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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle


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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Salad Days, Thy Tran

Vietnamese wraps are the perfect meal to roll out at summer gatherings

Recipes:

Broiled Fish Fillets

Shrimp Cakes

Sweet Potato Fritters

Rice Thread Cakes

Salad Plate

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

Whole Foods, taking flak, thinks local, Carol Ness

"Locally grown produce" is the promise printed on Whole Foods grocery bags this summer.

Signs and banners hanging in the markets, complete with pictures of smiling farmers, trumpet the same message. In the produce section, large hand-written green signs point out Frog Hollow Farm peaches from Brentwood, or T&D Willey basil grown in Madera.

The truth is, the Whole Foods chain has grown so big -- 184 stores at last count -- that the bulk of its produce is neither locally grown, nor from smaller farms like Full Belly and T&D Willey. That's true even in the Bay Area, despite an abundance of smaller or medium-size and sustainable or organic farms nearby.

But now Whole Foods, which is big and successful enough to pull the rest of the supermarket industry along with it, is taking a few steps to change that -- including requiring all its stores to buy "out the back-door" from at least four individual farmers. Most produce arrives from a regional distribution center.

The move is one of several the chain is making to bolster its street cred in response to stinging criticism by influential Berkeley author Michael Pollan for not walking its talk when it comes to supporting sustainable food systems.

Chef’s Night In, Dabney Gough

Laxmi Hiremath is featured

Recipe:

Kandahar Chicken Kofta in Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

What’s New:

  • California cheese wins at the American Cheese Society’s annual competition
  • Tomatoes are in the market, peaches and nectarines too
  • New restaurant: Poleng Lounge features Asian street food
  • Izze sparkling natural juice in a new Apple flavor
  • Numi Teas new blends especially for making iced tea
  • TrueBlue bluberry juice and juice blends provide Vitamin C and antioxidants

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Ciao Bella brand raspberry sorbet is the clear winner.

The Baker, Flo Braker

Fruit bowl runneth over? Make sorbet

Recipes:

Lime-Poppy Seed Slice ‘n’ Bake Cookies

Strawberry Sorbet

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

Bar Tartine looking for third new chef in less than a year . . . Restaurant at Meadowood reopens after remodeling . . . Little Star Pizza opens another location . . . and more.

Dining Out, Mandy Erickson

Town restaurant in San Carlos walks the line between cozy and trendy

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, August 2, 2006

YOGURT SALAD, Janet Fletcher

From Greece to India, cooks start with yogurt, then add their own fresh variations

Recipes:

Turkish Eggplant & Pepper Salad with Walnuts & Yogurt

Greek Yogurt, Garlic, Cucumber & Fennel Dip (Tzatziki Me Maratho)

Tomato Raita

Persian Spinach Salad (Borani Esfanaj)

Iranian Yogurt & Cucumber Dip with Raisins & Walnuts (Mast-O Khiar)

Crispy Okra Raita

Beet Tzatziki

Finding heaven in Hangzhou, Olivia Wu

One of my favorite dishes from the region is a rich stew/soup made of duck, ham and an ingredient essential to Eastern cuisine--salted, dried and cured young bamboo, called bian jian or, in Shanghai, bitzi.

Recipe:

Farmstead-Inspired Hangzhou Chicken Soup

THE ROVING FEAST, Marlena Spieler

Confessions of a coffee addict

Recipes:

Coffee Granita

Caffe Frappe

Gelee de Cafe (Coffee Gelee)

What’s New:

  • Food for thought from Gourmet
  • IN SEASON / Wheel of produce
  • DISCOVERY / Unusual tapenades

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Niman voted top dog among uncured franks.

THE EXCHANGE, Karola Saekel

Homemade cookies strike a nostalgic chord with readers

Recipe:

Nut-Filled Butter Horns

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

When restaurateurs branch out, they may become bilingual. . . Foothill Cafe in Napa sold. . . Bruno's soon to reopen. . . pastry chef from Ame on "Top Chef". . . and more.

Dining Out, Karola Saekel

Middle Eastern spice road leads to Zatar in Berkeley

Restaurant association awards dinner

Twelve Bay Area students preparing for careers in the hospitality industry will receive scholarships totaling $31,000 at this year's annual awards dinner of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association on Aug. 7 in San Francisco.

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Harvest with a pedigree, Janet Fletcher

Heirloom tomatoes and produce, beloved by cooks and consumers, are having their moment in the sun

Recipes:

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon & Potatoes

Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes

Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes with Buttermilk Dressing

Cavatelli with Cranberry Beans

Grande Dame of Mexican cuisine, Tara Duggan

A profile of Diana Kennedy following a recent tamale class in Napa

Recipes:

Tamales Cernidos con Rajas y Queso (Tamales filled with Poblanos & Cheese)

Salsa Verde

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

New chefs for Lulu and Azie . . . Absinthe’s chef moves to new restaurant on the coast . . . Supperclub chef moves to Street . . . new chef at PlumpJack Café . . . and more.

What’s New:

  • Reissue of the classic cookbook “The Taste of Country Cooking” by Edna Lewis
  • Scala’s Bistro on Union Square reopens with updated menu
  • New restaurant Bistro 1689 opens in Noe Valley
  • Domaine Chandon’s Etoile Brut and Etoile Rose sparkling wines have been released with a crown closure instead of cork
  • In the market: green vegetables are suffering from the heat wave, but fruit from the Pacific Northwest is in, as are melons, grapes and apples

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Chipotle salsa is tested, Arriba! is the winner

Dining Out, Amanda Gold

Bistro blends with Bakery at Abigail’s in Cow Hollow

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Flash in the pan, Georgeanne Brennan

Stove-top cooking is a quick, cool and simple way to enjoy summer's bounty

Recipes:

Pan-Fried Cube Steak with Gravy

Sauteed Corn, Zucchini & Hungarian Wax Peppers

Chilled Melon Soup with Lavender

Chicken & Celery Salad

Chicken with Heirloom Tomatoes & Olives

Duck Breast Glazed with Lavender Honey

Sauteed Plums for Ice Cream or Pound Cake

The Roving Feast, Marlena Spieler

Sacramento a la carte, Marlena shares the best from her hometown

Recipe:

Pasta Salsa Cruda

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

Presidio dining ready to roll . . . ban on lentil imports from India . . . second location for Goat Hill Pizza . . . and more.

