Category Archives: Spirits/Cocktails/Beer

At Old Kan, It’s A-OK

Old Kan -- aka OK -- serves up a more than OK time.

Old Kan — aka OK — serves up a more than OK time.


It seems that everything that Chef James Syhabout, Oakland’s shining son, touches turns to gold. It’s not just his Commis, which boasts two Michelin stars, the only restaurant in the East Bay to garner that illustrious ranking, it’s also the care he puts into his other more casual restaurants in the city.

Case in point: Old Kan Beer & Co.

This brewery-gastropub is in an old industrial area of the city off the beaten track. It’s welcoming from the get-go and feels like a genuine part of the community.

My husband and I visited one lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon, paying our own tab at the end. A DJ was spinning tunes outside. And a pop-up had been invited to grill Japanese street-food specialties on the deck.

Gotta love the logo.

Gotta love the logo.

A great place to take it easy on a sunny day.

A great place to take it easy on a sunny day.

Syhabout teamed up with Adam Lamoreaux, who founded the pioneering Linden Street Brewery in Oakland with his wife Alice. The Old Kan Classic goes down easy with a good hoppy kick of an IPA. The Old Kan Light Cream Ale is brewed with corn, and is light and refreshing.

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Go On, Have A Little Beer In That Cake

A beer-y delicious cake.

A beer-y delicious cake.


Yes, this cake is two treats in one.

It’s not just brewski with cake; it’s beer in the cake.

“Big Honey Hefeweizen Spice Cake” is from the adorable cookbook, “Cake, I Love You” (Chronicle Books, 2017) by Jill O’Connor, of which I received a review copy.

O’Connor is a veteran cookbook author, as well as a food columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. And she obviously knows her cakes, as evidenced by the 60 recipes in this book.


Whether you like to bake cakes that are no-nonsense or like to spend hours decorating them to the hilt, you’re sure to find a cake in here to please.

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Join the Food Gal and the Team From Menlo Grill & Bar For A Cooking Demo



Come hungry, thirsty and inquisitive to Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 2 p.m Jan. 20, when the team from Menlo Grill & Bar joins me for a cooking demo.

Executive Chef Saul Romero, who heads the restaurant at the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park, previously cooked at the tech cafes at Google, eBay, and PayPal. He’ll be showing how to jazz up wild King salmon with walnut chimichurri and roasted butternut squash.

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The Publican’s Mussels in Sour Beer

Dinner in mere minutes: A big pot of mussels cooked in sour beer.

Dinner in mere minutes: A big pot of mussels cooked in sour beer.


Pucker up.

For sour beer, that is.

My husband may wince at this style of brew, much preferring a smooth Amber Ale instead.

But I can’t get enough of the specialty fermented beer that gets its characteristic tang from wild yeast strains or bacteria.

I love its bracing quality, especially paired with food, much like that of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the wine world. Both wake up the taste buds with a brisk bite, acting like a natural-born palate cleanser.

Though I’ve cooked with various types of beer over the years, somehow it never dawned on me to try it with sour beer.

That is, until I spied the recipe for “Mussels in Sour Beer” in the new “Cheers to The Publican Repast and Present: Recipes and Ramblings from an American Beer Hall” (Lorena Jones Books), of which I received a review copy.


The book is by Chef-Owner Paul Kahan of The Publican in Chicago, a modern-day beer hall known for its huge communal wood tables, deep beer list, and rustic dishes flavored with gusto and served charmingly on mismatched plates.

The Publican is just one of eight establishments in Chicago by Kahan and the One Off Hospitality Group. The others include Avec, Blackbird, and the wholesale Publican Quality Bread. (His bread is fantastic, too, as I found out when he brought loaves to a recent holiday dinner at Acacia House in St. Helena where he cooked with Chef Chris Cosentino.)

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A Delicious Dose of Dosa

A show-stopping salad at Dosa.

A show-stopping salad at Dosa.


At San Francisco’s Dosa, there’s a new chef in town.

One with an impressive pedigree, who isn’t afraid to shake things up, either.

New Executive Chef Arun Gupta, who hails from New York’s legendary Gramercy Tavern, acknowledges that he had never cooked Indian food in a restaurant before this.

But that’s not to say this Manhattan native wasn’t familiar with the cuisine. With a father who is Indian and a mother who is Polish-American, he grew up frying pooris, forming perogis and helping his mom tend her community garden.

As a teen, he spent a summer abroad in France with a host family, where his love of cooking really took hold. So much so that he started cooking for friends in his parents’ apartment.

Chef Arun Gupta, new executive chef of Dosa, at the recent Taste & Tribute event in San Francisco.

Chef Arun Gupta, new executive chef of Dosa, at the recent Taste & Tribute event in San Francisco.

After graduating from Tufts University, he happened to meet Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, who was so impressed with Gupta’s enthusiasm that he hired him. Gupta started at the bottom, and worked his way through every station in that famed kitchen over five years. In 2012, he became the opening chef de cuisine of Maysville, a restaurant started by Gramercy Tavern alums.

His talent caught the attention of Anjan Mitra, co-owner of the Michelin Bib Gourmand-recognized Dosa, who convinced Gupta to move with his wife and young daughter to San Francisco to oversee Dosa’s Mission district and Fillmore district locales.

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