Sunday, December 21, 2008
Menu For Hope is an annual fundraising campaign, spearheaded by Chez Pim and many foodbloggers from around the world. This effort originally started five years ago after the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia by which Chez Pim was inspired to start the first Menu For Hope. Since then it has become a yearly campaign to raise funds for worthy causes around the world.
Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes and for every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. And believe me, the prizes are truly amazing! At the end of the two-week campaign this Wednesday, Christmas Eve, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.
For any FAQ's such as how to donate, how are the donations collected & distributed and more on the beneficiary - the UN World Food Programme - please click here.
Last year, Menu For Hope raised nearly $100K to help the UN World Food Program (WFP) feed the hungry. And this year, for just $10 or more, you too can help keep kids in school and win delicious food prizes from food bloggers all over the world.
Unfortunately, I got a late start, because I just now got wind of this. The campaign started on December 15th and runs through this Wednesday, Christmas Eve, which means there are only a few days left! So please, if you would like to donate to the cause, go online now and browse the amazing array of prizes by type, or find a prize near you by searching by region. Bid on as many prizes as you'd like. Buy raffle tickets as holiday gifts to your loved ones. Here is that link again. This holiday, help us help the WFP end world hunger.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
For real. This is no joke.
These are Savory Cupcakes made with Meatloaf and Mashed Potato Frosting. I know, right?
Bizarre. But the SF Food Maven doesn't have much of a 'sweet tooth' so I personally thought these are a brilliant idea. I mean, I'm sure it will take some getting used to as far as the Visual versus Oral sensory expectation, but I would be willing to give it a shot.
I actually first read about this on the Bunrab's site, because the one known as 'Chubby' made them for a Holiday Cupcake party. Bravo Chubby! I would have loved to be able to try one...
If you would like to try these for yourselves or if you would like to even make me some over the holidays (hint hint), then here is the link to the recipe on Food Network. I think the Sanf, Yoghurt-covered Fennel Seeds are a really nice touch...
Monday, December 15, 2008
13 Top Restaurants Will Donate a Portion of Proceeds to the San Francisco Food Bank
It's no secret that restaurants have seen a real slump in business lately, but really who isn't? Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of people in San Francisco who are suffering worse circumstances who are at risk of going hungry this holiday season. These people are from poor working households whose incomes are so low that they are unable to put food on their families tables every day. The San Francisco Food banks supplies food over 600 programs operated by community service agencies and food pantries throughout the City.
So Scott Youkilis and Michael Pierce of Maverick restaurant in the Mission district created Dine Out Against Hunger, and brought together some of the city’s top restaurants to donate up to 10% of their dinner sales from Thursday (December 18th) to the San Francisco Food Bank
.Maverick is also offering to take 10% off of the tab for any customers making an additional donation to the Food Bank.
Participating Dine Out against Hunger restaurants are:
Maverick, Slow Club, Serpentine, Foreign Cinema, Magnolia, Sociale, Slanted Door, Kuleto's, Delfina, Americano, A16, Incanto and SPQR.
The focus of this drive is to raise financial contributions versus actual food donations from participants, because for every $1 donated, the Food Bank can distribute $9 worth of food into the community - thanks to its relationships with retailers, growers and distributors. San Francisco Food banks' goal is to distribute 66,000 holiday meals this season.
So get out there and eat out for a good cause - helping to feed others in need for the holidays.
For reservations, contact the individual restaurant
or for more information, visit - www.SFFoodBank.org.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I have been wanting to try Coi for some time and I finally got the opportunity to go with my good friend, JM. The name of the restaurant itself, Coi, a French word meaning 'tranquil' is an apt name which best describes the small, yet elegant space with its serene and rather subdued interiors with a muted color palette and grasscloth walls. Chef and Owner, Daniel Patterson is a known for his adventurous techniques and masterful execution of dishes that often incorporate molecular gastronomy. Some examples of these would be foams, emulsions, gels, essences, aromas and the use of essential oils with food of which he has written a book about and is known for. These techniques, which are not unlike that you would see from Ferran Adria's El Bulli in Roses, Spain and Grant Achatz at Alinea in Chicago, which are extremely cutting edge, whereas Patterson is much more subtle, perhaps more towards the style of the veritable Thomas Keller of French Laundry.
Coi received four stars from Michael Bauer of the Chronicle this past August, a rating shared by only a precious few of the veritable Bay Area chefs such as Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, Roland Passot of La Folie, Ron Siegel of the Dining Room at the Ritz and Michael Mina to name a few. Patterson's style of food is highly unique and individual with a depth and artistic quality that is rivaled by no other in San Francisco. As Frank Bruni of the NY Times stated, Patterson's food is likened to art, religion and Chanel No. 5.
