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Modernist Cuisine Comes to The Tech, Plus New Eats in the South Bay

Monday, 23. June 2014 5:26

The humble mushroom Swiss burger, as deconstructed by the Modernist Cuisine team. (Photo courtesy of Modernist Cuisine)

The humble mushroom Swiss burger, as deconstructed by the Modernist Cuisine team. (Photo courtesy of Modernist Cuisine)

Modernist Cuisine Photo Exhibit at The Tech

Nathan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer for Microsoft turned culinary mad scientist, invites you to see food like you’ve never experienced it before.

The author of the seminal “Modernist Cuisine” books, is bringing 75 eye-popping, large-format photographs of food to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

The exhibit opens June 25 and runs through Sept. 1. It’s the second stop on a three-year worldwide tour for this exhibit.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Restaurants | Comments (3) | Author:

Madera with a View

Friday, 13. June 2014 5:25

Hamachi crudo with strawberries at Madera in Menlo Park.

Hamachi crudo with strawberries at Madera in Menlo Park.

 

Majestic is the word all right for Madera restaurant in the Rosewood Sand Hill resort in Menlo Park.

It’s got to be one of the most breathtaking dining rooms in the Bay Area, what with its floor-to-ceiling windows and wide terrace with a panoramic view of the Santa Cruz mountains. It’s easy to forget you’re in the thick of the hustle-bustle of Silicon Valley and not on vacation instead.

Over the past five years, with its proximity to all the venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road, it’s turned into a hot spot for business wheeling and dealing, as evidenced in my recent story in the San Francisco Chronicle. Even if it’s well known among the VC and CEO set, it’s still rather under the radar for the rank-and-file tech employees, says Chef Peter Rudolph, who is always surprised when he does corporate events at how few people have even heard of Madera.

That’s a shame because it’s such a lovely oasis. And we sure need more of those, don’t we?

Madera boasts a lofty feel with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Madera boasts a lofty feel with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Chilled wine awaits.

Chilled wine awaits.

I ate at Madera when it first opened. Although I liked the food, I found many of the dishes had just too much going on.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I was invited in to dine as a guest of the restaurant. The dishes are still far from simple, but they felt more reined in than previously.

Dinner is not inexpensive — starters are $15 to $20, and mains are $33 to $41. But to put it in perspective, this is also a place where tech folks are known to celebrate by ordering premium scotch for $500 a shot (again, see my link to my Chronicle story above). There’s also an impressive 2,000 wines to choose from.

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Tacolicious’ New Sauces and Salsas

Monday, 9. June 2014 5:26

Tacolicious makes it easy to enjoy Mexican mole at home.

Tacolicious makes it easy to enjoy Mexican mole at home.

Four casual eateries in the Bay Area.

A cookbook debuting in September.

And a new line of sauces and salsas now selling exclusively at Williams-Sonoma.

San Francisco’s  Tacolicious is fast on its way to becoming its own mini empire. The restaurant was established by Owner Joe Hargrave in 2009, who is married to San Francisco magazine editor, Sara Deseran, who, not coincidentally, is the author of the upcoming cookbook, “Tacolicious” (Ten Speed Press).

I had a chance to try samples of the new line of salsas and cooking sauces. Proceeds from the sale of the products go to the Tacolicious School Project, which supports neighborhood public schools in San Francisco.

Break out the chips.

Break out the chips.

The cooking sauces come in three varieties: Tacolicious Mole Rojo Braising Sauce, Tacolicious Shot & A Beer Braising Sauce, and Tacolicious Guajillo Braising Sauce. Each 16-ounce jar is $12.95 and is printed with a suggested way of using it.

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Category:General, New Products, Restaurants | Comments (4) | Author:

Pacific Catch Makes A Landing in Mountain View

Friday, 30. May 2014 5:26

Korean Barbecue Bowl at Pacific Catch in Mountain View.

Korean Barbecue Bowl at Pacific Catch in Mountain View.

 

San Francisco-based Pacific Catch opened its sixth location at the end of March in Mountain View — and its largest restaurant to date.

Located at The Village at San Antonio Center, it’s a pretty, airy restaurant with plenty of outdoor seating, plus roomy booths in the dining room that’s decorated on theme with fish prints, a cascading water wall and light fixtures that look like they’re fabricated from delicate Japanese paper.

Partners Aaron Noveshen and Keith Cox opened the first Pacific Catch on Chestnut Street in San Francisco in 2003. This spring, they also brought on board David Gingrass as executive chef. Gingrass, who cooked with Wolfgang Puck and once had the lauded Hawthorne Lane restaurant in San Francisco, has streamlined and upgraded operations, according to the general manager. Still to come, Gingrass will be putting his stamp on the menu with some new dishes.

The dining room.

The dining room.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to check out the current menu when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

The restaurant is proud of its crafted cocktails including the Spicy Pacific ($7), which I tried at the manager’s suggestion. It’s a golden blend of Svedka vodka, passion fruit and Serrano chilies. It starts out fruity and refreshing, then the kick of heat kicks in at the end, warming the throat all the way down. It should come with a warning, as you can’t help but take one sip then reach for another and another.

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Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants, Seafood | Comments (1) | Author:

A Singular Take on Thai at Kin Khao

Friday, 16. May 2014 5:26

Kin Khao's version of chips and dip. Truly addictive.

Kin Khao’s version of chips and dip. Truly addictive.

Let’s get this out of the way at the start: I’ve never visited Thailand. And with the exception of Chef Andy Ricker’s former trendy Ping restaurant in Portland, Ore., the Thai food I’ve experienced has been relegated to mom-and-pop places doing their best but not looking to pioneer in any way.

As such, I’m no Thai food expert by any means.

But all I know is that the Thai food at San Francisco’s new Kin Khao is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before.

Kin Khao, which is a colloquialism for “let’s eat,” was opened a few months ago by first-time restaurateur Pim Techamuanvivit.

If you’ve followed her long-time blog, Chez Pim, you know she’s a stickler when it comes to perfecting flavors and techniques.

She’s not behind the burners, herself. But the dishes are crafted from recipes she learned from her grandmother and aunts. Chef de Cuisine Michael Gaines, former sous chef of Michelin two-starred Manresa in Los Gatos, heads the kitchen and translates her vision onto the plates. And unless you’ve been asleep for a decade, you probably already know, too, that Techamuanvivit’s long-time companion is Manresa’s Chef-Owner David Kinch.

Sign

DiningRoom

The 78-seat restaurant is housed in the Parc 55 hotel downtown. It can be a little hard to find, as it’s located on the second floor with minimal signage. The easiest route is to enter directly from the corner of Mason and Ellis. In any event, once you hit the lobby level, just follow the whiff of steamed jasmine rice to find it.

What makes the food at Kin Khao so different?

First, the concise menu is made up of dishes that you don’t often find at other Thai establishments in the Bay Area.

Second, a tight fist is exercised when it comes to sweetness. In fact, even the “Number One Brand” Thai iced tea ($5) was the least sweetened version I’ve ever tasted, allowing the slightly tannic and floral qualities of the tea to shine through more prominently.

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