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Duende in Oakland Welcomes the Food Gal for A Book-Signing Event

Monday, 24. March 2014 5:26

SanFrancisoChefsTableCover2

If you’ve yet to enjoy the signature fideua with duck at Duende in Oakland, then head there, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 6.

That’s when Chef-Proprietor Paul Canales will be hosting a special book-signing event in the lively bodega side of the restaurant featuring yours truly.

Canales’ recipe for the classic Spanish paella-like dish made with noodles rather than rice is spotlighted in my cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press). The book is a compilation of more than 50 top Bay Area restaurants with their stories and their famed recipes.

Fideua with duck and olives at Duende is featured in my debut cookbook.

Fideua with duck and olives at Duende is featured in my debut cookbook.

You’ll not only enjoy glasses of bubbly cava and tastes of the fideua, but go home with a copy of the cookbook, signed by Canales, book photographer Craig Lee, and myself.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person, Restaurants | Comments (5) | Author:

Bright Lights and the Big City at Epic Roasthouse

Friday, 21. March 2014 5:26

Hawaiian ono at Epic Roasthouse, which lists on the menu where all its seafood is from and how it was caught.

Hawaiian ono at Epic Roasthouse, which lists on the menu where all its seafood is from and how it was caught.

 

Epic Roasthouse on San Francisco’s waterfront is the kind of place you go to impress.

There’s the unparalleled view of the Bay from most any table, including the jaw-dropping LED “Bay Lights” flickering installation on the Bay Bridge.

There’s the over-the-top clubby decor by famed restauranteur-designer Pat Kuleto that showcases the dining room in a sort of pump-house-gone-glam look.

And of course, there is the menu, full of luxurious ingredients and spendy dishes including a 4-ounce A5 Miyazaki Wagyu steak for $98 and “An Epic Meal for Two” (a 32-ounce Tomahawk rib steak plus a 2-pound lobster) for $198.

The view outside the windows.

The view outside the windows.

The dramatic dining room ceiling.

The dramatic dining room ceiling.

Part of the pump house-like decor.

Part of the pump house-like decor.

Last fall, Park Ulrich, also executive chef of adjacent restaurant Waterbar, took over the same position at Epic Roasthouse when founding chef, Jan Birnbaum, departed. I had a chance to dine at Epic Roasthouse recently as a guest of the restaurant, though, it was a night when Ulrich was not there.

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

Cutting the Mustard with Tracklements on St. Patrick’s Day

Monday, 17. March 2014 5:26

Tracklements Beer Mustard livens up any sandwich.

Tracklements Beer Mustard livens up any sandwich.

 

As you sit down to a big plate of corned beef and cabbage on this St. Patrick’s Day, don’t be stingy with the mustard.

After all, tender boiled meat and veggies just cry out for a smear of sharp mustard for a little more oomph.

Tracklements English mustards gives you several to choose from, too. The United Kingdom company is named for the arcane British word for condiments. The family-owned business started in 1970 and makes use of the organic mustard plants that grow in abundance on farmland just two miles from its factory.

Now, you can find the British import at Whole Foods, Andronico’s, Draeger’s, New Leaf Markets, Mollie Stone’s, and Lundardi’s.

Recently, I had a chance to try samples of its Wholegrain, Beer, Horseradish and Balsamic mustards.

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Category:General, New Products | Comments (4) | Author:

Get Smitten With Smitten Ice Cream in Los Altos

Friday, 14. March 2014 5:25

Fresh Mint Chip made in seconds at Smitten Ice Cream.

Fresh Mint Chip made in seconds at Smitten Ice Cream.

 

If you haven’t yet heard, another delicious taste of San Francisco has made its way down to the Peninsula.

That would be Smitten Ice Cream, which opened its first location outside of San Francisco in late December 2013 in the Whole Foods in Los Altos.

Four years ago founder Robyn Sue Fisher gave up a life as a biotech consultant with a Stanford MBA no less to push a Radio Flyer wagon around the streets of San Francisco, pedaling her unique ice cream.

What makes it so unusual? It’s created to order right in front of your eyes in a patented machine using liquid nitrogen. The inert gas freezes the cream mixture in a flash at a super low temperature, resulting in smaller ice crystals, and therefore a smoother ice cream.

Smitten Ice Cream became such a sensation that Fisher opened an actual storefront, crafted out of an old shipping container, in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. Now, there are plans to expand even more with a Rockridge location in the works.

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Category:Cool Cooking Techniques, General, Great Finds, Restaurants | Comments (7) | Author:

A Pork Cheeks Pig-Out

Wednesday, 12. March 2014 5:27

A.O.C's pork cheeks -- made in the comfort of your own home.

A.O.C’s pork cheeks — made in the comfort of your own home.

I’m not going to lie: This recipe takes a commitment.

To spend many hours cooking. To be willing to use a load of pots and pans, as well as multiple burners plus the oven. And to go the extra step of actually sourcing some pork cheeks in the first place.

If you do all that, though, you will be richly rewarded. Not only with a comforting dish boasting layer upon layer of flavors. But with the pleasure of enjoying a unique cut of pork, which when braised patiently, results in meat so succulent, sweet and tender that it can be eaten with a spoon.

“Pork Cheeks with Polenta, Mustard Cream and Horseradish Gremolata” is from the new “The A.O.C. Cookbook” Alfred A. Knopf), of which I received a review copy. The book is by Suzanne Goin, chef-owner of Lucques and A.O.C. restaurants in Los Angeles. Lucques is all about sharing food and wine with friends at the table over small plates and family-style dishes.

If you already have cooked from Goin’s first cookbook, “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” (Knopf), you know her recipes are lengthy because of the meticulous directions she gives. As a result, you approach the book knowing that if you take the time, you can’t fail because she’s described the dish step by step with utmost care.

AOC Cookbook

After falling head over heels with beef cheeks when I cooked them recently, I couldn’t help but zero in on her recipe for pork cheeks. Of course, there was that pesky question of how to get my hands on those piggy cheeks. John Paul Khoury, corporate chef of Preferred Meats, Inc. in Oakland, became my go-to source. After having read my blog post on beef cheeks, he said I absolutely positively had to try cooking pork cheeks next.

So Preferred Meats, which sells wholesale to top Bay Area restaurants, including SPQR in San Francisco and Hopscotch in Oakland, offered to sell me pork cheeks at an unbelievable wholesale price. Not just any pork cheeks, either, but ones from heritage-breed Durocs from the Beeler family’s ranch, which has been raising pigs for five generations in Iowa.

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Category:Chefs, General, Meat, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (14) | Author: