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Scenes from the 25th Anniversary Star Chefs & Vintners Gala

Tuesday, 24. April 2012 5:25

A Reuben slider from the crew at Foreign Cinema and Show Dogs restaurants at the Meals on Wheels gala.

It was a star-studded chef affair on Sunday night at Pier 48 in San Francisco, as more than 70 Bay Area top toques turned out to cook up a storm for a sold-out crowd in support of a noble cause.

More than 1,000 folks wined, dined and mingled at the sold-out 25th “Star Chefs & Vintners Gala,” the main fund-raiser for Meals on Wheels, the San Francisco organization that provides nutritious meals and support services to home-bound seniors. Last year’s event raised $1.4 million. Yours truly was lucky enough to be invited as a guest this year.

For the ninth time, Chef Nancy Oakes of Boulevard and Prospect, both in San Francisco, took the reins as gala chair for this megawatt event. The evening kicked off with a walk-around reception, in which mixologists shook up cocktails, vintners poured special vintages and a bevy of chefs manned stations to turn out gourmet noshes.

A night to remember for a worthwhile cause.

Chefs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, the dynamic duo behind Terra and Bar Terra, both in St. Helena, prepared bowls of their fabulous ramen complete with succulent pork slices and a oozy poached quail egg.

The Bar Terra team hard at work...

...serving up bowls of pork belly ramen.

Chef Victor Scargle of Lucy at Bardessono in Yountville served up cones of Georgia shrimp atop soba noodle salad made with the restaurant’s own rau ram herb, while Chef Ron Siegel of Parallel 37 in San Francisco followed the Asian vibe with a juicy scallop in dashi broth.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (10) | Author:

San Francisco’s Ritz-Carlton Goes From Staid to Hip with Parallel 37

Thursday, 23. February 2012 5:25

Kampachi sashimi at Parallel 37. One of the prettiest dishes you'll ever eat at a bar.

It used to be a place you’d never venture on a whim.

No, the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, high atop San Francisco’s blue-blood Nob Hill, was reserved for special times, when you got dressed to the nines to celebrate a planned, lofty occasion.

Those times have changed — dramatically.

The prim-and-proper Dining Room, the last of those concept restaurants at any Ritz-Carlton, finally was bid adieu late last year. In its place, the swank Parallel 37 opened, named appropriately enough for the geographic latitude running near the Bay Area.

With cocoa banquettes, bare tables and a focal point wall aglow with the image of a backlit oak forest, the new restaurant has gotten a fresh, contemporary makeover. It has a much larger bar, too, complete with two flat-screens, something unthinkable before. And parking for the restaurant has been dropped to a reasonable flat-rate of $10 to lure more folks to drop in on a regular basis.

Chef Ron Siegel at the bar of Parallel 37, the restaurant formerly known as the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton.

Amid this whirlwind of change, one constant has remained, thankfully. Executive Chef Ron Siegel, who has been at the helm since 2004, is still in charge.

“I like the new look,” he says of the transformation of his restaurant. “The other was a little stuffy. People in San Francisco love to eat out and to them, this has the right feel now. I like the energy it has.”

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Category:Chefs, Food TV, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (11) | Author:

Who Put Coffee and Chocolate In My Tequila?

Monday, 13. February 2012 5:26

Not your usual chocolates -- but cocoa tequila.

Someone very, very smart, that’s who.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Patrón Spirits has introduced a new tequila sure to make anyone swoon.

Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa is Patrón Silver tequila combined with coffee from Vercruz and Chiapas, and chocolate from criollo cocoa beans, the rarest and most expensive grown.

The result is a 60-proof tequila that’s the color of hot fudge sauce.

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Category:Chocolate, General, New Products, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (13) | Author:

Chef Richard Reddington’s New Glam Pizza Joint, Celebrating Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup & More

Wednesday, 1. February 2012 5:25

Not your typical pizza parlor. Redd Wood is glam and whimsical. (Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos)

Redd Wood Opens in Yountville

Acclaimed Chef Richard Reddington of Redd in Yountville has opened his latest venture — Redd Wood, a casual Wine Country pizzeria, located just up the block from his other restaurant.

The chic looking space was created by St. Helena interior designer, Erin Martin of Erin Martin Design. In her first restaurant project ever, she’s created a look that’s rustic yet chic with unfinished stone, steel, glass, wood, mismatched chairs and intriguing salvaged objects.

“So much of the Yountville area is about serious food and wine experiences,” Reddington said in a statement. “With Redd Wood, I want to create an entirely different ambiance.”

A wood-fired pizza from Redd Wood. (Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos)

Take a seat inside or out to enjoy wood-fired pizzas such as prosciutto cotto, Brussels sprouts, tellagio and red onion ($14), and pastas such as lamb bolognese, arancini and tapenade ($18). A dedicated charcuterie room turns out house-cured prosciutto and salumi.

Enjoy Prize-Winning Taipei Beef Noodle Soup

How popular is beef noodle soup in Taiwan?

Consider that more than 168 contestants battled over burners last year in the Taipei International Beef Noodle Festival cook-off.

But you don’t have to get on a plane to try this street food favorite.Chef Hou Chung-sheng with his prize-winning beef noodle soup. (Photo courtesy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office)

Chef Hou Chun-sheng, the 2011 winner of the spicy beef noodle soup category, will be serving up samples of his specialty at two upcoming events in San Francisco.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, General, Meat, Pizza, Restaurants, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer, Wine | Comments (5) | Author:

FigCello is Fig-A-Licious

Monday, 31. October 2011 5:25

A new brandy made from black Mission figs. It's heaven in a glass.

Fig fans are sure to go wild for FigCello di Sonoma.

I know I sure did.

FigCello is one smooth liqueur made from black Mission figs blended with a hint of citrus, various botanicals, and distilled Wine Country grapes.

It’s the newest product from Sonoma’s HelloCello, a small artisanal distilled spirits maker. You may know its debut product, Limoncello di Sonoma.

The fig brandy, with 30 percent alcohol by volume, came about when Sondra Bernstein, owner of the Girl & the Fig in Sonoma was on the hunt for a fig liqueur for her restaurant. She approached Fred and Amy Groth of HelloCello, who were eager to take on the challenge.

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Category:Fruit, General, Great Finds, New Products, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (8) | Author: