Category Archives: General

Aloha to Maui-Style Kalbi Short Ribs

A feast of grilled Maui-style Korean ribs makes summer entertaining a breeze.

A feast of grilled Maui-style Korean ribs makes summer entertaining a breeze.

 

When I bite down on these sweet, gingery, soy-infused, toothsome short ribs, I practically feel the tropical sun on my face and the warm white sand between my toes.

“Maui-Style Kalbi Short Ribs” will do that to you.

It’s a taste of Hawaii — in your own home.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Aloha Kitchen: Recipes from Hawai’i” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. Maui native Alana Kysar, who blogs at Fix Feast Flair, may live in Los Angeles now. But a large part of her heart — and stomach — are clearly still in Hawaii.

Aloha Kitchen

The cookbook is a loving look at some of the most iconic Hawaiian home-style dishes, the ones you queue up for at food trucks or Hawaiian plate-lunch spots, or look forward to most if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a local’s backyard family feast. Turn the pages and feast on everything from “Soy-Glazed Spam Musubi” and “Loco Moco” to “Ginger Misoyaki Butterfish” and “Double-Chocolate Haupia Pie” and prepare to get very hungry.

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Sneak Peak Taste of Midsummer At Plaj

"Wine & Flowers'' cocktail on the new midsummer menu at Plaj.

“Wine & Flowers” cocktail on the new midsummer menu at Plaj.

 

In Scandinavia, midsummer begins June 22. And it’s a very big deal.

After a long, harsh winter of darkness with a mere four hours of light per day if you’re lucky, Scandinavian residents get rather giddy when summer approaches. Can you blame them?

Swedish-born Chef-Owner Roberth Sundell offers up a taste of that exuberance from his home country by presenting a special midsummer menu at his Plaj restaurant in San Francisco.

Located inside the boutique Inn at the Opera hotel, Sundell opened the restaurant in 2012 with his wife Andrea to showcase modern Scandinavian cuisine with California influences. They followed that up in 2017 with the fast-casual Stockhome in Petaluma.

Plaj is a phonetic spelling of the word “play.” And that’s just what the couple wants you to do when you visit this intimate dining room.

The bar.

The bar.

The dining area beside it.

The dining area beside it.

Recently, I was invited along with other media to try some of the offerings on the new midsummer menu, which will be available June 19-25.

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The Wonder of Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta

A simple pasta with a big, bold taste. And it's vegetarian.

A simple pasta with a big, bold taste. And it’s vegetarian.

 

When I was a tot, as both my parents went off to work, my older brother would walk me a couple blocks away to the babysitter’s every weekday morning before he trotted off to school.

I didn’t always go gladly.

But what soothed me every time was lunch.

It was the same thing every single day, by my own choice — a bowl of Chinese wheat noodles, boiled until toothsome, then dumped into a bowl before being stirred up with a couple glugs of oyster sauce right out of the bottle.

Even then, a mountain of umami-packed noodles had the power to make everything seem right in the world.

One forkful of “Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta” was all it took to send me back to those childhood days.

Family Cookbook

It’s from the new cookbook “Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy. Written by food writer and cook Hetty McKinnon, it’s filled with vibrant vegetarian fare that I found a lot more imaginative than many books in this genre.

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Step Inside The Vault

The seafood sampler at The Vault.

The seafood sampler at The Vault.

 

The iconic Bank of America skyscraper in San Francisco’s Financial District holds a special place in my heart.

It’s where my Mom worked for years at a brokerage firm. And it’s where I’d work high school and college summers in her office for her boss, sorting and filing papers. The company was located on the 32nd floor, high up enough that when the Blue Angels were in town, you could gawk at the planes — and feel a rumble — as they whizzed by the windows practically at eye level. Now, that was something.

It’s been many years since I’ve been back inside that building. But recently, I had the chance, when I was invited in to dine as a guest at the new The Vault, located on the concourse level.

The newest concept by the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, it is also quite something to behold. The restaurant group may be known for its relaxed, neighborhood spots — Trestle, Corridor, and Fat Angel — but The Vault, which really is in the bank’s old vault area, is total swank.

As Hi Neighbor partner Ryan Cole told me, “It’s a different crowd than SOMA.”

The place where power people imbibe.

The place where power people imbibe.

Private liquor lockers for patrons.

Private liquor lockers for patrons.

That meant a different vibe was in order. After all, the building still houses some of the top financial services firms around. While one could easily still walk in here wearing the usual skinny jeans uniform, you will see far more suit jackets and blazers than you ever would in the South of Market area.

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The Marriott Santa Clara Welcomes Bosc & Bartlett

The ahi trio at the new Bosc & Bartlett.

The ahi trio at the new Bosc & Bartlett.

 

The Santa Clara Marriott, a hop, skip and a jump away from Levi’s Stadium, is undergoing a massive $30 million-plus renovation that will be completed this fall.

Step inside and you’ll already notice big changes — from the new gift shop, redesigned lobby, updated guestrooms, and a new restaurant and bar.

Fine-dining Parcel 104 is still there going strong, with Executive Chef Sergio Morales and Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez, so don’t fret. But the Marriott has added another more casual concept, Bosc & Bartlett, that’s been quietly open since October.

Like Parcel 104, which takes its name for the land designation for the former pear orchard property, the new eatery’s name also pays homage to that fall favorite fruit.

Chef Jason Kina helms the new restaurant, a sister establishment to the hotel's Parcel 104.

Chef Jason Kina helms the new restaurant, a sister establishment to the hotel’s Parcel 104.

Walk toward the lobby and you can’t miss Bosc & Bartlett because it’s wide open with an expansive square-sided bar at its center that seats 32. High bar-height tables ring it. To the side is also more lounge-y seating with couches and tables, all done up in calming, sandy tones. The restaurant also now services a newly redone pool-side patio just out back.

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