Black Garlic Adds A Twist to Barbecue Sauce

Ribs slathered with black garlic barbecue sauce.
Ribs slathered with black garlic barbecue sauce.

What’s sweet, tangy, full of umami, and looks like mole but isn’t?

“Black Garlic Barbecue Sauce.”

Best yet, it requires no cooking, just whizzing everything in a blender before using.

This fabulous recipe is from “Preserved Condiments” (Hardie Grant, 2023), of which I received a review copy.

It’s part of a new series of books on food preservation by Darra Goldstein, founding editor of Gastronomica and winner of the 2020 “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the International Association of Culinary Professionals; Cortney Burns, no stranger to anyone in the Bay Area for co-founding Bar Tartine in San Francisco; and Richard Martin, a media executive and lifestyle editor.

This compact book contains 25 recipes for creative and versatile condiments that are sure to add a spark to a bevy of dishes. Learn how to make the Yemini sauce known as “Zhug” to accent salads and seafood; “Red Plum Hoisin Sauce” sure to elevate any simple stir-fry; “Honey Mustard” that’s more complex than store-bought; and “Bumper Crop Ketchup” that may replace Heinz as your go-to.

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Experiencing The Inn At Newport Ranch

A picnic-like dinner delivered to my room at the Inn at Newport Ranch.
A picnic-like dinner delivered to my room at the Inn at Newport Ranch.

Fort Bragg, CA — Will Jackson, a retired Wall Street investment manager on the East Coast, had never set foot on this rugged and picturesque Mendocino coast before. Even so, when he spied a for-sale ad in the Wall Street Journal in 1985 for an 850-acre cattle ranch here with more than a mile of oceanfront land, he grew intrigued.

So much so that he called a friend who lived in the area and asked him to go investigate. The friend’s verdict? That Jackson ought to high-tail it out this way to snap it up.

He did just that, falling in love at first sight. In 1986, Jackson took over the property, which back then had only a small B&B.

In 2016, he officially opened The Inn at Newport Ranch, an intimate luxury inn that boasts 10 distinct accommodations, plus a gourmet restaurant that’s open only to guests.

Over the years, he’s expanded the property to more than 2,200 sweeping acres. I had a chance to explore this secluded property recently when I was invited to stay as a guest of the inn.

The inn.
The inn.
A sitting area inside the main building.
A sitting area inside the main building.
The more formal private dining room.
The more formal private dining room.

About a 3 1/2-hour drive north of San Francisco, the last mile or so on Highway 1 will take you on winding turns surrounded by breathtaking, old-growth redwoods. The oft-present foggy mist will eventually reveal the California ranch-style inn built next to a majestic cypress tree that’s more than 130 years old.

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Good Tasting, Good-For-You Freekeh With Broccolini and Apricots

A quick and easy grain dish full of textures and flavors.
A quick and easy grain dish full of textures and flavors.

Michael Crupain has a unique background: He’s a board-certified preventive medicine physician, and former director of food and safety testing at Consumer Reports, who staged in the kitchen of the late-great David Bouley’s Danube restaurant in New York.

So when he writes a cookbook full of healthy recipes, you needn’t fear that they’ll be bland or boring.

In fact, the 75 recipes in his “The Power Five” (National Geographic, 2023), of which I received a review copy, are wonderfully tantalizing and nourishing.

The recipes spotlight the “Power Five,” the essential foods that he says we should all eat more of to optimize health. They are: fruits and vegetables; beans; grains; fish; and nuts and seeds.

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Michelin-Acclaimed Vancouver Eats, Part II: Pidgin

The incredible foie gras rice bowl at Pidgin.
The incredible foie gras rice bowl at Pidgin.

Vancouver, CANADA — Should I admit that I ended up booking a reservation at Pidgin solely because of one dish that I spotted on the menu?

That dish is pictured above in all its majesty: foie gras rice bowl with unagi glaze.

And I’m here to report that it was epic.

You see, my husband and I, unfortunately live in a state in the United States that has for years has banned restaurants from serving and selling foie gras. So, when we were planning a trip to the Great White North, the first thing my husband uttered was “I’m eating some foie gras!” And did he ever. Not just here, but at our hotel restaurant, the Alouette Bistro, where he chowed down on a bountiful burger with a small lobe of seared fatty duck liver on the side.

The bar at Pidgin.
The bar at Pidgin.
Michelin fun.
Michelin fun.

Foie gras is not the only thing to celebrate about Pidgin, which, after all, is Michelin Guide-recommended.

There’s so much more to relish at Chef Wesley Young’s restaurant, where the food is bold and at times irreverent.

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Michelin-Acclaimed Vancouver Eats, Part I: Published on Main

Fragrant, Thai-style squid at Published on Main.
Fragrant, Thai-style squid at Published on Main.

Vancouver, CANADA — The Michelin Guide is a newcomer to this city, having debuted its first dining guide only in 2022. Among the first eight restaurants to garner a Michelin star for the first time in is Published on Main, which has continued to maintain that achievement.

Serving elegant, contemporary Canadian cuisine with global influences and an emphasis on sustainability, it was opened in December 2019 by Executive Chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandon, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany and spent a summer working at restaurant Noma in Copenhagen.

It’s located in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood that’s plenty pleasant, indeed, with an abundance of parks, gastropubs, bakeries, and restaurants.

The restaurant, done up in white, gray, and black, sports bar-height chairs throughout the dining room that are quite comfortable, too, with built-in bars to rest your feet.

The real Michelin star plaque hangs on a different wall, but this whimsical one can be found on a shelf above the bar.
The real Michelin star plaque hangs on a different wall, but this whimsical one can be found on a shelf above the bar.
The dining room.
The dining room.

Choose either a tasting menu or a la carte dishes that are easily shareable. The latter is what my husband and I chose. With a favorable exchange rate, we ate like kings, too (and queens).

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