Recipe inspiration, tips, and kitchen hacks from the Chowhound editors.
We alluded to more trend coverage after our first trend post, and here it is. New York weighed in with some good evidence of new dining trends, and confirmed our suspicions about others we'd been tracking already. Hints: pickle juice, goat butter, savory granola. READ MORE
We had a good idea that Eleven Madison Park, headed up by 2010 James Beard Award winner Daniel Humm, was going to be impressive, so we saved it for our last CHOW Tour dinner. And yes, our instincts were dead-on. Interesting nugget: We were told that the restaurant is in a transitional period of moving from extremely fastidious-looking plating, where "everything has its own space on the plate," to a more organic look, as if the food just blew there on the wind. (Of course, it was meticulously placed just so in the kitchen to look like that.) The new plating could be part of the reason why Eleven Madison Park had an air of casualness while still being a place where every man in the room was wearing a suit—not a sport coat, a suit. Here were some of our favorite things: READ MORE
The newly opened Morimoto, the first of the Iron Chef's eponymous restaurants on the West Coast, "fills a much needed sushi niche," says gmk1322. An avid fan of the ponytailed chef, gmk1322 visited on opening weekend and was thrilled with the food, the service, and the chance to chat with Morimoto himself.
Traditional sushi is expertly prepared and super-fresh. "The sushi rice itself was great and the chefs were really in touch with the fish since each piece of nigiri had the right amount of wasabi to complement the entire piece," gmk1322 says. And the signature tuna pizza, a concoction of sliced big-eye tuna sashimi with anchovy aioli, olives, and jalapeños on toasted flatbread, is delish. "No component of the dish was muddled or overpowered by any other ingredient; rather they all played together in an awesome symphony of tastes that was indescribable."
Morimoto [Napa Valley]
610 Main Street, Napa
Discuss: Morimoto Napa
What Cafe Gabriela does with pork adobo and a toasted baguette is indecently good. The homey, Filipino-style pulled pork is subtly perfumed with bay leaf and the tang of vinegar, says Pius Avocado III. "A note of soy occasionally steps forward from the background to add a slightly salty note to the tender yet toothsome, porky meat. A hint of braising liquid just begins to flirt with the baguette's interior, coyly seeping in to provide counterpoint to the not-quite crusty crust." And by not-quite crusty, Pius means the "perfect balance between resistant yet crunchy crust and pillowy dense interior."
10foot5 seconds the recommendation, saying, "I'll definitely get this sandwich again—and soon." Incidentally, 10foot5 adds, the reliably excellent Cafe 15 has a pulled pork sandwich that's "similar in its porkliciousness." Also at Cafe 15, the salmon salad with "huge chunks of lovely salmon, equally large chunks of perfectly ripe tomatoes," plus fava beans, cucumber, and mesclun in a dressing "bristling with fresh dill and the tang of sour cream," has become a favorite for 10foot5. "I’ve been working in SF and Oakland for over 20 years now and I can’t think of any other lunch place in all that time that offers/has offered so many consistently good options."
Cafe Gabriela [East Bay]
988 Broadway, Oakland
Cafe 15 [East Bay]
597 15th Street, Oakland
Discuss: Cafe Gabriela, downtown Oakland– pork adobo sandwich
In praise of the Salmon Salad w/ Dill Sour Cream dressing at Café 15 – Oakland
"I don't get the line at Chipotle when you can get food like my mom would have made had she been a Mexican mom, right across the street," says lmnopm, referring to the family-run La Palmita Cafe, where ernie in berkeley gives the pozole high marks. "It's an excellent rendition, stew-thick with corn kernels and sliced pork, assertively spiced with New Mexico chiles, subtly seasoned with garlic, oregano, and a hint of lime," he says. The usual garnish of shredded cabbage and lime come on the side.
Based on ernie's tip, ShepherdBGoode checked out La Palmita, "and let's just say I had pozole three times over the weekend." It's "spicy but not thermal," and a large bowl is positively mammoth-sized. It's currently a special but may be added to the regular menu. The chile verde, the pollo verde burritos, housemade chips and salsas, and aguas frescas are also good, notes ernie.
La Palmita Cafe [East Bay]
1335 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley
Discuss: Excellent pozole at La Palmita (Berkeley)
At 50 cents apiece, the weeknight happy hour (5–7 p.m.) price for oysters at Zuppa is the deal of the century, says Paul H. Even with the limit of a dozen oysters a person and the one-drink minimum, that means a glass of wine and a dozen oysters comes to about $11, notes Pei. Actually, the cocktails are better than the wine, says Windy, and those oysters are perfectly delicious. If you're inclined to make a meal of it, all the pizzas are good and the pork ragu with rigatoni is excellent, says Pei.
564 Fourth Street, San Francisco
Discuss: Zuppa—50 cent oysters, anyone?
Two years ago, we marked the passing of Rocky Aoki, founder of the famed and sprawling Benihana restaurant chain. Little did we know at that point in time that this colorful character* would leave a legacy of family and financial strife that DailyFinance quite reasonably compares to the plot of King Lear. READ MORE
Nan K. Chase thinks you should be making your dirt work for you. She's the author of Eat Your Yard: Edible Trees, Shrubs, Vines, Herbs, and Flowers for Your Landscape, and took the time out from a busy book tour to answer some questions for CHOW.