Author Archives: foodgal

Effortless Baked Cauliflower with Black Olives and Cheese

A winning side dish that couldn't be easier to make.
A winning side dish that couldn’t be easier to make.

Given that it’s June, is it too early to start thinking about festive winter holidays?

Perhaps.

But “Baked Cauliflower with Black Olives and Cheese” is a dish you’ll want to enjoy now, as well as tuck away for safe-keeping for those November and December gatherings that will be here before you know it, given how time flies these days like a Shohei Ohtani fastball.

That’s because this side dish is a crowd-pleaser, easy to make, and much of it can be prepped ahead of time.

This fabulous recipe is from “The Food of Sicily” (Artisan Books, 2023), of which I received a review copy.

It was written by Palermo-native Farbrizia Lanza, who grew up in a wine-making family, who owns the 200-year-old Tasca d’Almerita in Sicily. In 2006, she took over the operations of her mother’s Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in Sicily.

Read more

Spoil Yourself — Or Someone Else — With Cherry Almond Bundt Cake

Chopped fresh cherries hide inside this Bundt cake.
Chopped fresh cherries hide inside this Bundt cake.

As a kid at this time of year, I fondly remember pulling open the fridge door to snatch a big handful of fresh cherries waiting and ready in a colander in all their crunchy, ice-cold sweetness.

Whether because my family lacked a pitter in our tiny kitchen or didn’t yet know about the drinking straw or paper clip method to pop out the pits, I never baked with them back then. I just happily ate them out of hand, picking up each one by the stem to plop into my mouth with gusto.

As a proud pitter owner now, though, I revel in staining my fingers fuchsia as I methodically dislodge one pit after the other until amassing enough to bake in something special.

Something exactly like this moist, rich tasting “Cherry Almond Bundt.”

This cake, full of 1 1/2 heaping cups of — ahem — pitted and chopped cherries, is from the new cookbook, “Around Our Table” (Hardie Grant), of which I received a review copy.

Version 1.0.0

It was written by James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author Sara Forte, who lives with her husband and two kids in Southern California.

Read more

Dining at Fish & Bird Izakaya

An agedashi tofu that comes loaded with extras -- at Fish & Bird.
An agedashi tofu that comes loaded with extras — at Fish & Bird.

This gem of a place called Fish & Bird serves both those things, plus a whole lot more.

The name of this Berkeley izakaya was actually inspired by the Tom Waits song of the same about a bird that falls in love with a whale.

Likewise, it won’t take much for you to become infatuated with this Michelin-recognized place that serves modern Japanese shareable small plates inspired by seasonal California ingredients.

That’s what I found when I dined with my husband after taking in a matinee of Berkeley Rep’s rock musical, “Galileo,” that’s only about a 12-minute walk away. (By the way, Raul Esparza — you know him from “Law & Order: SVU” — and Madalynn Mathews are spellbinding as father and daughter in this production.)

The izakaya sports an open kitchen, bar seating and tables.
The izakaya sports an open kitchen, bar seating and tables.

Even on an early Sunday evening, Fish & Bird was full of diners eager to enjoy Chef Asuka Uchida’s food. A native of Japan who grew up with parents who owned a restaurant, she actually focused on French cuisine at the start of her career, which took her to Australia, then New York where she staged at the acclaimed Corton, before moving to the Bay Area to cook at Spruce in San Francisco and B-Dama in Oakland.

Read more

Gilda’s Salon in San Francisco: Where Art and Food Converge

Spicy pork two ways, a dish at Gilda's Salon that was inspired by a Southeast Asian painted tapestry at the Asian Art Museum
Spicy pork two ways, a dish at Gilda’s Salon that was inspired by a Southeast Asian painted tapestry at the Asian Art Museum

At Gilda’s Salon in San Francisco’s Proper Hotel, artistry on the plates has taken on a whole new meaning.

That’s because the special dinner series held in this swank room every other Friday night was inspired by actual artwork on display at the nearby Asian Art Museum.

Executive Chef Jason Fox and his team created this provocative 10-course menu after a fun fact-finding trip to the museum to study its exhibits.

This particular menu will be available at least through the end of July, at which time it is expected to change. It is $150 per person with an optional $60 pairing with Napa’s Ashes & Diamonds wines.

I had a chance to experience it last week, when I was invited in as a guest.

The lobby of the Proper Hotel in San Francisco.
The lobby of the Proper Hotel in San Francisco.
Gilda's Salon -- the setting for these special dinners.
Gilda’s Salon — the setting for these special dinners.

Designer to the stars Kelly Wearstler is responsible for the maximalist style of the hotel, where a bevy of colors, artwork, and eye-popping patterns somehow come together in harmony.

Read more

Artisan Chocolates with Filipino Flair

If life is like a box of  chocolates, this one will transport you to a far-off land.
If life is like a box of chocolates, this one will transport you to a far-off land.

It’s hard to believe that as a kid, Daniel Corpuz refused to eat anything except plain white rice.

Because what he creates now as an adult is full of brilliantly bold flavors.

His medium?

Chocolate. As in dazzling, hand-crafted bonbons with many fillings inspired by his Filipino heritage.

He started Daniel Corpuz Chocolatier in New York City after working as a pastry chef at renowned fine-dining establishments, The Modern at MoMA, Manhatta, and One White Street.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he shifted to concentrating on chocolates following the pandemic. It landed him a spot on Netflix’s “School of Chocolate” in 2021, hosted by the celebrated pastry chef, Amaury Guichon.

Read more
« Older Entries