Category Archives: Chefs

Spoon Up Sensational Shells with Miso Butter and Scallions

An easy pasta recipe that's ever so creamy -- yet has no cream in it.
An easy pasta recipe that’s ever so creamy — yet has no cream in it.

Not that I need any excuse ever to eat more pasta, but “Anything’s Pastable” sure has me jonesing for it voraciously.

That’s because the new cookbook (William Morrow), of which I received a review copy, is full of creative and craveable pasta dishes, the kind that don’t take all day to put together but are so full of flavor that you’d swear that they did.

The book is by Dan Pashman, a two-time James Beard and Webby Award-winning creator and host of “The Sporkful” podcast, and the host of the Cooking Channel’s “You’re Eating It Wrong.”

This is a man so obsessed with pasta that he actually spent three years to create a brand-new shape, cascatelli, which he swears excels in the most crucial aspects of “forkability,” “sauceability,” and “toothsinkability.”

Named for the Italian word for “waterfalls,” its initial run of 3,700 boxes sold out in less than 2 hours. Not only that, it was named one of the “Best Inventions of 2021” by Time magazine. It’s now a runaway hit, sold online and at retailers that include Whole Foods.

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The Richest Tasting Carrot Cake — Ever

Destined to be your ultimate carrot cake recipe.
Destined to be your ultimate carrot cake recipe.

This might very well be the most decadent carrot cake you’ll ever taste.

Picture moist cake with deep, lasting flavor from not just grated carrots, but roasted ones, too. Then, smothered with gobs and gobs of thick frosting made with a ton of browned butter and a load of cream cheese.

You’d expect no less from Nancy Silverton, right?

“Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting” is from her cookbook, “The Cookie That Changed My Life” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2023), of which I received a review copy.

Silverton, the baker extraordinaire who pioneered the artisan bread movement in Los Angeles, is the only chef to ever be awarded both the “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Pastry Chef” awards from the James Beard Foundation. She is the co-owner of Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, and Chi Spacca, all in Los Angeles.

She wrote the book with James Beard Award-sinning journalist, Carolynn Carreno.

The cookbook contains more than 100 recipes, all of them classics that Silverton has tweaked and refined over the years, to come up with the version she considers the most delicious and satisfying.

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A Visit to the New Fitoor in Santana Row

The signature appetizer sampler, "Chaats of India,'' at Fitoor.
The signature appetizer sampler, “Chaats of India,” at Fitoor.

You’d be hard pressed to recognize the space at San Jose’s Santana Row that formerly held Amber India. Gone is the once dramatic celestial ceiling complete with shooting stars, which was cutting edge back in the early aughts. In its place is Fitoor, with modern luxuriousness and an elegant clubby vibe, an archetype perhaps more in keeping with this sleeker day and age.

Husband-and-wife restaurateurs Anu and Vikram Bhambri have completely revamped the space down to the studs, creating three distinct dining areas, a rear dining room done up in shades of emerald, a middle dining room gilded in gold accents, and a front lounge with floor-to-ceiling accordion glass windows that can be completely tucked away to make it open-air.

It’s been a busy year already for this enterprising ouple, who also opened the Mediterranean Alora on Pier 3 in San Francisco just two months prior. It joins their other restaurants, Rooh in Palo Alto and San Francisco, and Pippal in Emeryville. And more may be in the works.

The bar/lounge area.
The bar/lounge area.
The glam green dining room.
The glam green dining room.

Fitoor is Hindi for “passion,” and weekends exemplify that with added high energy, courtesy of a live DJ plus fire dancers. On weeknights, such as when I was invited in recently as a guest of the restaurant, the atmosphere is more subdued, with plenty of tables filled with tech types gathering after work.

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Dining At Redwood City’s New Swank Hurrica

Whole-roasted dorade at the new Hurrica that's large enough for at least three to share.
Whole-roasted dorade at the new Hurrica that’s large enough for at least three to share.

A new restaurant has put down anchor at Redwood City’s Westpoint Harbor Marina — and done so with a big splash.

Hurrica is the newest restaurant by MeeSun Boice and Chef Parke Ulrich, co-founders of Treasure Island’s Mersea restaurant. Ulrich is also the executive chef-partner at Waterbar and Epic Steakhouse, both in San Francisco.

Admittedly, I’d never even been to this side of Redwood City until I joined friends a few weeks ago to dine at this new venture that opened in January. Finding the entrance can be a little confusing, as we witnessed a few people trying to enter through side patio doors. After parking, walk around to the back of the building that faces the marina with boats moored in the harbor. Look for the glass doors with the seahorse handles to find the front entrance.

The entrance to the restaurant is waterside.
The entrance to the restaurant is waterside.
The bar.
The bar.

The restaurant is named for the Hurrica V, a 100-year-old yacht that was famously featured in the flick, “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

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A Visit to Pasta Supply Co.

Veal triangoli with tomato sauce from Pasta Supply Co. to enjoy at home.
Veal triangoli with tomato sauce from Pasta Supply Co. to enjoy at home.

The second you step inside the Pasta Supply Co. on Clement Street in San Francisco, your eyes are drawn to the expansive refrigerator case displaying all manner of pasta sauces and fresh pastas in every shape imaginable.

Now, this is where I would normally show you a photo or two of that mouthwatering display. However, when your husband neglects to feed the meter with enough coins and parks four blocks from the shop while a meter maid is seen circling about, you simply don’t have time for that. So, j ust take my word: Anyone who loves pasta will feel like they’re in Wonderland here.

The Pasta Supply Co. is the brainchild of Anthony Strong, who’s been a chef at the forefront. When the pandemic hit, he was one of the first to convert his then-Prairie restaurant into a veritable grocery store to supply shelter-in-place folks with gourmet products to enjoy at home, and even toilet paper when that basic was in short supply.

The pasta cooks up at home in just a few minutes.
The pasta cooks up at home in just a few minutes.

With restaurants still facing challenges because of higher prices for ingredients, plus the difficulties in hiring staff, Strong made the genius move to open a place that’s half dine-in restaurant and half retail shop. While the dine-in portion is open only for dinner, the retail shop is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, providing for sales opportunities for far more hours.

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