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Pancetta-fied Pasta

Wednesday, 14. May 2014 5:25

Big rings of pasta in a creamy, pancetta-fied sauce.

Big rings of pasta in a creamy, pancetta-fied sauce.

 

Sometimes I think that surely I must be part Italian.

Because I could eat pasta every week. And I do cook some form of it probably close to that often.

It was on a quest to satisfy my carb craving that I started leafing through “Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy recently. The cookbooks is by Andrew Fineberg and Francine Stephens, owners of Franny’s restaurant in Booklyn, and New York Times food writer Melissa Clark. There are recipes for more than 200 Southern Italian dishes, including pastas that require only a few ingredients, making them a breeze to prepare on a weeknight.

“Mezze Maniche with Guanciale, Chiles and Ricotta” is based on a traditional Roman dish. Big rings of pasta are tossed with creamy ricotta, a pinch of chili flakes, a shower of Pecorino Romano, and a load of guanciale, pancetta or bacon. And by load, I mean 12 whole ounces or about 2 generous cups of the porky stuff.

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Category:General, Recipes (Savory), Restaurants | Comments (10) | Author:

My Q&A at the Googleplex with Pastry Chef Bill Corbett of Absinthe

Monday, 12. May 2014 5:26

Yours truly, interviewing Pastry Chef Bill Corbett, at Google headquarters. (Photo courtesy of Google)

Yours truly, interviewing Pastry Chef Bill Corbett, at Google headquarters. (Photo courtesy of Google)

 

It’s not every day you get to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View.

But a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be asked to do an event there with Pastry Chef Bill Corbett of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar at San Francisco.

Corbett is one of the more than 50 chefs featured in my cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press).

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Google/Tech/Corporate Cafes, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants, Videos & Podcasts | Comments (4) | Author:

Meet the Food Gal at Two Events for Her “San Francisco Chef’s Table” Cookbook

Monday, 28. April 2014 5:25

Your chance to try Baker & Banker's sublime roasted white chocolate cheesecake that's featured in my cookbook. (Photo by Craig Lee)

Your chance to try Baker & Banker’s sublime roasted white chocolate cheesecake that’s featured in my cookbook. (Photo by Craig Lee)

Enjoy A Delectable Lunch With Me at Baker & Banker May 10

I’m beyond delighted to be the first author to kick off the new “An Epicurean Salon: Food Writers & Authors” series at Baker & Banker restaurant in San Francisco.

Join me at the restaurant at 11:30 a.m. May 10 for a multi-course lunch with wine in honor of my cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press).

Pastry Chef Lori Baker. (Photo courtesy of Baker & Banker)

Pastry Chef Lori Baker. (Photo courtesy of Baker & Banker)

Chef Jeff Banker. (Photo courtesy of Baker & Banker)

Chef Jeff Banker. (Photo courtesy of Baker & Banker)

Chef Jeff Banker and his wife, Pastry Chef Lori Baker are among the bevy of top chefs featured in my cookbook. In fact, you’re in for a real treat, as Baker will be serving her outstanding “Roasted White Chocolate Cheesecake with Cardamom Shortbread Crust,” the recipe of which is featured in my book. Having baked it last year, myself, I can honestly say it’s one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had. The texture is uncommonly smooth and creamy. It’s like no other cheesecake you’ll ever have.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person, Restaurants | Comments (1) | Author:

Hankering for Hawaii Part V: The Posh and The Pig

Friday, 25. April 2014 5:25

Broken surfboard art in the lobby of The Modern in Honolulu.

Broken surfboard art in the lobby of The Modern in Honolulu.

 

Morimoto Waikiki

OAHU, HAWAII — Most trips to Honolulu, I’ve stayed on Waikiki Beach. Close to the action, for sure. But touristy to the max.

For an alternative on this latest trip, the Hawaii Visitors Bureau offered to put me up a little farther out — but still within walking distance to that hotspot — in The Modern, which opened in 2011 on Ala Moana Boulevard not far from the mega shopping center there.

