Randall Grahm Chinese New Year Banquet & More in the New Year

Randall Grahm will host an unforgettable Chinese New Year's banquet. (Photo courtesy of Grahm)

Chinese New Year Banquet at the Cellar Door in Santa Cruz

Winemaker provocateur and bon vivant Randall Grahm, founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard, is joining forces with Alexander Ong, executive chef of San Francisco’s Betelnut, for what promises to be one memorable Chinese New Year banquet, 5 p.m. Jan. 29.

The feast, in honor of the “Year of the Dragon,” will be held at Grahm’s Cellar Door Cafe in Santa Cruz.

The multi-course dinner with paired wines will feature pork and chive dumplings with crispy shallots; whole California black cod in miso, ginger and scallions, Betelnut’s famous “Beggar’s chicken” that’s baked in clay, and of course, long-life noodles with Dungeness crab sauce.

A whole chicken that's been marinated...(Photo by Carolyn Jung)

...is baked in clay until the meat is oh-so tender. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Price is $88 per person. For reservations, call (831) 425-6771. The Food Gal will be there, so stop by and say “hello” between bites.

Chef Joseph Humphrey Plans Pop-Up Dinners in Oakland in January

Joseph Humphrey, the noted chef who has helmed the likes of the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena and Cavallo Point in Marin, has been working hard on his newest project: Dixie, a Southern-inspired contemporary Bay Area cuisine restaurant planned for the old Pres a Vi spot in San Francisco’s Presidio.

While that’s still under construction, he’s eager to get back in the kitchen. So, in January, you can find him serving up a sneak taste of his Dixie fare at Guest Chef in Oakland, a unique, full-service restaurant that allows established chefs to do pop-up stints.

The simple, two-course $35 prix fixe will feature choices for each course, plus a few little extras. Wines also will be available to pair with each dish. You also can add a third course for an additional $14.

Jan. 4-5, enjoy such dishes as chicken fried quail with roasted garlic waffle; and halibut with sassafrass and sea urchin remoulade.chick Jan 6-8 will feature the likes of roasted sweet potato soup with duck confit; and chicken and dumplings. Jan. 10-12, look for smoked parsnip soup with fried oysters; and king salmon poached in pecan oil. Jan. 13-15 will showcase albacore tuna carpaccio with buttermilk and pickled vegetables; and roast beef with cheese grits.

For reservations, click here.

State Bird Provisions Opens in San Francisco

It’s a new restaurant with a quirky name meant to invoke both the California Valley Quail (the state bird), and the act of providing food and drink.

And it’s brought to you by the very talented husband-wife team of Stuart Brioza, former executive chef of Rubicon in San Francisco; and Nicole Krasinski, former pastry chef at Rubicon.

State Bird Provisions, which dishes up globally-inspired California cuisine, opened just after the New Year. It sports a unique type of service: small plates carried out to the dining room almost like dim sum service, in which diners can see and choose what they want. They also can order directly, though, lest their favorite dish gets snapped up by someone else before it gets to their table.

Fried quail at State Bird Provisions. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Dishes, which will change frequently, include carnitas stuffed squid, spiced shrimp with yogurt whey, and chestnut buckwheat profiteroles. And yes, quail will be a signature dish — fried crisp with lemony stewed onions.

Yountville’s Third Annual Moveable Feast

The picturesque town of Yountville in the Napa Valley is serving up a host of specially priced dining and winery deals from now through Feb. 29. It’s all part of the third annual “Moveable Feast” celebration.

Look for such offerings as:

* Bistro Jeanty: A three-course lunch for $55 per couple or a three-course dinner for $70 per couple

* Bouchon Bistro: Late-night, three-course dinner for $30 per person (available 10 p.m. to midnight).

* NapaStyle: Complimentary cup of soup with any sandwich order.

* Somerston Wine Co.: Free cheese and charcuterie plate with the purchase of a wine tasting experience in the tasting room.

* Hill Family Estate: Two-for-one wine tasting.

For a complete list on events, click here.

More: Delicious Dishes at Betelnut in San Francisco

And: My Cooking Demo with Chef Alex Ong at Macy’s

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  • That concept by State Bird sounds interesting but I wonder how long it’ll last if they allow people to just order anyway? And I wonder if the per-dish cost is similar to dim sum places? … On another note, I have reservations for the Dixie pop-up tomorrow night! So excited!

  • I can’t wait till Chinese New Year! Every year my cousin hosts dinner and we have hot pot. It’s the only time of the year we get hot pot so I look forward to it all year long cuz I LOVE hot pot!

  • I still haven’t tried their beggar’s chicken. Must do soon.

  • Dear Carolyn,

    I’ve never been quite a fan of beggar’s chicken because I find it a little sweet to my liking. I always wonder if this kind of concept will work in Sydney as most Chinese prefer to go to their usual chinese restaurants for the same old usual seafood and traditional chinese fare.

  • What a great menu. I love beggar’s chicken. I made it once and you have to be really careful not to have any tears or holes in the dough or you lose the delicious sauce AND you have to remember to get it in the oven early because it takes four hours to cook!

  • Some very intriguing restaurant events. As usual you tempt and I want to answer the call, the mind and tummy are willing but the schedule is full.

  • Happy New Year! Wah I totally missed the post about your cooking demo in union square! I could meet you in person and in action! ARH! I haven’t figured out CNY plan but it seems like there are lots of fun and delicious events!

  • I’m forwarding all of these onto my best friend who lives in SF…I can live vicariously through her when she attends these awesome events!

  • Yea! Cellar Door called back to confirm our reservation for the Chinese New Years Banquet. I hope we can see you there.

  • I was very disappointed at this meal even tho I had great time with my table. The dumplings were tough, the fish has scales, the portions were tiny and the white wine was flaccid. I was so angry that I canceled my wine club membership. Meat ball, pale, chicken had flavour. Just a bad meal.

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