Category Archives: Meat

Introducing Emmer & Co.’s Heritage Chicken — Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Not your standard chicken.

Not your standard chicken.


You may know heritage turkeys as a gourmet splurge for Thanksgiving.

Now, get to know heritage chicken.

Yes, all the delicious attributes and admirable farm practices associated with a heritage turkey now can be found in chicken, too.

San Francisco-based Emmer & Co. is one company on a mission to make those specialty chickens more widely available.

Most chickens raised in the United States have been genetically modified for faster growth. Not so with Emmer & Co.’s. Their New Hampshire and Delaware chickens are certified standard bred by the American Poultry Association, the oldest agricultural organization in the country. They mate naturally, they live outside, and they grow to full market weight in 112 days compared to 42 days for industrialized supermarket chickens.

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On the Eve of (Steak) Taco Tuesday

A one-pan meal made in a cast-iron skillet.

A one-pan meal made in a cast-iron skillet.


There are cast-iron skillets that are handed down from generation to generation like the family jewels.

That’s how coveted they are, especially if they are beautifully seasoned from regular use and care, rendering them the ultimate nonstick pan.

Mine doesn’t have quite that lineage. It came about when I married my husband, who brought the heavy, black pan into my life.

Naturally, what led him to buy it was his fondness for cooking steaks. He is Meat Boy, after all.

But a cast-iron skillet can do so much more. In the new book, “Home Skillet” (Rockridge Press), of which I received a review copy, Bay Area food writer Robin Donovan shows just how versatile that pan is.


You can use it to bake treats such as “Maple-Pecan and Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Bake.” You can steam in it such dishes as “Mussels Steamed in Lemongrass-Coconut Broth.” You can use it on the barbie in entrees such as “Seafood Paella on the Grill.” You can make bread in it, such as “Onion Naan.” And you can whip up desserts in it such as “Sugar Cream Pie.”

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Sate Your Thirst and Appetite at Smokestack

A sampler at Smokestack.

A sampler at Smokestack.


Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing Company in San Francisco specializes in B2B operations.

That’s beer-to-barbecue to you and me.

Think the usual suspects of ribs and chopped pork. But also the out-of-the-norm pastrami. Yes, New York deli-proud pastrami.

The soaring warehouse-like space in the Dogpatch neighborhood sports a bona fide brewery in the back, and a barbecue joint in the front that features an expansive bar complete with shelves of liquor stacked so high, the bartenders need to climb a tall wooden ladder to reach the top ones.

Done up in an abundance of reclaimed wood, exposed concrete walls and steel pipes, it’s a festive spot that draws a crowd, as I witnessed recently when I was invited in to dine as a guest.

On the top shelves is a zany display of assorted rubber work boots.

On the top shelves is a zany display of assorted rubber work boots.

You order at the counter, then find a seat among the several communal tables, until your food is brought to you.

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Doing the Herky-Jerky for Golden Island Jerky

Golden Island Jerky's Korean Barbecue (front) and Kung Pao (back) varieties.

Golden Island Jerky’s Korean Barbecue (front) and Kung Pao (back) varieties.


Beef jerky is not normally a go-to snack for me.

But I admit that when I received samples of Golden Island Jerky, I found myself coming back to them again and again, especially after a brutal spinning class at the gym.

Yes, leave it to me to reach not for a banana after a sweaty workout, but beef jerky.

But when you’re in need of a protein pick-me-up with a bit of salt and a lot of flavor, it hits the spot.

Golden Island originated in Taiwan in 1952. When the family immigrated to the United States in 1981, it started producing Asian meat products. In 2007, it debuted its jerky products.

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San Francisco Lamb Jam and A Food Gal Giveaway

Curry-yogurt grilled lamb chops. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

Curry-yogurt grilled lamb chops. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)


How do I love lamb?

Let me count the ways.

I love it so much that if it’s on a menu, I will always make a beeline for it over beef.

I love that my father would take the time on weekends to make his special curry lamb in a pressure cooker on the stovetop, complete with carrots, onions and turnips, all tinged with that golden colored sauce.

I love that my husband enjoys cooking a leg of lamb studded with garlic and rosemary in his Big Green Egg, which we can then enjoy with hummus and pita for nights on end.

And I love that Niman Ranch, when it was still owned by Bill Niman, would host an annual outdoor barbecue bash for media, friends and ranchers, where I was lucky to be introduced to the delights of grilled lamb riblets, which are tiny yet exquisitely juicy.

If you love lamb like I love lamb, then you don’t want to miss the seventh annual San Francisco Lamb Jam, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. July 17 at the Golden Gate Club.

The American Lamb Board’s multi-city, culinary cook-off competition will feature a dozen of the Bay Area’s best chefs vying for “Best in Show,” “People’s Choice,” and other best-of categories. The winner will face other Lamb Jam champions in the finale in September in New York.

The participating chefs will be:

Robert McCarthy – Thirstybear Brewing Company

Sophina Uong – Calavera

Francis Hogan – Sabio On Main

Jay Abrams – Bi-Rite Market

Alan Fullerton – Pacific Coast Brewing Co.

Brandon Rice – Rich Table

Parke Ulrich – Epic Steak

David Bazirgan – Dirty Habit

Wesley Shaw – Presido Social Club

Michael Cassady – Kuleto’s

John Griffiths – Bluestem Brasserie

Mike Espinoza – Hogs & Rocks

Attendees will get a chance to sample all the dishes, too. Tickets are $60 each. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to La Cocina, the non-profit incubator for low-income food entrepreneurs.

Bring an appetite for lamb. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

Bring an appetite for lamb. (Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board)

CONTEST: Two lucky Food Gal readers will each win a pair of tickets to the San Francisco Lamb Jam.

Entries, limited to those who can actually attend the July 17 event in San Francisco, will be accepted through midnight PST July 2. Winners will be announced July 4.

How to win?

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