POACHED: Chef Brandon Jew of Bar Agricole
“I’m a nut about eggs,” says Jew. “I haven’t let anyone else cook them for brunch at the restaurant yet.”
1. Jew starts with a wide shallow pot, filled halfway with water and seasoned with salt. When the water is hot enough that it almost comes to a boil (but doesn’t), he cracks an egg into a ramekin before dropping it ever so gently into the water.
2. When the egg white looks opaque, Jew pokes it with his finger to “make sure it’s still jiggly and squishy” and removes it with a slotted spoon that’s “smooth and gentle on the egg.”
3. Jew recommends poaching eggs ahead of time and keeping them on ice. For dinner, he likes to heat them up in kale soup made with bacon and served with a big piece of grilled toast and a shaving of pecorino.
Remember the fried wonton strips you used to get for free at Chinese American spots? Or those old fashioned mom-and-pop Italian joints that almost seemed to pride themselves on how much bread and butter they could stuff you with before the meal? For the most part, those days are over. I've heard chefs say so much gratis bread ends up in the trash, it's basically like throwing money away. But when a restaurant does the pre-meal giveaway right, it stays with you long after dinner ends, becoming a very good reminder to go back. Here are some freebies I can't seem to forget.
Fresh soft-shell Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are coming in strong right now from the East Coast and just starting to surface on menus across town. Although we see soft-shells year round wrapped into California-style sushi rolls, those are usually frozen and shipped in from Asia.
Remember micro-herbs? About two years ago miniscule strains of cilantro and basil were sprouting up on the most progressive menus around town. "Now the movement is towards more of a modern naturalism," says Ravi Kapur of Prospect. He's talking about flowers. Edible petals, blossoms, sprays and shoots are sprouting up everywhere.
They might look rare, but some of these blooms are about as easy to find around town as rosemary. David Barzelay of the Lazy Bear underground restaurant sees the current uptick as a result of our ever-tightening bond with local farmers coupled with chefs' growing desire to get out in the field and forage for themselves. Here's a handy guide to the most popular edible blooms of San Francsico and where to find them.
Despite what you may have heard, the apple does not fall far from the tree. In this case, the tree is Boulevard, and the apple is the long-awaited sequel restaurant, Prospect. Boulevard holds down the corner of Stewart and Mission streets, serving precisely executed dishes that feature local bounty to diners with a little coin to throw around. Two blocks away and nearly two decades after Boulevard’s opening, Prospect is doing the same.
The above picture is one of the official press photos of Prospect—the sweeping SoMa restaurant just opened by Team Boulevard. So you might understand why I've been imagining Prospect to look like an uninhabited, rather characterless—and in this photo's case—chairless space. (Notice the bar—no stools!)
Day three at Pebble Beach Food & Wine, picking up where Jessica left off at the afternoon cooking demo with Boulevard’s Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola. The scene was certainly no Thomas Keller Jesus-fest, but Oakes’ fan base is a slightly different breed. She certainly commands the respect of a room (albeit a post-spa, wine-hazed one), especially when she cooks up an extremely complicated seared abalone with a slow cooked farm egg, a dish she admitted “was not necessarily to be tried at home.” It required a $900 “circulated egg” machine, a lab apparatus that keeps the egg yolk runny while cooking the white. Intense.