Category Archives: Restaurants

Look What Howie’s Artisan Pizza in Redwood City Is Cooking Up — A Sweet Surprise

Prosciutto and arugula pizza at the new Howie's Artisan Pizza in Redwood City.

Prosciutto and arugula pizza at the new Howie’s Artisan Pizza in Redwood City.

 

If you’re already a fan of Howie’s Artisan Pizza in Palo Alto, you’ll want to check out its second location, which just opened three weeks ago in downtown Redwood City.

If you’ve yet to experience Howie’s, here’s a great excuse to finally do so.

That’s because the second Howie’s is larger. The dining room is about the same size in both locations. But the Redwood City one boasts an expansive, heated patio that essentially doubles the seating capacity.

Howie’s in Redwood City also has a much more extensive menu. The Palo Alto location only has a pizza oven. The Redwood City location has that same primo oven, plus a full-on kitchen. That means you’ll not only find impeccable pizzas with what I think is probably the best crust in the Peninsula/South Bay, but also burgers, awesome fries, and desserts like banana cream pie and rhubarb crisp.

What’s more, this Howie’s also has a liquor license and a bar manager, Ryan Ingram, with some serious mixology chops. That means he’s making their own grenadine for the Scofflow ($11), a blend of Templeton rye, vermouth and lemon; and his own pineapple gum syrup for his namesake Ryan’s Pisco Punch ($10).

The large, heated patio seats as many as the dining room.

The large, heated patio seats as many as the dining room.

The dining room.

The dining room.

Cocktail action.

Cocktail action.

Chef-Owner Howard Bulka is already contemplating adding nightly blue plate specials. He also plans to start brunch service soon, which will include a very special treat you won’t want to miss. But more on that later.

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A Trio of Maui Restaurants

Executive Chef-Owner Jeff Scheer of Maui Executive Catering plates a course at his chef's table dinner.

Executive Chef-Owner Jeff Scheer of Maui Executive Catering plates a course at his chef’s table dinner.

MAUI, HAWAII – On a recent trip here, I had a chance to check out three restaurants: one that lets you get up close and personal with the chef; another that opened only two months ago; and a third spearheaded by a “Top Chef” fan favorite.

The visit and meals were all courtesy of the Maui Visitors Bureau.

The Chef’s Table at Maui Executive Catering

Heartthrob Chef Jeff Scheer may never live down his shirtless photo spread for a story on chefs with tattoos for Edible Hawaiian Islands magazine. (Wherever he goes now, fellow chefs playfully heckle him with “Take your shirt off! Take your shirt off!”)

But the owner and executive chef of Maui Executive Catering has serious cooking chops.

You can taste for yourself at one of his chef’s table dinners offered on Friday and Saturday nights at his catering company’s site that’s hidden amongst a warren of businesses in a low-slung building in Haiku.

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A Taste of Paradise on Maui

Molokai sweet potato pancakes at Cane & Canoe at the Montage Kapalua. What a way to greet the morning.

Molokai sweet potato pancakes at Cane & Canoe at the Montage Kapalua. What a way to greet the morning.

 

MAUI, HAWAII – In seven days on this tropical paradise, one can do major damage to the waistline. So much for that Speedo or bikini bod.

I can practically live on nothing but poke and papaya when I visit Hawaii. But of course, when you’re a guest invited by the Maui Visitors Bureau, with meals and accommodations provided, you end up eating a whole lot more. Happily, of course.

In fact, I miss the food already. Can you blame me? Just take a look.

Montage Kapualua Bay

One of the newer resorts in the area, the 24-acre, oceanfront Montage Kapualua Bay opened in June 2014. A former Ritz-Carlton time-share, the property still boasts a fair number of privately-owned luxury units. But 50 of them are operated by the hotel, comprising one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences with gourmet kitchens, living rooms and spacious lanais.

There’s also a large fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment, spa services, outdoor hot and cold plunge pools, and exercise classes. Yours truly even dragged herself to an early-morning cardio core class one day.

The view during breakfast.

The view during breakfast.

The living room in our suite.

The living room in our suite.

The full-service kitchen, which even has a washer-dryer off to the side.

The full-service kitchen, which even has a washer-dryer off to the side.

One of three bedrooms in this particular suite.

One of three bedrooms in this particular suite.

But first things first. After a very long flight that arrived late at night, my husband and I were so looking forward to breakfast the next morning at the resort’s restaurant, Cane & Canoe.

The open-air restaurant affords a perfect view of the pool and ocean as the sun comes up. Bask in that sight as complimentary mini kabocha muffins arrive to the table.

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A Visit to the Kogi Truck at LAX

Yup, you can find this at Los Angeles International Airport.

Yup, you can find this at Los Angeles International Airport.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA — Flying from the Bay Area to Maui is a long trek, even in the best of circumstances on a nonstop flight.

So, my husband and I might have been a bit cranky two weeks ago at the thought of having to suffer through a layover in Los Angeles — if not for one delightful development.

We were scheduled to change American Airlines planes in Terminal 4.

Yes, the home of the permanently parked Kogi Truck, situated in the food court there, which opened in December 2014.

Imagine bypassing the usual fast-food chains and other tired-looking airport offerings for Chef Roy Choi’s clever mash-up of Korean and Mexican food instead. We’d chased down Choi’s original Kogi Truck in Los Angeles before, so we were no stranger to his kimchi-laced tacos, burritos, quesadillas and sliders, which essentially ignited the modern-day food truck craze.

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An Elegant Ambience

A pre-dessert at Ambience in Los Altos.

A pre-dessert at Ambience in Los Altos.

 

Ambience is a hushed restaurant in an even quieter downtown in sleepy Los Altos.

It’s so muted that I hadn’t even heard about the fine-dining restaurant until a few months ago, despite the fact that it’s been open for more than a year.

Chef Morgan Song runs the restaurant with his wife, who handles the front of the house. Song cooked in Sacramento and San Francisco for years, most notably at the acclaimed Kiss.

I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant on a recent Tuesday evening, when my dining companion and I were one of only six diners total in the dim dining room with its comfortable upholstered chairs and smoky glass windows that shield the view of the street outside. But that may owe to the fact that Ambience offers only one tasting menu a night ($149 per person with an additional $95 per person for wine pairings or $135 per person for premium wine pairings). After all, how many people can — or want — to devote three hours to eat in the middle of the week unless it’s for a special occasion?

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