What’s New:

  • Many local restaurants are offering August wine specials
  • Second location for Cesar on Piedmont Avenue
  • Organic Coffee Company
  • Wonder Bread in the movies

Taster’s Choice, author

Pomegranate-blueberry juice blends are tasted, Naked juice scores high enough to enter the hall of fame.

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

Dainty lettuce withstands grill's fiery heat

Recipes:

Roasted Chicken with Salsa & Poblano-Corn Hash

Salmon with Grilled Romaine & Romas

Dining Out, Mandy Erickson

Dim sum entices at Joy Luck Place in downtown San Mateo

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, August 23, 2006

FEAST OF FIGS, Georgeanne Brennan

New crop shows versatility in sweet and savory roles

Recipes:

Fig & Prosciutto Risotto

Grilled Figs

Foil-Wrapped Pork Chops with Whole Garlic & Figs

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Figs & Goat Cheese

Fig, Spinach & Arugula Salad

Rosemary-Glazed Figs

Fig & Anchovy Salad

The dish on figs, Karola Saekel

Here are a few ways figs are featured at Bay Area restaurants

Figs, plums star in cake, Flo Braker

"To pay homage to these deep purple beauties, I've had a delicious time testing and tasting a homey cake that showcases their remarkable color, texture and flavor. Best of all, you need only a single bowl to prepare the batter."

Recipe:

Prune Plum, Fig & Walnut Kuchen

Fresh seafood's the order of the day, Olivia Wu

Last year, I sped through Ningbo to see a beloved 92-year-old aunt, and fell for its unpretentious cuisine, people and hospitality. This second visit proved it was worth coming back and back -- including a much-too-short side trip to the densely cultured city of Shaoxing, famous for its eponymous wine, as well as literary history.

Recipe:

Poached Shrimp

Cauliflower perfects pasta, Dabney Gough

"Named after her husband, Giovanni Scala, the recipe originally comes from Giovanni's mother, who made it in Naples. Although this version varies slightly from the original, which called for onions, anchovies and breadcrumbs, it still captures the classic combination of pan-roasted cauliflower tossed with pasta."

Recipe:

Pasta alla Gianni

What’s New:

  • Spanish Fly Tapas and Wine Bar
  • The Front Porch's pub grub/Caribbean/soul food menu
  • Chez Shea in Half Moon Bay
  • Mijana in Burlingame
  • Potato famine, California style
  • Heritage pork at Bi-Rite
  • Savory shortbread at Miette

Benefits

Aioli feast, burger for a pint and more!

TASTER'S CHOICE, Carol Ness

Trader Joe's deemed best uncured bacon

Dining Out, Carol Ness

Latin flavors, vibe need more pop at La Taza de Cafe

Cooks at all levels can profit from 'Kitchen Sense', Karola Saekel

"Every few years, a book comes along that offers a unique mixture of tradition and innovation, of creativity and practicality that sets it apart from the hundreds of cookbooks published every year, even the dozens of really good ones."

Recipe:

Fresh Tuna Casserole

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Lunch Issue, Stacy Finz

Never before have school lunches been under such a spotlight. In the last two decades, the percentage of American children who are overweight has more than tripled. Excess weight has been linked to a host of health problems, including asthma, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

For years, school diets consisted of processed foods filled with fat and sugary vending machine snacks. But all that has been changing. School districts participating in the National School Lunch Program are adopting wellness policies to comply with a 2004 federal law mandating nutrition education, healthier foods and opportunities for exercise. By next summer, state law will require that vending machine snacks and cafeteria meals sold during school hours have fewer calories and less fat. In 2009, sales of soda will be banned on California high school campuses. The state's elementary and middle schools have been soft drink-free since 2003.

Still, many kids bring their lunches from home. It's a constant struggle -- what to pack that's healthy and that kids will eat. That's the challenge taken up by The Chronicle's Food staff. Today, you'll find a wealth of solution.

Send students packing with kid-tested meals, Amanda Gold

Recipes:

Mini Pita Pizzas

Quinoa for Kids

Corkscrew Pasta Salad with Edamame, Red Peppers & Crunchy Noodles

Sweet Potato Burritos

Chicken Nachos

Chunky Salsa Base

Hard hats’ lunch pails spill their secrets, Carol Ness

What’s New:

  • Healthier alternatives for snack packs from Annies’, Organic Valley and more
  • Granpa Witner’s Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Mixer – great gadget
  • Tanglewood – new restaurant in San Jose’s Santana Row

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Ranch salad dressing is tasted. Safeway brand wins with 81 points and enters the hall of fame.

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

Totable lunch for the office

Recipes:

Sesame Soba Noodles with Tofu & Spinach

Chicken & Rice Pilaf with Tomatoes

The Roving Feast, Marlena Spieler

Marlena is the Queen of packed lunches

Recipes:

Chilled Artichoke with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Thai-Inspired Noodle & Vegetable Salad

Pan Bagnat

Dining Out, Amanda Berne

Favorite lunch spots:

  • Myth Café
  • Mixt Greens
  • Aqua
  • Slanted Door
  • Out the Door
  • Rotunda
  • Bay Wolf
  • Redd
  • Tacos Sinaloa
  • Tacos El Gordo
  • Curry Corner
  • Rosamunde’s
  • Toronado
  • Red’s Java House
  • Saigon City
  • Flying Fish Grill
  • Bix
  • Ana Mandara
  • Junoon
  • Jack Falstaff
  • Chez Papa
  • Frisson

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

Dining Out, Jennifer Tomaro

La Cocina, Mexican restaurant in Orinda features peak flavors and low prices

East to West, Linda Furiya

Recipe:

Chinese Almond Cookies with Five-Spice Powder

Letters to Food

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, September 6, 2006

For the love of chocolate, Laura Compton

Once again Bay Area artisans are at the forefront of a confectionary renaissance, featuring Ariella Toeman of Cocoa Designs, Chuck Siegal of Charles Chocolates, Michael Mischer of Michael Mischer Chocolates and Stephanie Marcon of Coco-Luxe

Chef’s Night In, Dabney Gough

Grandma’s chicken stirs childhood memories for Gayle Pirie, chef at Foreign Cinema

Recipe:

Grandmother’s Oven-Baked Chicken

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

Laura Chenel steps down as cheesemaker . . . new restaurants opening in Noe Valley and Glen Park . . . news about the Oxbow Public Market under development in downtown Napa . . . Kara’s Cupcakes in the Marina . . . and more.

