Bay Area-Made Sosu Sriracha

Wednesday, 19. February 2014 5:26 | Author:

Sosu Sriracha is aged in oak whiskey barrels for three months.

Sosu Sriracha is aged in oak whiskey barrels for three months.

 

Did you go through withdrawal last year over a feared shortage of sriracha sauce?

When Southern California’s Huy Fong Foods, maker of the ubiquitous Red Rooster brand, had to shut down temporarily after neighbors complained about the chile fumes, hot sauce lovers grew desperate.

But Red Rooster’s not the only game in town. In fact, the Bay Area has its own sriracha savant: Sosu Sauces.

Co-founder Lisa Murphy’s company started out on a whim when she decided to try her hand at making a better ketchup. From her upbringing in China and travels throughout Southeast Asia, she learned that ketchup actually has Chinese origins. So, after creating a Classic Ketchup, she concocted Srirachup (a blend of her ketchup and her sriracha), and finally a limited-edition Barrel-Aged Sriracha that’s available only through her Kickstarter campaign.

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Macy’s Valley Fair Welcomes the Food Gal and Centonove For a Cooking Demo

Monday, 17. February 2014 5:25 | Author:

MacysCentonoveAd

If you’re a fan of great Italian food and wine, you won’t want to miss the next cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara at 6 p.m. Tues., Feb. 25. (Excuse the date typo in the ad.)

That’s because I’ll be hosting Chef Carlo Ochetti of the charming new Centonove in downtown Los Gatos, who will demonstrate how to make one of his prized Italian specialties. A native of Italy, Ochetti grew up cooking with his mother, before going on to attend culinary school. He’s the former chef of Il Fornaio in San Jose.

Also joining us will be Lisa Rhorer, Centonove’s owner and sommelier. She’ll not only discuss the finer points of Italian wines, but bring along the specific wine she’d most pair with Ochetti’s dish. Yes, folks, this is a two-fer: You’ll not only get to taste food but also the wine that best goes with it. How’s that for a deliriously good time?

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TBD Fires It Up

Friday, 14. February 2014 5:26 | Author:

A glorious BN Ranch ribeye for two at TBD.

A glorious BN Ranch ribeye for two at TBD.

 

Owner Matt Semmelhack and Executive Chef-Owner Mark Liberman have a playful way when it comes to naming their San Francisco restaurants.

Their first? AQ, which stands for “As Quoted,” the phrase used in place of a specific price on a menu for seasonal, specialty dishes.

Their newest? TBD, which of course stands for “To Be Determined.”

It’s a nod to the fact that fire’s tamability decides the dishes. That’s because the main mode of cooking here is by live fire via a massive, hand-cranked, multi-adjustable grill.

You get a sense of the powerfulness of this, particularly if you sit at a table opposite the flames. Even on a very chilly night, as when I dined there, I was plenty roasty-toasty as I sat with my back to the blazing grill.

Cooking by fire.

Cooking by fire.

Wood is a major theme here.

Wood is a major theme here.

Imagine a hipster lumberjack as the ideal customer, and you get an idea of the vibe here. There are animal heads on the wall, dramatically stacked cords of wood, and specially designed wood tables with drawers that pull out to reveal your menu and silverware.

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The Surprise of Chocolate, Thanks to Alice Medrich

Wednesday, 12. February 2014 5:26 | Author:

Coq au vin -- with the surprising addition of chocolate. Perfect for Valentine's Day.

Coq au vin — with the surprising addition of chocolate. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

 

Love has a way of lurking in unexpected places, where we least expect to find it.

So, too, does chocolate.

Take coq au vin, that classic stew of chicken simmered in red wine. Leave it to the Bay Area’s baker extraordinaire Alice Medrich to create a version that adds unsweetened chocolate.

It’s from her cookbook, “Seriously Bitter Sweet” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy. It’s the new paperback edition of her 2003 book, “Bitter Sweet.”

The little bit of chocolate adds a subtle earthiness and meatiness, as well as body to the sauce.

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Brooklyn Popcorn and a Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 10. February 2014 5:25 | Author:

The "New York Mix'' from Brooklyn Popcorn.

The “New York Mix” from Brooklyn Popcorn.

I have a weakness for cheese popcorn. Always have.

And I’m not about to turn down caramel corn. Not ever.

But eating both those ying-yang flavors together in one mouthful?

Surprisingly, it works. Brooklyn Popcorn knows our palates better than we do, especially when it comes to how well the combo of sweet and salty works in harmony.

Brooklyn Popcorn’s food truck roams the streets of New York, enticing folks with the aroma of fresh popped popcorn in flavors that range from plain to coconut caramel to dill pickle to ketchup. Now, it also operates an online store.

When the company approached me to try a sample, I couldn’t resist its “New York Popcorn Mix” of white cheddar cheese and caramel popcorn.

The popcorn itself is delightfully crunchy and like all good popcorn, fairly addictive. The caramel corn in particular is quite crisp with a deep bronzed sugar taste. The cheese popcorn is much more subtle. You get a slight saltiness and just a little sharpness. I actually wish it was more pronounced.

The popcorn is available in different-sized containers, including the one I received, a 1-gallon tin for $28.95.

Sweet and salty -- in one bite.

Sweet and salty — in one bite.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a $20 gift card to Brooklyn Popcorn. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Feb. 15. Winner will be announced on Feb. 17.

How to win?

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