Category Archives: Meat

Former Chef of Ad Hoc Planning His Own Restaurant

Chef Dave Cruz cooking a whole lamb at his pop-up event.

Chef Dave Cruz cooking a whole lamb at his pop-up event.

 

After leaving Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, where he was head chef for seven years, Dave Cruz has some big plans of his own.

Look for Cruz to open his own restaurant late this year or sometime next year. He’s been scouting locations in Napa to open Miles Restaurant, a casual spot serving brilliant but unpretentious food, the kind of grub chefs like to eat on their days off.

The name references his son’s middle name, he says. But it also speaks of the local “miles” from the restaurant that he will source his ingredients, as well as how diners are more than willing to travel miles and miles to the Napa Valley for a great meal.

If his recent pop-up lamb roast is any indication, his food is sure to continue to lure folks from all over.

Dinner is served.

Dinner is served.

A little over a week ago, I was invited to be a guest at his pop-up at The Trappist in Oakland. When I got there, Cruz was manning a large grill set up in the gastropub’s back courtyard. For $25 per person, you got a plate full of juicy, tender lamb that had been rubbed in aleppo, paprika and espelette, along with herb-mustard potato salad, and chili-lime corn on the cob.

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Belcampo Ushers in A New Age of Sustainable Food

A butcher making porchetta at Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur.

A butcher making porchetta at Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur.

 

Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur may look like the latest trendy, farm-to-table butcher shop stocked with pedigreed meat for sale at sky-high prices.

But it’s so much more than that.

It’s part of a corporation that aims to start a new food revolution — by producing sustainable food on an unheard of scale. And at a profit, to boot.

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.

The two founded Belcampo, Inc. in 2011, which consists of several operations spread across three countries. They include: a 10,000-acre certified organic, sustainable ranch at the base of Mt. Shasta in California, where cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, rabbits, goats, turkeys, geese and squabs are raised sustainably, organically and on pasture; another cattle ranch in Uruguay; and an eco-lodge and farm in Belize that produces coffee, chocolate and rum.

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Ham It Up For Easter

A mini bone-in Kurobuta ham from Snake River Farms.

A mini bone-in Kurobuta ham from Snake River Farms.

 

You’ll definitely want to do that if the ham in question is made from Kurobuta pork, otherwise known as Berkshire.

The heritage breed pig is famed for its marbling, which produces impeccable flavor.

Last week, I had a chance to try a sample of a bone-in “Mini Karver,” a 3-pound Kurobuta ham ($40) from Snake River Farms, the Idaho-based specialty meat company.

The hams come from American Kuobuta pigs raised on small family farms in the Midwest. No sodium or water is added, either.

The ham can be enjoyed cold or warmed up in the oven. Snake River Farms says the mini ham serves 4. But it’s more like 5 servings, plus enough leftovers for a couple of sandwiches or a few ample ham and egg scrambles. Don’t forget to save the ham bone, too, for future soup-making.

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New Gluten-Free Menu at The Counter, Pinkberry Goes Greek & More

Cranberry-Avocado Turkey Burger on a gluten-free bun at The Counter. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Cranberry-Avocado Turkey Burger on a gluten-free bun at The Counter. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

The Counter Serves Up Gluten-Free Options

The Counter, with 33 locations including ones in the Bay Area, has added a new gluten-free menu.

The separate menu still allows you to build your own burger creation or to choose from pre-designed signature ones. The latter includes such offerings as the Cranberry & Avocado Turkey Burger with organic mixed greens and horseradish may on a gluten-free bun; the Spinach, Avocado & Salsa Bison Bowl with roasted corn and black bean salsa; and beef chili with Tillamook cheddar, red onion and sour cream.

Chow down on it all with a gluten-free milkshake or a gluten-free beer from Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales.

The gluten-free menu is available at all locations of The Counter, except airport ones.

Pinkberry To Serve Non-Frozen Yogurt

You already know Pinkberry for its tart fro-yo.

But now, it’s introducing a new yogurt — all natural, thick, nonfat Greek yogurt that’s fresh, not frozen.

Pinkberrygreek boasts 15g of protein per 5 ounces.

Pinkberry's new, fresh Greek yogurt. (Photo courtesy of Pinkberry)

Pinkberry’s new, fresh Greek yogurt. (Photo courtesy of Pinkberry)

As with any Pinkberry yogurt, you can customize it with your choice of an array of toppings. Or take the suggestions from Pinkberry for sweet and savory creations such as: Chocolate Berry (blueberry, raspberry, dark chocolate granola, chocolate shavings, cinnamon honey), Tomato Basil (grape tomato, fresh basil, olive oil, sea salt, balsamic glaze), and Sunflower Cucumber (cucumber, sunflower seed bites, olive oil, chile powder).

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Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant to Open in Mountain View, Recchiuti Giant Chocolate Egg Raffle & More

House-made pretzels, pickles and corn nuts at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant. (Photo by Michele Min)

House-made pretzels, pickles and corn nuts at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant. (Photo by Michele Min)

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant to Debut in Downtown Mountain View

March 28, the doors will open to a world of brewski at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant at 895 Villa St. in downtown Mountain View.

The 300-seat restaurant, on the site of the former Golden Wok, will serve import and craft beers from around the world, including 30 on tap. Look for such unusual ones as Fruli Strawberry Beer from Brouwerij Huyghe brewery, Chocolate Porter from Hangar One brewery and Hitachino Nest White Ale from Kiuichi brewery.

Chef Colby M. Reade will oversee the menu, which includes house-made charcuterie, along with  breads, pretzels and other baked goods. He’ll be cooking up beer-friendly dishes such as pork belly poutine ($12), mini corn dogs with caraway beer mustard ($8), the Steins burger (house-ground blend of dry aged short rib, brisket and sirloin; $11), fried chicken and waffle sandwich ($12), grilled black sea bass with herbed lentils ($18), and caramel apple crisp with bourbon pecan ice cream ($7).

Roasted beet and watercress salad. (Photo by Michele Min)

Roasted beet and watercress salad. (Photo by Michele Min)

The restaurant features a main dining room, beer garden, two private rooms and another private beer garden for parties. The keg room is outfitted with reclaimed wood and tempered glass windows.

Steins will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and until 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

La Luna Cupcakes Opens This Week in San Francisco

Elvia Buendia started baking cupcakes through La Cocina’s incubator program, which provides affordable commercial kitchen space and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs in San Francisco.

She did so well that after three years in the program she’s graduated to opening her own brick-and-mortar store. La Luna Cupcakes opens its doors March 21 in San Francisco’s Crocker Galleria.

Banana cupcake. (Photo courtesy of La Luna Cupcakes)

Banana cupcake. (Photo courtesy of La Luna Cupcakes)

Buendia’s sweet and savory cupcakes will be available in flavors such as: Red Velvet; Carrot Cake; Tres Leches; bacon and eggs; and beef with cheese and salsa.

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