Category Archives: Meat

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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Alexander’s Steakhouse Gets In the Porky Mood

Mangalitsa pork terrine at Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino.

Alexander’s Steakhouse of Cupertino may be famous for its princely Wagyu steaks and playful puffs of cotton candy.

Now, it’s adding another lure: Mangalitsa pork.

The heritage breed pig with the distinct wooly hair is originally from Hungary. It is known for its lush fat. So much so that it was once raised for its lard, which is supposedly very clean and pure tasting.

Executive Chef Gerardo Naranjo already has been playing around with various cuts from the half pig he got in a few weeks ago. He can barely contain his excitement about the whole 400-pound Mangalitsa that the restaurant will be receiving this week.

The Mangalitsas are from Csarda Haz, a family-owned farm in Davis. The free-range pigs are nourished on a diet of cover crops of peas and oats, as well as English walnuts from trees on the farm that are nearly 60 years old.

Look for the Cupertino restaurant to feature nightly specials of Mangalitsa in various preparations, including a 12-ounce loin chop for $80. With the restaurant set to get regular shipments of Mangalitsa (also known as Mangalica in Hungary), the artisan pork also is expected to be featured eventually at its sister restaurants, Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco and The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse in Palo Alto.

The dining room.

Last week, I was invited in for a sneak peek and taste of this fabulous pork in a few preparations Naranjo has been playing around with.

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Gourmet Beef Jerky and A Food Gal Giveaway

Look closely and you'll see real orange peel on this variety of Jeff's Famous Beef Jerky.

I had to chuckle upon clicking on Jeff’s Famous Beef Jerky site to hear a rousing and rather whimsical tune about kissing away the “Shoe-Leather Beef Jerky Blues.”

Owner Jeff Richards is that confident that his jerky will banish any blues or horror experiences you’ve had with convenience-store jerky that nearly took out your molars.

He’s sure his will convince you that jerky can actually taste good and be kind to your teeth.

Richards made his jerky for years as a gift for family and friends during the holidays. Finally, in 2006, after giving away more than 25 pounds of the beefy stuff, he decided to give it a go as a business.

Jeff’s Famous Jerky, made in Mission Viejo, CA, now comes in eight different flavors, including Jalapeno Carne Asada and Habanero Heatwave. Recently, I had a chance to try some samples.

The jerky is toothsome with some chew, but not so much as to cause your jaw to ache. The first thing you notice is the richness of this jerky. It tastes like real marbled beef. That’s because Richards uses sliced, whole muscle beef rather than the highly process, extruded meat that other manufacturers do.

This jerky also doesn’t taste primarily of salt, as so many others do. Instead, the Orange Peel variety actually has bits of real orange rind still sticking to the meat, giving it a subtle, rounded citrus flavor. The Sweet Teriyaki tastes of soy, sesame oil and brown sugar. The Cranberry Jalapeno is mid, with the pepper adding more of a grassy note than full-on heat. Indeed, the Black Pepper and Sea Salt carried much more of a kick, with its coating of ground peppercorns. It’s tongue-tingling, but balanced by the sweetness of brown sugar and pineapple juice, and the fruitiness of tamarind.

A serving is about 70 calories with 20 percent of that from fat. Sodium content is 80mg to 560mg, depending upon the variety.

A 2-pack of jerky (in two 3-ounce bags) is $13.95. Every few months, Richards also donates a box of jerky to U.S. troops to share the jerky love.

The contest winner will get to try three different flavors of their choosing.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win three free bags of Jeff’s Famous Beef Jerky in the flavors of your choice. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST March 2. Winner will be announced March 4.

How to win?

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