Gyro and chicken platters by the Halal Guys.
Three Northern California franchises of the wildly popular The Halal Guys are set to open.
But it’s lucky San Jose that will get the first one, beating to the opening date the ones planned for San Francisco’s Tenderloin and downtown Berkeley.
That first Halal Guys will open 11 a.m. June 3 at The Plant, 81 Curtner Ave. #20. The first 100 guests in line will receive a free entree and the first 2,500 guests in line will receive a choice of a complimentary Halal Guys t-shirt or pair of sunglasses.
Get ready for gyro sandwiches, chicken and rice platters, and their famed white sauce and hot sauce.
The Halal Guys phenomenon began in 1990 when three guys from Egypt had the smarts to realize that Muslim cab drivers in New York were hungry for quick halal food. What started as a sidewalk food cart is now a booming franchise with locations not just in New York, but also Southern California, Houston and Chicago.
Thanks to delivery service Caviar, which was ferrying orders ($11.99 for platters) from the Halal Guys for a preview taste, I had a chance to sample some of the food a few days ago.
A sherry-laced ice cream to fall head over heels for.
Pedro Jimenez, so glad to finally make your acquaintance. Just where have you been all my life?
It was only recently that I got to know this fabled white Spanish grape that’s typically dried in the sun to make a dark, syrupy dessert sherry wine.
A friend had gifted me a bottle of Bodega Dios Baco Pedro Jimenez and I was waiting for just the right moment to open it. When I did, I was greeted with a heavy-bodied inky wine fragrant with the scent of raisins and dates. The taste was figgy, almost sticky toffee-like, with a bit of aged balsamico on the finish.
It would be great alongside cheese, salumi and almonds. Or used in a sauce to finish duck or quail.
But what caught my eye was a recipe for “Pedro Jimenez Ice Cream with Orange Zest” in the new “The Basque Cookbook: A Love Letter in Recipes From the Kitchen of Txikito” (Ten Speed Press) by Chefs Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero with food writer Rebecca Flint Marx of San Francisco Magazine.
Chef Tokunori Mekaru of the new Sushi Hashiri in San Francisco.
To say I felt like a one percenter last week is to put it mildly.
It’s not everyday that I dine on a $300 three-hour kaiseki meal at a sushi bar, even if I was invited in as a guest of Sushi Hashiri, the new Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, two days before it officially opened to the public.
I realize few people will have the means — or even the inclination — to spend that princely sum at a sushi bar. Instead, we nonchalantly throw a $9 package of nigiri rolls into our cart at the supermarket, no matter if the rice has gotten a little hard and the seaweed too flabby. So accustomed are we to the run-of-the-mill stuff that we almost forget how transcendent sushi can be in the right hands.
Then along comes an establishment like Sushi Hashiri to remind us of that fact. It is the sister location to the smaller Hashiri that opened in Tokyo in 2012.
Chilled snap pea broth with ebi and sturgeon caviar.
Glistening silver shad nigiri.
The 42-seat restaurant, which includes a 10-seat sushi bar, is led by Executive Chef Takashi Saito, who helped open Ame in San Francisco; Chef Shinichi Aoki, late of Kaygetsu in Menlo Park; and Chef Tokunori Mekaru, who hails from Hashiri in Tokyo.
You’re Invited to #Foodtography
Join yours truly and award-winning photographer Craig Lee, when we host #Foodtography, 7 p.m. May 25 at the Four Seasons in San Francisco.
In this age of food-ecentric social media, this fun event will teach you how to be a better food critic and how to take better food photos.
You’ll get to sample gourmet tastes from the Four Seasons’ Chef Alexander La Motte — after you get a chance to photograph the dishes, of course.
At the end of the evening, you’ll take home a copy of “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), my cookbook that was photographed by Craig. We’ll personally sign it to you, too.
The event is $35 per person. If you don’t take public transportation, and need to park your car, the hotel is offering a discounted valet rate of $15 that evening. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A Taste of Le Cirque” in San Jose
San Jose’s Capital Club, normally open to members only, is opening its doors wide for a special event this Friday, May 13 that celebrates the fabled New York restaurant, Le Cirque.
“A Taste of Le Cirque” will feature Le Cirque’s corporate executive chef Massimo Bebber cooking a five-course dinner paired with Sicilian wines.
Pork shoulder at Little Gem.
Imagine a restaurant, in which all the food is gluten-free. And dairy-free. And sans refined sugar.
No doubt, you’re probably fearing it also will be flavor-free and dismally low in satisfaction.
Not so. Not when it’s Little Gem in San Francisco, which opened in December.
After all, when the head chef is Dave Cruz, formerly of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, you’re guaranteed to be in good hands with the food, as I found out when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant last week. Little Gem’s other partners are Eric Lilavois, former chief operating officer of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, and John DiFazio, an investment banker, who has such an appreciation of good food that he did an apprenticeship at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York.
Chef Dave Cruz, formerly of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc.
The compact kitchen.
This is clean eating the way it should be — with bold flavors, freshness, finesse but not fussiness, and great ingredients from purveyors such as Marin Sun Farms, Five Dot Ranch and Rancho Gordo.