What’s New:

  • New restaurants: Bui, Vietnamese in Berkeley and Toast on Church Street
  • New gadget: the Soyabella Soy Milk Maker
  • Generation Chefs, a non-profit that teaches nutrition and cooking to teens is offering cooking classes in San Rafael
  • Quaker Oats “Magicolor” Oatmeal
  • New cookbooks for kids

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Salt and vinegar potato chips are tasted and Lay’s Kettle Cooked is the winner.

Seasonal Cook, Karola Saekel

Grapes add intrigue to savory dishes

Recipe:

Cojondongo (Gazpacho Salad)

The Exchange, Karola Saekel

New requests for sopaipillas, fregola and orange pour-over cake.

Recipe:

Almond Milk Curd (Hung Yun Dow Foo)

Dining Out, Amanda Gold

Keeping the wolf at bay at Ward Street Café in Larkspur.

From South to North, Jacqueline Higuera McMahan

Mango makes Mexican gazpacho sing

Recipes:

Mrs. Hyder’s Mango Gazpacho

Mango-Cucumber-Jicama Street Food

Changes in Wine & Food

Beginning this week, the Wine section moves to Friday. Along with the move, we'll debut features such as The Sipping News, a potpourri of new gadgets, books, tips and tidbits.

Food is changing, too. Starting next Wednesday, Food will be the new home of the Dining Updates -- fresh looks at previously reviewed restaurants. The Updates join the regular Dining Out review, The Inside Scoop restaurant news column, and all our regular food features, including a wide array of kitchen-tested recipes.

The Updates move from 96 Hours to make way for Bar Code reviews of lounges and bars that offer out-of-the-ordinary food and drinks. And, 96 Hours is still the place to find Bargain Bites, Critics' Picks and Restaurant Roundup guides for your weekend dining plans.

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In search of the transcendent taqueria, Bill Addison

Our critic puts 85 beloved Bay Area burrito joints to the test

Bottarga captures Bay Area's fancy, Melissa Swanson

"Bottarga refers to the cured roe sacs of both gray mullet (bottarga di muggine) and tuna (bottarga di tonno). Gray mullet bottarga, native to Sardinia, is the most prized of the two, with a fine, delicate texture and rich, buttery flavor."

Recipe:

Salad of Zolfini Beans, Dry-Farmed Tomatoes, Celery & Bottarga

THE ROVING FEAST, Marlena Spieler

Accents make the world go 'round

Recently Lloyd Green, a farmer from Southwest England, reported that his Friesian cows moo with a Somerset accent. According to Reuters news agency, Green and his cheesemaker group thought the accents might be a result of the close bonds farmers forge with their animals.

Recipe:

Tomato-Ginger Concasse

Pears Poached with Lemongrass & Lime

What’s New:

  • Boutique ice cream in Berkeley
  • Le Bistro Elephant
  • Cheese shop adds classes
  • Intense organic caramels
  • Heirloom apple with a blush

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Two brands tie for best coconut sorbet.

THE WORKING COOK, Karola Saekel

What about breakfast for dinner?

Recipe:

Goat Cheese Pizza with Peppers & Artichokes

Corn Griddle Cakes with Smoked Salmon, Tomatoes & Cream

Dining Out, Karola Saekel

The Royal Cafe in Albany is still king of breakfast, lunch and kitsch.

Dining Out, Michael Bauer

Baker Street Bistro exudes cozy charm.

Dining Out, Bill Addison

Handsome interior is best thing about Moki's.

THE INSIDE SCOOP, Amanda Berne

Italian restaurant will occupy former Mission sweet spot...Belden Taverna and Arcadia change concepts...Mama's takes over San Rafael's Pier 15

BENEFITS

Fiesta fundraiser...Garden gala...Block party

Between Meals, Michael Bauer

"Here's a taste of the topics and the conversation that transpires on Michael Bauer's food blog on SFGate"

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back to the ranch, Carol Ness

Consumers are going to the source for pastured beef, pork, poultry and eggs

Recipes:

Marinated Grass-Fed Flank Steak

Sally Gale's Olive-Crusted Rib Roast

Chileno Valley Beef Stew

Seasonal Cook, Amanda Gold

Apples for a Sweet New Year

Recipes:

Currant- & Ginger-Stuffed Baked Apples with Honey Creme Fraiche

Butter Lettuce, Apple, Endive, Walnut & Cheddar Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

Grilled Flatbread with Melted Brie & Honeyed Apple Compote

Calling Bad Cooks, author

Thanksgiving is coming, and The Chronicle is here to help with Turkey Training Camp.

The China Chronicles, Olivia Wu

Suzhou is all about refinement

What’s New:

  • Thomas Keller opens Ad Hoc in Yountville
  • Cindy Pawlcyn to open Go Fish in St. Helena
  • Gary Danko tops Zagat list
  • New gadget from Zyliss the Dial-N-Slice

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Ready-made tabboulehs come under scrutiny, Nutritious Delicious and Raquel’s are top scorers, others disappoint

Dining Out, Mandy Erickson

Red Ginger menu takes trip through Pan-Asian cuisine in El Granada

Dining Out, Carol Ness

Jojo restaurant is a taste of France in Oakland

Dining Out, Amanda Gold

Italian fare you can rely on at Mescolanza in San Francisco

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

The corner of Van Ness and Pacific will see yet another restaurant open, it’s ninth . . . former Lark Creek chef Michael Otsuka is now at Rotunda . . . and more.

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Almonds, Georgeanne Brennan

Enjoying almonds at their peak is one of the best things about having the quintessential California crop growing in our backyard

Recipes:

Dried Apricot & Almond Bars

Almond Granola Clusters

Fresh Pear & Almond Dessert Pizza

Almond-Breaded Chicken Cutlet with Capers and Lemon

Ancho-Almond Mole Sauce

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

Laura Cunningham is leaving the French Laundry and all of Thomas Keller’s restaurants . . . new CEO and chef for PlumpJack . . . changes at Ame . . . Incanto chef Chris Cosentino to compete on Iron Chef America October 6th . . . and more.

