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Listen to the Food Gal Dish on Restaurants on KQED’s Forum Show

Monday, 6. January 2014 5:25

Getty Images

Getty Images

What are the hot new restaurants and the must-try dishes in the Bay Area for the new year?

Take a listen as yours truly talks food with Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle restaurant reviewer, and Meesha Halm, local editor of the Zagat Bay Area Restaurant Guide on last Thursday’s “Forum” show on KQED Radio.

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Videos & Podcasts | Comments (9) | Author:

Centonove Bids You Benvenuto

Friday, 3. January 2014 5:25

Osso bucco -- a Wednesday night special at Centonove.

Osso bucco — a Wednesday night special at Centonove.


Centonove, the newest restaurant to open in Los Gatos, welcomes you with Italian gusto.

Step inside its compact, convivial black and white dining room with splashes of marinara red, and you may hear Executive Chef Carlo Ochetti heartily conversing with customers in his native Italian.

Indeed, Centonove (Italian for “109,” its numerical address on W. Main Street) is like a neighborhood trattoria transported from Italy to the South Bay. Shelves lining a brick wall are stacked with wine bottles, packages of pasta (even gluten-free ones), and big cans of tomatoes to give the feel of an Italian groceria. Small tables fill the main room, which also sports two bar areas — one to enjoy a quick coffee, the other known as the chef’s counter because it fronts the kitchen, including the red-tiled, wood-fired pizza oven.

Executive Carlo Ochetti.

Executive Carlo Ochetti.

Manning the pizza oven.

Manning the pizza oven.

That’s where Ochetti, formerly of San Jose’s Il Fornaio, holds court. He chats easily and often with diners at the black marble chef’s counter, asking how everything is or explaining how a dish was put together.

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Category:Chefs, General, Pizza, Restaurants | Comments (7) | Author:

My Top 10 Eats of 2013

Monday, 30. December 2013 5:25

(Cool background courtesy of Background Labs)

(Cool background courtesy of Background Labs)


What were my most favorite bites of 2013, the ones I still remember to this day and can’t wait to enjoy all over again?

Take a look. Here are my Top 10 dishes of the year, in no particular order:

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, General, Great Finds, Restaurants | Comments (7) | Author:

Time to Enjoy Holiday Teas, Christmas Ales and More

Friday, 13. December 2013 5:26

Afternoon tea hits the spot during the holidays. (Photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton)

Afternoon tea hits the spot during the holidays. (Photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton)

Holiday Tea Time at The Ritz-Carlton SF

If you need a respite from all that holiday shopping, head to the swank Ritz-Carlton San Francisco for some soothing tea.

Take a load off at the 3 p.m. afternoon tea in the lounge, available daily through Dec. 24.

You’ll enjoy a pot of tea, savory finger sandwiches, scones, macarons and other sweets while live music entertains.

Price is $65 per person.

The little ones are sure to love the Teddy Bear Tea, available 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 20-24.

Children can bring their favorite stuffed animal to the Terrace Room to meet Stretchy the Elf, Holly Berry and the giant Ritz-Carlton Teddy Bear. They’ll also get to partake in holiday story-telling, sing-a-longs and a photo session with the Ritz-Carlton Teddy Bear. Holiday treats will be served, too.

Aww,  how cute is this Teddy Bear Tea? (Photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton)

Aww, how cute is this Teddy Bear Tea? (Photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton)

Price is $110 per person. A portion of proceeds benefits the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area foundation.

For reservations to either tea event, call (415) 773-6168.

Winter-Christmas Ales at The Trappist

The Trappist in Oakland is celebrating Kerstbier, a two-day Bacchanalia today through Saturday that spotlights a bevy of winter-Christmas ales, including a tap take-over with 25 featured beers.

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (3) | Author:

Chinese Food Goes Ultra Glam at Hakkasan in San Francisco

Friday, 6. December 2013 5:25

Pipa duck at Hakkasan in San Francisco.

Pipa duck at Hakkasan in San Francisco.

As a child growing up in San Francisco, I remember many a time accompanying my Dad to a Chinatown joint, where he’d order a plate of fluffy steamed rice topped with an ample portion of cleaver-chopped roasted duck for all of $5.

It was cheap, filling and satisfying.

I couldn’t help but flash back to that no-frills dish when I had a far more luxurious version recently at Hakkasan in San Francisco, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

Oh sure, you can have roast duck with rice here. But it’ll set you back $40.

Yes, that plate of duck alone — 12 slices of gorgeous mahogany skin each covering a sliver of meat resting on a smear of hoisin sauce –  is $36.

Nope, this is definitely not my late-Dad’s duck rice plate. Nor his kind of Chinese restaurant. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

It’s just that for most of us accustomed to mom-and-pop neighborhood Chinese food at moderate prices, Hakkasan’s steep tab can be a shock.

But should it be? After all, so many of us are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars per person for a tasting menu at all manner of Western restaurants. So should we blanch when a Chinese restaurant dares enter that realm of cost?

A private dining room.

A private dining room.

The soaring wine room as seen through the artsy wood divider.

The soaring, illuminated wine room as seen through the artsy wood divider.

Hakkasan does offer up luxuriousness to the max. With outposts in Dubai, Miami and Las Vegas, Hakkasan is as glitzy as you can imagine.

It’s located in the iconic One Kearny building off Market St. Walk through the door to find a host at a stark, blue-purple illuminated counter who will instruct you to take the elevator up to the second floor to the restaurant. The aroma of incense is already noticeable and assaults even more when the elevator opens up to the restaurant.

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Category:General, Restaurants | Comments (9) | Author: