When Madcap opened in 2017 in San Anselmo, I considered its then eight-course $80 tasting menu a bargain.
Fast forward to six years later when I dined a few weeks ago, and that opinion still holds. The price tag may have risen to $140, but it’s still quite reasonable in the world of lofty tasting menus.
Especially when you consider that the restaurant’s owner and executive chef is Ron Siegel, who was not only on the opening team of the French Laundry, but went on to head the kitchens at San Francisco landmarks Charles Nob Hill, Masa’s, Michael Mina, and the Ritz-Carlton. Not to mention that he triumphed as the first American chef to trounce an “Iron Chef” on the original Japanese cooking competition show.
Madcap is a warm and welcoming family affair with Siegel’s wife Kimberly running the front of the house, and son Dillon now director of wine and beverages.
It’s been a banner time for chef and chocolatier, Shekoh Moossavi, who not only opened her Shekoh Confections, 2305 El Camino Real near California Avenue in Palo Alto last March, but added a second location in downtown Palo Alto last month.
Now, starting this Thursday at the downtown outpost, 444 University Ave., she’s upping her offerings to include lunch (11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) six nights a week (except Mondays, when the shop is closed).
At lunch, look for salads, sandwiches, and her heartfelt wild mushroom soup with mint — her mom’s recipe that she has featured at every restaurant she’s ever opened. At dinner, the fare will be simple yet satisfying with the likes of risotto, polenta, and lamb shanks. With a liquor license recently approved, look for wines coming soon to complement the meals.
Like all the chocolate bonbons, marshmallows, nougats, madeleines, and other confections, Moossavi will be making all of the savory items, too.
This inspired sandwich recipe may come from the cookbook, “Noon.”
But it’s so dead-simple and utterly delicious that you might just want to eat it morning, noon, and night.
“Ciabatta with Balsamic Blackberries, Coppa di Parma, and Mustard” is from that cookbook (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.
It’s from the talented, James Beard Award-winning cookbook writer, Meike Peters, who lives in Berlin.
She has a natural knack for combining a few ingredients in novel ways to come up with dishes you can’t help but crave.
This book is all about relishing and re-imagining the noon-day meal. As Peters so rightly notes in her book, “Lunchtime can easily be as exciting as dinner; we just need to keep pour recipe choices realistic.”
Sea Ranch, CA — For those in the Bay Area longing for a serene staycation, look no further than the newly refurbished Sea Ranch Lodge.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Sonoma Coast just 100 miles north of San Francisco, this 53-acre property is the perfect place to unplug, unwind, unravel and thoroughly revel in the beauty of nature.
That’s just what I experienced when I was invited as a guest overnight recently.
The look of the property is all Scandinavian chic, punctuated by clean lines and exteriors the calming color of driftwood.
Pomo Native Americans once gathered kelp and shells from the shores. Early settlers established sheep ranching in the 1800s, which is reflected in the eye-catching ram logo of the property.
In 1964, a master plan was forged for the community that would preserve its natural beauty while allowing for the construction of 2,200 homes. Walk the trail above the beach and you’ll spot markers with more information about the community, including how the homes were built around a central meadow so that each one is afforded an unobstructed view. Some of the houses still sport the original Scandinavian-inspired sod roofs, too, with native grasses sprouting from them.
Sea Ranch Lodge, built in 1968, is one of the oldest buildings, which originally served as a community hub with post office, general store, and later a hotel.
The name of Healdsburg’s newest downtown restaurant loosely translates from Italian to “many friends.”
It’s emblematic of the convivial vibe to be found at Molti Amici, which took the place of locals’ favorite, Campo Fina, in late June.
It’s the brainchild of three alums of Michelin three-starred SingleThread Farms restaurant, just a block and a half away. Owner and sommelier Jonny Barr is that venerated restaurant’s former general manager. Husband-and-wife Chef Sean McGaughey and Melissa McGaughey, are SingleThread’s former chef de cuisine and hotel baker, respectively. The couple also own Healdsburg’s Quail & Condor bakery and Troubador cafe. At Molti Amici, Seth is the executive chef and Melissa is the pastry chef. They are assisted by Chef de Cuisine Matthew Cargo, former executive sous chef of Gjusta in Los Angeles, who honed his pasta and pizza skills through extensive travels throughout Italy.
Don’t expect fancy, white tablecloth, tweezer-food here, though. Instead, it’s all about handmade pizzas and pastas, made with a confident, deft hand that befits their impressive backgrounds. When I visited a couple weeks ago, as a guest of the restaurant, I enjoyed some of the best pastas and pizzas I’ve had in a while. And if you know my carb addiction, you know that’s saying something.