As luck would have it, Danny Meyer’s plane sailed into SF yesterday morning right like clockwork, giving him just enough time to grab an early lunch with me at Piccino before he was off to give a talk at the California Culinary Academy’s swanky new pad in Potrero Hill. (The lecture, Obama-esque in Meyer’s very earnest yes-we-can attitude, was all about giving the love back to your diners by way of excellent hospitality—not just sending them off with tomorrow-morning’s coffee cake.)
Be mine: Charles Chocolates Triple
I’m not a romantic, at least in the conventional sense. Valentine’s Day? Whatever.
My apathy is a good thing, though. It serves me well when the romantic forecast is cloudy and gray.
I'm similarly indifferent about the two things that come with February 14: red roses and chocolate. Give me dahlias, tulips or ranunculus; coconut, lemon or caramel. I've learned to steer clear of this conversation in the company of other women, though. Just saying no to chocolate is like an affront to the sisterhood.
Sean O'Brien joins the boys club.
I don’t want to say when Food & Wine magazine puts you on the cover for its "Best New Chefs" issue, you’re golden—but it sure seems like it. Past SF-based BNCs include Delfina’s Craig Stoll, Cyrus’s Douglas Keane, the Ritz-Carlton’s Ron Siegel, Jardinière’s Traci Des Jardins and Spruce’s Mark Sullivan (for his food at the Village Pub). Hardly a motley crew.
A really bad photo of a pretty cool custom cookbook.
When I was growing up, dinnertime in my family usually began with my mother sitting on the floor, sifting through piles of recipes, all clipped from magazines or handwritten, and tossed into the recipe drawer. Today, the drawer is no longer and mom is more often on Epicurious, looking up four-fork recipes. Ask her to give you the recipe for something delicious that she made once and it will inevitably entail a frantic internet search.
I want to make this clear: Srijith, the executive sous chef of Campton Place Hotel restaurant, is not the kind of guy who's made his career cooking up a curry of the day. Before he arrived in SF, he was a chef at Deep End—an award-winning Conde Nast restaurant in the Maldives where the menu is Mediterranean.
Chef Laurent Manrique is getting back to his roots.
Chefs get excited about things: “The Bay Area is almost the same latitude and longitude!” Laurent Manrique, the chef of Aqua and now consultant to the Fifth Floor, was telling me the other day, referring to the likeness of our geography to his native homeland, the Gascony region of France. They have a wine country (OK, so theirs is Bordeaux, one of the most famous wine regions in the world), forest, mountains (OK, theirs is the Pyrenees), and an ocean in close proximity—and so do we!
I promise I won't grow up to be a chef.
There are certain things that can make a mother’s heart melt—especially when you think you have something to do with it. Like the fact that my 2 ½ year old son, Moss, loves to “cook.” It must be genetic, right? He spends a lot of time in front of his little wooden “stovetop” and “oven,” from which the other day he proudly pulled out his stuffed piggy which he'd been cooking—the same one that he also sleeps with (in my head I was making whole hog jokes, but I didn’t think he’d get it).