Category Archives: Seafood

Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 26

Three types of poke on a big bed of rice, chirashi-style, from Pacific Catch.
Three types of poke on a big bed of rice, chirashi-style, from Pacific Catch.

Pacific Catch; Santa Clara, Campbell, Corte Madera, Cupertino, Dublin, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Francisco, Walnut Creek

Pacific Catch makes it an even dozen now, having opened its newest location earlier this week, this one at Santa Clara Square Marketplace.

This restaurant group, which was founded in 2003 in San Francisco, takes its seafood seriously, adhering to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide for sustainability. It also partners with the Surfrider Foundation to protect the world’s oceans by reducing plastic use. And it recycles its fryer oil and composts food scraps.

I was invited as a guest by the restaurant last week for a sneak taste, albeit pandemic-style, with a chance to sample takeout dishes.

Pacific Catch offers seafood in every preparation imaginable — from ceviches and sushi to tacos and burgers. Your takeout bag comes complete with compostable utensils, chopsticks, packets of Kikkoman soy sauce, and even wet-ones, which is an especially thoughtful touch.

Lightly battered calamari with fried chili rings and fried thin slices of lemon.
Lightly battered calamari with fried chili rings and fried thin slices of lemon.

Fried calamari is always chancey to-go, no matter how short the drive home. The light tempura-like batter on the Cabo calamari ($13) didn’t hold up with full-on crunch by the time I got it to my dining-room table. But the tentacles and rings were very tender. I loved how there were thin slices of fried lemon in the mix, too, and fried rings of red Fresno chilies. The calamari were seasoned well, and a container of smoky-spicy chipotle aioli was irresistible for dunking into again and again.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 24

Mel Canares' fried chicken sandwich -- photographed on the hood of my car.
Mel Canares’ fried chicken sandwich — photographed on the hood of my car.

Cocina Canares, South San Francisco

Mel Canares doesn’t really have a name yet for his fried chicken sandwich joint — at least one that’s printable in a family blog (ahem), as evidenced by his Instagram handle. Cocina Canares, another moniker by which he sometimes refers to it, actually doesn’t even have a real bona fide structure, either.

Instead, Canares, a former corporate chef for Genentech, cooks and serves his fried chicken sandwich out of his backyard in South San Francisco.

He serves one thing, and only one thing — that sandwich.

And he does so only one day of the week — Sunday.

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Three Things to Enliven Shelter in Place, Part 4

New Crispy Tofo Sando at Gott’s Roadside

The new crispy tofu sandwich at Gott's. (Photo by Briana Marie Photography)
The new crispy tofu sandwich at Gott’s. (Photo by Briana Marie Photography)

Gott’s Roadside locations has joined forces with Oakland’s Hodo to create a new crispy tofu sandwich for a limited time only.

The $12.99 sando features 24-hour brined Hodo tofu that’s dipped in buttermilk, and dredged twice for an extra crisp coating. It’s fried to order, of course. It gets slide between a butter toasted egg bun with dill pickle slices, green cabbage, cilantro slaw, red onions, and house-made charred jalapeno mayo.

The artisan tofu is organic, non-GMO, and boasts as much protein, ounce for ounce, as chicken, pork, beef or the Impossible Burger.

Enjoy the new tofu sandwich at Gott’s locations in St. Helena, Napa, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, and Marin through March 25.

Savion’s Sweets Opens in San Francisco

In this challenging time when so many businesses are shuttering, it’s a welcome sight to see a new one open, especially when it involves cupcakes.

Savion’s Sweets debuts today on the lower concourse level of the Westfield San Francisco Centre.

Strawberry shortcake cupcakes by Savion's Sweets. (Photo courtesy of Savion's Sweets)
Strawberry shortcake cupcakes by Savion’s Sweets. (Photo courtesy of Savion’s Sweets)

Le Cordon Bleu-trained Pastry Chef Athena Harven specializes in cupcakes ($4.25 each), offering up a slew of flavors, including some for an additional charge that are gluten-free, dairy-free, eggless or vegan.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 8

A heap of yaki soba with pork belly chashu, cabbage, shiitakes, and pickled ginger -- from Ozumo.
A heap of yaki soba with pork belly chashu, cabbage, shiitakes, and pickled ginger — from Ozumo.

Ozumo, San Jose and San Francisco

What foods have you missed most during shelter-in-place? French fries, or most any fried foods for that matter, and sushi? That’s the consensus among my friends and family. Understandable, given that those are things most of us rarely prepare for ourselves at home.

Ozumo comes to the rescue on so many of those fronts. Former professional baseball player Jeremy Upland founded the restaurants after falling hard for Japanese cuisine during his time playing in the Japanese Pacific League. Its location in San Jose’s Santana Row is especially convenient because there are plenty of free parking lots just yards away.

To satisfy those fried foods cravings, look no further than karaage ($14) and Ozumo shrimp ($18).

Classic karaaage (front), and Ozumo shrimp (back).
Classic karaaage (front), and Ozumo shrimp (back).

I’m not going to lie — when you get these to-go, their crunchy coatings will suffer a bit by the time you get them home. But the fried white shrimp coated with shichimi can be re-crisped fairly well by just searing them in a hot frying pan on the stovetop. The accompanying yuzu-honey aioli is sweet and creamy like Japanese Kewpie mayo, with a citrusy and spicy edge. Our little plastic container of it got slightly melted when it was tucked inside the to-go container with the straight-from-the-fryer shrimp. But you can always transfer the sauce to your own dipping bowl at home.

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Paula Wolfert’s Oven-Steamed Salmon

Cooked in the oven with a pan of water underneath, salmon fillets steam gently for a incredibly supple texture.
Cooked in the oven with a pan of water underneath, salmon fillets steam gently for a incredibly supple texture.

One of the great joys of summer in the Bay Area is the advent of wild king salmon season.

Few things can top the rich, lush, buttery, deep taste of this magnificent fish.

Generally, I’m all about grilling it, oftentimes on a cedar plank.

But when I spied this recipe for “Oven-Steamed Salmon,” I couldn’t help being intrigued.

It’s featured in the treasured cookbook, “Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life” (Grand Central Life & Style, 2017). Food writer extraordinaires Emily Kaiser Thelin and Andrea Nguyen teamed with esteemed food photographer Eric Wolfinger to create this cookbook, which celebrates the delicious life work of Paula Wolfert, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013.

Wolfert learned this technique for salmon from the legendary French chef Michel Bras.

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