Ramadan meal gets modern twist, Moina Noor

Recipes:

Fruit Chat

Badam Dood (Milk with Almond Meal)

What’s New:

  • Chow magazine launches their new web site
  • Restaurant openings: Barracuda, Little Star and Pier 15
  • Apples, pears and Oregon huckleberries are in the market
  • Smoked paprika hits the mainstream at McCormick

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Two Italian chocolate hazelnut spreads tie for first place, Nutella and Barrati & Milano

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

Try braising for an almost foolproof way to cook fish

Recipes:

Braised White Fish & Vegetables in Lemongrass Coconut Milk

Chipotle Beef Taco Salad

Smile, you’re on culinary candid camera, Jon Bonné

Rules for table side shutterbugs

EGullet reference:

Rip-off revealed

In at least one case, online photos unearthed a bit of culinary plagiarism. In March, Robin Wickens, chef at Interlude, in Melbourne, Australia, was publicly shamed when Sam Mason, the pastry chef at New York’s WD-50, and other members of the web site eGullet.com, noted striking similarities between dishes at Interlude and those at Alinea, WD-50 and Jose Andres’ Minibar, in Washington, D.C. Wickens acknowledged that he devised the dishes after dining at WD-50 and working briefly at Alinea, but denied he had claimed credit for them.

Restaurants

Dining Out, Carol Ness

Xyclo puts a new spin on Vietnamese cuisine on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue.

Update, Michael Bauer

Pleasure and pain at Mecca in San Francisco on Upper Market.

Update, Bill Addison

A Russian gem in the Richmond, Katia’s: A Russian Tearoom

Between Meals, Michael Bauer

Clips from Michael Bauer’s blog

Letters to Food

Benefits

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Food 20, Michael Bauer

The best recipes from two decades of the Chronicle Food section

Twenty years. It doesn't seem like that long ago, yet when I take a look back through the chili, pho, sushi and caviar that have passed down our collective gullets, the changes from then to now are significant.

It was 20 years ago when The Chronicle gathered one of the largest food staffs of any newspaper in the United States, developed a free-standing section and made a conscious effort to focus on the Bay Area food scene. We've produced more than 1,000 sections and more than 15,000 recipes since May 21, 1986. We've grown from a staff of five to a department of 17 working out of our own building behind the main Chronicle offices at Fifth and Mission streets. Here we have a test kitchen, rooftop garden and wine cellar, key to our free-standing Wine section, which began in November 2002.

To celebrate the past and to show how things have changed, we decided to pick the top recipe from each of the last 20 years.

Recipes:

1986: Thai Chicken Salad; Runner-up: Shaker Lemon Pie

1987: Cioppino; Runners-up: Corn Fritters with Fresh Mango Chutney; Asparagus with Sesame Oil Vinaigrette

1988: Sumatran Red Short Ribs of Beef; Runner-up: Fusilli alla Carlo

1989: Raised Waffles; Runner-up: All-American Barbecued Chicken

1990: Barbecued Vietnamese Five-Spice Cornish Game Hens; Runner-up: Thai Glass Noodle Salad

1991: Rosemary Polenta Pound Cake; Runner-up: Gruyere Cheese Puffs

1992: Double Corn Spoon Bread with Green Chiles; Runner-up: Watermelon Agua Fresca

1993: Perfect Popovers; Runners-up: Warm Asparagus with Tarragon Vinaigrette; Chicken Lime Soup

1994: Sicilian Chicken with Lemon, Mint & Almonds; Runner-up: Milanese Braised Pork

1995: White Chili; Runner-up: Fresh Apricot Ice Cream

1996: Bostini Cream Pie; Runner-up: Flo Braker's Favorite Angel Food Cake

1997: Braised Oxtails with White Beans & Salsa Verde; Runner-up: Spicy Beer-Boiled Shrimp

1998: Basque-Style Fisherman's Stew; Runner-up: Green Bean & Arugula Salad with Ricotta Salata

1999: Vietnamese Shaking Beef Salad; Runners-up: Black Bass with Pine Nut Gratinee; Oysters with Chile, Lime & Mint Granita

2000: Twice-Baked Goat Cheese Souffles; Runner-up: Thai Shrimp in Curried Coconut Sauce

2001: Tacos de Carnitas; Runner-up: Pumpkin Polenta Cake

2002: Delfina's Insalata del Campo; Runners-up: Chettinad Chicken Curry; Tomato & Herbed Ricotta Salata Salad

2003: Turkey Jook; Runner-up: Summer Tomato Tart

2004: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Spicy Sausage; Runner-up: Apricot Almond Upside-Down Cake

2005: Strawberry-Almond Shortcakes; Runner-up: Shortcut Caesar Salad

Timeline, Laura Perkins

Highlights of world events and food news from the last 20 years.

Restaurants

Dining Out, Jennifer Tomaro

A warm welcome to Italian fare at Incontro in San Ramon

The Inside Scoop, Amanda Berne

Yerba Buena Lane will soon have two new restaurants: Laurent Manrique will open Alley and another branch for Amber India . . . Prescott and Villa Florence hotels are up for sale . . . soon to open in Noe Valley Oallie featuring local and seasonal ingredients . . . Amanda Berne is leaving the Chronicle (and this column) for a position as a cookbook editor with Ten Speed Press . . . and more.

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Flat-Out Simple, Janet Fletcher

The trail of Mediterranean flatbreads around the world

Recipes:

Thyme Bread (Manaqish bil-Za’atar)

Moroccan Flatbread (R’ghayef)

Turkish Meat Bread (Etli Ekmek)

Yemeni Fried Bread (M’lawwah)

Yemeni Cilantro Chutney (Z’houg)

The Roving Feast, Marlena Spieler

Shopping can be a pain in the . . . (Never turn your back on a lobster)

Recipe:

Mu Shu Vegetable Wrap

Chef’s Night In, Dabney Gough

Mussels, Indian style from Vijay Bist of Amber India

Recipe:

Konkan Steamed Mussels

What’s New:

  • Restaurant openings: Circa on Chestnut Street, Sutra on Brannan, Pescheria in Noe Valley, Alembic on Haight, Somerset in Oakland and iTapas in Palo Alto.
  • Michael Chiarello opens a NapaStyle retail store in Berkeley

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Trader Joe’s and Marie’s are the top-rated Blue Cheese Dressings

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

Grounds for a quick dinner

Recipes:

Chicken & Eggplant Kofte with Bulgar

Spicy Shrimp with Lemon-Peanut Kale & Rice

Restaurants

Dining Out, Amanda Gold

Salt tarnishes Vignette’s stylish, upscale cuisine on Bush Street near Union Square

Update, Bill Addison

Win some, lose some at Le Zinc in Noe Valley

Between Meals, Michael Bauer’s blog

Comments on the Michelin Guide ratings

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dabbling in mustard, Tara Duggan

Add a pungent kick to your cooking with varieties infused with Cognac, beer, grape must or walnuts

Recipes:

Salmon Crostini with Mustard-Dill Sauce

Crispy Mustard Lamb Chops

Sausages with Radicchio-Fennel Slaw

Dandelion Greens with Bacon-Mustard Dressing

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Seasonal Cook, Stacy Finz

Baker has a trick or two with pears, also a list of Sonoma and Mendocino county bakeries.

