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J-Pop Summit Festival, Filipino Fare, and More

Monday, 7. July 2014 5:26

Enjoy sake and so much more at the J-Pop Festival in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of J-Pop)

Enjoy sake and so much more at the J-Pop Festival in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of J-Pop)

San Francisco’s J-Pop Summit

Get your appetite ready for the second annual J-Pop Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown.

The event, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 19-20, celebrates Japanese pop culture, music, fashion, film and food. Admission is free, though some activities will require a fee.

Among the new attractions this year is sake tasting. A number of booths will be set up on Webster Street at Post St., where attendees can enjoy sake tastings and even buy bottles to take home. Admission to this area of the festival is $10 and includes samples from all the participating sake companies. ID will be checked.

If you need some food after all that sake, look no further than the “ramen street.” A half dozen ramen restaurants will set up booths on Post Street between Laguna and Buchanan streets. The ramen will be priced at $8 per serving.

A “Bites & Snacks” area will sell both sweet and savory noshes, including natto (fermented soybeans), onigiiri rice balls by Onigilly, and mochi waffles from Moffle Waffle.

Additionally, look for more than a dozen food trucks, including the Creme Brulee Cart, Bacon Bacon, and the Chairman.

Celebrate Filipino Food at Two Events

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind Filipino-Franco dinner at Left Bank Brasserie in Menlo Park on July 24.

Chef Brendy Monsada will be cooking up dishes influenced by his Filipino heritage. The three-course $45 prix fixe will be served family-style and include beverages.

Among the offerings will be adobong manok (chicken drumette casserole cooked in soy sauce, sugar cane vinegar and garlic); beef kalderata (slow-braised beef short ribs in a savory tomato and peanut sauce); and pritong lapu-lapu (deep-fried grouper with heirloom tomato salsa).  And yes, halo-halo, the layered dessert of fruits, crushed ice, purple ube yam and ice cream is one of the dessert options.

For reservations, call (650) 473-6543 or email: kmolloy@leftbank.com.

For more Filipino fare, mark your calendar for Aug. 30 for the first Savor Filipino at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (3) | Author:

And Now For a Beer That’s A Little Different

Wednesday, 18. June 2014 5:26

Your eyes are not fooling you.

Your eyes are not fooling you.

 

If you think the foamy head on that frosty mug of beer looks a shade pink, your eyes are not deceiving you.

That’s because this beer has the unlikely ingredient of blackberries.

A full pound of blackberries per liter, in fact.

The Palos Verdes Brouwerij West’s beer is whimsically named “Dog Ate My Homework.”

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Category:Fruit, General, New Products, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (5) | Author:

My On-Again, Off-Again, On-Again Love Affair with Coconut

Wednesday, 30. April 2014 5:25

Coconut banana macadamia nut -- a taste of Hawaii in your own home.

Coconut banana macadamia nut — a taste of Hawaii in your own home.

 

As a teen, I fell for coconut.

Hard.

I’d bake sticky coconut macaroons, shower vanilla frosted cakes liberally with the snowy shards, and stir in as much shredded coconut as humanly possible into the batter for my favorite Morning Glory muffins.

But in my 20s, all of that stopped. I turned my back on coconut.

Maybe it was my young adult self trying to assert a more grown-up palate. Or the reaction to way too many Mound’s bars or supermarket German chocolate cakes early on, both of which had the nasty habit of rendering coconut nearly sickly sweet.

In any event, coconut and I parted ways. For a long, long time. I went out of my way to avoid the stuff, picking around the lone coconut bonbon in the See’s candy box or turning up my nose at any dessert that dared include it.

But a few years ago, ever so slowly, that flame for coconut was rekindled.

Koloa Coconut Rum mini bottles -- a souvenir from my recent trip to Kauai.

Koloa Coconut Rum mini bottles — a souvenir from my recent trip to Kauai.

Maybe it started when I succumbed to a sublime wedge of coconut cake at the cute-as-a-button Hominy Grill in Charleston. Because if you’re in Charleston, how can you not eat coconut cake?

Or all my recent trips to Hawaii, where coconut something or another can be found on every menu around.

