Category Archives: Chefs

A Caviar Pop-Up, Dining Deals & More

A luxury pop-up -- Regiis Ova Caviar and Champagne Lounge. (Photo courtesy of Regiis Ova)
A luxury pop-up — Regiis Ova Caviar and Champagne Lounge. (Photo courtesy of Regiis Ova)

Thomas Keller’s Caviar and Champagne Pop-Up

Even if you can’t score a coveted table at The French Laundry, you can still enjoy some luxe tastes in Yountville from Thomas Keller.

The acclaimed chef joined with caviar expert Shaoching Bishop to start their own caviar brand, Regiis Ova (“royal egg” in Latin), in 2017. Now, the two have collaborated on the Regiis Ova Caviar & Champagne Lounge pop-up, 6480 Washington St. in Yountville. Open Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the pop-up is expected to continue at least through the fall.

Take a plush seat indoors or outdoors to enjoy a tasting of caviar, starting at $45 for 15 grams with classic garnishes, two deviled eggs topped with caviar for $35 or French onion dip topped with caviar and served with kettle fried potato chips ($65)

If that’s a little rich for your pocketbook, opt for smoked sturgeon rillettes with pickled garden vegetables ($20) or a whimsical Bouchon Bakery “Oh Oh” (a gourmet take on a Ho Ho) for $10.

Alongside, sip prestige French or California bubbly by the glass or bottle, or a variety of red, white and rose wines.

Whether for a sip and snack or a complete meal, kick back with the sounds from a jazz pianist or DJ.

Dine Downtown San Jose Restaurant Promotion Runs Through July 18

In a normal year, “Dine Downtown San Jose” would indeed last a week. But as we all know, this past year has been anything but conventional. As such, the annual promotion will run for 10 days this year, from now through July 18.

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The Baker’s Biscuits

Crunchy on the tops and bottoms, and flaky and fluffy-soft inside.
Crunchy on the tops and bottoms, and flaky and fluffy-soft inside.

I’ve been eyeing this recipe for “The Baker’s Biscuits” ever since the cookbook in which it was printed came out in September 2020.

It’s taken me this long to finally make them.

That’s because these 12 beautiful and bountiful biscuits require freezing before baking. And if your freezer was anything like mine during the pandemic, there was simply no precious inch to spare.

Thankfully, now that life is getting back to normal, so is my freezer. As we all exhale in relief, so, too, is my freezer at shouldering such a vital load for so long.

What drew me to these biscuits in particular? Unlike any other biscuit recipe I’d tried, these are made with 00 flour. Yes, the same finely-ground, Italian specialty flour that’s coveted for making the primo pizzas and pastas.

The recipe is from “The Good Book of Southern Baking: A Revival of Biscuits, Cakes, and Cornbread” (Lorena Jones Books), of which I received a copy. It’s by Pastry Chef Kelly Fields, owner of Willa Jean bakery in New Orleans and winner of the James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Pastry Chef” in 2019. It was written in conjunction with food writer Kate Heddings, a former food editor at Food & Wine magazine.

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Dining Outside At Be.Steak.A

This is how Be.Steak.A does a deviled egg. With truffle shavings, of course.
This is how Be.Steak.A does a deviled egg. With truffle shavings, of course.

Chef-Owner Jeffrey Stout weathered not only three years of permit approvals and construction, but a worldwide pandemic, to finally open his splashy new Be.Steak.A.

For diners, it was more than worth the wait.

The fine-dining Italian-influenced steakhouse playfully named for the classic Italian steak known as bistecca Fiorentina, initially was limited to only takeout during the pandemic. But now, with both indoor and outdoor seating available, it can be enjoyed in its full glory.

Whereas his Orchard City Kitchen, just steps away in the same Pruneyard complex, presents a casual and eclectic array of global small plates, Be.Steak.A is pure luxe. It’s where 5 ounces of Hokkaido Snow Beef (aka A5 strip loin) with a “snow” of cacio e pepe will set you back $288. And no, that’s not a typo. It’s where food is presented on famed Italian blue and white ceramics by Richard Ginori. But it’s also a restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not stuffy in the least, not when deeply bronzed beef fat popovers ($9) with smoky deviled ham butter (like the most elevated version ever of Underwood Deviled Ham) and pickled cucumbers is served under a cloche shaped like a lounging pig.

The inside of a beef fat popover.
The inside of a beef fat popover.
The popovers are served with deviled ham butter and pickled cucumbers.
The popovers are served with deviled ham butter and pickled cucumbers.

When you check in at the host stand, you’re presented with a soothing cup of warm bone broth. As you’re escorted to your table, you pass a huge long window that affords a direct view into the kitchen, all done up in stainless steel with accents of lipstick-red all around. If you happen to time it just right, you might even get to see cooks making pasta by hand at a massive table in front of the window.

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Cool Off With Pineapple, Thyme, and Coconut Water Whip

Hot weather was made for icy, fruity drinks like this one.
Hot weather was made for icy, fruity drinks like this one.

When temperatures soar, you definitely want to “Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days: 100 Easy, Satisfying, and Refreshing Recipes that Won’t Heat Up Your Kitchen.”

That’s the apropos title of this cookbook (Rizzoli), of which I received a review copy, that couldn’t have debuted at a more opportune time, given that the first day of summer starts this Sunday, and we’re already in a full-blown heatwave.

The book is by Maine-based Vanessa Seder, former associate food editor for Ladies Home Journal and a culinary instructor at Stonewall Kitchen.

It includes 100 recipes to beat the heat. They’re designed to nourish and refresh without requiring hours at a hot stove. Among them are “Chilled Corn and Lobster Soup,” “Pan-Seared Pork Sandwich With Spicy Papaya Slaw and Spicy Pepper Jelly on Sourdough,” “Coconut Milk, Turmeric, Ginger, and Black Pepper-Poached Cod With Israeli Couscous,” and “Red Grapefruit-Rose Sorbet.”

I couldn’t resist trying my hand — and blender — at “Pineapple, Thyme, and Coconut Water Whip.”

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 33 (All-Sweets Edition)

The St. Honore tart by Tarts de Feybesse makes any day that much more special.
The St. Honore tart by Tarts de Feybesse makes any day that much more special.

Tarts de Feybesse, Vallejo, and Pop-Ups Around the Bay Area

When you first lay eyes upon the creations of Tarts de Feybesse, you find yourself astounded that they were made by two chefs whose forte has come on the savory side of the professional kitchen.

But when you realize that husband-and-wife founders, Paul Feybesse and Monique Feybesse met while working at Geranium, the rarefied Copenhagen restaurant that was the first in Denmark to receive three Michelin stars, you realize the talent, precision and artistry they obviously possess.

They began baking for friends and family, plying what they had learned on their own and from pastry chef colleagues along the way. Baking required an attention to detail to which they were already accustomed, so it was not that great a leap, Monique says. If their savory side does come into play, it’s in their restraint of sweetness in their desserts. Instead, she jokes, they’re always wanting to add just a touch more salt, in order to create harmony and balance.

The jaw-dropping brioche feuilletee.
The jaw-dropping brioche feuilletee.

Pre-pandemic, they started to craft a baking business out of their Vallejo home, quickly building a clientele through social media for their breads and fine pastries, done up in a strikingly singular, modern aesthetics. Then, once the pandemic hit, the business really took off. Because who can turn down strawberry tarts, opera cakes, and eclairs with such distinctive fillings as blackberry violet?

Definitely not me. So, when Tarts de Feybesse held a pop-up last Sunday at Camper restaurant in Menlo Park, I threw calories to the wind and pre-ordered.

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