Category Archives: Chefs

The Little Caboose That Could — Dad’s Luncheonette

Hamburger Sandwich (top), and Mushroom Sandwich (bottom), at Dad's Luncheonette.
Hamburger Sandwich (top), and Mushroom Sandwich (bottom), at Dad’s Luncheonette.

It may be a train to nowhere, but it’s guaranteed to take your taste buds on a satisfying ride.

Dad’s Luncheonette opened two years ago in a historic caboose permanently parked on the edge of a shopping center in Half Moon Bay. Ever since then, it’s been drawing hordes to this unassuming spot.

After all, it’s not every day that a chef whose resume includes stints at uber upscale, Michelin three-starred Benu and Saison, decides to set up shop in such unusual and cramped quarters, all of 250 square feet.

Permanently parked on the side of Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay.
Permanently parked on the side of Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay.

But Chef Scott Clark and girlfriend Alexis Liu, owner of San Francisco’s Beacon Coffee & Pantry, were after a less hectic life after the birth of their daughter. When they spied the old caboose, it was love at first sight.

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Win A Signed Copy of My New “East Bay Cooks” Cookbook

Flourless chocolate cake from Old Towne Danville Bakery. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)
Flourless chocolate cake from Old Towne Danville Bakery. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)

Remember when you were a kid, and beamed with pride and happiness the first time you donned a snazzy new pair of red cowboy boots?

That’s how I feel about my newest cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1), which debuts this week. Thanks to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, it turned out more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Just get a load of the images here from the book, all of them shot by the incredibly talented Bay Area photographer Eva Kolenko.

Chorizo sourdough toast from Sabio on Main in Pleasanton. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)
Chorizo sourdough toast from Sabio on Main in Pleasanton. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)

Whether you’re a Bay Area native or not, this book will have you enthralled with the East Bay, the most populous region in the Bay Area. It spotlights 41 restaurants and bakeries, some brand new, and others that have endured for decades — no easy feat in this challenging and competitive market.

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All Roads Lead to A16 Rockridge

An especially meaty, sweet, tender tasting prosciutto at A16 Rockridge.
An especially meaty, sweet, tender tasting prosciutto at A16 Rockridge.

I have been a fan of A16 ever since it opened its doors in 2004 in San Francisco’s Marina district. But I may have become an even bigger fan now of its younger sister location, A16 Rockridge in Oakland, which opened in 2013.

That’s because parking is a breeze, especially on an early Sunday evening, as when I visited recently. In contrast, visiting the original location will always involve circling the blocks over and over to hunt for a parking space.

In Oakland, I save time in the car to spend more of it comfortably at my seat in the restaurant, done up in rustic-industrial style with exposed brick walls and duct work on the ceilings.

The restaurant, which takes its name from the highway that spans across Italy from Napoli to Bari, specializes in the food of Campania.

The comfortable dining room with high ceilings and large windows overlooking the sidewalk.
The comfortable dining room with high ceilings and large windows overlooking the sidewalk.

Its wine list is also killer. In fact, Wine Director and Co-Founder Shelley Lindgren won a James Beard Award for it. So when our server recommended a half carafe ($26) of the 2018 Terredora di Paolo “Rosaenovae” Montefusco, Avellino, Campania rose, on the warm summer evening, we knew it would hit the spot. And it did with its pale salmon color, and light, dry, minerally-forward character.

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Join Yours Truly For Not One — But Two — Macy’s Chef Cooking Demos

In celebration of my new book, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1), please join me for a signing event plus cooking demo at Macy’s Union Square San Francisco at 1 p.m. Sept. 14; as well as at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara at 2 p.m. Sept. 21.

The cookbook spotlights 41 of the East Bay’s best restaurants and bakeries.

The Sept. 14 event in San Francisco will feature Co-Chefs Paul Manousos and Jacob Alioto of Alameda’s East End, who will be cooking up one of their signature dishes from my cookbook.

The Sept. 21 event in Santa Clara spotlights Rana Saluja-Kapoor, co-founder of the Bay Area’s slew of Curry Up Now restaurants and food trucks. She’ll also be creating one of her recipes from my cookbook.

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Light A Fire For Chicken Al Carbon

A family-style feast of chile-marinated chicken, grilled veggies and warm corn tortillas.
A family-style feast of chile-marinated chicken, grilled veggies and warm corn tortillas.

With backyard grills sure to be blazing this long holiday weekend, there’s no time like now to get your chicken al carbon going on.

This smoky spatchcock chicken with a spicy brick-red marinade gets plenty charred, so don’t be alarmed at the blackened edges. It’s the sugar in the orange juice that gives it a sweet citrus taste and makes it singe easily.

“Chicken Al Carbon” is from the new cookbook, “Tex-Mex Cookbook: Traditions, Innovations, and Comfort Foods from Both Sides of the Border” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy. Loaded with recipes that fuse Texan and Mexican sensibilities, it’s by Chef Ford Fry, a native Texan with a slew of restaurants in Atlanta, including the El Felix and Superica; and food writer and native Texan Jessica Dupuy.

As the book’s intro states, “Tex” and “Mex” were at one time one and the same, with Texas and Mexico both part of the same Spanish colony known as New Spain in the 16th century. It’s no wonder that Texas’ food traditions borrow heavily from Mexican ones. In fact, many of the Tex-Mex specialties in this book will be quite familiar if you’ve dined regularly at Mexican restaurants in California and Texas.

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