The lobby decor.

Take a load off in one of the airy sitting areas.

Take a load off in one of the airy sitting areas.

An especially nice touch is an iPad in the room, which among other things, allows you to order room service from any of the property’s five restaurants and lounges.

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