Recipe:

Pear Upside-Down Cake

What’s New:

  • Sweet ginger treats
  • Campbell's reduced-sodium soups
  • Roadside BBQ restaurant opening in the Richmond
  • Hue L'Amour Vietnamese restaurant opening on Van Ness Avenue

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Fancy root beers fall a little flat, IBC is the top scorer with on 57 points

A menu's pastoral descriptions may not be what they seem, Bonnie Azab Powell

What's in a name?

My husband ordered the pork chop, which was moist and bursting with meaty flavor. Unfamiliar with White Marble Farms, I had the house-made spaghetti -- and took home a menu to research the company.

What I discovered surprised me. White Marble Farms is a brand of Sysco, North America's largest food services distributor. The pork comes from Cargill Meat Solutions, America's second-largest meat processor.

It is bred to ensure tender meat marbled with just enough flavor-boosting fat. But these pigs never see a pasture. They're raised indoors in confinement barns, just the way most commercial pork is produced, except in smaller numbers. Aside from genetics, they're conventional pigs wearing a lip gloss of sustainability.

The Exchange, Karola Saekel

New requests for: Pasqua's Chicken Caeser Salad, Sunmaid Raisin's Golden Fruitcake, and Japanese egg salad tea sandwiches.

Recipe:

Williamsburg Orange Cake

Restaurants

Update, Michael Bauer

Cyrus in Healdsburg joins the four-star elite

Dining Out, Karola Saekel

Cafe dishes out bistro fare on Oakland's auto row, Z Cafe & Bar

Between Meals, Michael Bauer's blog

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bringing Duck Home, Janet Fletcher

A guide to cooking a bird that's both crisp and juicy

Recipes:

Nancy Oakes' Slow-Roasted Duck

Cindy Pawlcyn's Roast Duck

Bay Wolf's All-Day Duck

Bay Wolf's Seared Duck Breasts with Spice Rub

Manka's 'Shut Up' Duck Legs

China Chronicles, Olivia Wu

It’s a hairy crab extravaganza

The Inside Scoop

Jonathan Waxman and Stephen Singer will open a restaurant in Sebastopol . . . Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc . . . changes at COPIA . . . and more.

What’s New:

  • Restaurants: Salt House at First and Mission, Perbacco on California Street, Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay
  • New book: “In Great Taste: Fresh, Simple Recipes for Eating and Living Well” by Evelyn H. Lauder, Rodale Press
  • Market Watch: warm weather means there are still tomatoes, also winter greens and fall fruits: pomegranates and persimmons

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Ortega, Bearitos, and Rosarita are the top scoring refried beans.

From South to North, Jacqueline Higuera McMahan

Pumpkin seeds morph from jack-o’-lantern to mole

Recipes:

Pipian Mole

Candied Pepitas

Restaurants

Dining Out, Mandy Erickson

Shiva’s atmosphere coddles Peninsula diners in Mountain View.

Dining Update, Bill Addison

Turkish hospitality warms a foggy West Portal spot, Bursa Kebab.

Dining Update, Michael Bauer

Yabbies Coastal Kitchen weathers the storm on Polk Street.

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Magic Miso, Beth Budra

A guide to Japanese soybean pastes and how to use them

Recipes:

Miso-Broiled Black Cod

Orange Almond Miso Vinaigrette

Sesame-Miso Dipping Sauce

Cook’s Books, Karola Saekel

“The Joy of Cooking”, 75th Anniversary Edition by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker

Recipe:

‘Joy of Cooking’ Quick Tuna Casserole

A classic is put to the test, Laurel Maury

Cook’s Books, Karola Saekel

“Michael Mina, the Cookbook”, by Michael Mina

Chef’s Night In, Dabney Gough

Recipe:

Fran Gage’s Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake

What’s New:

  • Restaurant: AVA in San Anselmo
  • Grass fed beef from the ranch at Hearst Castle
  • Bakery: Kara’s Cupcakes in the Marina
  • San Francisco is voted the most vegetarian-friendly city in North America by VegNews magazine
  • In the Market: Apples, pears and grapes

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

A hearty stew is just the ticket for an autumn night

Recipes:

White Bean & Sausage Stew with Broccoli

Spinach Ravioli with Roasted Butternut Squash

The Inside Scoop

The Plumed Horse restaurant in San Jose is getting a makeover . . . staff cuts continue at Copia . . . Bristol Farms market in the new Westfield Shopping Centre is doing brisk business despite high prices and pickets . . . and more.

Restaurants

Dining Out, Amanda Gold

Vin Antico, a bistro and wine bar in San Rafael

Dining Update, Michael Bauer

O Chame, Japanese fusion cuisine in Berkeley

Benefits

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, November 8, 2006

THE HEAT IS ON, Flo Braker

How to get the best from a new generation of ovens

If Baker X and Baker Y each follow the same butter cake recipe, they will produce two identical cakes, right?

Wrong. Two different bakers almost always produce two different results.

One might be more skilled, or choose different brands of the same ingredients, or employ slightly different techniques. But there is another reason: Ovens vary.

Modern ovens are simply not the same as their counterparts of yore. In addition, how long the oven is preheated, where the rack is placed, and which setting is selected -- if there is a choice -- can dramatically affect the flavor, texture and appearance of cakes, cookies, breads and pastries.

Recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Baker’s Dozen Butter Cake

Butterscotch Blondies

Chefs find food for thought, Carol Ness

A report on Bay Area chefs who attended the Slow Food’s Terra Madre event in Turin, Italy.

