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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bees on Nob Hill & Honey at Macy's Union Square

What's the buzz on Nob Hill? It's probably honey bees! Restaurants and hotels with kitchen gardens are nothing new, but a hotel with beehives is something quite out of the ordinary, especially in the middle of a city like San Francisco. Executive Chef jW Foster at the San Francisco Fairmont arrived a year ago from Dallas, where he established a 3,000 square foot herb and vegetable garden. His desire to save the bee colonies and promote awareness about colony collapse and the importance of bees inspired him to collaborate with Marshall's Farm to bring bee hives to the rarefied air of Nob Hill, in particular the roof garden. The rooftop beehives yield about 60 pounds of honey, harvested 2-3 times a year and is used in the hotel restaurant. He says the lavender honey has a particularly pungent flavor as does the eucalyptus batch. The health benefits are part of the appeal of using honey, and it fits in to the Fairmont's "Lifestyle cuisine. " Fairmont Life...
Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Betelnut "Offal Good" Secret Menu

I haven't said much about my new role as editor at BlackboardEats , but I'm breaking my silence today. I really enjoy assigning reviews, sharing deals at top restaurants and working with chefs and restaurateurs to create exclusive culinary experiences. Most weeks subscribers get 30% off at a noteworthy restaurant, but today something a bit different is on offer that I'm excited to tell you about. Chef Alex Ong at Betelnut has put together a menu utilizing offal, in particular veal sweetbreads, chicken livers, lamb tongue and fish heads. Chef Alex Ong grew up in Malaysia, a country of many culinary influences including Thai, Chinese and Indian and his dishes reflect those flavors. Three of the dishes are based on Malaysian street food dishes and one is a very special curry served for celebrations. One of the Chinese style dishes is salt and pepper veal sweetbreads topped with fresh ginger, garlic and Szechuan peppercorn topped with scallions, five spice, and salt. This d...
Monday, March 07, 2011

Oliveto Restaurant

If you live in the Bay Area, it's likely you know about Oliveto . It opened 25 years ago, is located in Rockridge, Oakland and serves wonderful Italian food, with a Slow Food sensibility. You can always count on Oliveto for great pasta, roasted meat and fish, and a commitment to using the best quality ingredients. It's also been the home for several great Bay Area chefs notably Paul Canales, Michael Tusk and Paul Bertolli. What's new at Oliveto ? A lot, to tell you the truth. For one, there is a new chef, Jonah Rhodehamel. I recently ate at the restaurant and can tell you he approaches cooking with finesse and sense of balance. It's hard to believe someone so young has already spent time at such venerable restaurants as La Folie , Americano and Quince . I particularly loved his Hoffman hen "rolata" stuffed with sausage. It reminded me of a similar preparation I had at Frances last year. I've always been fond of the pizza served in the cafe downstai...
Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Brussels Sprout & Leek Dumplings Recipe

Do you know the difference between dumplings and ravioli? The secret is the pasta, and it occurred to me when I was creating this recipe. To make ravioli you use pasta dough, which, while silky is still toothsome (al dente). Dumplings can use any kind of dough, including slick wonton skins, which are most definitely not toothsome. Of course there are some exceptions to this rule. I've had some very silky udon noodles lately that use soft, slippery noodles and I've had potstickers which definitely use thicker, chewier dough. I used to make fresh pasta but I'm too lazy these days, instead I've been experimenting with using wonton wrappers. In the past I used the wrappers to make Afghani leek dumplings called aushak . This time I made dumplings in a similar way, but filled them with a combination of brussels sprouts, leeks, green onions, a bit of garlic and parmesan. Many kinds of ingredients or even leftovers can go in wonton wrappers to make delicious dumplings--meat,...