Culinary Courier & Market Opens, Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Enchiladas Suizas from the new Culinary Courier & Market in Los Gatos.

Enchiladas Suizas from the new Culinary Courier & Market in Los Gatos.

 

Saratoga native Terri Piazza Shong has had a successful catering company in the South Bay for 13 years. Now, she’s expanded the business to include a new market that just opened in downtown Los Gatos.

Culinary Courier & Market offers her catering company’s most popular dishes — all packed up and refrigerated, so all you have to do is stop by to grab and go. It’s the perfect solution to those times when you don’t want to cook dinner, need a healthful lunch fast, or want to pick up some late-morning noshes for a small business meeting at work.

Selections include prawn lettuce wraps, kale salad with toasted almonds, meat lasagna, chicken Marsala, Yukon Gold potato hash, and French toast loaf with praline pecans and raspberry syrup.

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A Swank Evening at The Saratoga

A taste of old and new at The Saratoga in San Francisco.

A taste of old and new at The Saratoga in San Francisco.

 

Even though it opened in November, The Saratoga feels like it’s been a part of San Francisco for years — which I think is one of the greatest compliments you can bestow upon a bar-restaurant.

The newest establishment by the Bacchus Management Group is housed in a 1907 building in the Tendernob neighborhood that was once a hotel. The original brick in the interior was exposed in the renovation, as were its striking steel beam trusses. The effect is a modish industrial look that’s also timeless — old-school San Francisco spit and polished. I had a chance to check it out on a recent packed Saturday night, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

A wide staircase sits almost in the center of the two-story establishment, making for rather tight quarters between tables. A dramatic steel and crystal chandelier of cascading sparkling hoops dangles from the ceiling into the stairwell, doubling as a sculptural art piece. Tables are set around the stairwell, both on the main floor and the one below. A massive bar with shelves of liquor lighted from below is the focal point of the first floor. There’s also a second bar downstairs. If you need to use the restroom, you’ll have to go downstairs and thread your way gingerly past all the people standing at the bar or sitting at the nearby tables.

The incredible chandelier.

The incredible chandelier.

A touch of neon in the dining room.

A touch of neon in the dining room.

The Saratoga has that glam yet illicit feel the moment you step in the doors, owing to the quite dim lighting that’s broken up only by that showstopping chandelier and the small candle on each table. Mine was definitely not the only table pulling out a cell phone to use as a flashlight to read the menu. The darkness provides a certain edgy moodiness, but it also makes it hard to really see the food on your plate in detail. And that’s kind of a shame because the food is so playful and inviting here.

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Crunching on Crunchies

Beets and nothing but beets.

Beets and nothing but beets.

 

You have to love a “processed” snack food that has only one ingredient in the bag. What a rarity, right?

Crunchies is exactly that — freeze-dried fruit and veggies that have nothing added to them. They’re non-GMO verified, gluten-free certified, vegan, kosher, halal, and contain no added sugar or artificial flavoring. The produce is picked, then frozen before being freeze-dried. leaving it dry, light as air and crunchy.

And they’re pretty darn delicious, too, as I found out when I had a chance to try some samples.

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Bad Boy Cauliflower

Anthony Bourdain's craveable cauliflower.

Anthony Bourdain’s craveable cauliflower.

 

Anthony Bourdain is never one to hold back. That’s why fellow chefs and food writers love him.

So when he describes this dish as “This s–t is compulsively delicious,” you can bet that it is.

And I concur heartily after having made it.

“Roasted Cauliflower with Sesame” is from his new book, “Appetites: A Cookbook” (Ecco), of which I received a review copy.

It’s his first cookbook in more than 10 years. This isn’t a collection of necessarily cutting-edge cooking, but rather recipes for dishes that he loves to cook at home — well, on the rare days that he actually is in New York and not traveling the globe for his must-see “Parts Unknown” show on CNN. They’re also dishes that Bourdain thinks every home-cook ought to have in his or her repertoire.

AnthonyBourdainAppetites

Besides the recipes for fundamentals such as “Sunday Gravy with Sausage and Rigatoni” and “Chicken Satay with Fake-Ass Spicy Peanut Sauce,” you get plenty of personality and snark.

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A Taste of The World’s Best At In Situ

A unique chocolate dessert from Spain recreated and served at In Situ.

A unique chocolate dessert from Spain recreated and served at In Situ.

 

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of dining on signature dishes from Japan, Germany, Denmark, France, Spain and Italy — all from the comfort of my chair at In Situ in downtown San Francisco.

Opened last May as part of SFMoMA’s $610 million expansion, In Situ has to be one of the most original restaurants ever created. Leave it to French Laundry alum, Chef Corey Lee of San Francisco’s Michelin three-starred Benu and Monsieur Benjamin, to fashion a restaurant that’s much like a museum, itself, in curating and showcasing iconic artworks that in this case just happen to be edible.

Latin for “on site,” In Situ, is where Lee has collaborated with chefs from around the world, as well as right here in the Bay Area, to recreate their most iconic dishes. At times, he has traveled across the globe to watch a chef cook a dish; other times a chef has merely sent a video with instructions.

Art on the wall behind a communal table.

Art on the wall behind a communal table.

The bright dining room that's lively, but still intimate enough for conversation.

The bright dining room that’s lively, but still intimate enough for conversation.

How many times have you longed to try some fantastic dish at some far-off restaurant, only to realize the odds are you would never make it to that destination? At In Situ, that wish is very much possible.

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