Spain’s culinary Picasso seeks new inspiration, Amanda Gold

An interview with Ferran Adria after his cooking demonstration at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa.

What’s New:

  • Book: “Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook” by Georgeanne Brennan
  • Book: “Betty Crocker: Why It Works”, by Kevin Ryan
  • Restaurants: Weird Fish and Rasha Thai both in the Mission
  • Gluten free pumpkin pie from Crave pastries
  • Noe Valley Bakery offers a line frozen dough to “Bake at Home”
  • In the Market: Persimmons and apples

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Chocolate cake mixes lack chocolaty flavor, Betty Crocker, at 55 points, has the top score

The Inside Scoop

Grasshopper restaurant in Oakland to close . . . Enrico’s on Broadway has also closed . . . the Ferry Building Farmers Market will no longer offer the Sunday and Thursday markets . . . Andronico’s will close its Walnut Creek location while Trader Joe’s will open one there . . . Trader Joe’s plans to open a store in Berkeley is receiving some local opposition . . . and more.

East to West, Linda Furiya

Sweet, crisp Asian pears capture the season

Recipes:

Asian Pear, Carmelized Onions, Blue Cheese & Soy Sauce-Roasted Pecans on Flatbread

Soy Sauce-Roasted Pecans

Carmelized Onions

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

Roasting brings out the best in root vegetables

Recipes:

Baked Ham with Apples & Root Vegetables

Scallop & Mushroom Chowder

Restaurants

Dining Out, Jennifer Tomaro

Service and basics shine at Uncle Yu’s, Szechuan restaurant, in Lafayette

Dining Update, Michael Bauer

Living large at Cortez, on Geary Boulevard

Dining Update, Bill Addison

P.J.’s Oysterbed, New Orleans fare warms your cockles, on Ninth Avenue

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thanksgiving 101: Turkey Training Camp, Stacy Finz

If five novice cooks can prepare a turkey and all the fixings, you can, too

Recipes:

Best Way Brined Turkey

Best Way Unbrined Turkey

Best Way Gravy

Best Way Mashed Potatoes

Cranberry-Orange Relish

Uncooked Cranberry Relish

Walnut-Mushroom Stuffing

Cider-Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Broccoli with Mushrooms

Butter Pecan Pie

Pumpkin or Apple Galette

Best Way Pumpkin Pie

Extreme Thanksgiving wear, John Lee

Thanksgiving to go is a phone call away, Holly Benadum and Karen Bianchini

Turkey Survival Guide

Holiday Hotlines

Planning for Thanksgiving

Do-ahead Pecan Pie

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Cranberry drinks add sparkle to the festivities, Trader Joe’s, R. W. Knudsen and Safeway Select all score well.

The Roving Feast, Marlena Spieler

Thanksgiving gravy 911

Recipe:

see the Best Way Gravy recipe in the feature article

The Inside Scoop

Out the Door, a casual restaurant from the Slanted Door’s owner will open a second location in the Westfield Centre . . . lots of new openings in the Mission . . . Broadway Grill to open in Burlingame . . . and more.

Restaurants

Dining Out, Karola Saekel

Cuisines commingle at Vanessa’s, Thai and French, in Berkeley

Dining Update, Bill Addison

Dopo’s smacks of simple elegance in Oakland

Restaurant Openings, Laura Compton

Regalito Rosticeria in the Mission and B Restaurant & Bar in Yerba Buena Gardens

Between Meals, blog by Michael Bauer

Benefits

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Dog Ate My Turkey, Amanda Gold

. . . and other Thanksgiving disasters. Plus, time-saving strategies to calm your nerves and last-minute Thanksgiving menu

Recipes:

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Breast with Cider Gravy

Chorizo & Apple Cornbread Stuffing

Cider Gravy

Molasses & Maple Glazed Yams

Pumpkin Caramel Ice Cream Pie

Seasonal Cook, Olivia Wu

Chestnuts usher in festivities

Recipes:

Fran Gage’s Apple Tart with Chestnut Cream

Castagnacchio (Chestnut Cake)

Seasonal Cook, Olivia Wu

Crab season starts with a bang

Recipe:

Winter Crab Gumbo

What’s New:

  • Restaurant Opening: Farm at the Carneros Inn in Napa
  • Barefoot Contessa pantry items
  • Thanksgiving flavors from Jones Soda
  • Market Watch: Citrus fruits and winter greens

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Danish water crackers, Bisca, nudge out Carr’s for the top score.

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

Friday’s bird is sometimes best

Recipes:

Turkey Couscous Salad with Pomegranates

Baked Turkey Sandwiches with Brie & Cranberry

Turkey Survival Guide

Recipe:

Chronicle Classic: Best Way Brined Turkey

Holiday Hotlines

Restaurants

The Inside Scoop

Changes on the restaurant scene in Tomales Bay . . . new chef at Postrio . . . Roland Passot to open a restaurant in Las Vegas . . . two Italian cafés to open in the Mission . . . the Mandarin is closing . . . and more.

Dining Out, Mandy Erickson

Tribu Grill’s Filipino fare caters to the carnivore in San Bruno

Dining Update, Bill Addison

Ella’s dinners hark back to Mom’s comfort food on Presidio Avenue

Dining Update, Michael Bauer

Scala’s Bistro exudes a timeless appeal in Union Square

Where to eat out for Thanksgiving, Bill Addison

Between Meals, blog by Michael Bauer

Benefits

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gifts from your kitchen, Marlene Sorosky Gray

Recipes:

Dark, Milk & While Chocolate Brownies

Zesty Orange-Apricot Bread with Dried Cranberries

Melon, Apple & Pear Chutney

Indian-Spiced Cashews with Pistachios & Currants

“Best of Everything: Almond Cake

Shrimp Mousse with Avocado & Dill

Moroccan Honey-Glazed Carrots

Gadgets galore for the giving, Stacy Finz

Chef’s Night In, Dabney Gough

Chef Khai Duong of Ana Mandara

Recipe:

Crispy Skin Salmon

What’s New:

  • Hot cocoa in the Bay Area
  • Ready-to-serve Tri-tip from Buckhorn Grill
  • Dried persimmons
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers are gluten free

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Bette’s scone mix is the clear winner.

