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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Get the Kids Cooking With Pan-Fried Flatbreads with Spiced Butter

Easy home-made flatbreads with a flavorful butter you won't be able to get enough of.

Easy home-made flatbreads with a flavorful butter you won’t be able to get enough of.

 

Every child, teenager and young adult should be taught how to cook. Period.

It empowers them, allows them to lead healthier lives, and makes them more resourceful, independent, and appreciative, not to mention even more popular with their friends.

If you can cook a meal for yourself, no matter how simple, you have a leg up on life.

I know some of my most cherished memories still revolve around stirring up scrambled eggs in a frying pan with my Dad when I could barely peer over the stovetop; and thumbing through cookbooks with my older brother to figure out which cookie recipe we would try out as he baby-sat me during summer afternoons.

Carolyn Federman of Berkeley knows the power and importance of such a life skill. She is the founder of the Charlie Cart Project, a nonprofit that provides resources for food education in schools through the use of a mobile kitchen. She previously led efforts by Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard Project and consulted on program development for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.

NewFavoritesForNewCooks

Her new cookbook, “New Favorites for New Cooks: 50 Delicious Recipes for Kids to Make” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, will inspire you to get in the kitchen with your kids, nieces or nephews to get cooking.

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A Sweet Visit to Batch Pastries

Owner and baker Emily Buysse hard at work in the kitchen of her Batch Pastries.

Owner and baker Emily Buysse hard at work in the kitchen of her Batch Pastries.

 

Emily Buysse is an avowed cookie monster.

So much so that when she was working for an IT company in Berkeley, and couldn’t find a decent cookie to nibble on during her breaks, she took matters into her own hand. She started baking, baking, and baking.

In fact, it snowballed into a sweet new career, launching her first into her own wholesale baking business before she decided to take over Montclair Baking in Oakland two years ago and rechristening it Batch Pastries.

A perfect spot to take a load off with something sweet.

A perfect spot to take a load off with something sweet.

This would almost make me take up running again.

This would almost make me take up running again.

Situated in a small strip mall atop a hill, it’s a bakery small in space but big in heart. Regulars gather on sunny days to relax with coffee and a cookie, which she considers the perfect treat because it’s the ideal size to satisfy without overwhelming.

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Finally Making Time for Sammies at B. On The Go

A chicken salad sandwich on house-made bread at B. On The Go.

A chicken salad sandwich on house-made bread at B. On The Go.

 

I confess that my sweet tooth often rules my life.

Which is why it’s only now that I’ve finally made it to B. On The Go in San Francisco.

Typically, I’ll be so laser-focused on getting to its sister site, B. Patisserie to snag my favorite kouign-amanns that I forget everything else.

Not this time, though.

I finally made it into B. On The Go a couple weeks ago to buy two delicious sandwiches.

Just steps away from B. Patisserie.

Just steps away from B. Patisserie.

Just order at the counter.

Just order at the counter.

The sandwich shop is kitty-corner to the pastry shop. The light-filled corner spot offers soups, salads, and a few baked treats in addition to sandwiches, which are served on house-made bread, of course.

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Better Sweet-And-Sour Spare Ribs

Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.

Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.

 

This is not your battered to oblivion, deep-fried, unnaturally red, gloppy sauced sweet and sour pork that’s a standard at Chinese restaurants.

No, this is a home-style version that eschews all of that — and tastes even better as a result.

“Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs” is from the new cookbook, “Chinese Soul Food” (Sasquatch Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Hsiao-Ching Chou, a Seattle food writer and cooking instructor.

ChineseSoulFood

She grew up in Columbia, MO, where her parents settled in 1975. At the time, there were no Asian markets there. In fact, the family had to drive 10 hours to Chicago to stock up on decent soy sauce and other Chinese provisions. Her parents eventually opened a Chinese restaurant in 1980, which lasted for 23 years.

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