Category Archives: Meat

Sacramento — America’s Farm-To-Fork-Capital

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible "soil.''

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible “soil.”

 

When one thinks of California’s top food cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles come to mind immediately.

As for Sacramento? Not nearly so readily.

In fact, a publicist for the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau told me that when arranging a tour recently for an out-of-state food writer, the visiting scribe’s first question was, “Is there an airport there?”

Why, yes, there is. It is the Golden State’s capitol, after all.

Indeed, Sacramento is home to nearly half a million people, as well as 1.5 million acres of farmland. With a year-round growing season, it produces more than 120 different crops that are enjoyed not only locally but abroad.

It grows more sushi rice than any other place. In fact, chances are if you eat any sushi in California, the rice was grown in Sacramento. The city produces 80 percent of the nation’s caviar. The breadth of the bounty includes everything from almonds to Kobe beef to wine grapes.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

I was reminded of just how crucial Sacramento is to our plates when I attended a special private dinner last week in San Francisco that spotlighted the city’s culinary treasures. It was a Sacramento roadshow, as Executive Chef Oliver Ridgeway of Grange Restaurant & Bar and Chef Ravin Patel, chief culinary officer of Selland Family Restaurants, trekked down from Sacramento to EatWith’s South of Market event space in San Francisco to prepare a multi-course feast for a dozen food journalists and bloggers. All of it featured fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood sourced from Sacramento.

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Chimichurri Sauce to Gild Snake River Farms Porterhouse (And A Food Gal Giveaway)

Snake River Farms porterhouse steak gets glam with homemade chimichurri sauce.

Snake River Farms porterhouse steak gets glam with homemade chimichurri sauce.

 

This steak is more than a meal. It’s two meals and two tastes in one.

This 2-pound porterhouse, from Snake River Farms, the Idaho-based specialty meat purveyor, is easily hefty enough to feed two people.

One one side of the bone is a super tender filet mignon; on the other side is a more toothsome New York strip.

I had a chance to try this massive steak ($43) sourced from Double R Ranch in Washington State. It’s aged 28 days to concentrate its flavor. And it cooks up quite juicy.

How do I best like to enjoy steak?

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies With — Wait For It — Chicharrones

Chocolate chunk cookies -- hiding a wealth of chicharrones.

Chocolate chunk cookies — hiding a wealth of chicharrones.

Chocolate chunk cookies studded with bacon? Yawn. Been there. Ate that.

But have your teeth ever sunk into “Dark Chocolate Chicharron Cookies”?

Nope, didn’t think so.

I know mine sure hadn’t until I spied the recipe for them in the new cookbook, “Eat Mexico: Recipes From Mexico City’s Streets, Markets & Fondas” (Kyle Books), of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook is by Lesley Tellez, a New York City culinary guide and creator of the blog, The Mija Chronicles, who immersed herself in Mexican cooking when she lived in Mexico City for four years. The beautiful photos are by my former San Jose Mercury News colleague, Penny De Los Santos.

The book includes recipes for favorite Mexican street food such as “Roasted Poblano Pepper Tamales,” “Thickened Mexican Hot Chocolate,” and “Shrimp and Octopus Cocktail.” But where I think the book really shines is in the last chapter, “At Home,” in which Tellez incorporates Mexican flair into unexpected dishes such as “Oatmeal with Charred Poblano Peppers and Cheese” and “Stuffed Cactus Paddles,” which are reminiscent of loaded potato skins.

That last chapter is also where you’ll find this cookie recipe.

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Trou Normand — A Carnivore’s Delight

The "small'' beef chop at Trou Normand.

The “small” beef chop at Trou Normand.

 

Sure, you can choose a salad or veggie sides at Trou Normand in San Francisco’s South of Market district.

But really, this restaurant is all about the meat.

Local heritage breeds, whole-animal butchery, and up to 40 different kinds of house-made charcuterie and salumi offered daily are its hallmarks.

It is the younger sister restaurant to Bar Agricole, both founded by Thad Vogler. Executive Chef Salvatore Cracco, who heads the kitchen and butchery program, was the former butcher and sous chef at Bar Agricole.

They’ve turned the historic Art Deco Pacific Telephone Building space into an airy, industrial-hip environment with an unfinished ceiling, marble tables, over-sized tufted leather banquettes, and cool cafe artwork.

The light fixtures.

The light fixtures.

The bar with its iconic artwork.

The bar with its iconic artwork.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. Naturally, my husband, aka Meat Boy, tagged along. After all, this carnivore’s paradise is right up its alley.

The restaurant is named for the northern French tradition of enjoying a small glass of brandy, usually Calvados, between courses to settle the stomach and awaken the palate. Gotta love the French, right?

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The Go-To Weeknight Dinner for Carnivores: Maple and Soy Glazed Flank Steak

Yes, you can make this even on a busy weeknight.

Yes, you can make this even on a busy weeknight.

 

When it comes to weeknight recipes, who doesn’t love easy and versatile?

That’s just what “Maple and Soy Glazed Flank Steak” is all about.

It’s from the new cookbook, “The Great Cook: Essential Techniques and Inspired Flavors to Make Every Dish Better” (Oxmoor House).

The book, of which I received a review copy, is by James Briscione, who has worked as a chef at Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, AL, and at Restaurant Daniel in New York. He’s now the culinary director at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. You might also recognize him as the first two-time champion of the Food Network’s “Chopped.”

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