Seasonal Cook, Tara Duggan

Cauliflower shows its spicy side

Recipe:

Pizzeria Delfina’s Spicy Cauliflower

The Baker, Flo Braker

Cranberries tart up sweet dessert

Recipe:

Cranberry Walnut Tart

Restaurants

Dining Out, Michael Bauer

Keller’s Ad Hoc elevates rustic, family-style dining

(review from Sunday, November 26, 2006)

Dining Out, Amanda Gold

Mama’s influence evident at Pier 15 in San Rafael

Dining Update, Michael Bauer

Isa’s small plates still rate, but with a bit less luster, in the Marina

The Inside Scoop, GraceAnn Walden

Perello to leave Fifth Floor . . . Eos has a new owner . . . news on the Silicon Valley restaurant scene . . . and more.

Letters to Food

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, December 6, 2006

90 minutes to a dinner party, Janet Fletcher

Three elegant meals that come together quickly for holiday entertaining

Recipes:

Menu 1

Spanish Garlic Shrimp with Sherry

Halibut with Fennel, Chick Peas & Saffron Aioli

Mixed Chicory Salad with Lemon & Olive Oil

Blue Cheese with Honey & Toasted Hazelnuts

Menu 2

Black Olives with Red Wine & Fennel

Green Olives with Toasted Cumin & Sesame Seed

Taralli or Breadsticks

Hand-Cut Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms & Black Truffle Butter

Arugula & Fennel Salad with Shaved Pecorino Pepato

Wine-Poached Pears with Dulce de Leche Custard Sauce

Menu 3

Smoked Salmon Bruschetta

Splt Pea Soup with Carrots, Cilantro & Cumin

Braised Baby Back Ribs with Caraway Cabbage

Persimmon “Ice Cream” with Gingersnaps

The Roving Feast, Marlena Spieler

A funny thing happened on the way to Alba, strangers on a train lead to white truffles

Recipe:

Uova Tartufatta

Cook’s Books, Karola Saekel

Local chefs, authors share their favorite recipes

“The PlumpJack Cookbook; Great Meals for Good Living”, by Jeff Morgan

“Tartine”, by Elizabeth M. Prueitt

“Biba’s Italy: Favorite Recipes From the Splendid Cities”, by Biba Caggiano

“Big Small Plates”, by Cindy Pawlcyn

“Coffee Cakes: Simple, Sweet, and Savory, by Lou Siebert Pappas

“Esalen Cookbook: Healthy and Organic Recipes from Big Sur”, by Charlie Cascio

Recipes:

Orange/Olive Oil Cake (from ‘The PlumpJack Cookbook”)

Venetian Calf’s Liver with Onions (from “Biba’s Italy”)

Mu Shu Pork ‘Burritos’ with Mandarin Pancakes (from “Big Small Plates”)

Cookbooks roam from Morocco to Malaysia

“About Professional Baking”, by Gail Sokol

“Arabesque: A Taste of Morrocco, Turkey & Lebanon”, by Claudia Roden

“Baking: From My Home to Yours”, by Dorie Greenspan

“Black Forest Cuisine”, by Walter Staib

“Cradle of Flavor”, by James Oseland

“Modern Caribbean Cooking”, by Wendy Rahamut

“Whole Grains”, by Lorna Sass

What’s New:

  • Restaurant opening: Out the Door in the Westfield Centre
  • Restaurant opening: Pres a Vi in the Presidio
  • Market Watch: Artichokes and citrus fruit

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Squash soups fall flat on every level, the top scorer, Pacific brand, got only 32 points.

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

Chorizo substitute has south-of-the-border appeal

Recipes:

Soyrizo Breakfast Burritos

Chicken & Brown Rice Soup

East to West, Linda Furiya

Ripe persimmons evoke memories of Shanghai

Recipes:

Five-Spice Persimmon Cake

Ginger Cream

Restaurants

Dining Out, Michael Bauer

Lark Creek stakes a claim on mainstream dining, Lark Creek Steak in San Franciso Centre

(This review appeared on Sunday, December 3, 2006)

Dining Out, Carol Ness

Di Bartolo enlivens Oakland’s food scene

Dining Update, Miriam Morgan

California comfort food at its best at Blue Plate in the Mission

Dining Update, Bill Addison

Stuck in the ‘90s near Union Square, Puccini & Pinetti

The Inside Scoop

Aqua chef is moving to Saratoga . . . Benefit for Bar Crudo’s injured workers . . . Tajine is relocating . . . and more.

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rising to the occasion, Amanda Gold

Four delicious desserts reflect the best of the season

Recipes:

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

Chashew Turtle Tart

Molasses & Brown Butter Cream Sandwich Cookies

Lemon Layer Cake with Cranberry-Lemon Curd

Seafood of the Season, Olivia Wu

Sea bass returns, but there's a catch

Recipe:

Spicy Smoky Chilean Bass

Seasonal Cook, Amanda Gold

At Hanukkah, it all comes back to oil

Recipes:

Sweet Potato & Leek Fritters

Spinach & Zucchini Latkes with Smoky Creme Fraiche

Crispy Cod & Potato Cakes

What’s New:

  • Markets: Falletti Foods in NOPA, Canyon Market in Glen Park, and Blue Fog Market in the Marina
  • Metropolis Baking Co.'s Pane di Altamura semolina bread
  • 3-D cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma
  • Retro aprons

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Bake-athon, taste-off reveal best European-style butter, Challenge European-style wins overall and is the best in the plain tasting, Jana Valley butter from New Zealand is the favorite for baking.

Restaurants

Dining Out, Michael Bauer

Straits at San Francisco Centre has lots of flair but lacks finesse

(This review appeared on Sunday, December 10, 2006)

Dining Update, Michael Bauer

Sweet and salty flavors overplayed at Citizen Thai in North Beach

Dining Update, Bill Addison

San Francisco's Indian Oven is pleasantly predictable

The Inside Scoop

Moose's to become 'Italian brasserie' . . . Aqua will get a new executive chef . . . Narai Thai to close in the Richmond . . . and more.

