Pulled pork bun (front) and braised lamb belly bun (back) at Belcampo in Palo Alto.
After opening its first restaurant-retail meat shop last spring in Larkspur, Belcampo Meat Co. has been on a rapid roll.
Since then, it has opened in speedy succession in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and just four weeks ago in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village.
Shortly, Santa Monica will get the largest outpost of the farm-to-table meat company with a butcher shop plus a restaurant that will boast a full bar, as well as 90 seats. A lease also has been signed for a location in West Hollywood.
Belcampo is on a fast-track mission to prove that sustainable not only can be profitable, but feasible on a large-scale.
A butcher packs away the meat just before closing.
Note the whiteness of the fat on the meat — a sign of pasture-fed animals.
It is the brainchild of Todd Robinson, a Wall Street veteran with deep pockets; and Anya Fernald, a California-native and long-time locavore entrepreneur. She may look familiar from her previous appearances as a judge on “Iron Chef America” and as the founder of the Eat Real Festival in Oakland.
This is what real wasabi looks like.
If you think that pasty blob of green garnishing your sushi platter is wasabi, think again.
The real-deal rhizome is as rare as it is pricey.
That’s why what you generally find on most sushi plates is actually a cheap concoction of horseradish, mustard and green dye, not the actual Japanese rhizome that’s extremely difficult to grow.
Nowadays, though, if you know where to look, you might find more of the real wasabi around. That’s because there’s now one grower in California cultivating it: Half Moon Bay Wasabi.
Beautiful local produce delivered right to your door with FarmBox SF.
Imagine all the fresh pickings from a farmers market — only delivered right to your door.
That’s what FarmBox SF aims to do.
The company started in Los Angeles three years ago, and just expanded to the Bay Area this summer.
It’s similar to Community Supported Agriculture, only FarmBox partners with more than 25 sustainable and organic Bay Area farms to deliver a wider selection.
Recently, I had the chance to try out a special delivery. I say “special” because FarmBox SF delivers only to San Francisco and Marin County right now, not to the South Bay yet. But Branch Manager Taylor Flohr was kind enough to make a trip out of the way to get one to me. Plans call for expanding to the East Bay next and perhaps to the Peninsula/South Bay after that.
Here’s how it normally works: You sign up and get an email on Tuesday about what’s available. You have until midnight Wednesday to make any additions or deletions to your order. On Saturday, your FarmBox arrives.
The actual box, er, basket, of goodies.
It’s actually more like a basket — a bright red one at that. You can choose what size suits your needs. You can also choose more specific baskets such as “Fruit-Only” or “Juicing” or “CrossFit Paleo.” Additionally, you can add staples such as coffee, gluten-free baked goods, jams, breads, pickles, and organic butter.
Are you a fan of the fabled Spanish Pimiento de Padron peppers?
The Russian Roulette of peppers that are sweet for the most part, but now and then one turns prickly hot and you can’t tell until you bite into it?
Then, you have farmer David Winsberg to thank for the fact that they now star on so many Bay Area menus and can be purchased easily at local farmers markets.
Winsberg’s Happy Quail Farms in East Palo Alto was believed to be the first commercial grower of this special pepper in this country.
A delightful tabbouleh made with the part of the carrot most of us just throw away.
When I buy a bunch of carrots at the farmers market and am asked if I want the long, frilly, green tops snapped off, I usually say “yes” without a second thought.
But not any more.
Thanks to food writer Tara Duggan, I’m going to hoard these from now on.
That’s because she’s taught me to use them in this wonderful version of tabbouleh that I’m now addicted to.
Her “Quinoa-Carrot Tabbouleh” is featured in her newest cookbook, “Root to Stalk Cooking” (Ten Speed Press), of which I recently received a review copy.
From now on, keep the green tops when you buy carrots.
Duggan, a long-time staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food section, has created a most noble book that implores us to stop throwing out perfectly good bits of fruits and veggies that we could be putting to delicious use instead.