View all posts filed under 'General'

Bradley Ogden Returns to the Bay Area with Bradley’s Fine Diner

Monday, 24. November 2014 5:26

Lassen trout seafood stew at the new BFD in Menlo Park.

Lassen trout seafood stew at the new BFD in Menlo Park.


In the 1980s and 1990s, he elevated the Bay Area dining scene and made a name for himself as executive chef of Campton Place in San Francisco and co-founder of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group.

Since then, Chef Bradley Ogden’s attention had been focused mostly outside of the region, as he opened restaurants in Las Vegas with his son, Chef Bryan Ogden, and one in Solvang.

But now, following a move to the South Bay two years ago, Ogden is back — in a big way.

Three weeks ago after a year of construction, the James Beard Award-winning chef opened the doors to Bradley’s Fine Diner in Menlo Park. He’s also working on opening three restaurants in Houston. They’re all part of his Bradley Ogden Hospitality group, run with son Bryan, and business partner and industry veteran, Tony Angotti. The projects are being financed by investor Chris Kelly, Facebook’s first general consul, who first met Ogden when he asked the chef to cook a dinner he was hosting for then-President Bill Clinton.

Chef Bradley Ogden in the kitchen at his new restaurant.

Chef Bradley Ogden in the kitchen at his new restaurant.

Bradley’s Fine Diner or BFD for short is pure Ogden. Situated across from the Caltrain station, it’s an artsy roadhouse with plenty of natural wood, plus fun and funky touches like silverware chandeliers and a decorative wall with old knives stuck into it as if a knife thrower had just left the building after a practice spree.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants | Comments (2) | Author:

Cozy Up to Zola in Palo Alto

Friday, 21. November 2014 5:26

Chocolate mousse made extra special with coffee gelee at Zola in Palo Alto.

Chocolate mousse made extra special with coffee gelee at Zola in Palo Alto.


If French writer Emile Zola was all about literary realism, then Palo Alto’s new Zola restaurant pays fitting tribute with its seasonal French cooking that keeps it real and all together soulful.

Chef-Proprietor Guillaume Bienaime opened his intimate downtown restaurant in late-September. The former fine-dining chef at Marche in Menlo Park has consulted on restaurants over the past couple of years. But Zola is his own venture and you can tell he’s poured his heart into it.

Recently, I met up with a friend for dinner there, with us paying the tab at the end of the meal. It’s a cozy space done up in denim-colored walls beside exposed brick, bare wood tables and classic cafe chairs.

The dining room is compact, but it is inviting.

The dining room is compact, but it is inviting.

It’s the kind of place where you can come in jeans, and settle in with a glass of French Rhone wine and a plate of short ribs done Bourguignon-style, and emerge feeling restored.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants | Comments (5) | Author:

Brown Sugar Kitchen’s Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

Wednesday, 19. November 2014 5:26

Sweet potatoes make this cake really moist.

Sweet potatoes make this cake really moist.


Imagine a holiday cake that’s rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and beta-carotene.

OK, so it does have chocolate chips, too. Plus a wicked chocolate-coffee glaze.

“Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake” has all that going for it and more. After all, it’s the creation of Chef Tanya Holland, who’s famed for her soulful comfort food at her Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland.

This cake is from her new cookbook, “Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes From Sweet West Oakland” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. It was written with former San Francisco Magazine editor Jan Newberry.


You’ll find all your Brown Sugar Kitchen favorites here, including Holland’s legendary Cornmeal Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. All in all, you’ll find more than 80 recipes from everything from Creole Gazpacho to Smoked Buttered Rum. What’s really special about this book, though, is its sense of place. Holland’s restaurant is an intrinsic part of this West Oakland neighborhood. The book celebrates the people that make this area what it is by including profiles of its entrepreneurs, musicians and community leaders.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Chefs, General, Recipes (Sweet), Restaurants | Comments (9) | Author:

Sustainably Raised Meat Delivered To Your Door with AgLocal — Plus a Food Gal Deal

Monday, 17. November 2014 5:27

AgLocal's Moroccan lamb sausages get roasted in the oven for an easy weeknight meal.

AgLocal’s Moroccan lamb sausages get roasted in the oven for an easy weeknight meal.


As much as we’d like to eat local, sustainably-raised meat regularly, it often takes going the extra effort to do so.

Usually, it requires driving out of the way to a specialty store.

Now, San Francisco’s AgLocal makes it much easier to enjoy farm-fresh meat and to support local family farms by delivering a box right to your door.

All the meat comes from pasture-raised animals. The meat offerings, shipped frozen most of the time, are available in four different boxes, each of which includes a different selection: “Family Style”  (favorite cuts to appeal to all members of the family); “Grill Master” (ribs, chops and steaks); “Fit and Lean” (brisket, flank steak and the like); and “Farmer’s Pick” (more esoteric cuts such as lamb breast and smoked shanks). Each box comes in two sizes, either 7 pounds ($85) or 14 pounds ($150).

A look inside my "Fit and Lean'' box.

A look inside my “Fit and Lean” box.

AgLocal currently delivers to California, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, Great Finds, Meat, New Products | Comments (2) | Author:

In Praise of Pistachios

Friday, 14. November 2014 5:26

Pistachios growing in California's Central Valley.

Pistachios growing in California’s Central Valley.


A pistachio is a wonder.

For much of its growth cycle, its shell is empty. Only later does the tiny, sweet, green edible kernel grow inside.

It’s a phenomenon that has even surprised many a first time grower.

This summer, I was invited by the American Pistachio Growers to Fresno to watch the annual pistachio harvest.

There are more than 650 pistachio growers in Arizona, New Mexico and California. The Golden State boasts the most with more than 98 percent of the total growers and more than 300,000 acres of pistachio trees.

The pistachio crop may still pale in comparison to California’s almonds, which make up 940,000 acres. But pistachios remain an important crop, bringing in $1.3 billion in revenue. Indeed, the pistachio crop is expected to double in the next seven years.

With its hot, dry climate and rich soil, the Central Valley became a natural place to plant pistachios, which hail from the Middle East. In the 1960s, plantings began in the Fresno area. Nowadays, you’ll find family farms that have grown pistachios for generations.

Although they’re one of the more drought-tolerant trees, this year’s pistachio crop, which just finished harvesting, is about 30 percent lower than usual.

Tasting a just-picked pistachio.

Tasting a just-picked pistachio.

Once the kernel forms inside the shell, it keeps growing until it gets so big that it splits the shell, the sign that it is ripe for picking. Hence, the naturally created slit that pistachios in the shell possess, which makes it easier for us to crack them open with our fingers. A real treat is getting to taste a just-picked pistachio. Unlike salted, roasted ones from the store, a fresh one is softer and even more buttery tasting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category:Enticing Events, General, Health/Nutrition | Comments (8) | Author: