Category Archives: Great Finds

Eating My Way Through New York: Won’t Break the Bank

The smoked chicken sandwich at Roberta's.

The smoked chicken sandwich at Roberta’s.

Roberta’s

The iconic New York pizza may be a huge, greasy, foldable slice. But Roberta’s in Brooklyn is where true pizza connoisseurs flock.

At this funky place, you enter this cement fortress of a building through scuffed wooden doors to a alpine-lodge-like dining room crammed with long, wood communal tables.

A bird-eye view of the pizza making.

A bird-eye view of the pizza making.

The dining room at lunch time.

The dining room at lunch time.

The massive wood-fired pizza oven is to your right. You get a clue as to how much attention they pay to the pizzas here when you see a pie go into the oven. It’s never left alone for long. The cook is regularly rotating it, and lifting it, leaning the edge of the crust toward the flames to kiss it with char before turning it again and again.

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Eating My Way Through New York: Sweets and Snacks

Behold the Triple Black Donut at the new SuperMoon Bakehouse.

Behold the Triple Black Donut at the new Supermoon Bakehouse.

Supermoon Bakehouse

Wacky. Weird. Wild.

At Supermoon Bakehouse, you’ll find some of the most mind-blowing baked goods you’ve ever laid eyes upon.

But then again, they are the the handiwork of baker extraordinaire Ry Stephen, the creator of the Cruffin and co-founder of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco.

What luck to have it open its doors in the Lower East Side the week we were in New York, too.

At this place, there's a sense of fun in everything they do.

At this place, there’s a sense of fun in everything they do.

Pastries displayed on a long counter make photo-taking easy.

Pastries displayed on a long counter make photo-taking easy.

You’ll find Cruffins here, and a whole lot of other unique pastries that sport a strong foundation of crisp, buttery, airy layers — then go wild with imaginative fillings, colors and designs.

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A Visit to Jacobsen Salt Co.

Jacobsen Zinfandel salt, made with Clif Family wine.

Jacobsen Zinfandel salt, made with Clif Family wine.

 

Netart, OR. — Would you believe the artisan salts that have taken the chef world by storm are made in this bare-bones facility?

Jacobsen Salt, the first company thought to harvest salt in the Pacific Northwest since Lewis & Clark, is beloved by such acclaimed chefs as Matthew Accarrino of SPQR in San Francisco, April Bloomfield of New York’s The Spotted Pig and The Breslin, and Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb in San Francisco, Acacia House in St. Helena, and Jackrabbit in Portland.

They love its big, light, crunchy flakes that have a clean, pureness of flavor.

The shed where the salt water from the bay is boiled.

The shed where the salt water from the bay is boiled.

Netarts Bay is just steps away.

Netarts Bay is just steps away.

Twelve employees run this operation 24-7 to produce 16,000 pounds of salt a month.

Although Jacobsen’s facility is not usually open to the public, Tom Gibson, director of coast operations for the company, was happy to give a tour to our small group of media a few weeks ago.

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A Visit to Acacia House — Where You Might Never Want to Leave

Chef Chris Cosentino in the kitchen of Acacia House.

Chef Chris Cosentino in the kitchen of Acacia House.

 

How do you jump-start a long-empty 1907 mansion in St. Helena and bring it into the 21st century?

You hire San Francisco Chef Chris Cosentino to showcase his patented blend of the bold and the finessed to a glorious new restaurant there, called Acacia House. That’s just what the developers behind the new Las Alcobas Hotel did when it opened earlier this summer on Main Street.

The property, the first by the Mexico City-based luxury hotel group, blends Old World with New World in a posh setting that still somehow manages to feel grounded and unpretentious. That’s what I found when I was invited as a guest of the resort one night last month.

The restaurant is housed in the original mansion, once a private residence, then a B&B. It still has a sense of grandness with its wrap-around porch, where diners can enjoy a drink or a meal.

A historic mansion houses the restaurant.

A historic mansion houses the restaurant.

The dining room.

The dining room.

The decor.

The decor.

The big white house is still what you see from the front of the road. But venture to the back of the property, and the look becomes strikingly more modern with the hotel part done up in sleek steel, stone and wood.

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Brooklyn Crafted Delivers On A Potent Ginger Taste

Unfiltered and with a nice burn down the throat.

Unfiltered and with a nice burn down the throat.

When it comes to food, I am not a fan of blow-your-brains-out spiciness.

But when it comes to ginger beer, well, that’s another story.

Bring it.

When I was invited to try a sample of Brooklyn Crafted Extra Spicy Ginger Beer, that’s exactly what my response was.

The spicier the better, when it comes to my beloved ginger.

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