Category Archives: Seafood

You’re In Good Hands At San Francisco’s Omakase

Chef Justin Yu behind the bar at Omakase.

Chef Justin Yu behind the bar at Omakase.

 

Chef Jackson Yu hails from Beijing. As such, he knows how to cook Chinese food. But he decided long ago to ply his skills in a much different cuisine: sushi.

“I like to do Japanese food,” he explains. “It’s more of an art.”

Indeed it is, especially at his two-month-old Omakase in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, not far from AT&T Park.

The restaurant’s name refers to the Japanese phrase “to entrust yourself to the chef,” meaning, just sit back and allow the chef to feed you whatever he/she deems is best that day.

At Omakase, you are definitely in fine hands when you do that, as I found out when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant recently.

You enter into a small foyer. On the right is Origami Market (set to open this week). Just like Omakase, it’s owned by restaurateur Kash Feng, who started up Live Sushi Bar in San Francisco. It will feature more casual fare such as poke, steamed dumplings and noodle bowls — all highlighting local, organic and sustainable when possible.

Chef  Ingi Son preps fish just as the first diners sit down for the evening.

Chef Ingi Son preps fish just as the first diners sit down for the evening.

Chef Yu forming nigiri.

Chef Yu forming nigiri.

Adding a smoky touch before serving.

Adding a smoky touch before serving.

But you are there for Omakase, so you are are escorted to the sushi bar on the left side, which is all of 14 seats. Behind the bar is Yu, who trained in the Bay Area and in Ginza, Japan; along with two other sushi chefs, Ingi Son, who has worked in Japanese restaurants from New York to Las Vegas to Napa; and Yoshihito Yoshimoto, a native of Osaka with more than 37 years of restaurant experience.

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Sacramento — America’s Farm-To-Fork-Capital

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible "soil.''

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible “soil.”

 

When one thinks of California’s top food cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles come to mind immediately.

As for Sacramento? Not nearly so readily.

In fact, a publicist for the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau told me that when arranging a tour recently for an out-of-state food writer, the visiting scribe’s first question was, “Is there an airport there?”

Why, yes, there is. It is the Golden State’s capitol, after all.

Indeed, Sacramento is home to nearly half a million people, as well as 1.5 million acres of farmland. With a year-round growing season, it produces more than 120 different crops that are enjoyed not only locally but abroad.

It grows more sushi rice than any other place. In fact, chances are if you eat any sushi in California, the rice was grown in Sacramento. The city produces 80 percent of the nation’s caviar. The breadth of the bounty includes everything from almonds to Kobe beef to wine grapes.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

I was reminded of just how crucial Sacramento is to our plates when I attended a special private dinner last week in San Francisco that spotlighted the city’s culinary treasures. It was a Sacramento roadshow, as Executive Chef Oliver Ridgeway of Grange Restaurant & Bar and Chef Ravin Patel, chief culinary officer of Selland Family Restaurants, trekked down from Sacramento to EatWith’s South of Market event space in San Francisco to prepare a multi-course feast for a dozen food journalists and bloggers. All of it featured fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood sourced from Sacramento.

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Upscale Candy, Lobster Galore & More

Gummy Love Bento Box ($60). (Photo courtesy of Sugarfina)

Gummy Love Bento Box ($60). (Photo courtesy of Sugarfina)

Sugarfina Coming to Santana Row

Champagne gummy bears? Twenty-four-karat gold marshmallows? Absinthe chocolate cordials?

Nope, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill candies.

Sugarfina, an upscale candy shop out of Southern California, is set to open in San Jose’s Santana Row in August with those goodies and a whole lot more.

Founders Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick set about to create a decidedly adult candy store. That means combing the world for exquisite sweets that appeal to a more sophisticated adult palate rather than a child’s super sugary cravings.

Gold-leaf marshmallow. (Photo by Sugarfina)

Gold-leaf marshmallow. (Photo by Sugarfina)

The 883-square-foot shop will be located next to Donald J. Pliner.

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You Never Know What You’ll Turn Up in Hawaii

Atomic red hot dog musubi from Foodland market on Maui.

Atomic red hot dog musubi from Foodland market on Maui.

Like Neon-Red Hot Dogs

Yes, hot dogs the very unnatural color of atomic red are a thing in Hawaii.

Think of them as the red velvet cake of hot dogs.

You can find them in packages in the supermarkets, atop musubi or nestled into buns.

As one Hawaiian-born chef joked to me, “We do like our carcinogens.”

Even though he and his friends grew up on them, none could offer an explanation as to why they are the color that they are.

Even a Maui News article published a few years ago wasn’t able to shed much light on it.

I’ll take a wild guess and surmise they’re that hue to emulate char siu or Chinese barbecued pork. But who knows?

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Anderson Seafoods French Sturgeon Caviar and A Food Gal Giveaway

Oh yah, this is how I like to celebrate.

Oh yah, this is how I like to celebrate.

 

If any food has celebration written all over it, it’s caviar, isn’t it?

First, it’s the anticipation that comes with the opening of the tiny jar or tin. Second, the delicate handling of it with a mother of pearl spoon so as not to impart any unwanted metallic taste. Third, the arranging of the accoutrements of minced onion, hard-boiled egg and sour cream on teeny, pillowy pancakes. And fourth — well, it’s the price. Let’s face it, if caviar cost the same as popcorn, we’d be eating it all the time. Instead, it’s a splurge, leaving it reserved for only the most special of occasions.

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve coming up, now’s the time to indulge if you can. I did just that when I a chance to try a sample 2-ounce jar of French Sturgeon Caviar from Southern California’s Anderson Seafoods.

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