Category Archives: Enticing Events

A Taste of Senia — One of the Most Anticipated Restaurants in Honolulu

Chefs ChrisKajioka, Mimi Mendoza and Anthony Rush of the soon-to-open Senia restaurant.

Chefs Chris Kajioka, Mimi Mendoza and Anthony Rush of the soon-to-open Senia restaurant.

 

Senia is arguably one of the most hotly anticipated restaurants to open in Honolulu this year.

And I had the opportunity to get a divine preview taste — in San Francisco, of all places.

Transporting a taste of the islands to the city by the Bay makes perfect sense when you realize that Co-Executive Chef Chris Kajioka has strong ties to the Bay Area. He worked at the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco under the tutelage of Ron Siegel, as well as at Thomas Keller’s Per Se. He also cooked at San Francisco’s Aziza, and helped open its sister restaurant, Mourad.

It was at Per Se that he met his British-born Co-Executive Chef Anthony Rush, who also had worked at the French Laundry. Not to mention, Senia’s pastry chef, Mimi Mendoza, just left that position at Chez T.J. in Mountain View. Moreover, one of Senia’s main investors lives in San Francisco.

Hearts of palm draped over Maui venison tartare.

Hearts of palm draped over Maui venison tartare.

So while Senia is being constructed in Honolulu’s Chinatown, right next door to the popular Pig & The Lady, the chefs took the time to host an invitation-only pop-up dinner at the Naked Kitchen in the Mission District. The private event space is inside a Victorian whose first floor has been transformed into a souped-up professional kitchen with long tables spanning through the dining room and living room.

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A Celebration of Wine and Food At Adega — San Jose’s First Michelin-Starred Restaurant

Chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira of San Jose's first Michelin starred restaurant, Adega.

Chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira of San Jose’s first Michelin starred restaurant, Adega.

 

Last Thursday, a mere two days after Adega scored the first Michelin star in all of San Jose, the vibe was still celebratory and one of complete shock.

Co-owner Carlos Carreira recounted that after they got the early morning phone call with the announcement, his daughter, Pastry Chef Jessica Carreira, who along with her fiance Chef David Costa, oversee the kitchen, were so dumbfounded that they thought it might have been a prank call.

Carlos Carreira assured her it couldn’t have been. But he also thought to himself, “What did we just do?”

Merely make history by becoming the first restaurant in San Jose to score a coveted Michelin star, and only the second Portuguese restaurant in the United States to garner such acclaim (following New York’s Aldea).

Adega takes its wine very seriously.

Adega takes its wine very seriously.

The intimate dining room.

The intimate dining room.

Art on the walls.

Art on the walls.

All this for a restaurant that only opened last year, in the frill-free, working-class neighborhood known as Little Portugal.

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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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Join the Food Gal and Chef Jared Montarbo of Alexander’s Steakhouse For A Cooking Demo

MacysAlexandersSteakhouseYou’re in for a meaty time when Chef Jared Montarbo of Alexander’s Steakhouse joins me for a cooking demo, 1 p.m. Sept. 18, at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

The upscale, Asian-inflected steakhouse recently re-opened in a new, larger location in the Main Street Cupertino development. Its centerpiece is a dry-aging room that’s visible right when you walk in the doors, where magnificently marbled Japanese Wagyu is on display.

Montarbo is a Bay Area-native, who enrolled at the California Culinary Academy at the young age of 17, before going to cook for Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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