Category Archives: Restaurants

Join the Food Gal and the Crew From Tacolicious For A Cooking Demo

MacysTacolicious

The folks that put the fun in tacos — Tacolicious — will join yours truly for a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 1 p.m. Nov. 11.

Chef Quinten Frye will show you how to make tortillas from scratch, then turn them into inventive, delicious tacos. You’ll get a chance to take a taste, plus bring the recipes home.

Frye previously cooked in Hawaii, Mexico, and in Washington D.C. for superstar chef Jose Andres. As culinary director now for Tacolicious, he oversees its five locations, including the one in downtown Palo Alto and the one in Santana Row in San Jose.

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Carb Heaven At Jane Bakery

Ginger cookie, Nutella brioche, and kouign-amann from Jane bakery.

Ginger cookie, Nutella brioche, and kouign-amann from Jane bakery.

 

On bustling Geary Street in San Francisco, a former KFC/Taco Bell hybrid has been transformed into something far sweeter.

Jane bakery opened its doors in December, producing glorious long, slow fermented loaves and fabulous flaky pastries in this former fast-food franchise spot.

This is the third outpost in the city for Jane, which is named for founder Amanda Michael’s now 18-year-old daughter.

A couple weeks ago, my friend Deborah and I were invited in as guests to sample some goodies on the menu.

You'll find it hard to narrow down your choices here.

You’ll find it hard to narrow down your choices here.

Michael, who grew up in San Francisco, once wrote reviews of computer hardware for a tech industry magazine. She hated it, and found solace in cooking. So much so that she went on to take classes at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco. It wasn’t long before she turned her back on the tech writing to pursue pastry gigs working at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and PlumpJack in Squaw Valley and San Francisco.

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High Praise for Coletta Gelato

Mediterane (pistachio and almond) at Coletta Gelato.

Mediterane (pistachio and almond) at Coletta Gelato.

 

It’s a familiar Bay Area story: Two guys in business school meet, hatch an idea, then launch the next big thing.

Only this time, it’s not the latest whiz-bang tech invention.

It’s dreamy gelato.

Antonio Massimini, 31, and Henri Waltenspühl, 28, met in business school in Milan, and soon realized they shared a passion for gelato. The next thing you know, both enrolled at Gelato University in Bologna. (Now, that’s where I’d like to get a PhD.)

After doing their research, they decided to open in San Francisco because they figured the city’s discriminating, gourmet palates would appreciate it. It also helped that Antonio had family in the Bay Area, and was familiar with the area.

Founders Antonio Massimini and Henri Waltenspühl beside a mural of Henri's grandmother, for whom the shop is named.

Founders Antonio Massimini and Henri Waltenspühl beside a mural of Henri’s grandmother, for whom the shop is named.

The sweet mural on the garage.

The sweet mural on the garage.

In January, they opened their Coletta Gelato, a production plant and a retail shop on Harrison Street, where Ciao Bella used to make its gelato.

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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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Eating My Way Through New York: Chef-Tastic

The whole duck confit at Cosme that takes four days to make.

The whole duck confit at Cosme that takes four days to make.

Cosme

When planning this trip to New York, one of the places highest on my list to dine was Cosme.

A couple of years ago, while attending the “Worlds of Flavor” conference at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone campus in St. Helena, I had a chance to try a little of Mexico City-chef Enrique Olvera’s innovative cuisine.

Ever since, I have been hooked. And craving more.

Herb guacamole.

Herb guacamole.

Complimentary purple tortillas and Marcona almond dip.

Complimentary purple tortillas and Marcona almond dip.

This is not your standard tacos and burritos taqueria. This sleek establishment is all about modern Mexican cuisine with star power. The prices reflect that. Yes, guacamole is $17 here. It’s a beautiful bowl of deeply rich smashed avocados strewn with micro herbs and served with huge purple tortilla chips that you break apart to scoop.

If you’re already balking at that price, then this isn’t the place for you. When you walk through the doors, you have to vanquish the notion that Mexican food has to be cheap in order to be worthwhile.

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