Category Archives: General

A Taste of The World’s Best At In Situ

A unique chocolate dessert from Spain recreated and served at In Situ.

A unique chocolate dessert from Spain recreated and served at In Situ.

 

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of dining on signature dishes from Japan, Germany, Denmark, France, Spain and Italy — all from the comfort of my chair at In Situ in downtown San Francisco.

Opened last May as part of SFMoMA’s $610 million expansion, In Situ has to be one of the most original restaurants ever created. Leave it to French Laundry alum, Chef Corey Lee of San Francisco’s Michelin three-starred Benu and Monsieur Benjamin, to fashion a restaurant that’s much like a museum, itself, in curating and showcasing iconic artworks that in this case just happen to be edible.

Latin for “on site,” In Situ, is where Lee has collaborated with chefs from around the world, as well as right here in the Bay Area, to recreate their most iconic dishes. At times, he has traveled across the globe to watch a chef cook a dish; other times a chef has merely sent a video with instructions.

Art on the wall behind a communal table.

Art on the wall behind a communal table.

The bright dining room that's lively, but still intimate enough for conversation.

The bright dining room that’s lively, but still intimate enough for conversation.

How many times have you longed to try some fantastic dish at some far-off restaurant, only to realize the odds are you would never make it to that destination? At In Situ, that wish is very much possible.

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Quick, Quick For Lemon and Apricot Cinnamon Chicken

Heady with cinnamon, this easy chicken dish comes together in no time flat.

Heady with cinnamon, this easy chicken dish comes together in no time flat.

 

Inevitably there comes a time for those of us who work in a home office to hear friends or family members remark, “Oh, you can do (fill in the blank) so easily because you work from home.”

Uh, no.

Inwardly, we cringe, yet outwardly remain calm as we explain that just because we work from home does not mean we have all the time in the world at our disposal.

Not by a long-shot.

Oh, sure, there is the luxury of being able to arrange our schedules to make it to the gym for a quick workout now and then or to pick up kids from school regularly. But the notion that we bask in long lunches without a care in the world is pure fantasy. More often than not, we’re gulping down a carton of yogurt in-between interviews and conference calls or deep in thought at the computer, trying to put the finishing touches on a story before diving into another one to write.

So just because our kitchen is steps away, we approach cooking just like anyone else who works outside the home: We save the ambitious recipes for the weekend, and live for fast and easy during the week.

That’s why you won’t find me tackling a croque en bouche on a Tuesday, but more something along the lines of “Lemon and Apricot Cinnamon Chicken.”

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Asian-American Food & Film, A Bake-Sale Not To Miss, & More

CAAMFeast17-Save-the-Date

Center for Asian American Media Feast and Fest 2017

Celebrating Asian-American achievements in food, film and music, the Center for Asian American Media presents its 35th annual CAAMFEST, March 9-19.

The film presentations, live music, and food events, which shines a light on new Asian-American talents, takes place in various venues around San Francisco and Oakland, including the Asian Art Museum and the Castro Theatre.

Among the films sure to whet your appetite are: “Sunday Dinner,” directed by Casey Beck, which follows one man’s journey through San Francisco’s Chinatown to pick the most exacting ingredients to cook for a family feast; and “Good Luck Soup,” directed by Matthew Hashiguchi, about what it’s like to grow up mixed-race in a predominantly white neighborhood in Cleveland. Tickets for regular screenings are $12 to $14 each.

CAAMFEST is preceded by CAAMFEAST, March 4 at 6 p.m., in the Green Room at the War Memorial & Performing Arts Center in San Francisco. The evening features tastings from top restaurants, and a multi-media tribute to culinary awards honorees, who this year include Los Angeles Chef Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ and Locol; and the People’s Kitchen Collective of Oakland, which hosts Diaspora Dinners, sliding-scale community meals, and workshops. Tickets are $200 each.

Wine Dinner and Bake-Sale at Zola in Palo Alto

Pastry chef extraordinaire John Shelsta, also known by his Twitter handle of @loveforbutter, will be hosting one of his not-to-be-missed bake sales at Zola in downtown Palo Alto, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 25.

Pineapple-filled kouign-amanns. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Pineapple-filled kouign-amanns. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Shelsta has trained with some of the best around, including William Werner of Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco, and Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie in San Francisco. It’s from the latter that he learned to make his gossamer, crackling sugary kouign-amanns. The traditional Brittany pastry is like a croissant folded upon itself with layers of sugar in between.

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Sweet on Roasted Banana-Peanut Butter Cream Pie

A slice of heaven for Valentine's Day.

A slice of heaven for Valentine’s Day.

 

Chocolate and long-stemmed roses signify Valentine’s Day to many.

For me, though, it’s all about banana cream pie.

You see, when I was dating my husband, he actually took the time and effort to make a banana cream pie for the first time just to surprise me. To understand how out of character that is, just consider that his nickname is Meat Boy, not Pie Boy. Grilling and smoking mega hunks of meat is second nature to him. But making pastries and desserts? Honestly, most times he’d rather eat a second helping of meat than end a meal with a sweet. So, when I saw him turn on the oven and pull out the butter, sugar and flour to mix the dough, it was a shock.

A beaut of a pie.

A beaut of a pie.

What made it even more memorable? He made it and then took the cream pie proudly to my parents’ house to share with them.

Now, that’s love.

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Chocolate and Tequila For Valentine’s Day

It's like two treats in one.

It’s like two treats in one.

 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, TCHO, Berkeley’s bean-to-bar chocolate maker, has injected a little boozy fun and deliciousness into its artisan bars.

It has teamed with Jose Cuervo to add that renowned spirits maker’s reserve tequila, Reserva de la Familia, into TCHO’s distinctive tile chocolates.

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