Category Archives: General

NIDO Is Pretty Neato

You can't miss finding this place.

You can’t miss finding this place.

 

Its name means “nest” in Spanish, and NIDO is very much a comforting place in every sense.

This Mexican restaurant was opened in Oakland in 2012 by husband and wife, Cory and Silvia McCollow.

It’s colorful and energetic, with a homespun air, as if a bunch of friends got together in a modern-day barn-raising to build a restaurant. Candles in mismatched glass containers give off a warm glow inside, along with a mini disco ball at the front that creates a party-like verve. The bar is built from repurposed wood pallets, giving it a “Gilligan’s Island” can-do look.

On Sunday nights, the restaurant offers a more truncated menu, dubbed “Sunday Night Tacos & Margaritas.” It’s super popular, too, as I found out, when I went a week ago, paying my own tab at the end. Even before the doors opened at 5 p.m., there were already more than half a dozen people lined up to get in.

Chips, salsa and guacamole.

Chips, salsa and guacamole.

A cocktail made with black vermouth.

A cocktail made with black vermouth.

The short and sweet menu encompasses two starters, two large plates, two taco choices, and chips with salsa and guacamole.

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Rich Table’s Spaghetti with Peas, Goat Cheese — And A Most Unexpected Ingredient

A pasta dish that will thrill with surprise.

A pasta dish that will thrill with surprise.

 

As I set this brimming bowl of pasta in front of my husband, he twirled in his fork, then took a bite.

“This is so weird,” he exclaimed with growing glee. “But it’s really good!”

That might just be your reaction, as well, to this eyebrow-raising spaghetti tossed with peas, lime, goat cheese — and are you ready for it — duck fat.

Yes, “Spaghetti with Peas, Lime, Goat Cheese, and Duck Fat” is from the cookbook, “Rich Table” (Chronicle Books, 2018), of which I received a review copy. It’s by husband-and-wife chef-owners Evan and Sarah Rich with assist from Eater Cities Director Carolyn Alburger.

Rich Table cookbook

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at San Francisco’s Rich Table — where scoring a table is never an easy feat — you know that this type of dish is part and parcel for this Michelin-starred restaurant that has a knack for creating winning dishes with rather unexpected, and often mind-boggling combinations of ingredients.

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Make Room (In Your Stomach) for Roons

(Clockwise from back) Chocolate Decadence, Orange Creamsicle, and Chocolate Espresso Roons.

(Clockwise from back) Chocolate Decadence, Orange Creamsicle, and Chocolate Espresso Roons.

 

Sweet, moist, chewy as can be, and full of tropical coconut.

That’s what you get with Roons, delicious coconut macaroons hand-made in Portland, OR.

I had a chance recently to try samples of these bite-size treats that are gluten-free and grain-free.

I will readily admit that I’m a rather fickle coconut fan. Sometimes I love it; other times I can leave it.

These had me at the first bite.

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The Genius of Oven-Steamed Fish

The easy way to make a lot of steamed fish at once -- in the oven.

The easy way to make a lot of steamed fish at once — in the oven.

 

I grew up with Chinese-style steamed fish — both as a focal point of a celebratory banquet meal or an everyday staple made by my Mom on a harried weeknight.

But the one thing I always found challenging was trying to steam a large amount of fish to feed a hangry, hungry crowd.

After all, a stovetop bamboo steamer only holds so much. You could always stack two or three atop one another to steam more fish. But what if you only have the one steamer basket?

Enter a genius solution by recipe developer Julia Turshen in her new cookbook, “Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.

Now and Again

With more than 125 recipes, she shows off her flair for making delicious food a no-brainer in recipes that include”Chicken and Roasted Tomato Enchiladas,” “Pressed Broccoli Rabe and Mozzarella Sandwiches,” and “Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting.”

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Wagyu Everything at Gozu Pop-up at Avery

Wrap our heads around this: yellowfin bone marrow. At the Gozu pop-up at Avery restaurant.

Wrap our heads around this: yellowfin bone marrow. At the Gozu pop-up at Avery restaurant.

 

Gozu, the Wagyu beef-centered restaurant, isn’t expected to open its doors in the South of Market area of San Francisco until May. But it’s already opened my eyes to the possibilities of this prized, specialty Japanese beef.

Last week, I had the pleasure of dining as a guest at one of the three nights that Gozu hosted a pop-up at Avery in San Francisco.

The $95 per person tasting menu featured four dishes from the Avery’s Chef Rodney Wages, an alum of The French Laundry in Yountville, and Benu, Atelier Crenn, and Saison, all in San Francisco; as well as four dishes from Gozu’s Chef Marc Zimmerman, who cooked at Nobu, Restaurant Guy Savoy, and Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco. Two supplemental dishes also were available for an extra charge.

Like its predecessor in this Fillmore Street locale, the elegant Korean-influenced Mosu, Avery continues the tradition of having no sign out front. The windows are opaque, too. So, just look carefully for the numerical address, and you’ll find it just fine.

The two-story restaurant is quite compact, and done up with grays and black to give it a chic air.

The upstairs dining room.

The upstairs dining room.

Chef Marc Zimmerman of the forthcoming Gozu (left) and Chef Rodney Wages of Avery (right).

Chef Marc Zimmerman of the forthcoming Gozu (left) and Chef Rodney Wages of Avery (right).

For the first half of the meal, before the restaurant got too full, the two chefs both brought out their dishes, hand-delivering to the table. Zimmerman says he got the idea for a Wagyu-focused restaurant after traveling through Japan. There, casual robata-style eateries specialize in Wagyu and make use of every bit of the pampered, outrageously marbled cows.

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