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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Madera: Sneak Peek

Pity the poor venture capitalists. Most of their investments end up being a bust. Relegated to the wasteland that is Sand Hill Road , they have nowhere nearby to commiserate over a beer let alone celebrate, on those rare occasions when everything goes according to plan. Well you can stop feeling sorry for them starting April 2nd when Madera at Rosewood Sand Hill opens. I had the privilege of attending a preview lunch yesterday and got a chance to chat with the Executive Chef Peter Rudolph and Wine Director, Paul Mekis. Their enthusiasm was a joy to behold as were the food and wine pairings. I had mixed feelings about the food at Campton Place under Rudolph. Sometimes it hit the mark other times it missed it completely. But everything I tasted yesterday was spot on. First up, an oak smoked warmed Hog Island sweetwater oyster with cucumber, avocado and fromage blanc. The herbal vegetal flavors played off the barely smoky oyster and was an inspired combination. It was perfect with...
Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tasty Events

Delicious reception March 15, 2009 2 - 6 pm Studio 1815 Polk St San Francisco Studio gallery on Polk St annual show Delicious features art work on the theme of food from 90 local artists. This is always a playful, fun show with paintings, prints, sculpture, drawings, photography and even jewelry. The opening reception is this Sunday March 15th, from 2 - 6 pm and the show runs through April 12th. There are plenty of affordable pieces, like this charming woodprint by Ayu Tomikawa called Nibela reaches for a cake. White on Rice 5:30 reception, 6:45 film March 17, 2009 Sundance Kabuki 1881 Post St San Francisco The Asian American Film Festival is showing the Japanese film, White on Rice . If the trailer is any indication, it promises to be a quirky, humorous slice of life. Tickets are $11 and there is a free pre-screening reception hosted by lyemon Cha where you can meet the director and cast and enjoy appetizers and of course, green tea. Reception is at 5:30 at the Bar Bistro and th...
Friday, March 13, 2009

Olive Oil Cookbooks, Tastings and Events

Fran Gage's The New American Olive Oil includes profiles of artisan producers and 75 recipes, each using extra virgin olive oil. Having tried a selection of the recipes I wholeheartedly recommend the tangy Tabbouleh with Meyer lemon olive oil and the Almost flourless chocolate cake, it's a light and fluffy version as opposed to the heavy ones you sometimes get. Fran Gage is a particularly wonderful baker, experienced in sensory analysis and is one of the members of the California Olive Oil Council tasting panel. She uses extra virgin olive oil in desserts like pound cake in place of butter and in recipes like rillettes where you would expect to find pork fat. Over the next few months there will be plenty of opportunities to attend a olive oil tasting and book signing event with Fran Gage. Another olive oil book I'm excited about is Micki Sannar's Olive Oil Desserts . Sannar was inspired to develop recipes using olive oil for health reasons, and her baked goods are del...
Thursday, March 12, 2009

Olive Oil Tasting

Olive oil has a lot in common with chocolate, wine and tea. Each has a long history, compelling health benefits and is a staple in just about every kitchen or dining room table. The more I learn about each, the more I realize how much more there is to learn. After the olive oil tasting I attended yesterday, I feel like I've woken up and smelled the, oh, you know what. The tasting was led by Fran Gage , author of The New American Olive Oil and member of the California Olive Oil Council's tasting panel. I thought I knew a bit about olive oil because the family I lived with in Tuscany produced their own olive oil. We used it for just about everything including frying which many "experts" will tell you shouldn't be done. Most prized was the olio nuovo, a first pressing that is particularly fresh and intensely fruity and peppery. We used it on fettunta which is toasted bread, scraped with a raw garlic clove and sprinkled with a little salt. In my kitchen I usually h...
Monday, March 09, 2009

Endive with White Bean Dip Recipe

It's exhausting being a celebrity! Ok, maybe I'm not famous, but I felt like I was this weekend. On Saturday I spoke for about 45 minutes to a sold out crowd at the Larkspur Library , and then demonstrated four "no cook" recipes, including one adapted from New Flavors for Appetizers . On Sunday I was at the Palo Alto Williams Sonoma store signing copies of my book. We sold about 40 copies! It was fun chatting with customers and accepting compliments on the two recipes that were being sampled, Chilled Green Pea Soup and Dates Stuffed with Chorizo and Aged Goat Cheese. Both of those just happen to be "no cook" as well. If you'd like to attend my next talk and cooking demonstration at the Larkspur Library it will be on April 4th from 4:30 - 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10 and include a donation to the Friends of the Library, tasting of four appetizers (plus the recipes), St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc and Bionade (non-alcoholic beverage). The recipes I'll be ...
Thursday, March 05, 2009

Book signing at Williams Sonoma

This Sunday, March 8th I will be signing books and offering samples of one of the recipes from New Flavors for Appetizers at the Stanford Shopping Center Williams Sonoma store in Palo Alto from 1 - 3 pm. Please stop by and say hello! Williams Sonoma Stanford Shopping Center 180 El Camino Real, Space 701 Palo Alto, CA 650-321-3486...
Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Contigo: First Impression

Is Contigo the next big thing? The future may be unknown, but as the magic eight ball says "signs point to yes." I was one of the few that got a preview of the restaurant and while my expectations were high, having eaten Brett Emerson's food a few times before, I was very impressed. Emerson creates food with big flavors and clearly uses the best ingredients he can find. The staff even in early days, are friendly, helpful and joyful. The menu is divided into small plates "Pica-Pica" and large plates, "Platillos" and is inspired by the cuisine of Spain and Catalunya in particular. The vibe is San Francisco meets Barcelona. On the small plate menu, the Patatas Bravas were the crispiest I have ever had and the aillioli and salsa brava really whet my appetite. Even something as simple as Setas a la Plancha or grilled mushrooms were intensely flavored and delectable. This time of year nothing quite says comfort like a grilled cheese sandwich and Contigo&...
Monday, March 02, 2009

My City

Well it may not be 100 top picks , but The Examiner asked me about a handful of my favorite spots around town. Check it out online to learn where I find homemade sour cream, stock up on candy, enjoy a cocktail, go for Vietnamese soul food and more......