Category Archives: Meat

Hawker Fare’s Flavor-Bomb Grilled Pork Chops

Thinly sliced pork chops grill up fast and sweet, and get a potent dipping sauce.

Thinly sliced pork chops grill up fast and sweet, and get a potent dipping sauce.


Hawker Fare — it is far more than a restaurant and a cookbook.

It is the deeply personal embodiment of Chef-Owner James Syhabout. It is a love letter to his mother, a reckoning with his Laotian heritage, a symbol of respect for an often misunderstood cuisine, and a testament that fortitude, passion and determination can lead to greatness and awakening.

Syhabout may be known best as the only Michelin-starred chef in the East Bay — for his fine-dining Commis restaurant (two stars, thank you very much). But it is the down-home Hawker Fare where his heart lies.

That’s immediately evident in the pages of his first cookbook, “Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes From a Refugee Chef’s Isan Thai & Lao Roots,” of which I received a review copy. Syhabout wrote the cookbook with assistance from James Beard Award-winning food writer John Birdsall of Oakland.


It was published by Ecco, Anthony Bourdain’s publishing imprint of HarperCollins.

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Brunch Time At The Incomparable Clove and Hoof

Now, that's a burger -- at Clove and Hoof.

Now, that’s a burger — at Clove and Hoof.


What’s better than a neighborhood artisan butcher shop that takes care to sell sustainably raised beef, pork, lamb, chicken, rabbit, and duck?

One that also spotlights its prime products in delicious dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Clove and Hoof in Oakland is such a place. The light-filled, hip butcher shop and restaurant is owned by John Blevins and Analiesa Gosnell. It’s the kind of place you wish every neighborhood could be so lucky to have.

The casual spot gets crowded at brunch, so be warned that you may have to wait in line. My husband and I lucked out when we arrived on a Sunday morning, right before the crowds. You order at the counter, find a seat, and wait for the food to be brought out to you.

Place your brunch order at the counter -- or pick up provisions to cook at home.

Place your brunch order at the counter — or pick up provisions to cook at home.

The C&H signature burger ($14) is a whopper, weighing in with two four-ounce patties, caramelized onion jam, pimento cheese, chopped romaine, bread and butter pickles, and pickle mayo — all wedged inside a soft potato pepper bun.

Be sure to get plenty of napkins because this is a dripper — loaded with deeply beefy juices.

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Head Over Heels — And Doing Cartwheels — Over RT Rotisserie

In my happy place at RT Rotisserie.

In my happy place at RT Rotisserie.


Dear Chefs Evan and Sarah Rich:

Please open an outpost of your RT Rotisserie in the South Bay or Peninsula. Pretty please.


Your Number One Fan, aka the Food Gal


If you have tried the roast chicken and fixings at RT Rotisserie in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, you’ll be tempted to implore chef-owners Evan and Sarah to open a branch in your hood, too. One taste is all it takes to find yourself swooning over what is the most glorious roasted chicken you’ll ever experience.

After all, these are the same chefs who own the newly minted Michelin-starred Rich Table in San Francisco.

Chef Evan Rich manning the rotisserie.

Chef Evan Rich manning the rotisserie.

My husband and I ordered a veritable feast — and paid our tab though Chef Evan threw in a few extra dishes gratis — when we visited this more casual establishment recently. You order at the counter, then take a seat to have your food brought out to you when it’s ready.

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Gail Simmons’ Pastrami-Style Roast Turkey

Turkey perfect for a small holiday gathering.

Turkey perfect for a small holiday gathering.


Tea for two?

How about Thanksgiving turkey for four?

It can be done — beautifully, and without a lot of hassle, too.

Thanks to Gail Simmons’ recipe for “Pastrami-Style Roast Turkey.”

It’s from her new cookbook, “Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from A Life of Adventurous Eating” (Grand Central Life & Style), of which I received a review copy.

“Top Chef” fans, of course, will recognize Simmons as a regular judge on that popular Emmy-winning TV show. She’s also the special projects director at Food & Wine magazine, as well as a wife and mother.


Cooking chops runs in her family, as her mom was a freelance food writer and a part-time cooking teacher. Simmons followed in her footsteps, graduating from culinary school and apprenticing at some of New York’s top restaurants.

Which means, in short, that she knows her stuff. These are recipes that she cooks at home for family and friends, so nothing is overly fussy.

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Santa Clara Square Welcomes the Newest Fleming’s Steakhouse

A goblet of ahi poke at Fleming's Santa Clara.

A goblet of ahi poke at Fleming’s Santa Clara.


With Whole Foods, Il Fornaio, Sur La Table, Books Inc., and other businesses, Santa Clara Square has been hopping.

Even more so now with the opening of the newest Fleming’s Steakhouse nearly two months ago.

Be prepared to scour the parking lot for a space if you dine here, though. That’s because the lot is surprisingly compact, given the number of businesses. And there’s no street parking nearby. One can only wonder how much more congested the place will get once Puesto restaurant opens, too.

As it is, prepare to circle around quite a bit to snag a space. We did on a weeknight, when we were invited in as a guest of the restaurant. We ended up giving in to valet parking in front of Fleming’s. It will set you back $7. You pay with your credit card, then text when you are done with dinner to have your car ready and waiting when you leave.

The dining room.

The dining room.

A partition of wine bottles.

A partition of wine bottles.

It’s a handsome restaurant with a glassed-in open kitchen at the back. The dining room has large booths, and a dramatic light fixture that may make you think of a UFO. Floating shelves of wine bottles act as a partition between the bar and dining room.

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