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The 100-mile Christmas feast , Georgeanne Brennan, Ann M. Evans

Two sumptuous celebration menus for winter draw from the Bay Area's seasonal bounty

Recipes:

--- Traditional menu --

Oyster Bisque with Croutons of Sacramento River Sturgeon Caviar

Dungeness Crab & Belgian Endive Salad

Pork Loin Stuffed with Walnuts, Dried Apricots, Raisins & Sage

Braised Chard with Roasted Garlic

Meyer Lemon Curd Tarts with Candied Violet

Cheese course

-- Meatless menu --

Gigandes White Bean Soup with Wild Arugula & Meyer Lemon Zest

Fennel, Mache & Belgian Endive Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

Twice-Baked Butternut Squash with Walnut & Dried Fruit Stuffing

Brussels Sprouts Chiffonade with Caramelized Onions

Compote of Dried Fruit with Lavender Creme Anglaise

Cheese course

The 100-Mile Feast Wine-Pairing Tips, W. Blake Gray

From South to North, Jacqueline Higuera McMahan

Tamales that buck tradition

Recipes:

Cocktail Chipotle Chicken Tamales

Braised Chipotle Chicken

Seasonal Cook, Carol Ness

Winter brings tangerine dreams

What’s New:

  • Holiday Treats Kit
  • Ferry plaza farmers' Market Tokens
  • Eat It! trivia game
  • Opening: Pan-Asian at Umami
  • Opening: Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop
  • More restaurants: Sushi Rock and Namu in the Richmond

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Battle of the bittersweet bars, bittersweet baking chocolate, Sweet Earth wins but Schokinag, Ghirardelli and Baker's were not far behind.

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

Simple braise for saucy pork

Recipes:

Pork Chops with Braised Fennel & Lentils

Seared Tuna Banh Mi

Restaurants

Dining Out, Michael Bauer

Sophisticated dining, lounge setting are a refreshing mix at Circa on Chestnut Street

(This review is from Sunday, December 17, 2006)

Dining Out, Bill Addison

Contadina does justice to classics in the Marina

Dining Out, Jennifer Tomaro

Homey food hits the spot at Katy's in Walnut Creek

The Inside Scoop

Cosentino to retail his salumi . . . new chef at Tra Vigne . . . dinner only at Ame . . . and more.

Between Meals, blog by Michael Bauer

Selections from my Pasta Hit Parade

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Top Ten Restaurants of 2006, Michael Bauer

Ad Hoc, Yountville

Ame, San Francisco

Coi, San Francisco

Dosa, San Francisco

Kaygetsu, Menlo Park

Nopa, San Francisco

Poleng Lounge, San Francisco

Redd, Yountville

Terzo, San Francisco

Tres Agaves, San Francisco

Putting cheddar to the test, Janet Fletcher

Chef’s Night In, Dabney Gough

Make-ahead gnocchi from TV chef and author Joanne Weir

Recipe:

Gnocchi with Roquefort Cream

What’s New:

  • Opening: La Terrasse in the Presidio, Roots Restaurant on Bush Street and Piccino in Dogpatch
  • La Tourangelle’s nut oils
  • Dine About Town in January

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Ducktrap and Spence & Co. are the winning brands of smoked salmon

Cook’s Books, Stacy Finz

“Barefoot Contessa at Home”, by Ina Garten

Recipes:

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes

Restaurants

Dining Out, Michael Bauer

Sophisticated dining, lounge setting are a refreshing mix at Circa in the Marina

(This reviewed appeared on Sunday, December 24, 2006)

The Inside Scoop

Elizabeth Falkner is starting construction for her new restaurant . . . Enrico’s will reopen with a new owner . . . Tommy’s Joynt 60th anniversary celebration . . . and more.

Letters to Food

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A world of crepes, Tara Duggan

Cooking in Common: Sweet or savory, crepes, blintzes, dosas and blini aren't just for breakfast or dessert

Recipes:

Savory Mushroom Crepes

Moon Crepes

Cheese Blintzes

Vanilla Bean Crepes with Apple-Date Butter

The Roving Feast, Marlena Spieler

Hungarian hospitality warms the soles

Recipe:

Veal or Chicken Paprikash

Taster’s Choice, Carol Ness

Hall of Fame winners from 2006, 13 products that scored 80 points or above

Restaurants

Dining Out, Michael Bauer

Solid East-West menu, lovely interior set the stage at Embarcadero’s Sutra

(This review appeared on Sunday, December 31, 2006)

Dining Out, Mandy Erickson

Fresh seafood’s off the hook at San Mateo’s Yuzu Sushi & Grill

The Inside Scoop

The GM from Neiman Marcus’s Rotunda is moving to Bergdorf’s in New York . . .well known Monterey chef is moving on . . . and more.

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Digest: San Francisco Chronicle Food Section for Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Reign of Spain, Janet Fletcher

Specialty Spanish ingredients are spicing up kitchens throughout the Bay Area

Recipes:

Pescado a la Bilbaína (Seared Fish Fillets with Sherry Vinegar & Fried Garlic)

Caldo Gallego (Hearty Bean Soup with Chorizo, Potatoes & Cabbage)

Glazed Carrots with Moscatel Vinegar

Roast Chicken with Saffron & Pimenton

Paella con Setas (Spanish Bomba Rice with Wild Mushrooms & Chorizo)

Seasonal Cook, Carol Ness

Subtropicals settle in California: Winter is peak season for California’s subtropical fruit

What’s New:

  • Meat labels emphasize humane treatment
  • Opening: Bobby G’s Pizzeria in Berkeley
  • Opening: Amélie, Nectar Wine Lounge, Hayes and Kebab
  • Food trend forecast
  • Market Watch: Colorful cauliflower, broccoli rabe and navel oranges

Cook’s Books, Karola Saekel

“Charlie Palmer’s Practical Guide to the New American Kitchen”, by Charlie Palmer

Recipe:

Braised Pork Belly with Sauerkraut & Potatoes

The Working Cook, Tara Duggan

When life gives you children, mealtimes can be a challenge

Recipes:

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Walnut Bread Croutons

Broccoli Orecchiette with Tomatoes & Olives

The Baker, Flo Braker

Old-time pudding gets a stylish new look

Recipe:

Flaky Rice Pudding Turnovers

Restaurants

Dining Out, Michael Bauer

Luscious Italian-inspired dishes entice at Perbacco in San Francisco

(This review appeared Sunday, January 7, 2007)

Dining Out, Amanda Gold

There is much to relish at Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa

Dining Update, Bill Addison

Little Nepal lures crowds with exotic, accessible cuisine in Bernal Heights

The Inside Scoop

Memorial for Manka’s . . . Wine bar for Out the Door . . . changes at the Ferry Plaza Market . . . and more.

Between Meals, blog by Michael Bauer

Benefits

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