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Hankering for Hawaii Part III: Marvelous Maui Dining at Migrant and Ka’ana Kitchen

Monday, 21. April 2014 5:26

A visit to Chef Sheldon Simeon's new Maui restaurant, Migrant.

A visit to Chef Sheldon Simeon’s new Maui restaurant, Migrant.

MAUI, HAWAII — This island’s dining scene is heating up with the arrival of two new restaurants last year, including a fun one by “Top Chef Fan Favorite” Sheldon Simeon, late of the ever popular Star Noodle.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to check out that restaurant plus the splashy new Ka’ana Kitchen — all courtesy of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau.

As anyone who’s been to Hawaii can attest, big-name restaurants here tend to be not only pricey and touristy, but at times all too predictable. Not these two. In fact, I can’t wait to go back again to both.

Migrant

Even before he appeared on Season 10 of “Top Chef,” Sheldon Simeon’s cooking drew lines day and night at Star Noodle. After making it to the final three? The place was bombarded with even more throngs.

And now after being named “The People’s Best New Chef — Northwest & Pacific Region” for 2014 by Food & Wine magazine? Tourists and locals alike are following him over to his new restaurant, Migrant, which opened four months ago, as evidenced by the packed tables on the night I was invited in as a guest.

Dusk at Wailea Beach Marriott.

Twilight at Wailea Beach Marriott.

The entrance to Migrant.

The entrance to Migrant.

The slogan on the menu and servers’ T-shirts says it all: Come to My House. Eat.

Simeon is doing his own style of food here — comforting, Asian-inspired island flavors with little twists here and there. It’s food meant for sharing and enjoying a rollicking time over.

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Category:Chefs, Food TV, General, Restaurants, Travel Adventures | Comments (7) | Author:

Lure + Till Takes Root in Downtown Palo Alto

Friday, 11. April 2014 5:25

First of the season Alaskan halibut at Palo Alto's Lure + Till.

First of the season Alaskan halibut at Palo Alto’s Lure + Till.

 

What was once a senior care facility in downtown Palo Alto has morphed into a splashy new boutique hotel and restaurant.

The eight-story Epiphany Hotel, a Joie de Vivre property, opened at the end of March after a  year of demolition that took the structure down to the studs, followed by nearly two years of construction.

The six-story mosaic of El  Palo Alto, the 1,000-year-old coastal redwood for which the city is named, was kept on the outside of the building. Moreover, throughout the structure there are nods to both that tree and to the city’s prominent place in Silicon Valley history. For instance, binary code is used as lighted artwork in the lobby. Historic maps of Palo Alto adorn hallways. Room rugs are woven with tree images. Cocoon-like “hoodie” chairs on the mezzanine not only have built-in outlets but were designed to be noise-cancelling. And perhaps in the ultimate oxymoron, the desks for all those hustle-bustle guests who never met an electronic device they didn’t like were made by the Amish.

Only in Silicon Valley: binary code as art.

Only in Silicon Valley: binary code as art.

The chic lobby.

The chic lobby.

Now, I’m not in the habit of snapping pictures of urinals in the men’s room. But this one was too good not to memorialize after being escorted in by the general manager. Yes, in the men’s room of a hotel just a stone’s throw from Stanford University, you will find this unique urinal, a deprecating symbol of the Big Game rivalry between the two institutions.

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Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants | Comments (4) | Author:

Join the Food Gal and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company at Macy’s Valley Fair

Friday, 4. April 2014 5:27

MacysHalfMoonBay

Who wants to try some beeramisu?

I thought that would get your attention. Yup, it’s the classic Italian dessert, only made with beer.

You can learn how to make it and sample some at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara at 6 p.m. April 10 when I host a cooking demo with Chef Gaston Alfaro of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Person, Restaurants | Comments (2) | Author:

Bay Area Chefs Event, New Seafood Restaurant Coming to Mountain View & More

Monday, 31. March 2014 5:26

Chef Ross Hanson is one of the featured chefs at the benefit gala for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef Ross Hanson is one of the featured chefs at the benefit gala for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

“Star Chefs and the Wines and Spirits They Love”

Enjoy gourmet noshes by 15 Bay Area chefs matched with wine and cocktails at the annual “Star Chefs and the Wines and Spirits They Love” fund-raiser, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 13 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

The participating chefs are:

Executive Chef Ross Hanson, Oak & Rye Restaurant
Executive Chef Philipe Breneman, Lexington House
Executive Chef John Burke, Liquid Bread Gastropub
Executive Chef Jeff Fitzgerald, Dio Deka
Executive Chef Jarad Gallagher, Chez TJ
Chef de Cuisine Anthony Jimenez, The Table
Executive Chef Brad Kraten, Park Place
Executive Chef Lan Le, White Shallot
Executive Chef Randy MustererSushi Confidential
Executive Chef Justin Perez, Justin’s Restaurant
Head Baker Avery Ruzicka, The Manresa Bread Project
Executive Chef Josiah Slone,  Sent Sovi
Executive Chef Nanci Wokas, Hewlett Packard
Executive Chef Chris Yamashita, Brown Chicken Brown Cow
Bee Whisperer Tim Dauber, Bee Friendly

The best dishes will receive a People’s Choice, Chefs’ Choice and Judges’ Choice award. Yours truly is proud to be one of the judges for the evening.

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Category:Chefs, General, More Food Gal -- In Person, Restaurants, Wine | Comment (0) | Author:

The Counter Debuts A New Menu

Friday, 28. March 2014 5:26

Southeast Asian ahi burger at The Counter is a staple on the menu now.

Southeast Asian ahi burger at The Counter is a staple on the menu now.

 

It’s not every burger joint that offers quinoa, kale and deviled eggs.

But The Counter, which has locations worldwide now, started in Santa Monica, where gourmet, healthful grub is definitely appreciated.

That’s why the build-your-own burger chain has introduced a new menu this month at its Northern California locations that will eventually expand to encompass all its outposts.

Don’t worry — you can still design your own burger to your heart’s content from type of bun, meat and cheese to a full arsenal of toppings. But there are now new salads, drinks and set burger options, as I found out when I was invited in recently to be a guest of The Counter at San Jose’s Santana Row.

The Santana Row outpost.

The Santana Row outpost.

Among the new selections are a Veggie Club ($7) with grilled zucchini, roasted red pepper, grilled carrot, avocado, tomato, mozzarella and pesto; the Un-Brie-livable ($9.50 for 1/3 pound or $12.50 for 1/2 pound) ground turkey patty with brie, organic mixed greens, dried cranberries, tomato, and apricot sauce on a multigrain bun; and the Sonoma Bowl ($10.50 for 1/3 pound or $13.50 for 1/2 pound) beef burger in a bowl with organic greens, quinoa, herbed goat cheese, red onions, roasted tomatoes and pesto.

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