Tag Archives: Chris Cosentino

Dining Outside at Nick’s Cove

A splendid rendition of a Louie salad at Nick's Cove.
A splendid rendition of a Louie salad at Nick’s Cove.

On a clear day along the shimmering blue waters of Tomales Bay, nothing makes you appreciate even more how lucky you are to live in this region than an al fresco lunch at Nick’s Cove in Marshall.

If it’s been a while — or if you’ve never visited — now’s the perfect time to spend some time at this 92-year-old coastal landmark. Not only have its charming cottages been newly refurbished, but celebrated San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino was brought in to refresh the menu.

On a recent trek along the coast, my husband and I took a seat outside on a weekday, after placing our orders at the bar and receiving a pager. When your order is ready, the pager vibrates, signaling it’s time to pick up your tray.

The entrance to Nick's Cove.
The entrance to Nick’s Cove.
The view.
The view.

We indulged in a half dozen Nick’s BBQ’D oysters ($25), which arrived on a hot cast-iron pan, tasting sweet, smoky, and plenty garlicky.

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Inside the Cockscomb Cosmos

Behold the signature bacon chop at Cockscomb.

Behold the signature bacon chop at Cockscomb.


Cockscomb is a place you come for outright fun.

Chef Chris Cosentino‘s South of Market restaurant in San Francisco is all excess, abandon and liberation. Well, with an invisible layer of deft control over it all because it is by a “Top Chef Masters” victor who is one of the most skilled and versatile chefs around.

Inside the soaring two-story space, there’s a bit of a medieval lair feel to it. There are flames spewing from the grill where ginormous cuts of meat get seared, a buffalo head stuffed and mounted on the wall, and an eclectic assortment of items arranged on shelves such as a plastic pig sticking out of a vintage meat grinder. If Jon Snow walked in, it probably wouldn’t take him long to feel right at home.

On a recent Saturday night, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant, the place was packed with seats filled at tables and the counter by the open kitchen, along with a parade of folks filing upstairs to the second dining room (with its own Juliet-like iron balcony no less), where groups are usually seated.

A sign above the open kitchen.

A sign above the open kitchen.

The eclectic collection decorating the walls.

The eclectic collection decorating the walls.

Cosentino wasn’t there that evening. He may have been in Houston, where just days before news broke about his new restaurant planned there, Rosalie Italian Soul, with a menu inspired by his Italian grandmother. Located inside the C. Baldwin Hotel, it is expected to open this fall. It will join his mini empire of hotel-based restaurants that includes Jackrabbit in Portland’s The Duniway, and Acacia House in the Las Alcobas resort in St. Helena.

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Foodie Gifts — For Friends, Family or Yourself

Avocado oil, apple cider vinegar and apricots combine for this zesty Farmhouse Lab dressing. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Avocado oil, apple cider vinegar and apricots combine for this zesty Farmhouse Lab dressing. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Farmhouse Lab Salad Dressings

True, it’s easy enough to whisk together your own salad dressing at home if you have a good variety of oils, vinegars and seasonings.

But Farmhouse Lab of Marin does it one better by packaging its consciously-sourced dressings in cute little mason jars that make the perfect host or hostess gift.

The dressings use raw honey or raw coconut nectar for sweetness, as well as vinegars and oils, and mustards from artisan producers for flavor.

They come in four varieties, which I recently received samples to try: Sunny Avocado, Berry Olive, Green Pumpkin, and Red Sunflower.

The Sunny Avocado is buttery with a slight vegetative note to it, as well as the zing of apple cider vinegar. The Berry Olive is fruity sweet-tart with pomegranate vinegar and raw blackberry honey. The Green Pumpkin is nutty and rich with a dash of mustard. The Red Sunflower is also quite nutty with a subtle spiciness from red pepper chili.

They come in a handy four-pack.

They come in a handy four-pack. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

A four-pack (one of each variety) is $67.99. You can give the entire pack to someone or break it up and gift one or two to someone while keeping the rest for yourself. Best yet, through the end of this year, 10 percent of proceeds from each four-pack to SF Fights Fire, a grass-roots chefs effort to provide food and services to North Bay Fire Rescue Centers in the aftermath of the Wine Country fires. Just enter the code at check-out: Enter Code: SFFF.

“Moto: The Cookbook”

I will go on record as saying that it’s a good bet that I will likely never cook anything from the new “Moto: the Cookbook” (Little, Brown and Company, $50) by Homaro Cantu. Yet when a review copy arrived in my mail, I couldn’t stop reading it or stop staring at the photos of its phantasmagorical dishes or being in awe at the mind that came up with it all.


Cantu, a former sous chef at Charlie Trotter’s, was the visionary behind the ground-breaking Moto in Chicago, which opened in 2004. Sadly, he took his own life in 2015. The restaurant continued on without him for almost a year before his widow sold it to the Alinea Group.

But not before it made an indelible mark on the food industry.

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Scenes From SF Chefs 2012

Chef Mark Dommen (R) and Chef David Bazirgan (L) begin to plate their lamb dish in the first chef's challenge at SF Chefs.

If you spied the huge white tent pitched in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square this past weekend, you knew it could only mean one thing:

The arrival of SF Chefs, the annual food-wine-cocktail extravaganza that celebrates the Bay Area’s home-grown culinary culture.

Top chefs, vintners, sommeliers and mixologists descended upon downtown to put on a series of special dinners, wine seminars, panel discussions, and culinary battles before setting up inside the tent to dole out gourmet eats and drinks to throngs of attendees.

Chef Joey Altman’s all-chef band, the Soul Peppers, entertained the hungry crowd.

On the opposing team, Chef Omri Aflalo of Bourbon Steak, readies his dishes.

Earlier that afternoon, the first round of the Eater Chef Challenge took place at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, pitting the team of Mark Sullivan of Spruce in San Francisco and Omri Aflalo of Bourbon Steak in San Francisco against the team of Mark Dommen of One Market Restaurant and David Bazirgan of the Fifth Floor in San Francisco. With an hour on the clock, the two teams had to incorporate lamb and Guittard chocolate into two dishes, which were presented to a panel of judges.

The Sullivan-Aflalo lamb dish.

The Dommen-Bazirgan lamb dish.

As the clock ticked down, the Dommen-Bazirgan team plated their lamb dish with mole flavors, along with chocolate ice cream created with liquid nitrogen. On the opposing side, Sullivan and Aflalo put up their lamb dish with a Moroccan influence, along with chocolate mousse with caramel.

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