So enough with the background, let's move on to the important part - the Food.
Below are my photos from our Meal with Menu descriptions below each item...
And if the photos are anything to go by, each Dish was rather unique and beautiful.
Our first encounter was the Amuse Bouche, of Milk & Honey, which was exactly that...
Milk encased somehow within the Honey.
First Course, PINK GRAPEFRUIT ginger, tarragon, black pepper
Next to the Dish itself was a small dab of essential oils - we were instructed to dab some on our wrists and inhale deeply before eating. This is COI's signature fragrance, and it was interesting to say the least.
Second Course, SHINY BEETS citrus scented gel, vadouvan
Third Course, FROMAGE BLANC TART early girl tomatoes, mcevoy olive oil, verbena
Fourth Course was a choice between this on and the Bone Marrow Dish below.
CHILLED PIQUILLO PEPPER SOUP pole and shelling beans,
preserved lemon, cumin, mint.
SMOKED AND SEARED BONE MARROW red and white pomegranate,
asian pear, sorrel.
Fifth Course was a choice between this Dish and the Spiny Lobster below.
CHANTENAY CARROTS AND ARTICHOKES BRAISED IN OUR BUTTER
green cardamom, cilantro.
SPINY LOBSTER SALAD radish, bramley's seedling apple, fennel, chervil
Sixth Course was a choice between this one and a Raviolo which for some reason, I failed to photograph.. weird. I guess th Abalona was just that good...
SAUTEED MONTEREY BAY ABALONE escarole,
Seventh Course we both were given the MATSUTAKE GRILLED ON THE PLANCHA potato-pine needle puree. Nice Dish.
The Eighth Course was a choice between the SLOW COOKED FARM EGG
green farro, gold chard, brown butter-parmesan sauce.
And the Bison Dish below...
SEARED BIG VALLEY RANCH BISON gold turnips and their greens, black olive
The Ninth Course was a Cheese Course
ETUDE (SOYOUNG SCANLAN) khalal barhi dates, walnuts, peppercress
The last few Courses were Dessert Dishes. First a QUINCE PARFAIT huckleberry, almond, thyme.
MICHEL CLUIZEL "CONCEPCION" GANACHE seascape strawberries,
cocoa nib, violet ice cream.
MILKSHAKE vanilla bean, olive oil
The Milkshake above, as unassuming and simple as it sounds, was a real winner, which came as a huge surprise. I mean, I'm talking 'eyes rolling back' kinda good. A truly fantastic end to an amazing dinner. JM and I agreed that the other winners were the Abalone and the Bison.
Coi was a truly memorable experience which we found to be truly innovative and each Dish, meticulous in its presentation and attention to detail and in its use of local organic ingredients. And just an FYI, the Tasting at Coi consists of an 11 Courses at $120 per person, so be sure to save up beforehand. Thanks again, JM for dining with me, and as I said, next food review will be my treat!
Where shall we go next?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
A few weeks ago on Sunday, October 5th, The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) held its 6th annual Sunday Supper which showcased the abundance of delicious produce offered at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and the supreme culinary talent of the San Francisco Bay Area.
There are two parts to this culinary event, the Reception and the Sunday Supper which followed immediately afterwards upstairs in the Ferry Building Grand Hall. The Reception took place in the Ferry Building Marketplace Halls as people bustled about tasting hors d'oeuvres from 22 top Bay Area chefs and sipped wine from four local wineries. Guests were also able to imbibe in Farmer's Market specialty cocktails from Hangar One and Square One vodkas as well as organic beer from Bison Brewing Company. SF Food Maven only attended the Reception, but that in itself was plentiful enough to feed an entire family and then some.
Here is the Breakdown of SF Food Maven Notable & Mentionables...
The first Hors D'Oeuvre encounter was a deliciously sweet, K&J Orchard Pear paired beautifully with a salty Lonza, a cured & dried Pork Loin similar to Prosciutto by Boccalone, a Salumeria founded by the Offal King, Chris Cosentino of Incanto. Next, we had the creamy Farm Egg Salad with Tomatoes from Dirty Girl Produce (love the name by the way..) by Phil West of Range. A delicious beginning...
Daniel Patterson of Coi provided a veritable Heirloom Vegetable Crudite by Heirloom Organics, pictured below, that was beautiful in its simplicity and essentially spoke for itself visually.
Thom Fox, Acme Chophouse, provided beautifully tender, savory Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Potatoes from Little Organic Farm, that was deliciously hearty and filling.
I was excited to be able to chat with Stuart Brioza, of the now shuttered, iconic San Francisco restaurant, Rubicon, who recently got back from his honeymoon. His Dish was a Warm Sweetbread and Beef Tongue Terrine that encompassed a Horseradish Cream concoction atop something crispy that escapes me at the moment, but whatever it was, it provided a textural contrast that just made the Dish...
