Category Archives: Wine

New Desserts at Hopscotch, Your Chance to Stomp Wine Grapes & More

Peach melba at Hopscotch in Oakland. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Peach melba at Hopscotch in Oakland. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

New Sweets at Hopscotch

Hopscotch, the upscale diner in Oakland famed for its fried chicken, aims to satisfy your sweet tooth, too.

The restaurant, which serves American classics with Asian influences, just debuted a new dessert menu.

Among the treats to enjoy are: Peach melba with Greek yogurt sorbet, fresh raspberries and chervil; fig and almond tart with red wine sauce; and chocolate ganache cake with arare rice crackers and caramel sauce.

All desserts are $8.

Chocolate ganache cake. (Photo courtesy of Hopscotch restaurant)

Chocolate ganache cake. (Photo courtesy of Hopscotch restaurant)

The Mandarin Oriental Celebrates the Upcoming Moon Festival

Join in the commemoration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, typically held during a full moon close to the autumnal equinox, at a special event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 20.

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Free Tickets to Beta Tasting, Humphry Slocombe Now Available at Slider Bar, and More

Try the frozen Fosters waffle from Waffle Amore at the upcoming Beta Tasting. (Photo courtesy of Waffle Amore)

Try the frozen Fosters waffle from Waffle Amore at the upcoming Beta Tasting. (Photo courtesy of Waffle Amore)

Come Hungry to Beta Tasting in the South Bay

Dishcrawl, the creator of tantalizing foodie meet-ups around the Bay Area and beyond, is introducing a fun new event on May 2.

At “Beta Tasting,” folks will get a chance to vote on their favorite eats from 20 experimental dishes created by more than 10 food trucks from the Bay Area. The event will take place at a secret location in the South Bay that will be disclosed closer to the May 2 date.

Some of the new dishes to be unveiled include: ice cream taco by Treatbot, frozen Fosters waffle from Waffle Amore, lemongrass slider from Yummi BBQ, and veggie musubi from Rice Rockit.

Tickets to the event are $2 per person. Dishes will be priced from $3 to $5.

Lemongrass slider from Yummi BBQ. (Photo courtesy of Yummi BBQ)

Lemongrass slider from Yummi BBQ. (Photo courtesy of Yummi BBQl)

Proceeds will benefit the Bay Area Mobile Food Vendors Association, a non-profit organization that helps support food trucks.

 GIVEAWAY: Dishcrawl is generously giving away free tickets to any Food Gal readers who would like to attend the event. Just use coupon code: foodgalfriends.

Get Ready for Blind-Tasting Bingo

Yes, that would be playing bingo while blind-folded. How much goofy fun is that?

The San Francisco Cooking School and Edible San Francisco invite you to an evening of just that at 7 p.m. May 1.

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The Big, Bold Flavors of Namu Gaji

Pickled, seared beef tongue at Namu Gaji.

Pickled, seared beef tongue at Namu Gaji.

 

As my friend Mark and I sat down at the slender bar at the equally shoebox-like Namu Gaji in San Francisco, he started to look nervous.

When I heard that beef tongue was a special that night, I asked if he was game to try the restaurant’s rather unique preparation of it. Mark hemmed and hawed, squirmed a bit, and recounted the times he had tongue at other restaurants, only to find the rather toothsome, pebbly texture thoroughly unappealing.

Then, he looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “But if you really want to order it….”

So, we did. And when Mark speared a chunk, and took his first bite, I watched his trepidation turn to surprise and awe. It was the first tongue dish he’d ever relished.

Namu Gaji’s food will do that to you. It’s familiar yet not. It’s full of big, bold, sometimes fiery flavors — the kind you find yourself craving again and again after just one encounter, as I found after being invited in a as a guest of the restaurant a few weeks ago.

The restaurant also operates a food stand at the farmers market on Thursdays and Saturdays at the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace, as well as at the market at the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur on Saturdays. Later this year, it also plans to start selling its own line of kimchee at the restaurant and Bi-Rite Market.

The award on the bar.

The award on the bar.

The chef's counter/bar may be bare bones, but it has the best seats in the house.

The chef’s counter/bar may be bare bones, but it has the best seats in the house.

Founded by three Korean-American brothers, Dennis Lee (the chef), Daniel Lee and David Lee, the restaurant (Korean for “tree branch”) serves Korean fare. But also, Japanese-inspired ones and pan-Asian ones all their own like the beef tongue dish that is not Korean at all. Dennis Lee just decided to try pickling the meat for a week, then searing it to order. The pickling breaks down the tough cut, making it as tender as short ribs. It also adds an unexpected tang to the rich meat. The composed dish is beautiful to behold, looking like a zen garden of sorts.

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Que Syrah Syrah

A glass of Syrah pairs with duck-Syrah ragu over Syrah-flour pasta.

A glass of Syrah pairs with duck-Syrah ragu over Syrah-flour pasta.

That’s what you’ll be humming, when you dig into this lusty pasta dish.

Because there’s wine, wine, everywhere in it.

There’s Syrah in the meaty duck ragu that tops it. There’s even Syrah flour in the pasta dough for the homemade fettuccini. And of course, a glass of — what else — Syrah to sip alongside it all.

I was inspired to cook “Venetian Duck Ragu” with “Syrah Fettuccini” when I received samples of the new WholeVine products from Santa Rosa.

Company founders Barbara Banke and Peggy Furth started their line of grapeseed flours, grape skin flours and grape seed oils — all gluten-free — as a way to make greater use of what vineyards provide. They’ve also added a line of four different gluten-free cookies ($6.99 for eight of them), as well as a line of eight different wheat crackers ($6.99 for 12), all made with their flours.

Syrah skin flour.

Syrah skin flour.

Moreover, they donate a portion of profits to charitable organizations that help children in need.

The varietal grape skin and seed flours ($6.50 per 1/2-pound bag) are made from Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah and Zinfandel grapes grown in certified sustainable California coastal vineyards.

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The State of 31st Union

Wine flights at 31st Union in San Mateo.

Wine flights at 31st Union in San Mateo.

 

David Hunsaker leads a busy life.

By day, he works in sales for a commercial printing business.

By night (and weekends), he oversees the farm-to-table restaurant he opened last summer in downtown San Mateo, 31st Union.

The name of the restaurant refers to the fact that California was the 31st state in the union. It also proclaims the restaurant’s commitment to sourcing ingredients from within the state.

The 50-seat establishment is compact, with wood tabletops affixed to sawhorse legs that are set close together. A large bank of windows lets in a lot of natural light, all the better to illuminate the funky, charming decor. Think rustic and reclaimed, with barn wood wall panels, a polished cement floor, and a California state flag hanging on one wall. The focal point is a chalkboard-like outline of California on a back wall, with feathered arrows pointing to the areas where the restaurant’s ingredients have come from. Even the hallway leading to the restroom gets an artsy treatment with a bank of clip boards, each holding a page from a vintage catalog.

The decor is all about funky, fun and reclaimed.

The decor is all about funky, fun and reclaimed.

The focal point of the restaurant.

The focal point of the restaurant.

It's a celebration of California.

It’s a celebration of California.

Recently, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant to try Executive Chef Paul Burzlaff’s cooking. He was most recently sous chef at the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermore.

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