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Delicious Happenings in the Peninsula and South Bay Region

Monday, 3. March 2014 5:26

Prime bone-in rib chop with blue cheese butter at Birk's. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Prime bone-in rib chop with blue cheese butter at Birk’s. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Birk’s Celebrates 25 Years

Birk’s of Santa Clara marks its 25th anniversary this month with a slew of specials.

Through the end of March, the restaurant, which has long hosted the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley, will offer a $25 three-course “Classic Americana” menu that includes choices such as prime rib, beef tenderloin fettuccine or stuffed petrale sole. To go with it, the restaurant also is pricing five select wines at $25 per bottle.

During “Happy Hour” during the month, look for 25-cent wings or a plate of a half dozen for $1.50. Pair that with an “89er” anniversary cocktail ($8.90) made with apple wood-smoked bacon infused Maker’s Mark Bourbon and garnished with maple foam.

What’s more, anyone born in 1989 who dines at Birk’s in March will receive a $25 gift card to use on a return visit.

With its custom split grill, back-iron broiler and a 250-pound capacity smoker, Birk’s is known for its chops and seafood. Executive Chef Maurice Dissels has headed the kitchen since 2001 at the Pat Kuleto-designed restaurant.

Doppio Zero Opens in Mountain View

A new Neapolitan-style pizza joint has opened in downtown Mountain View.

Its name is Doppio Zero for the highly regarded, finely milled flour used to make pastas and pizza crusts in Italy.

Zucchini, pepper and mozzarella pizza at Doppio Zero. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Zucchini, pepper and mozzarella pizza at Doppio Zero. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

The daily star-shaped pizza. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

The daily star-shaped pizza. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Pasta selections include house-made garganelli with sausage, broccoli rabe and pecorino; and house-made spinach fettuccine with morels, asparagus and shaved Parmegiano Reggiano.

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Category:Chefs, General, Pizza, Restaurants | Comments (4) | Author:

Centonove Bids You Benvenuto

Friday, 3. January 2014 5:25

Osso bucco -- a Wednesday night special at Centonove.

Osso bucco — a Wednesday night special at Centonove.

 

Centonove, the newest restaurant to open in Los Gatos, welcomes you with Italian gusto.

Step inside its compact, convivial black and white dining room with splashes of marinara red, and you may hear Executive Chef Carlo Ochetti heartily conversing with customers in his native Italian.

Indeed, Centonove (Italian for “109,” its numerical address on W. Main Street) is like a neighborhood trattoria transported from Italy to the South Bay. Shelves lining a brick wall are stacked with wine bottles, packages of pasta (even gluten-free ones), and big cans of tomatoes to give the feel of an Italian groceria. Small tables fill the main room, which also sports two bar areas — one to enjoy a quick coffee, the other known as the chef’s counter because it fronts the kitchen, including the red-tiled, wood-fired pizza oven.

Executive Carlo Ochetti.

Executive Carlo Ochetti.

Manning the pizza oven.

Manning the pizza oven.

That’s where Ochetti, formerly of San Jose’s Il Fornaio, holds court. He chats easily and often with diners at the black marble chef’s counter, asking how everything is or explaining how a dish was put together.

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Gluten-Free Pizza and More Noshes at Pizza Antica Santana Row

Wednesday, 2. October 2013 5:25

A gluten-free pizza at Pizza Antica at Santana Row.

A gluten-free pizza at Pizza Antica at Santana Row.

 

After hosting a cooking demo in August at Santana Row in San Jose with Chef Bradley Cenyowa of Pizza Antica, he had me intrigued.

Responding to customers’ needs, Pizza Antica — which has four locations — had begun to offer a gluten-free pizza crust.

It can quite challenging to get the texture just right in gluten-free bread and other baked goods. But Cenyowa is such a fan of the gluten-free crust at the restaurant that he eats it, himself, even though he does not suffer from celiac disease.

He invited me in as a guest of the restaurant to try it for, myself.

If you’re gluten-intolerant, the server will hand you a separate gluten-free menu to peruse — a nice touch. My husband and I — neither of us have issues with gluten — got both menus just to check them out.

The always busy restaurant.

The always busy restaurant.

We started off with the bacon, lettuce, tomato chopped salad ($10.25), which the kitchen thoughtfully split onto two plates for us. The salad is a tumble of textures in every fork-full. You get crunchy romaine, crisp bacon and fluffy bits of hard-cooked egg. There’s just enough Dijon dressing to coat everything, but not drown it.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Howard Bulka at Macy’s Valley Fair

Friday, 13. September 2013 5:25

MacysHowardBulka2

If you’ve ever wanted to perfect pizza-making at home, now’s your chance.

Join me at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara when I host a cooking demo with Chef Howard Bulka of Howie’s Artisan Pizza in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village.

Bulka, who left the world of fine-dining to research the fine points of pizza making, will show you how to create a superb dough using a starter that will add so much more flavor to your crust.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person, Pizza, Restaurants | Comments (3) | Author:

At Howie’s, It’s All About the Crust

Friday, 19. July 2013 5:25

Meatballs at Howie's Artisan Pizzeria in Palo Alto.

Meatballs at Howie’s Artisan Pizzeria in Palo Alto.

Howard Bulka is one of those chefs who will get fixated on something, then research and tweak it to death until it’s just right.

Such was the case when he decided to trade decades of preparing fancy, fine-dining, prixe-fixe menus for pizza instead.

Howie’s Artisan Pizza opened in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village four years ago. Crowds have been lining up ever since for the pizzas, constructed with a bread flour-dough, which takes two days to mix and proof before being turned into pies that are baked in a gas-fired brick oven at 600 degrees for 5-6 minutes.

These are multi-dimensional crusts with puffy edges of air holes that provide chew and crunch, and centers that get thinner and crisper.

The whimsical art work on the walls.

The whimsical art work on the walls.

The dining room.

The dining room.

Recently, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. We started with the Chinese Chicken Salad ($10). The generous-sized salad is more than enough for two to share. A mountain of chopped romaine is tossed with cucumber, green onions, peanuts, cilantro, chicken chunks, crispy won ton strips and a creamy, mustardy dressing. It’s almost like an Asian version of a chopped salad.

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