Category Archives: Seafood

Joyce Goldstein’s Dazzling Fish with Charmoula

An easy fish dish full of the haunting flavors of saffron, preserved lemon, and sweet paprika.

An easy fish dish full of the haunting flavors of saffron, preserved lemon, and sweet paprika.

 

I remember eating at Joyce Goldstein’s game-changing Square One restaurant in San Francisco.

My best friend and I had saved up our money to dine there, having heard how Goldstein was pushing the envelope of Mediterranean cuisine, which back then was largely relegated to Italian fare. Instead, she expanded greatly upon that, serving up the flavors of Morocco, Turkey, and beyond.

The restaurant did not disappoint. The earthy spices were new to my palate then, and thoroughly captivated me.

So when I received a review copy of her newest cookbook, “The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home” (University of California Press), I got doubly excited when I spied a recipe for “Fish with Charmoula.”

NewMediterraneanJewishTable

As Goldstein writes in the book, quite a few diners at Square One took to calling her the “Queen of Charmoula” because this signature fish dish was often on the menu.

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A Better, Safer Canned Tuna From A Sausalito Company

A canned tuna you can feel good about eating.

A canned tuna you can feel good about eating.

 

Our love affair with canned tuna has ebbed and flowed over the years.

Beset by worries about mercury levels and unintended bycatch deaths of dolphins, Americans have cut back on their consumption recently. Still, it’s a good bet that there’s still a tin or two in our cupboards on a fairly regular basis because it’s hard to beat the convenience and versatility of the product.

Sausalito’s Safe Catch Elite Tuna, though, makes it easier for us to enjoy canned tuna with fewer worries.

Every tuna (albacore and skipjack) used by the company is tested for mercury, ensuring a limit of 0.1 parts per million which it touts is 10 times stricter than the FDA action limit. The tuna are wild, sustainably-caught, and additive-free. The fish are packed in BPA-free cans without any added water, oil or preservatives. In fact, the ingredients label on the can is as short as can be — just tuna and salt. You don’t even need to drain the can when you open it because there’s very little liquid in it.

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Florida Expands Into the Caviar Game

A luxurious little potato crowned with creme fraiche and Black Opal caviar.

A luxurious little potato crowned with creme fraiche and Black Opal caviar.

 

California may can lay claim to being the first producer of farmed caviar way back in 1993 with Sacramento County’s successful Sterling Caviar.

But now, the other side of the country is expanding its reach into the game, most notably Healthy Earth Inc.’s Black Opal caviar from Sarasota, FL.

It, too, is farm-raised, from Siberian black sturgeon fed a vegetarian diet. The company has worked with Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory to grow the sturgeon for both meat and caviar.

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Bar Crudo Celebrates 10 Years

Avocado toast -- and with uni -- at Bar Crudo.

Avocado toast — with uni — at Bar Crudo.

 

For folks like my husband, the antidote to too much fancy food is a good ol’ burger.

For folks like me, it’s fish.

Raw fish, to be exact.

So when I was invited in as a guest recently at Bar Crudo in San Francisco, I jumped at the chance.

After all, with the overload of cookies, rich appetizers and big hunks of meat at this time of year, what better way to give the body a rest than with raw fish — Italian-style.

Plus, the restaurant is proudly celebrating its 10th year.

The packed dining room.

The packed dining room.

You can sit at the bar, too -- if you can snag a seat.

You can sit at the bar, too — if you can snag a seat.

I still remember its teeny-tiny, original Bush Street location. Now ensconced on Divisadero Street, it’s still not huge. But the long, narrow quarters here definitely offer more breathing room.

On a recent Saturday night, it was packed inside, with even more folks outside, hoping to snag a table.

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

Chef Jackson Yu behind the bar at Omakase.

Chef Jackson 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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