Category Archives: Restaurants

Eating My Way Through New York: Won’t Break the Bank

The smoked chicken sandwich at Roberta's.

The smoked chicken sandwich at Roberta’s.

Roberta’s

The iconic New York pizza may be a huge, greasy, foldable slice. But Roberta’s in Brooklyn is where true pizza connoisseurs flock.

At this funky place, you enter this cement fortress of a building through scuffed wooden doors to a alpine-lodge-like dining room crammed with long, wood communal tables.

A bird-eye view of the pizza making.

A bird-eye view of the pizza making.

The dining room at lunch time.

The dining room at lunch time.

The massive wood-fired pizza oven is to your right. You get a clue as to how much attention they pay to the pizzas here when you see a pie go into the oven. It’s never left alone for long. The cook is regularly rotating it, and lifting it, leaning the edge of the crust toward the flames to kiss it with char before turning it again and again.

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An Expanded Menu At Saffron Indian Bistro

Filled semolina puffs at Saffron Indian Bistro.

Filled semolina puffs at Saffron Indian Bistro.

 

If Michelin one-starred Rasa in Burlingame is the glam, attention-getting younger sister, then Saffron Indian Bistro in San Carlos is the dependable, dutiful older sister.

Before opening Rasa in 2014 to universal acclaim, restaurateur Ajay Walia debuted his first restaurant, Saffron in 2002.

It’s been quite a few years since I last ate at Saffron. But when I was invited in as a guest recently, I had a chance to see its evolution.

It still specializes in North Indian dishes. But the restaurant has definitely upped its game in the presentations. No doubt younger sibling Rasa had an influence in that.

Easy to get to on San Carlos Ave.

Easy to get to on San Carlos Ave.

The dining room was nearly full later on that night. A steady stream of to-go food was picked up by patrons, too.

The dining room was nearly full later on that night. A steady stream of to-go food was picked up by patrons, too.

Moreover, three years ago, the dining room got a refresh. Before it was rather utilitarian. Now, the lights are dimmer, creating a warmer vibe. The walls are painted crimson and gold, and a contemporary chandelier casts a glow.

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A Wonderfully Crabby Time in Oregon

 

Newport, OR. — Dungeness crab would surely be part of my last meal, if I was given a choice. Sweet, fluffy, and succulent, it beats lobster any day in my book.

Though I’ve enjoyed it countless times, I’ve never fished for it.

Until now.

On a recent trip to the lovely central coast of Oregon, my fellow food writers and I, who were guests of Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, were treated to our own private excursion through Yaquina Bay aboard the family-owned Marine Discovery Tours boat.

On a picturesque 70-degree morning, we boarded and set sail. Just be forewarned that the waters can get choppy the farther out you go. But none in our party — even a few who were extremely prone to motion sickness — were done in by the effects.

The dock area in Newport.

The dock area in Newport.

All aboard!

All aboard!

You may be richly rewarded for braving the waters, too. We saw whales. Well, at least their blow holes, if not their tails breaking the waves. Still, it made for an unforgettable moment.

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Kicking Back on the Central Coast of Oregon

A view of the Oregon coast.

A view of the Oregon coast.

 

Gleneden Beach, OR. — If all you know about this state is its artsy, quirky city of Portland, take a drive to the central coast to see a whole ‘nother side.

That’s just what I did when I was invited with a few other food writers a few weeks ago to stay at Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, following its multi-million-dollar renovation and opening of its new restaurant, Samphire.

The hotel is about two hours from Portland. Its 250 acres of forested land hug the rugged coastline that gets its share of sunshine and misty days at this time of year.

The view outside my room at Salishan.

The view outside my room at Salishan.

The 500-case wine cellar at Salishan.

The 500-case wine cellar at Salishan.

You'll be relaxing in no time at the spa.

You’ll be relaxing in no time at the spa.

The 205-room property was developed in 1965. The cozy, rustic-chic hotel is decorated with $500,000 worth of art, created by Native American, and other Oregon and Washington artists.

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Haloumi with Grapes

Pair unusual grapes with an unusual cheese with delicious results.

Pair unusual grapes with an unusual cheese with delicious results.

 

Get a load of these grapes.

I sure did when I spied Moon Drops at my neighborhood Whole Foods recently.

How can you not notice these beauties that sport such an unusual tubular shape that do give them a rather otherworldly appearance?

They are juicy, sweet and with just enough tannin from their inky purple-black skin to keep everything in balance.

Moon Drops was developed by the Grapery in Bakesfield.

Incredible, edible Moon Drops.

Incredible, edible Moon Drops.

After buying a bunch, I ate quite a few just right out of hand. But I also saved some for this recipe, “Haloumi with Grapes.”

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