Category Archives: Restaurants

Chicken with Red Pumpkin Seed Mole

A chicken mole recipe that doesn't intimidate.

A chicken mole recipe that doesn’t intimidate.

 

Los Angeles’ food scene has definitely got it going on these days — from the opening of Eataly and Dominique Ansel Bakery, as well as Ansel’s first restaurant, 189, to the jaw-dropping, mind-blowing Vespertine.

Before any of them, though, there was — and still is — one of the most dynamic landscapes for Mexican cuisine in the United States. From taco stands to food trucks to mom-and-pop restaurants to celebrity chef-run fine-dining establishments, Los Angeles has a wealth of places to experience thoughtful, authentic, and cutting-edge food that takes influence and inspiration from every region in Mexico.

One couldn’t ask for a better culinary guide to all of that than Bill Esparza, a Mexican food expert who won a James Beard Award for his exhaustive and exhilarating coverage of the taco scene in Los Angeles.

LAMexicanoBook

His cookbook, “L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places” (Prospect Park Books, 2017), of which I received a review copy, is filled with profiles and stories of the Mexican chefs and restaurateurs who have made Los Angeles their home and their livelihood, and along the way, made the region all the more delectable.

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Join the Food Gal in Conversation with Chef Ron Siegel

Chef Ron Siegel. (Photo by Michael Woolsey for Edible Marin-Wine Country)

Chef Ron Siegel. (Photo by Michael Woolsey for Edible Marin-Wine Country)

 

It’s guaranteed to be a fun, entertaining time when I’m joined in conversation 7 p.m. April 4 by Chef Ron Siegel of San Anselmo’s Madcap restaurant.

After all, he’s not only witty and tells it like it is, but he was also was the opening sous chef of The French Laundry, and the first American to ever trounce an “Iron Chef” on the original Japanese cooking competition show.

This Commonwealth Club event will take place at the Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley.

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Wursthall Restaurant & Bierhaus Debuts In San Mateo

The chicken schnitzel sandwich plate at the new Wursthaus Restaurant & Bierhaus.

The chicken schnitzel sandwich plate at the new Wursthaus Restaurant & Bierhaus.

 

When is a bierhaus not just a joint to enjoy a beer and brat?

When J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is involved.

When Lopez-Alt joined forces with Adam Simpson, owner of nearby Grape & Grain craft beer and wine bar, and Tyson Mao, a Lyft project manager, they thought they’d open a low-key, no-big-deal restaurant in the city all three call home.

But Wursthall Restaurant & Bierhaus, which opens tonight, has drawn unprecedented attention far and wide.

That’s because of Lopez-Alt’s fame and following. The MIT grad is a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and managing culinary director of Serious Eats, where he writes the popular “The Food Lab’’ column. His meticulously researched cooking techniques spark passion and discourse across the Internet.

The bar.

The bar.

All beers are on tap. None are sold in the bottle or can.

All beers are on tap. None are sold in the bottle or can.

Wursthall is the first restaurant he’s partnered in. “Initially they were looking for just menu consultation,” he explains. “But I wanted to be more involved. My wife and I bought a house here a few years ago. We noticed there was no modern place geared to families in an affordable price range. I had been talking to her about getting more involved with restaurants. But this is way bigger than anything I envisioned. I’m at a point where I don’t do anything for a paycheck. I do only projects I want to put my name on and really get involved in.’’

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A Lesson in Taro

Miso-glazed salmon, kalo soba and slaw at a taro-centric lunch at Heritage Restaurant and Bar.

Miso-glazed salmon, kalo soba and slaw at a taro-centric lunch at Heritage Restaurant and Bar.

 

When a contingent of Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau officials visit the Bay Area, they always bring a delicious taste of the islands.

Last week, they brought something extra special — a lesson in taro.

Invited media, including myself, were treated to a 6-course lunch at Heritage Restaurant and Bar in San Francisco in which almost every dish featured taro (or kalo, as the Hawaiians call it) in some way, shape or form.

As Kawika Freitas, director of public and cultural relations for Old Lahaina Lu’au and Hoaloha Farms, explains, “We want to make kalo the next Brussels sprouts.”

With an even bigger grin, he added: “Poi to the world!”

Taro illustration by Kawika Freitas.

Taro illustration by Kawika Freitas.

Indeed, if you only know taro from the pounded luau staple that often gets a bad rap by tourists, then you don’t really know taro.

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New Desserts At Bluestem Brasserie — Worth Every Calorie

Lori Baker's peanut butter-banana dream dessert at Bluestem Brasserie.

Lori Baker’s peanut butter-banana dream dessert at Bluestem Brasserie.

 

Since opening in 2011, Bluestem Brasserie in downtown San Francisco has seen its share of chef changes. But in the times I’ve dined there over the years, I’ve never had a bad meal, no matter who was heading the kitchen. In fact, that’s why I often send folks there if they don’t know where to go eat after a day of shopping on Union Square.

It’s easy to walk to if you’re already in that area. There’s easy parking at the Fifth and Mission Garage or a BART stop steps away. And the two-story restaurant is so large that you rarely have to wait to get a table.

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