Reveling In Modern Cal-Indian Cuisine at Campton Place

Campton Place restaurant's famed Spice Pot dish.

Campton Place restaurant’s famed Spice Pot dish.

 

Naan formed into rolls as fluffy as classic Parker House ones and hiding a center of ricotta. Cauliflower florets garnished with ethereal turmeric foam. And familiar-tasting cumin-scented potatoes and peas, but uncannily presented in a flower pot spewing wisps of dry ice.

That’s the unique, incredibly elegant cuisine served at Michelin-starred Campton Place in San Francisco by Chef Srijith Gopinathan. French techniques are applied to traditional Indian flavors with inspired Bay Area flourishes to create food that evokes time and place.

That’s what I found when I was invited in as a guest a few weeks ago. It had been a few years since I last dined at the restaurant. The food has grown more personal with Gopinathan really showcasing his native India and adopted city of San Francisco in memorable ways.

The dining room.

The dining room.

Just a few steps from Union Square.

Just a few steps from Union Square.

My husband and I checked into our complimentary room at the Taj Campton Place Hotel. 

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Little Star Pizza South Bay News, Taste & Tribute, And More

Deep-dish and salad from The Star via DoorDash. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Deep-dish and salad from The Star via DoorDash. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Little Star Pizza

What happens when Little Star Pizza teams with DoorDash?

Easier deep-dish delivery for South Bay folks.

Delivery app DoorDash recently launched a 2,000-square-foot commissary kitchen in San Jose for four different delivery-only restaurants. It represents an option for restaurants that want to expand their delivery reach without having to invest in their own brick-and-mortar facility.

The first tenant-partner in the DoorDash Kitchens is The Star, an off-shoot of San Francisco’s Little Star Pizza, famed for both deep-dish and classic thin-crust pies.

I was invited to try a sample delivery from the commissary kitchen, which now services the San Jose-Santa Clara area.

You can order either on the app or Web site, and choose what day and what time-frame you want it all delivered. DoorDash also lets you add a tip on the order electronically, so you don’t have to fumble with your wallet when you answer your door.

I chose the Classic Small Deep Dish Pizza ($22), Mediterranean Deep Dish Pizza ($22), and small Goddess Salad ($6).

The driver texted me when he picked up the food, and noted he’d arrive at my house in about 25 minutes. Sure enough, he was there at the pre-scheduled appointed time, bearing pizzas that were still hot.

The sausage deep-dish, delivered freshly baked and hot. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The sausage deep-dish, delivered freshly baked and hot. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The crust on the pizzas are beautifully golden. They’re crisp on the outside and slightly chewy within, rather like olive oil-brushed focaccia.

The Classic is piled high with a generous amount of chunky tomato sauce, nubbins of fennel sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green bell peppers. The Mediterranean is even more flavorful with its loaded mix of tomato sauce, roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, green olives, onions, red bell peppers, and feta.

They were as satisfying as if I had eaten them at the restaurant, only I got to enjoy them in the relaxation of my own home.

There wasn’t a whole lot to the Gem salad, owing to the fact that the toasted almonds mentioned on the Web site were nowhere to be found. Still, the greens were fresh and flecked with a few minced chives.

I appreciated the salad was composed of Little Gem leaves, too, rather than mundane iceberg or spring mix. The accompanying creamy pesto dressing was full of tangy, piquant and herbaceous flavors. I ended up cutting up a cucumber in my fridge to round out the salad a little more.

If you’re craving pizza in the South Bay — particularly deep-dish — you’ll definitely be glad to know it’s a mere delivery away now.

Taste & Tribute

Help preserve ancient Tibetan culture, while enjoying one of the most unique chef galas around.

The 17th annual Taste & Tribute takes place Nov. 17 at the Four Seasons in San Francisco.

Chef Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse. (photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Chef Peter Armellino of The Plumed Horse. (photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Founding Chef Laurent Manrique, owner of Cafe de la Presse in San Francisco, will be joined by 21 other top chefs, including Jennifer Sherman of Chez Panisse, Rogelio Garcia of The Commissary, Anjan Mitra of Dosa, Khai Duong of Kai restaurant, Daniel Corey of Luce, and Gerald Hirigoyen of Piperade.

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Creamy Grits with Blistered Tomatoes, Pickled Serrano Chiles, and Sunflower-Miso Tahini

Tuck into this novel version of grits.

Tuck into this novel version of grits.

 

Let it soak, let it soak, let it soak.

Yes, that’s me taking liberties with the refrain from a certain Christmas song that we’ll all be hearing on repeat soon enough.

But it’s also the mantra that Chef Josef Centeno adheres to when it comes to making grits.

San Antonio-raised Centeno is chef-owner of six Los Angeles-area establishments: Baco Mercat, Bar Ama, Orsa & Winston, Ledlow, P.Y.T, and Penny-Ante Provisions catering. Before opening those, he worked at Daniel in New York, and was chef de cuisine at Manresa in Los Gatos.

I zeroed in on his “Creamy Grits with Blistered Tomatoes, Pickled Serrano Chiles, and Sunflower-Miso Tahini” recipe when I received a review copy of his new cookbook.

“Baco: Vivid Recipes From the Heart of Los Angeles” (Chronicle Books) is by Centeno and Betty Hallock, former deputy food editor of the Los Angeles Times.

BacoBook

The cookbook showcases his imaginative dishes that reflect Los Angeles’ dynamic, exciting food scene today. His dishes are inventive — not in the molecular, shake-your-head kind of way — but in the clash of ingredients and flavors that somehow make potent magic together.

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Join the Food Gal and the Crew From Tacolicious For A Cooking Demo

MacysTacolicious

The folks that put the fun in tacos — Tacolicious — will join yours truly for a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 1 p.m. Nov. 11.

Chef Quinten Frye will show you how to make tortillas from scratch, then turn them into inventive, delicious tacos. You’ll get a chance to take a taste, plus bring the recipes home.

Frye previously cooked in Hawaii, Mexico, and in Washington D.C. for superstar chef Jose Andres. As culinary director now for Tacolicious, he oversees its five locations, including the one in downtown Palo Alto and the one in Santana Row in San Jose.

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Carb Heaven At Jane Bakery

Ginger cookie, Nutella brioche, and kouign-amann from Jane bakery.

Ginger cookie, Nutella brioche, and kouign-amann from Jane bakery.

 

On bustling Geary Street in San Francisco, a former KFC/Taco Bell hybrid has been transformed into something far sweeter.

Jane bakery opened its doors in December, producing glorious long, slow fermented loaves and fabulous flaky pastries in this former fast-food franchise spot.

This is the third outpost in the city for Jane, which is named for founder Amanda Michael’s now 18-year-old daughter.

A couple weeks ago, my friend Deborah and I were invited in as guests to sample some goodies on the menu.

You'll find it hard to narrow down your choices here.

You’ll find it hard to narrow down your choices here.

Michael, who grew up in San Francisco, once wrote reviews of computer hardware for a tech industry magazine. She hated it, and found solace in cooking. So much so that she went on to take classes at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco. It wasn’t long before she turned her back on the tech writing to pursue pastry gigs working at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and PlumpJack in Squaw Valley and San Francisco.

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