Category Archives: General

Join Yours Truly For the 2016 James Beard “Taste America” San Francisco Gala

A dessert from last year's Taste America San Francisco. (Photo by Marc Fiorito, Gamma Nine Photography)

A dessert from last year’s Taste America San Francisco. (Photo by Marc Fiorito, Gamma Nine Photography)

 

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be an emcee at the James Beard Foundation’s “Taste America” epicurean tour, with my fellow James Beard winner J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats, when it rolls into San Francisco for an unforgettable evening Nov. 4.

The 10-city tour, with stops that include Los Angeles, Chicago and Charleston, benefits the foundation, with a portion of proceeds to go toward culinary scholarships for local students in each region.

The San Francisco gala on Nov. 4, “A Night of Culinary Stars,” will take place at the InterContinental Hotel. The evening kicks off with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception featuring morsels from top San Francisco chefs: Tim Archuleta of Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar, Srijith Gopinathan of Campton Place, Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s, Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji, Pim Techamuanvivit & Narciso Salvador of Kin Khao, and Martin Yan of M.Y. China.

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New Dishy Digs for Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino

What would Alexander's Steakhouse be without its famed cotton candy?

What would Alexander’s Steakhouse be without its famed cotton candy?

 

When Alexander’s Steakhouse moved into its brand new building at Main Street Cupertino three weeks ago, there was initially some talk about doing away with the signature cone of cotton candy that ends the meal.

That lasted for a hot second.

Management wisely concluded that eliminating that carnival-like treat for something new and different just wouldn’t do — not when it’s become such a distinguishing flourish for this high-end steakhouse.

That may not have changed. But other things have, most notably the restaurant’s size, which is larger by 2,000 square feet.

The new, bigger location.

The new, bigger location.

The bar and lounge.

The bar and lounge.

A glimpse into the dining room.

A glimpse into the dining room.

While the sommelier had to run around to various cabinets in the old restaurant to retrieve wine bottles, here the wine is stored in a dazzling 7,000-bottle, glassed-in wine vault right in the main dining room.

There’s also a dry-aging room right at the entrance, where huge hunks of deeply white-striated Wagyu beef are on display. And yes, that’s fat that you’re marveling at.

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Cooking (And Sourcing) Monkfish

A quick way to cook monkfish. Serve with whatever side you like. I did a saute of baby kale and cremini mushrooms.

A quick way to cook monkfish. Serve with whatever side you like. I did a saute of baby kale and cremini mushrooms.

 

Known as the “poor man’s lobster,” monkfish is a seafood I’ve enjoyed quite a few times in restaurants. But I had never cooked it before.

Until last week.

Part of the problem was that it’s not an easy fish to find at local seafood markets. But thanks to DailyFreshFish, I was able to finally give it a go.

The new online seafood source was launched recently by Hayward’s Pucci Foods, which was established in 1918 by Joe Pucci, an Italian immigrant. Pucci Foods has long supplied restaurants and retail stores. Now, it’s making that same seafood available directly to consumers.

The company, which sources seafood from all over the world, has a sustainable seafood certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. It also follows the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide and the NOAA Fish Watch Program.

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Shhhh, Stolen Fruit Mixers

Stolen Fruit Mixers turn any gathering into a party.

Stolen Fruit Mixers turn any gathering into a party.

 

OK, no fruits were actually pilfered for these non-alcoholic mixers.

Stolen Fruit Mixers is just a fun name for this new Healdsburg company that makes mixers from the fresh-pressed juice of green varietal wine grapes and their skins (also known as verjus).

But unlike so many mixers that taste way too sugary or are so processed to death that they lose their vibrancy, these have real elegance and distinction.

Not surprisingly, since they were created by a chef, Peter Brown of Healdsburg, and long-time grape growers, Doug and Susan Provisor.

The company makes five flavors: Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc, Jasmine Juniper Viognier, Hibiscus Grenache, Blood Orange Muscat, and Fig Grains of Paradise Zin.

Mix with alcohol or sparkling water.

Mix with alcohol or sparkling water.

They are concentrated, so it’s suggested you use 1 part mixer to 1 part alcohol (for a cocktail), or 1 part mixer to 2 parts sparkling water (for a mocktail).

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Sons & Daughters: Grand Food From A Tiny Kitchen

A trio of amuses starts off the night at Sons & Daughters.

A trio of amuses starts off the night at Sons & Daughters.

 

When you step inside the doorstep of San Francisco’s Sons & Daughters, you can’t help but notice the open kitchen smack in front of you — mostly because of its size.

Put it this way: Walk-in closets are larger.

To see four chefs working so seamlessly in such close quarters gives you pause.

And to see the caliber of the food they manage to turn out there takes your breath away.

The elegant restaurant, dressed up with charcoal linens, chandeliers and large framed mirrors, was opened in 2010 by chefs Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara. These days, McNamara also lives on and works the 83-acre Dark Hill Farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which supplies the Sons & Daughters Restaurant Group that also includes The Square in North Beach.

A sliver of a kitchen.

A sliver of a kitchen.

A 2015 Holm Oak Pinot Noir from Tasmania as part of the wine pairings.

A 2015 Holm Oak Pinot Noir from Tasmania as part of the wine pairings.

I had a chance to dine at the cozy 28-seat restaurant, when I was invited in as a guest a week ago. When you are seated, along with the menus (which have the name of your party printed at the top in a welcome message), you are presented with a leather-bound booklet that includes information and photos of the farm. Food scraps are composted on the farm, which produces fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, and rabbits that inspire every menu. Indeed, on the back of the menu is a list of the season’s harvest that may be in the dishes that night — everything from redwood sorrel to apriums to ice plant to Buff Orpington eggs.

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