Category Archives: Great Finds

Craft Chocolate Experience, La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, and More

Inaugural Craft Chocolate Experience

Attention all chocoholics, don’t miss the first ever Craft Chocolate Experience at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, March 6 to 8.

This sweet extravaganza will bring bean-to-bar makers, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and cacao bean farmers from around the world for panel discussions, cooking demos, and a chocolate marketplace with more than 85 artisans sampling and selling their creations.

There’s also an opening night party on March 6, featuring a dazzling array of chocolates, pastries and cocktails.

The renowned participants include: Jordi Roca from El Celler de Can Roca in Spain; Francisco Migoya, head chef at Modernist Cuisine; John Scharffenberger, founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate; Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief culinary consultant for Serious Eats and author of “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science” (W.W. Norton); and founder Todd Masonis of San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate.

Tickets for the opening night party are $95 each; a weekend pass to the event is $145 per person.

Celebrate A Milestone For La Cocina

La Cocina, San Francisco’s pioneering kitchen incubator for women, people of color, and immigrants wanting to start food ventures, expects to open its much-anticipated food hall this spring.

Momos at Bini's Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)
Momos at Bini’s Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)

To celebrate the impending debut of La Cocina Marketplace, a landmark all-women operated food hall, the organization is hosting a Week of Women in Food, March 2 to 8. It’s a series of prix fixe dinners spotlighting the seven La Cocina chefs who will make the new food hall their home. For these special dinners, each La Cocina chef will cook alongside a well-known, established Bay Area chef.

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If It’s Monday, It Must Be Time For Burgers & Burgundies

The Selby's burger.
The Selby’s burger.

There is Meatless Monday. And there is Meatball Monday at some establishments.

But for the ultimate highbrow-lowbrow experience, there is Burgers & Burgundies on Monday nights at Selby’s in Redwood City.

Bacchus Management Group, which operates Selby’s, had featured Burgers & Burgundies for years at its Michelin-stared Spruce in San Francisco. Although discontinued there, the tradition has been brought over to Selby’s.

Last week, I had a chance to try this irresistible combo when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

The three burgundies offered by the glass last Monday night.
The three burgundies offered by the glass last Monday night.
Enjoy one glass of burgundy -- or a flight.
Enjoy one glass of burgundy — or a flight.

The burger-wine combo can be enjoyed either in the dining room or at the bar. Think of it as a more low-key dining option at the posh restaurant when you don’t want to linger for hours over a multitude of courses.

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Love Birds and The Chemistry of Love

The Love Birds box.
The Love Birds box.

I doubt if anyone ever needs an excuse to indulge in Recchiuti chocolates. But with Valentine’s Day coming up, you indeed have the perfect reason to treat yourself or someone you love to some of the finest artisan chocolate confections around.

For more than two decades, Michael Recchiuti has been making exquisite chocolates by hand with flavoring ingredients sourced seasonally from Bay Area farmers markets.

You can find the confections at the Recchiuti storefront at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and the retail shop, Recchiuti at the Lab, in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. Or you can shop on its own web store.

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I was lucky enough to receive samples to try of two holiday offerings.

The Love Birds Truffle Box ($48) is a collection of 16 pieces, an assortment of the most popular flavors, including Tarragon Grapefruit, Pearl Mint Tea, and Piedmont Hazelnut.

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Roasted Savoy Cabbage Wedges, Caesar-Style

Move over romaine, make your Caesar "salad'' with roasted Savoy cabbage instead.
Move over romaine, make your Caesar “salad” with roasted Savoy cabbage instead.

Cabbage is the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables.

It doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves. It seems too plain, too basic, too cheap to be worthy of much attention.

But just consider how integral it is to slaws, salads, soups, corned beef, and so many Russian and Polish staples.

If that doesn’t convince you, surely “Roasted Savoy Cabbage Wedges, Caesar-Style” will.

This incredibly easy dish features all the arresting flavors of Caesar salad — but with roasted cabbage instead.

The recipe is from All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice” (W.W. Norton & Company), of which I received a review copy. It’s the fabulous new book by James Beard Award-winning Molly Stevens, a gifted cooking instructor, recipe developer and food writer who lives in Vermont.

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Pig Out At The Gastropig

Meet the Baconslut -- at The Gastropig.
Meet the Baconslut — at The Gastropig.

You’ll be forgiven if you leave this rollicking Oakland cafe, oinking.

After all, it just can’t be helped after chowing down happily at The Gastropig.

This sweet little spot is operated by Chef Loren Goodwin, who cut his chops on the line at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

A sweet spot in Oakland.
A sweet spot in Oakland.

Amusingly enough, Goodwin was raised vegetarian. But after trying his first taste of ham as a kid, he instantly crossed to the “dark side.” Who can blame him?

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