Category Archives: Enticing Events

Join the Food Gal For a Cookbook Signing at Litquake

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If you like to read and if you like to eat — I mean, who doesn’t? — you won’t want to miss all the fun at Litquake’s “Eat, Drink, and Be Literary” event, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Z Space in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Especially because yours truly along with photographer extraordinaire Craig Lee will be on hand to sign copies of our cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press).

Craig and I will be doing our signing at San Francisco’s premier literary festival from 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. that day. For added incentive, I’m bringing cookies baked from a recipe from the book that will be doled out until they run out.


We’ll be in great company, too. Others participating in the signings and panels include:

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Join the Food Gal and Mayfield Bakery Pastry Chef Samantha Miotke For A Cooking Demo


It’s guaranteed to be a sweet time when yours truly teams with Executive Pastry Chef Samantha Miotke of Palo Alto’s Mayfield Bakery & Cafe for a delightful cooking demo 2 p.m. Sept. 19 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Miotke was hooked on creating sugary treats ever since she was a little girl, playing with her Easy-Bake Oven.

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Get Ready For A Feast Of Greens — And A Food Gal Giveaway

The makings for a tasty vinaigrette from Gift A Feast.

The makings for a tasty vinaigrette from Gift A Feast.

Perk up summer salads with a zesty vinaigrette of California olive oil, late harvest Viognier-honey vinegar and mustard made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

It’s easy to do so with Gift A Feast, a San Francisco company that sources local gourmet products, wraps them up in a pretty package, then ships nationwide with a hand-written note attached.

I had a chance to test out a sample of its “For A Feast of Greens” gift set ($54.95).

The lovely wrapped box holds a trio of goodies: a bottle of Rio Bravo Ranch Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil, made by a fifth-generation farming family near Bakerfield, using Ascolano, Picual and Coratina estate olives, which has a buttery finish and tomato leaf-aroma; Katz Late Harvest Viognier-Honey Vinegar that is sweet, fruity, tangy and has a hit of vanilla from being aged in wood barrels; and KL Keller Violet Mustard, which is the color of tapenade, has a coarse texture from mustard seeds, and possesses a deep red wine flavor from grape must (concentrated, unfermented juice).

Also enclosed with the gift box is a recipe card for a simple vinaigrette using those three ingredients. You just need to add sea salt to taste to have a fruity, piquant and tangy dressing perfect for any combination of crisp greens. Add a few slivers of fresh plums and some toasted or candied walnuts, and you have a winning salad as easy as that.

The wrapped box.

The wrapped box.

And what it holds inside.

And what it holds inside.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a free “For A Feast of Greens”  gift box. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Aug. 29. Winner will be announced Aug. 31.

How to win?

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Add Robert Mondavi Cab to That BBQ Sauce, Why Don’t You? (Plus A Food Gal Giveaway)

Cabernet Sauvignon in barbecue sauce -- what's not to like?

Cabernet Sauvignon in barbecue sauce — what’s not to like?


What’s better than sipping a nice wine while enjoying a summer backyard barbecue?

Adding some of that wine to the actual barbecue sauce, that’s what.

And that’s exactly what Woodbridge Wines by Robert Mondavi has done.

It’s added a good glug of its Cabernet Sauvignon to create a limited-edition Daddy Sam’s & Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce. Texas-based Daddy Sam’s has been making barbecue sauces for generations.

You know it’s a good sign when the Cabernet Sauvignon is the first item listed under the ingredients list. The pourable sauce is at once smoky, tangy, sweet, savory and just a little bit spicy, thanks to molasses, tomato puree, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, cayenne, and jalapeno.

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Sacramento — America’s Farm-To-Fork-Capital

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible "soil.''

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible “soil.”


When one thinks of California’s top food cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles come to mind immediately.

As for Sacramento? Not nearly so readily.

In fact, a publicist for the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau told me that when arranging a tour recently for an out-of-state food writer, the visiting scribe’s first question was, “Is there an airport there?”

Why, yes, there is. It is the Golden State’s capitol, after all.

Indeed, Sacramento is home to nearly half a million people, as well as 1.5 million acres of farmland. With a year-round growing season, it produces more than 120 different crops that are enjoyed not only locally but abroad.

It grows more sushi rice than any other place. In fact, chances are if you eat any sushi in California, the rice was grown in Sacramento. The city produces 80 percent of the nation’s caviar. The breadth of the bounty includes everything from almonds to Kobe beef to wine grapes.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

I was reminded of just how crucial Sacramento is to our plates when I attended a special private dinner last week in San Francisco that spotlighted the city’s culinary treasures. It was a Sacramento roadshow, as Executive Chef Oliver Ridgeway of Grange Restaurant & Bar and Chef Ravin Patel, chief culinary officer of Selland Family Restaurants, trekked down from Sacramento to EatWith’s South of Market event space in San Francisco to prepare a multi-course feast for a dozen food journalists and bloggers. All of it featured fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood sourced from Sacramento.

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