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A Big Helping of Dumplings and Fun at Chino in San Francisco

Wednesday, 16. July 2014 5:26

Bao de chicharon at Chino in San Francisco.

Bao de chicharon at Chino in San Francisco.

 

Chino, which opened in May in San Francisco’s Mission District, is a celebration of exuberant street food — Asian-cum-Tacolicious style.

That’s not surprising given that the playful Chinese-inspired restaurant is by the same team behind Tacolicious, which boasts four locations now, plus a Williams-Sonoma sauce and salsa line, and a cookbook publishing this September.

The team that brought you “Shot-and-A-Beer Braised Chicken Tacos” and the “Chocolicious Taco” now offer at its newest venture the likes of “Snacky Whacky” small plates such as “Cucumbers, All Busted Up” and “Nick Balla’s Dope Ass Japan-O-Mission Wings,” the latter the creation of the famed Bar Tartine chef who’s an authority on Japanese cuisine, among others.

In much the same way that proceeds from Tacolicious’ sauce line benefit local schools, all Tacolicious locations plus the new Chino donate 15 percent of sales each Monday night during the school year to a neighboring school.

Recently, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant, which was hopping even mid-week. The decor mimics a night market in Asia with nearly 1,000 lights strung across the ceiling. If you look closely, you’ll even spot a couple pairs of sneakers dangling from them — a familiar tableau from an Anywheresville working-class neighborhood. Adding to the whimsy are nostalgic toys such as Mr. Potato Head and a Darth Vader mask arranged on shelves by the big-screen TV on the wall.

Paper lanterns mimic the vibe of an Asian street market.

Paper lanterns mimic the vibe of an Asian street market.

Can you spot the sneakers hanging from the ceiling?

Can you spot the sneakers hanging from the ceiling?

The bare tables have a clever built-in canister with dividers to neatly hold chopsticks and silverware. House-made hot mustard and chili paste are brought to the table for those who like it hot.

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Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants | Comments (8) | Author:

A Taste of Thailand with Chiang Mai Pork Patties

Monday, 14. July 2014 5:27

Lemongrass, garlic, shallots and so much more flavor these pork patties.

Lemongrass, garlic, shallots and so much more flavor these pork patties.

 

In summer, we can’t get enough of backyard-grilled burgers.

But for a real treat, think patties of a different sort.

Pork ones, fragrant with a profusion of fresh herbs, and enveloped not in a big bun, but swaddled in a crisp lettuce leaf.

“Chiang Mai Pork Patties” brings a taste of Thailand to you.

The recipe is by cookbook author Naomi Duguid, a Southeast Asian food expert who has traversed Asia to find authentic, traditional dishes. It’s a featured in the new cookbook, “Cooking Light Global Kitchen” (Oxmoor), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook was written by veteran cookbook author David Joachim, whom I’ve had the distinct pleasure of judging the Pillsbury Bake-Off with on a couple of occasions.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Aubree Arndt of Bierhaus at Macy’s Valley Fair

Friday, 11. July 2014 5:26

MacysAubreeDemoFinal

Early on, Aubree Arndt wanted to be a painter. But these days, she expresses a rainbow of hues through her cooking instead.

As Executive Chef of Bierhaus in downtown Mountain View, Arndt is crafting modern-day biergarten fare that is irresistible. She takes particular pride in making all her own condiments and pickles there using many of the same techniques she learned long ago from her Polish-German family.

Take a taste for yourself when Arndt joins me for a cooking demo 6 p.m. July 17 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

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A Different Kind of California Start-Up: Ewetopia

Wednesday, 9. July 2014 5:26

Sirene (front) and Philosopher (back) feta-style cheese from Ewetopia.

Sirene (front) and Philosopher (back) feta-style cheese from Ewetopia.

 

Ewetopia is a start-up. Not in computers or chips. But cheese.

Made with sheep’s milk, of course.

Hence the cute name.

Andrea Mongini and husband Craig Meadows own a veterinary practice. If that didn’t keep them plenty busy already, they also own a sheep dairy farm in Denair, CA.

They just embarked on creating their first cheeses in partnership with one of my favorite producers, Fiscalini Cheese Company of Modesto, maker of the award-winning bandage wrapped cheddar.

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Category:Cheese, General, New Products | Comments (6) | Author:

J-Pop Summit Festival, Filipino Fare, and More

Monday, 7. July 2014 5:26

Enjoy sake and so much more at the J-Pop Festival in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of J-Pop)

Enjoy sake and so much more at the J-Pop Festival in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of J-Pop)

San Francisco’s J-Pop Summit

Get your appetite ready for the second annual J-Pop Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown.

The event, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 19-20, celebrates Japanese pop culture, music, fashion, film and food. Admission is free, though some activities will require a fee.

Among the new attractions this year is sake tasting. A number of booths will be set up on Webster Street at Post St., where attendees can enjoy sake tastings and even buy bottles to take home. Admission to this area of the festival is $10 and includes samples from all the participating sake companies. ID will be checked.

If you need some food after all that sake, look no further than the “ramen street.” A half dozen ramen restaurants will set up booths on Post Street between Laguna and Buchanan streets. The ramen will be priced at $8 per serving.

A “Bites & Snacks” area will sell both sweet and savory noshes, including natto (fermented soybeans), onigiiri rice balls by Onigilly, and mochi waffles from Moffle Waffle.

Additionally, look for more than a dozen food trucks, including the Creme Brulee Cart, Bacon Bacon, and the Chairman.

Celebrate Filipino Food at Two Events

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind Filipino-Franco dinner at Left Bank Brasserie in Menlo Park on July 24.

Chef Brendy Monsada will be cooking up dishes influenced by his Filipino heritage. The three-course $45 prix fixe will be served family-style and include beverages.

Among the offerings will be adobong manok (chicken drumette casserole cooked in soy sauce, sugar cane vinegar and garlic); beef kalderata (slow-braised beef short ribs in a savory tomato and peanut sauce); and pritong lapu-lapu (deep-fried grouper with heirloom tomato salsa).  And yes, halo-halo, the layered dessert of fruits, crushed ice, purple ube yam and ice cream is one of the dessert options.

For reservations, call (650) 473-6543 or email: kmolloy@leftbank.com.

For more Filipino fare, mark your calendar for Aug. 30 for the first Savor Filipino at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (3) | Author: