The boats are in and the crabs are gorgeous!

by foodhoe on April 14, 2016

Last month, March 26 to be exact, the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife finally lifted the ban on commercial crab fishing after recent tests showed that domoic acid levels (a potentially deadly neurotoxin) in local crabs no longer posed a risk to human health.  Crab season usually begins in mid-November and we have been impatiently waiting for the ban to be lifted as our Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years feasts all passed without our beloved crustaceans on the table…  Our forlorn bellies have been sadly deprived but worse, the shutdown had caused an estimated $49 million in losses to the industry as of last month, and CA Gov. Jerry Brown has requested that the gov’t declare this crab season a federal disaster.

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Mr. K and I made a beeline out to Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay where you can buy live crab fresh off the boats.  We got there at 9 am on a Saturday when there weren’t that many people yet and the traffic was delightfully light.  Walking down the ramp there was a line that had formed a little ways down, but we noticed the first boat on the left was open for business so we headed over there to the Cricket Crabby Crab boat.  In fact now that I look at this photo, the fellow is looking over at the other boat with a line queued up, so I’m glad we went to his boat (F/V Cricket, slip G-1).  We got his card and ordered 6 more crabs from him the next week and he threw an extra one in – score!

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The crabs have had an extra four months time to feed and get big, each was 2-3 pounds and the going rate is $6.99/lb.   These burly boys (they don’t keep the females) were aggressive and quite active.

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a tour of the gourmet ghetto in Berkeley

by foodhoe on April 3, 2016

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I recently went on a tour of the gourmet ghetto in North Berkeley, a place of great culinary significance because that is where California cuisine began at Alice Waters’ iconic restaurant Chez Panisse.  She is the pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally.  Chez P opened in 1971 and has served as an incubator and launching pad for a generation of aspiring chefs.  I got tickets for the tour as a perk for contributing to an Indiegogo fundraiser to build a parklet on Shattuck between Rose and Vine, outside of Saul’s Restaurant.  I brought my friend Chris along on the tour which was conducted by Edible Excursions, and we followed our epicurean concierge on a delicious three-hour stroll through the celebrated gustatory mecca, sampling bites from a mouth-watering assortment of tastings and samples.

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The Gourmet Ghetto began in the late 60s and early 70s when the counterculture was changing everyone’s life and revolution was in the air.  Hippies embraced organic, macrobiotic foods and Chez Panisse began to serve beautiful dishes of sustainably sourced, organic and fresh ingredients.  The Gourmet Ghetto occupies a section of Shattuck Avenue bordered by Rose Street on the north and Hearst on the south.  We began at the Jewish deli and restaurant, Saul’s, run by a Chez Panisse alumni, for house made pastrami sandwiches and artisan soda.  I attended an interesting Referendum on the Deli Menu at Saul’s hosted by Evan Kleiman years ago (2010) with a spirited discussion on reinventing the Jewish deli menu to make it more sustainable and seasonal.  I was excited to sit in the parklet, knowing that my small contribution helped make it possible.

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A feast at China Village in Albany

March 13, 2016
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1335 Solano Ave., Albany, CA |510.525.2285 | website I have mentioned before that I am a member of the enthusiastic dining group called the fried chicken sluts, who frequently get together to try the Bay Area’s best fried chicken.  They recently celebrated their 100th event by gathering to eat the group’s favorite version at China […]

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Dinner at Okane Izakaya in San Francisco

March 7, 2016
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669 Townsend Street, SF | 415.865.9788  | website Okane is a neighborhood izakaya that opened last month on the far edge of tech trendy SOMA, near the ballpark in an area that is teeming with young hipsters.  It is the newest venture from veteran restaurateur Kash Feng, who owns the tiny, high-end Michelin starred Omakase […]

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The chef’s tasting menu at Sabio in Pleasanton

February 23, 2016
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Last weekend Mr. K and I drove out to Pleasanton on 580 past miles of green rolling hills dotted with oak trees to check out the chef’s tasting menu at Sabio’s on Main, a tapas restaurant in the heart of downtown which opened last year.  Neither of us has spent much time in the area, we mostly have […]

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Ramen at Mensho Tokyo in San Francisco!

February 15, 2016
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These are exciting times now that so many artisanal ramen crafters are setting up shop in San Francisco.  For years we have had to travel down the peninsula to satisfy the urge for a bowl of really good noodles.  Last year Mensho Tokyo, which has 6 locations in Tokyo, Japan, announced it was opening its first US location […]

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Dinner at Aubergine at L’Auberge in Carmel

February 8, 2016
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Monte Verde at Seventh, Carmel-by-the-Sea | 831.624.8578 | website Mr. K and I decided we wanted to try something new during a recent visit to Monterey. I did a little research and Aubergine seemed to be on everyone’s A-list and has won many awards.  The restaurant is located in L’Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Châteaux hotel that was originally […]

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