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Wednesday
Oct142009

flour + water - pizza & pasta

flour + water is a San Francisco Italian restaurant that focuses on seasonal ingredients sourced from the unparalleled and ever abundant California artisans and growers.

The menu changes daily and is intentionally small and focused. The cuisine of flour + water has literally been done for hundreds of years in Italy—they are just trying to pay tribute to what they believe is the world’s purest style of cooking.

2401 Harrison St. @ 20th St.
San Francisco, CA
(415) 826-7000
Reserve Online

 

Wednesday
Sep022009

Eat Real Festival - "Putting the food back in fast"

By: Rachelle Santucci  The second annual Eat Real Festival was held at Oakland’s Jack London Square from August 28-30.

Designed to “put the food back in fast”, the festival featured everything from street food vendors to farmers’ market-type stands, and a beer shed with more than 40 brews served in Mason jars. Each of the three days featured different events, including a canning and forage exchange, live music, outdoor films, and a demo kitchen.

Entrance was free and the so-called street eats cost between $1 and $5. Even though the food lines were lengthy, the crowd was all smiles. There was more then enough room for everyone to move around and find a grassy spot to sit and eat while watching a band or just admiring the bay view.

In order to cut down on lines, visitors to the beer shed paid $25 for a ticket that got them four 8-ounce tastings and a souvenir Mason jar with the Eat Real logo.

A few food standouts at the well-organized festival included paella, chowder, ice cream and gelato, Mexican, Korean, and barbeque.

Monday
Aug172009

Lunch at the Station House Cafe - Point Reyes Station, Ca

On a day trip to Point Reyes, I stopped at one of my favorite spots along State Route One. Ever since receiving a fine review back in 1989 from Gourmet Magazine, this fine restaurant has stood out by serving and supporting local producers. Cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery, meat from Niman Ranch, oysters from Drake’s Bay Oyster Co. and Hog Island, dairy from Straus and Clover Stornetta, eggs from Amanda’s Organic, coffee from Thanksgiving Coffee Company—the ingredients are organic and sustainable whenever possible.

My lunch began with a delicious fried calamari served with a spicy jalapeno yogurt-based dipping sauce. This was very well prepared—l
ight, tender and golden brown—excellent, since it can be so easy to overcook.

For my main course I went for the oyster stew, which turned out to be the highlight of my trip. This rich and creamy stew was loaded with fresh “Drake’s Bay” oysters, leeks, spinach, red new potatoes with wild mushrooms, and a generous toss of fresh chopped tarragon. This stew was outstanding, so good I wanted to just pick up the bowl and drink it down. I enjoyed a glass of 2007 Souverain Chardonnay from the Alexander Valley. With its creamy texture and bright acidity, it paired well with the stew. Well worth a drive from anywhere in the Bay Area for this dish!

The Station House has a full bar, including a nice selection of local brews on draft such as “Laugunitas IPA”, “Anderson Valley Boont Amber”, and “Marin Brewing Company - Point Reyes Porter.” A well chosen wine list is most welcome, as is a large outdoor garden patio, open in good weather, where they often barbecue oysters and clams on the grill.

(0 to 20) otv rating:

food: 17
service: 13
vibe: 16
price: $$


Station House Cafe
11180 State Route One
Point Reyes Station, Ca
(415) 663-1515
Reserve Online

Wednesday
Apr012009

César... great tapas in the "gourmet ghetto"

gulf shrimp & spinachLocated in the famous “gourmet ghetto” in north Berkeley, right next door to Chez Panisse; César opened in 1998. The name comes from César is a character from a trilogy of films by Marcel Pagnol – Marius, Fanny, and César – that all take place in a quay side bar in Marseilles. César was the barkeeper.

So, we have a Spanish restaurant in Berkeley, with a French name, owned by Americans. It works… I have been coming here since they opened back in 1998; and have always found it to be a most authentic representation of Spanish cuisine.

pan y tomateThe small open kitchen produces an amazing array of food with pure fresh flavors and simple, yet artful presentations. The restaurant menu changes daily and offers many of it’s signature dishes on a regular basis. The paella and the fried potatoes with herbs & sea salt are to die for. I also loved the pan y tomate, (a Spanish classic); and some whole gulf shrimp wrapped in bacon, done with fresh spinach. Going a bit crazy, I also tried a very well made pinchos de pollo, a la Costa Brava with bell pepper and onions.

pinchos de pollo Cocktails are all hand shaken or stirred; they have a fine by the glass program and a top selection of sherry and grappa as well. A nice touch here is the small bowl of house cured olives served complements of the house. These are perfect with an aperitif or cocktail before dinner.

You will find a gracious and knowledgeable staff , and a modern, yet warm room with large glass door’s opening on warm day’s towards the lively street scene.
 
 
 

otv rating (0 to 20)

food: 17
service: 17
vibe: 16
$$

César
1515 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, ca 94709
(510) 883-0222
online

 

Monday
Mar302009

A Winemakers Dinner with Vanessa Wong of Peay Vineyards


Bacar in San Francisco The concept is sound: A vintner brings a selection of current releases and possibly a few library wines and the hosting restaurant’s chef prepares a multi-course dinner to show off the cuisine that pairs well with the wines.

On this occasion, the wine was from Peay and their amazing winemaker Vanessa Wong. Vanessa (Lafite Rothschild, Domaine Jean Gros, Peter Michael), along with co-owner Andy Peay, brought six wines for this event which was held at Bacar in San Francisco. The dinner was the first in a year- long celebration honoring Women in Wine and put together by Bacar’s wine director Haley Guild. more