First-time restaurateurs Marc Schechter and Danny Stoller may call themselves and their new San Francisco establishment, the Square Pie Guys.
Even if the pizza is actually rectangular. And even if the other items on the menu deserve top-billing, too, including Asian-style fried chicken wings that nearly steal the show.
Semantics aside, this Detroit-style pizza joint is already winning over fans and making repeat customers, even after being open just a month. On a recent Wednesday night, when I was invited in as a guest, the place was packed.
Detroit-style pizza was born in — where else — the Motor City. Originally, the thick-crust pizza was baked in industrial car parts trays. At Square Pie Guys, the pizzas are baked in deep rectangular pans.
Fried chicken with corn on the cobb — Basque-Japanese-style at Duende.
When you hear that Duende in Oakland just put fried chicken on the menu, you might scratch your head for a moment, thinking how is that a Spanish dish?
Turns out it is.
In the land of paella, gazpacho and croquettes, fried chicken definitely has its place. That’s what I learned last week, when I was invited as a guest of the restaurant with other media to try the new offering.
As Chef-Owner Paul Canales explains, his father, who is of Basque heritage, would often fry chicken in olive oil in the morning, then let it sit out to cool to room temperature before the family ate it, garnished with a squeeze of lemon, for an early dinner, hours later.
Chef-Owner Paul Canales in the kitchen.
Canales was inspired to put his version of fried chicken on the menu when an employee brought in some take-out Japanese karaage for staff meal. Canales considers the Japanese-style fried chicken the gold standard for fried chicken because of its light yet shatteringly crisp exterior.
After experimenting, he came up with a rendition that marries Japanese and Spanish sensibilities in one superlative crunchy bite.
SEATTLE, WA — It was named the “Best New Restaurant” of 2018 by the James Beard Awards. It is owned by the “Best Chef Northwest” of 2018, as bestowed by the same. And it is worth every single accolade.
JuneBaby is even worth waiting in line for 90 minutes to snag two seats at the crowded, shoulder-to-shoulder bar, as I managed to do a week ago, paying my own tab at the end.
Chef Edouardo Jordan is the first African-American to win that coveted national title. A Florida native, Jordan has some serious cooking chops, having spent time at the French Laundry in Yountville, the Herbfarm in Washington state, and Per Se and Lincoln, both in New York.
He opened Salare, just a block away from JuneBaby, in 2015, which also won acclaim for its globally-inspired fare inspired by all the places he’s worked and lived.
Winner of two James Beard Awards.
JuneBaby, which opened in 2017, is his love note to Southern cooking, particularly the dishes his mother made him while he was growing up. He uses local ingredients, including many heirloom ones, to execute soulful, rustic fare with refined technique. The portions are generous, and the prices relatively moderate for all that you get.
It was not a decision he wanted to make. And it was one that haunted him.
When California legislators rescinded that law this year, Gordon rejoiced. By chance, he learned that his original Gordon Biersch restaurant in downtown Palo Alto was about to be shuttered and sold. He managed to buy it back.
The expansive bar.
The soaring, barn-like dining room.
This March, he and his business partner, Steve Sincheck (Gordon’s original bar manager at that location, and now owner of Palo Alto’s Old Pro and Local Union 271) reopened the restaurant, christening it Dan Gordon’s and transforming it into a contemporary barbecue joint. It is the only restaurant Gordon actually owns now.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup perfection at The Fremont Diner.
Sure, I have an appreciation for pull-out-all-the-stops tasting menus in which chefs maneuver and manipulate food into high art.
But it takes a place like The Fremont Diner to remind us all how wonderful the simple, the bare bones and the pared down can be.
I’m talking the perfect crumbly buttermilk biscuit you can’t wait to tear into, and a thick, spicy tomato soup served in a heavy coffee mug with a spoon — all enjoyed on a picnic table underneath a tented patio.
Surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards on the Sonoma side of the Carneros wine region, The Fremont Diner evokes nostalgia from the get-go with its rusty pick-up truck parked outside and its wood-slatted building with its swinging front-porch door.
Like stepping into the past.
The tented patio.
My husband and I dropped by a few weeks ago, paying our tab at the end of a most soul-satisfying meal.