And Now For a Beer That’s A Little Different

Wednesday, 18. June 2014 5:26 | Author:

Your eyes are not fooling you.

Your eyes are not fooling you.

 

If you think the foamy head on that frosty mug of beer looks a shade pink, your eyes are not deceiving you.

That’s because this beer has the unlikely ingredient of blackberries.

A full pound of blackberries per liter, in fact.

The Palos Verdes Brouwerij West’s beer is whimsically named “Dog Ate My Homework.”

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Category:Fruit, General, New Products, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (5)



Cooking Up A Storm at the Googleplex with Chef Matt Accarrino of SPQR

Monday, 16. June 2014 5:25 | Author:

Chef Matt Accarrino of SPQR makes gnocchi in the Google kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Google)

Chef Matt Accarrino of SPQR makes gnocchi in the Google kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Google)

 

How did New Orleans’ Emeril Lagasse influence Chef Matt Accarrino’s career? And just what does this “Food & Wine Best New Chef 2014” winner think of restaurants that don’t make any of their own pasta?

Take a listen as Accarino of the celebrated SPQR in San Francisco answers these questions and more when he joined me in the teaching kitchen at Google headquarters in Mountain View a few weeks ago for a very special event.

Accarrino and yours truly laughing it up in the kitchen. (Photo by Craig Lee)

Accarrino and yours truly laughing it up in the kitchen. (Photo by Craig Lee)

The occasion was a cooking demo in conjunction with my cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), to which Accarrino contributed a recipe.

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Category:Chefs, General, Google/Tech/Corporate Cafes, Videos & Podcasts | Comments (7)



Madera with a View

Friday, 13. June 2014 5:25 | Author:

Hamachi crudo with strawberries at Madera in Menlo Park.

Hamachi crudo with strawberries at Madera in Menlo Park.

 

Majestic is the word all right for Madera restaurant in the Rosewood Sand Hill resort in Menlo Park.

It’s got to be one of the most breathtaking dining rooms in the Bay Area, what with its floor-to-ceiling windows and wide terrace with a panoramic view of the Santa Cruz mountains. It’s easy to forget you’re in the thick of the hustle-bustle of Silicon Valley and not on vacation instead.

Over the past five years, with its proximity to all the venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road, it’s turned into a hot spot for business wheeling and dealing, as evidenced in my recent story in the San Francisco Chronicle. Even if it’s well known among the VC and CEO set, it’s still rather under the radar for the rank-and-file tech employees, says Chef Peter Rudolph, who is always surprised when he does corporate events at how few people have even heard of Madera.

That’s a shame because it’s such a lovely oasis. And we sure need more of those, don’t we?

Madera boasts a lofty feel with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Madera boasts a lofty feel with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Chilled wine awaits.

Chilled wine awaits.

I ate at Madera when it first opened. Although I liked the food, I found many of the dishes had just too much going on.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I was invited in to dine as a guest of the restaurant. The dishes are still far from simple, but they felt more reined in than previously.

Dinner is not inexpensive — starters are $15 to $20, and mains are $33 to $41. But to put it in perspective, this is also a place where tech folks are known to celebrate by ordering premium scotch for $500 a shot (again, see my link to my Chronicle story above). There’s also an impressive 2,000 wines to choose from.

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Category:Chefs, General, Restaurants | Comments (3)



Of Fathers, Husbands and Vanilla Ice Cream

Wednesday, 11. June 2014 5:26 | Author:

A vanilla ice cream that husbands and fathers are sure to love -- if not everyone else on the planet.

A vanilla ice cream that husbands and fathers are sure to love — if not everyone else on the planet.

 

My husband likes to joke that I married my father.

And it’s true — they are uncannily alike in many ways.

My Dad couldn’t get enough of cop shows on TV. Neither can my husband.

Both like to eat and run. I’d barely have time to swallow the last spoonful of dessert at a restaurant, before my Dad would be jingling his car keys and pushing his chair back to head home. My husband, as much as he hates to acknowledge it, has been known to do the same.

My Dad also liked nothing better than to end a meal by indulging in a scoop of ice cream. He’d go to the freezer, take out the tub and carefully fill a coffee cup, before digging a spoon in, contently. If there’s no ice cream in our house, my husband will feign wanting to go for a walk, just so he can stop by the neighborhood ice cream shop on the way home.

Their flavor of choice? Vanilla. Always.

Me? I usually zero in on the Chunky Monkey, the Sicilian Pistachio, the Basil, the Strawberry Balsamic. Anything but vanilla.

I never understood why, when faced with so many more unusual flavors, anyone would choose vanilla.

But now that I’m older, I get it.

You always hear how the tell of young chefs is that they’re prone to adding as many ingredients and techniques on one plate as they can. But as chefs mature, they pare back, realizing that simplicity is not only harder to execute, but also in the end if done well, more meaningful and memorable.

The same with vanilla ice cream.

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Category:General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (9)

Tacolicious’ New Sauces and Salsas

Monday, 9. June 2014 5:26 | Author:

Tacolicious makes it easy to enjoy Mexican mole at home.

Tacolicious makes it easy to enjoy Mexican mole at home.

Four casual eateries in the Bay Area.

A cookbook debuting in September.

And a new line of sauces and salsas now selling exclusively at Williams-Sonoma.

San Francisco’s  Tacolicious is fast on its way to becoming its own mini empire. The restaurant was established by Owner Joe Hargrave in 2009, who is married to San Francisco magazine editor, Sara Deseran, who, not coincidentally, is the author of the upcoming cookbook, “Tacolicious” (Ten Speed Press).

I had a chance to try samples of the new line of salsas and cooking sauces. Proceeds from the sale of the products go to the Tacolicious School Project, which supports neighborhood public schools in San Francisco.

Break out the chips.

Break out the chips.

The cooking sauces come in three varieties: Tacolicious Mole Rojo Braising Sauce, Tacolicious Shot & A Beer Braising Sauce, and Tacolicious Guajillo Braising Sauce. Each 16-ounce jar is $12.95 and is printed with a suggested way of using it.

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Category:General, New Products, Restaurants | Comments (4)