The Modern lives up to its name. Unlike so many other Hawaiian hotels done up in plenty of loud floral prints, this hotel is all soothing white and warm wood. It’s much more South Beach than Polynesia.

Behind the check–in desk, you’ll spy a catchy art piece of broken surfboards, many of them signed by the surfer sto whom the boards once belonged to.

The lobby also boasts a little subterfuge — a bookcase spanning one wall that pushes aside to reveal a secret space where guests can enjoy coffee in the morning or cocktails at night.

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Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants, Travel Adventures | Comments (3) | Author:

Hankering for Hawaii Part IV: Dining at Three James Beard Semi-Finalists on Oahu

Wednesday, 23. April 2014 5:25

A parade of snacks including this sweetbread chip begins the night at Vintage Cave, Honolulu's most unexpected restaurant.

A parade of snacks including this sweetbread chip begins the night at Vintage Cave, Honolulu’s most unexpected restaurant.

HONOLULU, OAHU — A culinary revolution is exploding on this island. A new generation of chefs has stepped to the forefront to shake, rattle and roll new life into Hawaii’s sometimes all too predictable cuisine.

Just consider: Among this year’s semi-finalists for James Beard Awards were five from Hawaii, including one restaurant that was a mere pop-up only months ago.

At the invitation of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, I had a chance to check out three of those up and coming chefs and restaurants recently. At two, my meal was complimentary, while at the third, I paid the tab but was treated to extra dishes on the house. In each case, I came away thoroughly excited by what I tasted and by the ambitious trajectory island cuisine is taking.

Vintage Cave

I’ve never dined in a restaurant like Vintage Cave before. Chances are you haven’t, either.

Imagine a cross between a billionaire’s medieval castle and a fine art gallery, and you get some idea of this most unusual restaurant that has no windows and is located in a most unlikely place — the bowels of Honolulu’s largest shopping mall.

In fact, my taxi driver looked at me quite puzzled when I told him where I was headed. Yes, you drive into the basement level of the parking lot of the Ala Moana Center. Among the rows of parked cars, you look for a brick doorway where a valet is stationed. You step into the doorway, where an elevator awaits to whisk you up to the next level. You arrive in a small anteroom, where you follow two women who open a double-door for you into the dimly lit restaurant. Its dramatic walls and ceiling are covered in 150,000 bricks imported from the mainland and intricately arranged in a herringbone pattern by three Romanian workers brought over for three months just to complete that task.

The cloistered dining room at Vintage Cave.

The cloistered dining room at Vintage Cave.

Hiroshima paintings that inspired the look of the restaurant.

Hiroshima paintings that inspired the look of the restaurant.

Dining amid Picassos.

Dining amid Picassos.

Immediately to your left is a series of three paintings done by Israeli artist Moredecai Ardon. Depicting Hiroshima — before, during and after the dropping of the atomic bomb — the paintings are said to have inspired the look of the restaurant. Walk a few steps to gaze upon a series of priceless Picassos that show the progression of the master’s art from realism to cubism. Off to the right are lighted display cases filled with luminous Lalique and Baccarat crystal. On the ceilings hang immense Swarovski chandeliers that glint with vivid red and blue.

All of these pieces — and much more found throughout the restaurant — came from the personal art collection of Takeshi Sekiguchi, the Japanese developer of this $20 million restaurant. It’s not by happenstance that Vintage Cave is located in the bowels of the Shirokiya store in the mall. Sekiguchi owns Shirokiya, which used to be an appliance store, with its wares stored in the 15,000-square-foot basement. When the store morphed into more of a department store, then giant Hawaiian food court, there was no more need for the basement. So, Sekiguchi, who also built the Vegas-like Grand Wailea resort on Maui, set out to build his dream restaurant.

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Category:Chefs, General, Great Finds, Restaurants, Travel Adventures | Comments (5) | Author: