Category Archives: Restaurants

Memories of Mint Chip Ice Cream

Mint chip ice cream made with plenty of fresh mint leaves.

Mint chip ice cream made with plenty of fresh mint leaves.

 

When I was a kid, Baskin-Robbins may have touted its 31 ice creams.

But in my book, there were only two that really mattered.

Chocolate chip. And mint chip.

OK, so my palate was not very expansive at that time.

But I knew what I liked.

And to me, you couldn’t go wrong with vanilla ice cream with crunchy bits of dark chocolate throughout. Or its green cousin with an unmistakable hue and a taste as invigorating as a light wind blowing across your face on a warm summer afternoon.

As an adult now, I still love those two flavors. But I am more finicky. I so appreciate a mint ice cream that gets its flavor from real mint leaves, not just a bottle of mint extract.

So when I spied this recipe for “Mint Chip Ice Cream” that infuses a heavy cream-milk base with a heap of fresh mint leaves, I was smitten from the get-go.

theresalwaysroomforchocolate

It’s from the new cookbook, “There’s Always Room For Chocolate: Recipes from Brooklyn’s The Chocolate Room” (Rizzoli), of which I received a review copy.

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True Food Kitchen — The New Face of Healthy

True Food Kitchen emphasizes anti-inflammatory foods. And hey, dark chocolate, in a flourless cake, qualifies.

True Food Kitchen emphasizes anti-inflammatory foods. And hey, dark chocolate, in a flourless cake, qualifies.

 

Perhaps it’s only appropriate that the new True Food Kitchen, which opened this week in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, is steps from SoulCycle and a Peloton indoor cycling bike showroom. What’s more, there’s even an art piece on the main wall that depicts a cyclist.

After all, this casual restaurant chain, which has 14 locations around the country and will debut a second Bay Area location in Walnut Creek at Broadway Plaza on Oct. 18, is all about a healthful lifestyle.

In fact, founder Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts, established True Food Kitchen with Dr. Andrew Weil, a physicianm noted guru of holistic health and alternative medicine, and proponent of the anti-inflammatory diet. That diet emphasizes whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, omega-3 fatty acid fish such as salmon and sardines, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. It cautions against too much saturated fat and animal protein, and recommends tea over coffee, and red wine of any other alcohol.

The new restaurant opened this week in the Stanford Shopping Center.

The new restaurant opened this week in the Stanford Shopping Center.

The large dining room at True Food Kitchen.

The large dining room.

To that end, the restaurant offers a wide selection of gluten-free, organic, vegetarian, and vegan options.  

But that’s not to say the food is austere by any means. Or hippy-dippy.

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Forthright Serves Up Righteous Food

A perfect Scotch egg at Forthright.

A perfect Scotch egg at Forthright.

 

When two girlfriends and I recently dined at Forthright in Campbell to celebrate a birthday, we couldn’t help but notice that most of the parties there were all-female.

But then again, we women know a good thing when we see — and taste it.

And Forthright definitely makes for a great gals’ night out.

It’s the latest restaurant by long-time South Bay Chef Jim Stump, who also owns The Table in San Jose, The Vesper bar in Campbell, and Stumpy’s in San Jose. It takes the place of the old Hawg’s Seafood Bar.

It has a lot than appeals to the feminine side — great cocktails, a healthy-ish sensibility with all the fresh seafood, and just a little bit of naughtiness with a few guilty-pleasure dishes.

A specialty cocktail.

A specialty cocktail.

A view into the dining room.

A view into the dining room.

We paid our own tab, but Stump, whom I’ve interviewed many times over the years, and who can be found cooking on the line fairly regularly there, sent out a couple extra dishes.

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Bird Dog Soars

Irresistible curry-dusted fried chicken at Bird Dog.

Irresistible curry-dusted fried chicken at Bird Dog.

 

The tech world has been blamed for a lot of things of late — worsening traffic, skyrocketing housing prices, widespread impatience, and a growing lack of civility.

But one thing we can be thankful for is that it brought us Chef Robbie Wilson and his wife Emily Wilson.

Chamath Palihapitiya, venture capitalist, part owner of the Warriors, and former Facebook executive, and his wife, Brigette Lau, also a venture capitalist and former Navio Systems engineer, met the Wilsons and were so captivated by them, they agreed to partner and invest in their restaurant — as long as it opened in Palo Alto, the city where the influential tech couple lives with their kids.

Bird Dog opened last winter in downtown Palo Alto. The name refers to pursuing something with unwavering, laser-focus and determination, which is appropriate for a restaurant that’s been a hit since the doors opened. I had a chance to visit a few weeks ago when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

Chef Robbie Wilson brings impressive credentials to Palo Alto.

Chef Robbie Wilson brings impressive credentials to Palo Alto.

Robbie Wilson trained under some of the best: Michael Troisgros at Maison Troisgras; Tom Colicchio at Craft in New York, Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, and Nobu Matsuhisa at Matsuhisa in Aspen. Emily Wilson, who worked in luxury real estate development sales, is a gracious presence at the restaurant, darting from table to table, to welcome and chat with guests.

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48 Hours of Eating in Richmond, BC

Fried fish stick with spicy mayo, spicy chipotle, and garlic sea salt seasonings -- at the Richmond Night Market.

Fried fish stick with spicy mayo, spicy chipotle, and garlic sea salt seasonings — at the Richmond Night Market.

 

RICHMOND, BC — When I told friends that I was going to Canada for the weekend, I couldn’t blame them for looking at me dubiously.

But then again, Richmond, British Columbia is just a two-hour flight away from the Bay Area, so it’s not as crazy a proposition as it seems. Add to that the fact that the U.S. dollar will buy you 30 percent more in Canada right now, and it’s a no-brainer, right?

Indeed, when the Richmond Tourism Bureau invited me as their guest on a weekend eating adventure, I was game to see just how much ground we could cover in two days. The answer: a lot.

Richmond is an island with a population of 210,000. Of that, 65 percent are Asian. As a tourism official explained: the Chinese were drawn to this area because the name of the city sounded like “rich man,” and made them think they could become wealthy here.

Of the 800 restaurants here, half are Asian. As such, it’s no wonder that you’ll find some of the finest Chinese food around in this city, plus a whole lot more.

Fisherman’s Wharf

My complimentary accommodations at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel were more than fine, but, ah, my kingdom for a kitchen, especially when I saw the incredible seafood for sale off the boats on the wharf. Fresh uni at three for $10! As well as King salmon, and head-on wild shrimp.

The bustling wharf.

The bustling wharf.

The fresh catch for sale.

The fresh catch for sale.

Fresh uni!

Fresh uni!

Steveston

This charming historic fishing village, just steps from Fisherman’s Wharf, may look familiar to fans of ABC’s hit show, “Once Upon A Time,” as much of it is filmed here.

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