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Category:General, Recipes (Sweet), Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (8) | Author:

Hankering for Hawaii Part II: A Taste of Rum

Friday, 18. April 2014 5:25

The tasting bar at Koloa Rum Co. in Kauai.

The tasting bar at Koloa Rum Co. in Kauai.

 

KAUAI, HAWAII –When the future of the last of the island’s sugar plantations turned uncertain, a group of investors got together to try to figure out a way to save them.

Their idea?

Rum. Distilled from Kauai rain water and home-grown sugarcane made into raw crystal sugar.

Producing the 80 proof-and-over spirit did prolong the life of the last sugarcane plantation, but couldn’t save it from eventual closure.

Still, Koloa Rum Co. has proved a success story.

Established in 2009, it remains the first and only licensed distillery on Kauai. Its award-winning rums are now sold in nine states, as well as inf France, Australia and Canada. In San Francisco, you can pick up bottles at Cask stores.

With 22 employees, Koloa Rum now produces seven different rums.

If you fly Hawaiian Airlines to the islands, too, you can even enjoy a Koloa Breeze rum punch for free — even in coach — in a promotion by the airlines and distiller.

Moreover, when you’re on Kauai, you can visit Koloa Rum’s tasting room at the Kilohana Plantation. Free tastings are offered every half hour. You must be 21 years or older to partake, of course. And yes, IDs are checked.

That’s just what I did on a trip a few weeks ago to Kauai, courtesy of the Kauai Visitors Bureau. I’ve enjoyed many a wine tasting. But never a rum tasting, which will definitely jolt you awake at 11 in the morning, which is when I did it.

Making my Mai Tai shot.

Making my Mai Tai shot.

By Kauai law, each person is allowed tastings of only 1 ounce of rum per day. In this tasting, you’re basically making your own Mai Tai shot. Your guide first pours a little Koloa Mai Tai mix into one shot glass for you to taste. Next, a pour of the Koloa White Rum into another glass. Take a small sip to taste the crisp, clear rum that has a slight tropical pineapple finish. Then, pour it into your Mai Tai mix glass. Next, you get a pour of the Koloa Dark Rum, which tastes of molasses, coffee and toffee. The darker rum has more caramelized sugar added to it, hence its color. To create a classic Mai Tai, carefully pour your Dark Rum down the side of the shot glass with the Mai Tai mix and White Rum. You end up with a float of the Dark Rum on top. After you’re done admiring your handiwork, slam it back in one chug for a quick buzz.

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Category:General, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer, Travel Adventures | Comments (7) | Author:

A Perfect Valentine’s Day Pairing, Dessert For Dinner, and More

Monday, 3. February 2014 5:27

A Valentine's Day gift that keeps on giving. (Photo courtesy of Eden Canyon Vineyards)

A Valentine’s Day gift that keeps on giving. (Photo courtesy of Eden Canyon Vineyards)

Eden Canyon’s Perfect Pair

Sure, I’m biased, but I do think that Eden Canyon Vineyards has come up with the perfect pairing for Valentine’s Day.

It’s a signed copy of my cookbook, San Francisco Chef’s Table (Lyons Press), along with a bottle of its 2010 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon, which won a gold medal in the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

The $55.95 “Perfect Pair” gift set is just the ticket to set the mood. Uncork the wine, and cozy up to one another as you leaf through the book together to plan your next cooking adventure or the next Bay Area restaurant you most want to visit.

The winery, the only estate-owned Filipino-American one in the country, is in the Paso Robles Appellation. The wine is made by Danny Villamin and his daughter, Elaine Blackaby.

Presidio Social Club Cocktails To Take Home

If you’ve visited Presidio Social Club in San Francisco, you know they make a mean retro cocktail.

Now, they’ve bottled two for you to enjoy easily at home.

All ready to take home. (Photo courtesy of the Presidio Social Club)

All ready to take home. (Photo courtesy of the Presidio Social Club)

Choose between the Barrel Aged Negroni made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari; or the Barrel Aged Reasons Rye, a blend of rye, punt e mes, Cointreau and orange bitters.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer, Wine | Comments (4) | Author: