Category Archives: Restaurants

Telefèric Barcelona Opens With A Sizzle in Palo Alto

The Catalon G&T at the new Telefèric Barcelona in Palo Alto.
The Catalon G&T at the new Telefèric Barcelona in Palo Alto.

There’s no doubt that Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village is a happening place. Just try to park there most any time of day or night, and you’ll be hunting for a parking spot because that’s how busy it gets.

Now, it’s bound to get even crazier than the long lines there for Boba Guys. That’s because the new Telefèric Barcelona just opened its doors last week, with plenty of Spanish flair, pulsating music, and flaming cocktails lighting up the dining room.

It’s the second Bay Area locale for the Telefèric Barcelona Restaurant Group of Barcelona, joining the original Telefèric Barcelona that opened in Walnut Creek in 2016.

Brother and sister, Xavi and Maria Padrosa took over the original restaurant in Barcelona, which their mother had started. They were lured to bring their concept stateside by a Walnut Creek developer.

Xavi Padrosa had long wanted to open a restaurant in Palo Alto, a city close to his heart since he lived there for seven years while attending Foothill College in Los Altos Hills and Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Just inside the entry way.
Just inside the entry way.
The bar.
The bar.
Seats right in front of the open kitchen.
Seats right in front of the open kitchen.

The contemporary Palo Alto restaurant is all clean lines with a long bar, sleek open kitchen, colorful Spanish tiles, and basket-like light fixtures. When it’s full, as it was for a friends-and-family and media dinner that I attended the night before it opened to the public, it can be very loud. You will have to lean over the table to converse with your dining companion.

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The Warmth of Zareen’s

First-time restaurateur Zareen Khan has created a gem in Zareen's in Mountain View and Palo Alto.
First-time restaurateur Zareen Khan has created a gem in Zareen’s in Mountain View and Palo Alto.

This summer, when timing necessitated postponing my birthday dinner at Michelin three-starred Manresa to two months later, my husband asked me where I wanted to go instead on my actual birthday weekend. I immediately knew the spot.

It was another Michelin-recognized establishment.

One where the food would be equally unforgettable and fill me with similar contentment.

And where my husband would be especially thrilled because it turned out to be the least expensive birthday dinner he’d ever bought me.

It was, of course, Zareen’s.

Though she had never opened a restaurant before, Pakistani-born Zareen Khan decided to do just that when she opened the original fast-casual Zareen’s in Mountain View on 2014. It proved such a hit that two years later, she opened a second, larger Zareen’s on California Avenue in Palo Alto, which is the one we frequent. In 2020, look for a third and larger location to open in downtown Redwood City.

The unassuming establishment on California Avenue in Palo Alto is always crowded.
The unassuming establishment on California Avenue in Palo Alto is always crowded.
On a sunny day, the sidewalk tables fill up fast. Khan has regulars who come every week.
On a sunny day, the sidewalk tables fill up fast. Khan has regulars who come every week.

Tech workers who get all the free food they want on their campuses gladly flock to Zareen’s to stand in line and, yes, pay their own money, for her incredible contemporary Pakistani-Indian food. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have dined here. And Chef Anthony Secviar and Master Sommelier Dennis Kelly, the team behind Michelin-starred Protege in Palo Alto across the street from Zareen’s, have made no secret about being so addicted to Zareen’s chicken tikka masala that they eat it weekly.

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You Won’t Believe What’s In This Chicken Dish

Chocolate milk is one of the main ingredients in this chicken dish. How wild is that?
Chocolate milk is one of the main ingredients in this chicken dish. How wild is that?

Yes, chocolate milk.

This recipe is pure crazy.

And it’s mind-boggling good.

“Spicy Chocolate Milk-Simmered Chicken” is one of those dishes that sounds so far-fetched and weird that you can’t help but be drawn to it. At least for curiosity’s sake.

Braising pork, veal or chicken in milk has a long tradition in Italian cuisine, where it not only helps tenderize the meat but creates its own velvety sauce.

But chocolate milk?

It actually does the same. And when combined with chiles, makes for an almost mole-like sauce.

This unusual recipe is from the new “Food52 Dynamite Chicken: 60 Never-Boring Recipes for Your Favorite Bird” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. The 60 recipes were created by Tyler Kord, chef-owner of No. 7 Restaurant in Brooklyn and the author of the fun, irreverent cookbook, “A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches” (Clarkson Potter).

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Check In For A Dose of Wellness At the Stanford Court Hotel

Presenting the "Maude,'' made with rooftop honey at the Stanford Court Hotel.
Presenting the “Maude,” made with rooftop honey at the Stanford Court Hotel.

San Francisco’s Stanford Court Hotel is buzzing — in more ways than one.

Last year, the Nob Hill hotel added an apiary to its rooftop terrace just outside its Seven Stills restaurant. Now, it’s reaping the sweet rewards of those bee hives — from honey that’s accenting fun offerings on the menu.

I had a chance to try a few recently, when I was invited as an overnight guest of the hotel.

The restored, 3-ton penguin statue by Beni Bufano graces the entrance.
The restored, 3-ton penguin statue by Beni Bufano graces the entrance.
Depictions of horses owned by industrialist Leland Stanford decorate the lobby.
Depictions of horses owned by industrialist Leland Stanford decorate the lobby.
The night-time skyline view from one of the rooms.
The night-time skyline view from one of the rooms.

Take a seat at the bar or one of the tables in the restaurant that’s open to the lobby to order one of the specialty cocktails ($15 each) that are all named for movies that were filmed in San Francisco.

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A Special Time at Oakland’s Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana with “East Bay Cooks”

Get a taste of fresh, zingy and vibrant shrimp aguachile plus other delicious noshes at a special event at Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)
Get a taste of fresh, zingy and vibrant shrimp aguachile plus other delicious noshes at a special event at Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana. (Photo by Eva Kolenko in “East Bay Cooks.”)

Join yours truly on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Oakland’s vibrant Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana, when Chef-Owner Gloria Dominguez and I will be signing copies of my new cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1).

The cookbook spotlights more than 40 top restaurants and bakeries in the Bay Area’s most populous and diverse region, including Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana.

That evening, if you purchase a copy of the book at the restaurant ($32.99), you’ll receive a ticket for special complimentary appetizers, including a taste of shrimp aquachile, one of the restaurant’s signature recipes in the book. You’ll also enjoy a free surprise dessert.

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