Category Archives: Chefs

SF Bakesale for Planned Parenthood, Mixology Fun & More

Get your sweet tooth on at this wonderful bake sale for a great cause. (Photo by Molly Decourdreaux)
Get your sweet tooth on at this wonderful bake sale for a great cause. (Photo by Molly Decourdreaux)

Zuni Cafe and Guittard Chocolate Team Up With A Host of Bakers For A Grand Bakesale

Get your sweet fix — and support a worthy cause — at the “SF Bakesale for Planned Parenthood,” 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 13 in Rose Alley between Gough and Market streets (behind Zuni Cafe) in San Francisco.

Modeled after a similar event in New York City, this local one is presented by Annie Callahan of Zuni Cafe and Amy Guittard of Guittard Chocolate Company. It will feature a tantalizing array of baked goods for sale by some of the city’s top restaurants and bakeries. A live auction also will be held, with one of the items up for bids a dinner at NOMA Copenhagen.

All proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood NorCal and Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates.

Among those baking the sweet treats are: Atelier Crenn, Bi-Rite Creamery, Boulevard, Cala, Che Fico, Frances, Liholiho Yacht Club, Mister Jiu’s, Nightbird, Quince, Rich Table, Saison, Tartine Bakery, 20th Century Cafe, and Zuni Cafe.

Unable to attend the event, but still want to help? A GoFundMe site has been set up to take donations.

Mixology Classes From The Mulberry Guy

You know him as the Mulberry Guy, the farmer who brings prized, fresh-picked mulberries to sell at the Palo Alto Downtown Farmers Market in the summertime. Now, Kevin Lynch is putting a newfound hobby to work — he’s hosting mixology classes in his backyard full of mulberry trees.

Kevin Lynch is known for his home-grown mulberries. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)
Kevin Lynch is known for his home-grown mulberries. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Lynch and his wife are both teachers, so they know how to instruct so that the lessons stick.

Read more

Savor A Classic Taste of San Francisco At Sam’s Grill

Celery Victor at Sam's Grill in San Francisco.
Celery Victor at Sam’s Grill in San Francisco.

These days, we’re so conditioned to flock to the new and trendy.

But there’s a lot to be said for the classic that’s withstood the test of time.

Sam’s Grill in San Francisco is a true testament to that. It was established in 1867. Let that sink in for a moment. The restaurant opened three years before Golden Gate Park was created, 11 years before the San Francisco Public Library opened, and 31 years before the Ferry Building was built.

It oozes history. And it’s a slice of old-school San Francisco you don’t find much of these days except at other venerated restaurants such as Swan’s Oyster Depot and the House of Prime Rib.

Five years ago, Sam’s Grill almost shuttered. But Peter Quartaroli, one of its former servers and maitre d’s who went on to become a screenwriter, decided to buy the place with help from some loyal customers.

The familiar sign in San Francisco's Financial District.
The familiar sign in San Francisco’s Financial District.

“My Dad used to work in restaurants. And I have worked at downtown San Francisco restaurants since I was a kid,” Quartaroli says. “So many places that became part of the fabric of the city are disappearing. I didn’t want to see Sam’s go away. It was so important to keep it.”

So Quartaroli set about preserving its history while also making it relevant in this era.

Read more

Hand-Torn Noodles with Cumin Lamb

Chewy, rustic hand-made noodles with cumin lamb, dill, cucumbers, and a drizzle of sour cream.
Chewy, rustic hand-made noodles with cumin lamb, dill, cucumbers, and a drizzle of sour cream.

At a time when immigration is a political lightning rod comes a book that reminds us just how much our culinary landscape has been deliciously shaped by the food traditions brought and shared by so many newcomers to this country.

“A Place at the Table: New American Recipes from the Nation’s Top Foreign-Born Chefs” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy, celebrates 40 of America’s top chefs and rising stars, all of them immigrants, who forged a new path here to make their mark in the culinary world.

The new book is by Gabrielle Langholtz and Rick Kinsel, respectively the director of culinary projects and the president of the Vilcek Foundation, a New York organization that raises awareness of immigrant contributions to the United States.

Within the pages of this beautifully photographed book, you’ll get to know chefs such as Maneet Chauhan, a native of India who beat out 40 male chefs to become executive chef at Vermillion in New York and Chicago; Diego Galicia, a native of Mexico, who scraped together $15,000 with a business partner to open his Mixtli in an empty train car in San Antonio, TX that led him to being named one of the year’s “Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine magazine; and Mustsuko Soma of Japan, who moved to Seattle to open her lauded Kamonegi, famed for its hand-made soba, after learning that Washington was one of the largest buckwheat producing states in the country.

The stories captivate. And the recipes entice with dishes such as “Sea Urchin Lumpia” from Chef Charles Olalia of Ma’am Sir in Los Angeles; ” “My Mom’s Coffee-Braised Brisket” from Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia; “Easy Bibimbap for Home” from Chef Corey Lee of Benu in San Francisco; and “Pancake Stack Cake” from Pastry Chef Miroslav Usukokovic of New York’s Gramercy Tavern.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more
« Older Entries Recent Entries »