I'm gonna have to stop the presses now to tell you about the next two SF Food Maven Notables Edibles... Because they were just to die for...
The event also held a Year of Dining out Raffle, auctioning four chances to win a collection of 12 dinners for two from the participating restaurants.
Immediately following the Reception, the Sunday Supper hosted Chefs from 30 restaurants who collaborated in teams of three to provide a unique first course, entree, cheese course and dessert for each long table of guests. Food Lovers were delighted by a different meal than their neighboring table.
All in all, it was another fun Food & Wine event for a good cause, in which I got to bump elbows with Bay Area greats such as Stuart Brioza of the former Rubicon, and Elizabeth Faulkner of Citizen Cake & Orson. An event in which over fifty of the Bay Area’s most celebrated chefs, all dedicated to promoting sustainable, seasonal and local dining, stepped up to cook for the reception and this memorable four course feast.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
It was a spectacular event, to say the least and I cannot wait to share the experience here with you..
As mentioned in a previous post, the Food Affaire is a Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) annual event. The event was formerly the Toast of the Town, but this year the GGRA went for a edgier, sexier, more sensual vibe and it worked. It was a huge success and as promised, it showcased all-star chefs, indulgent aphrodisiac-inspired cuisine and sensual entertainment.
So sit back, read on and enjoy the, dare I say? 'Food Erotica'...
Upon entering the plush Ruby Skye nightclub, one is greeted by a feather dusting by sassy, flirtatious servers in burlesque, serving up SKYY X-Rated cocktails to kick off the evening. Once rounding the corner to enter the main room, all of your senses are stimulated by the sounds of sexy beats, seductive performers center stage and chefs serving up sexy, aphrodisiac inspired cuisine.
This event was all of these and more. A true seduction of all of your senses...
Dan Scherotter of Kuleto stood before an enormous phallic-shaped zucchini that was erotically pierced with toothpicks of house-cured sardines wrapped around beets. Beretta served up a rich, creamy Truffle Fondue that was to die for. One of my favorite chefs, Bruce Hill & Colin Dewey of Bix provided a beautiful Garden of Eatin' that was filled with pristine organic produce such as Strawberries, Beets, Avocados and ambrosial K&J Farms Panache figs. Each of these lush 'lilies' was gilded with a drizzle of ultra rich, perfectly sweet Cavedoni Balsamico. Perfecto! Jack Falstaff had a mouthwatering Shrimp paired with creamy Avocado and wonderfully fresh Watermelon topped with Cilantro whose flavors were surprisingly sensuous. Ducca served a rich Yellowtail Crudo literally 'swimming' in Champagne Spuma, Parsnip Cream and Osetra Caviar which was a combination that I found ironically delicious. Joey Altman of Bay Cafe and the newly opened Miss Pearl's Jam house in Oakland provided a creamy Rice Pudding with Berries and Cream.
As is typical, some of the sumptuous fare stood out more than others. Because I attend so many food & wine events as a food writer, I found myself making note of the favorite dishes that stood out, let's call them SF Food Maven 'Notable Edibles', and as the end of the event draws near, I go back for seconds and sometimes even thirds. Well, this time around, the following four Notable Edibles made for a perfect 4-Course Meal. So I found myself, weaving my way back for these Dishes in this exact order...
The Second Course
Emporio Rulli had a Risotto with Beets. Earthy and delicious... You really couldn't go wrong.
Poleng Lounge's Tim Luym presented a spicy Balinese Lemongrass Satay Sampi that was phallic and packed a heat that was all of the above things and a big hit for many, if the constant crowds were anything to go by...
And Decadent all at once...
Perbacco's Fig Leaf Panna Cotta topped with Olive Oil, Cocoa Crumble and Red Wine Figs Dessert was so good that it put the 'Happy' in my Ending. I loved it.
Halfway through the evening, exotic, cirque de soliel-esque dancers performed sensual aerial routines, that had to be seen to be believed.
All in all, it most certainly was an all-encompassing, heady sensory experience featuring sensual entertainment and aphrodisiac-inspired cuisine created by San Francisco's leading chefs that went straight to my head, amongst other things...
A true Epicurean experience that stimulated all of your senses...
All proceeds raised from A Food Affaire will benefit the GGRA’s Scholarship Foundation, which provides talented students with scholarships to help fund their tuition towards careers in restaurants and hospitality. A most worthy cause, if you ask me.
Special thanks to Donnalyn Murphy, the Director of Educational Services for allowing yours truly to attend the event!
Take it from me, come next year, this event is not to be missed! This by far, was one of my favorite food & wine events of the year. And I will be sure to let you know once it comes around again... Perhaps, next time you will join me.