Category Archives: Restaurants

Join Yours Truly and Chef Pamela Keith for a Mother’s Day-Themed Cooking Demo

MacysPamelaKeithMothersDayMake Mom feel extra special this Mother’s Day by bringing her with you to a delicious cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 1 p.m. May 12.

Yours truly will be hosting it with Chef Pamela Keith of Taylor’s Bay Cafe and catering company, CuisineStyle, both in Burlingame.

Learn how to make a perfect treat to spoil dear Mom on her big day the following day after the demo. Of course, you’ll get to enjoy samples, along with a printed copy of the recipe to take home.

Read more

Of Moms — And Cranberry Roly Poly

The personality of moms encapsulated  in a baked treat.

The personality of moms encapsulated in a baked treat.

 

It’s been an unbelievable 11 years now since my Mom passed away. I still think about her nearly every day, too.

I’m sure all daughters brag about their mother being incredibly kind, thoughtful and gracious. But mine definitely was.

Still, there were moments that she offered up an opinion that I could have done without at the time, but now leaves me in stitches in hindsight.

When I was a teenager, I once came slinking into the kitchen, feeling thoroughly self-conscious after looking in the mirror that morning, only to have my Mom proclaim loudly, “You know you have a big pimple THERE.” Uh, yes, I do know, Mom. Thanks A LOT, A WHOLE LOT.

There was the time in my 20s when I came home for a visit, and the first thing my Mom said was, “Those pants make you look fat.” Oh, great.

And of course there was the long ago time that I brought a boyfriend over for her to meet, whom I thought she would adore, only to have her tell me afterward, “I don’t like him. He doesn’t put you first.” But Mom, you just don’t know him well enough yet

She may have been blunt, as only an Asian mom can be. But darned if she wasn’t right in every one of those cases — and so many more.

If she were still here this Mother’s Day, I would bake her these “Cranberry Roly Poly” treats. Because she always loved to see the joy I got from cooking and baking. Because cranberries offer up both sweetness and tartness. Because every mother-daughter relationship has moments of both those extremes. And because if you’re lucky, as I was, they will balance each other out in the end, leaving you both with an honest and respectful love.

Read more

A Return Visit to Timber Cove Resort

Tender octopus with kimchi and squid ink-fortified black bean puree at Coast Kitchen at Timber Cove.

Tender octopus with kimchi and squid ink-fortified black bean puree at Coast Kitchen at Timber Cove.

 

JENNER, CA — What a difference six years makes.

That’s the last time I stayed at Timber Cove, a resort that sits on 23 acres of breathtaking coastline between Bodega Bay and Sea Ranch.

Perched on a bluff right over the ocean, the inn’s setting has always been jaw-droppingly beautiful. But the rooms, refreshed here and there haphazardly over the years, were stuck in a time-warp. There was too much dark wood that made everything feel a little cabin-claustrophobic, not to mention the fact there was a dark green triangular bathtub out in the open in the corner of the bedroom for some odd reason.

But fast-forward to 2014, when new owners took over, and closed the hotel in 2016 for a sizeable 6-month renovation of not only the main building, but all the rooms. Originally built in 1963 from a design by a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright, Timber Cove reopened fully at the end of 2016 still possessed of its classic architecture, but looking not only restored and refreshed, but downright fun and cool.

The entrance to Timber Cove.

The entrance to Timber Cove.

The view from the resort.

The view from the resort.

That’s what I found when I was invited back as a guest of the inn earlier this month. Renowned architectural firm Gensler worked with celeb designers, Robert and Cortney Novogratz of The Novogratz firm in Los Angeles. If you caught the Novogratz’s HGTV show, you’ll recognize their breezy California-casual style here.

They’ve injected whimsy throughout, as well as playful retro touches in a nod to the era in which the hotel was originally built.

Read more

Grilled Romaine with Feta and — Wait For It — Nuoc Cham

An Asian riff on romaine salad.

An Asian riff on romaine salad.

 

This romaine salad is not your usual suspect.

It’s not even your typical odd uncle of grilled romaine.

Not when it’s garnished with feta — and nuoc cham, the ubiquitous Vietnamese dipping sauce.

The creative combo of ingredients that make up “Grilled Romaine with Feta and Nuoc Cham” comes from the mind of Bill Kim, the South Korea-born chef of Urbanbelly and bellyQ, both in Chicago.

Kim, who immigrated to the United States at age 7, grew up helping his mother cook at home, before going on to work at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Bouley Bakery in New York, and Susana Foo in Philadelphia.

KoreanBBQ

It’s featured in his new cookbook, “Korean BBQ” (Ten Speed Press), co-written with Chandra Ram, editor of Plate magazine, a publication I’ve been fortunate to contribute to.

As the name implies, this book, of which I received a review copy, is all about grilling with bold Asian flavors. In fact, if you master Kim’s seven master sauces, which includes nuoc cham, you’ll be good to go to not only make any recipe in this book, but jazz up any type of barbecue dish you routinely make already.

Read more

For A “Bargain” Tasting Menu, Head to Commonwealth

Spring asparagus with an unusual potato salad at Commonwealth.

Spring asparagus with an unusual potato salad at Commonwealth.

 

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a chef mention this restaurant as the place they most like to eat on their day off or as the establishment they’d most like theirs to emulate, I’d be doing very well indeed.

Such is the respect that Commonwealth has garnered.

The Michelin-starred restaurant opened in 2010 in an old donut shop in San Francisco. In fact, the Mission District restaurant not only sports the old donut mural on the side of the building, but possesses something truly rare in San Francisco — its own parking lot. It is a fairly small lot, though, so you still have to be lucky to snag a space.

Chef-Owner Jason Fox oversees the open kitchen in the compact dining room, which means it is worthwhile to make a reservation. My husband and I, who were invited to dine as guests of the restaurant on a recent Saturday night, saw a few walk-ins turned away because the restaurant just gets that booked.

Located in a former donut shop.

Located in a former donut shop.

Some bubbly to accompany the first couple of courses.

Some bubbly to accompany the first couple of courses.

While there is an a la carte menu, what really makes Commonwealth stand out is its tasting menu. In the Bay Area, where many tasting menus have prompted ire for their stratospheric prices that now reach well beyond $300 per person, Commonwealth’s is all of $85 per person ($140 total per person with wine pairings) for about seven courses. Even the “chef’s extended menu” is a relatively moderate $125 per person ($195 total per person with wine pairings) for about 14 courses, which is the option we went for.

Read more

« Older Entries Recent Entries »