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.
Miso-glazed black cod to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
Got a tub of miso lingering in the back of the fridge? And a great piece of fresh, fatty fish you just picked up at the market?
Then, you have the makings of a restaurant-quality dish at home in no time.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at a Nobu Matsuhisa restaurant, you probably know one of his signature dishes quite well. Miso-marinated black cod is one of those dishes you can’t help but order again and again. It’s just that good.
You have rich, succulent fish fillet coupled with the umami bomb known as miso. The fermented soybean paste gives the fish a powerhouse of meaty, salty savoriness that’s downright craveable.
Grilled salmon with an Asian-style glaze.
Every summer, I look forward to heirloom tomatoes, peaches, plums, and one other very special item:
Wild local King salmon.
Like fruits and vegetables, seafood also has a season. For California wild salmon, it’s summer. And it ends all too soon for my liking.
Indeed, get your fill now because the season will soon come to a close toward the end of September.
There’s nothing like eating salmon in summer with its bright reddish orange flesh that tastes downright luxurious. To be sure, it’s not an inexpensive ingredient at $25 or more per pound. But it tastes far more expensive than that with its unbelievably lush texture and resonating flavor that just fills your mouth like a dream.
I like to enjoy it simply. Sashimi-style, when you can really taste the fat and freshness. Or grilled, with a kiss of smoke to heighten its robust richness.
Snowy white halibut chunks get grilled with pancetta and artisan bread cubes for a taste sensation.
I like nothing better than working up a sweat by hiking or snow-shoeing through the great outdoors.
But at the end of that, when I’m spent, starved and sweaty, I long for a hot shower (with adequate water pressure) and a real bed (preferably with fine linens).
Which is probably why I confess I’ve only camped once in my life.
And I had to be sweet-talked into it.
That’s why I was happy to find that “The Great Outdoors Cookbook” (Oxmoor House) by the editors of Sunset magazine, of which I received a review copy, is made for die-hard campers, as well as folks like me who’d rather do their outdoor cooking in their own backyard.
The book is divided into recipes for “Campfires,” “Home Fires,” and “Inspired Fires” (when you dig pits and such). There are even tips for foraging and doing a seafood boil on the beach.
“Halibut Kebabs with Grilled Bread and Pancetta” is as easy as it gets. Chunks of halibut are quickly marinated in olive oil and fresh rosemary before being threaded on long skewers with pancetta and bread cubes.
Korean Barbecue Bowl at Pacific Catch in Mountain View.
San Francisco-based Pacific Catch opened its sixth location at the end of March in Mountain View — and its largest restaurant to date.
Located at The Village at San Antonio Center, it’s a pretty, airy restaurant with plenty of outdoor seating, plus roomy booths in the dining room that’s decorated on theme with fish prints, a cascading water wall and light fixtures that look like they’re fabricated from delicate Japanese paper.
Partners Aaron Noveshen and Keith Cox opened the first Pacific Catch on Chestnut Street in San Francisco in 2003. This spring, they also brought on board David Gingrass as executive chef. Gingrass, who cooked with Wolfgang Puck and once had the lauded Hawthorne Lane restaurant in San Francisco, has streamlined and upgraded operations, according to the general manager. Still to come, Gingrass will be putting his stamp on the menu with some new dishes.
The dining room.
A few weeks ago, I had a chance to check out the current menu when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.
The restaurant is proud of its crafted cocktails including the Spicy Pacific ($7), which I tried at the manager’s suggestion. It’s a golden blend of Svedka vodka, passion fruit and Serrano chilies. It starts out fruity and refreshing, then the kick of heat kicks in at the end, warming the throat all the way down. It should come with a warning, as you can’t help but take one sip then reach for another and another.