871 Sutter Street (@mason), SF | 415.440.5446 | website
For several years I have been hearing about amazing popup meals that chef Ravi Kapur’s liholiho yacht club was serving around town and started following them on Twitter and Instagram. I finally went to their restaurant, which opened up last year after my fine friend Brenda of Bites & Bourbon dedicated some time to make the reservations a month in advance. You can see from the line outside, this place is popular! As usual I arrived early and found Paula sitting in the bar across from the wonderful vintage photo of Chef Kapur’s mother that fills the room with her warm and infectious smile. We were soon joined by Brenda and her friend Laquel of Kid Free Travel.
Much has been written about Chef Ravi Kapur, who is a partner in the restaurant that honors his Hawaiian heritage, you can read an article from the local SF Chronicle here. You probably just want to read about the food anyways, am I right? The menu is a celebration of Hawaiian influenced flavors using local ingredients and has all kinds of family-style plates that are meant to be shared. The open kitchen is in between the bar and the dining room, Chef Kapur is on the right with his trademark fabulous crown of curly hair. The walls are lined with bright yellow tiles that create a warm and friendly glow.
fits on a single page, with snacks, small plates and entrees that are so large you really have to share. We asked our server for recommendations and we loved every dish that we ordered! She said that we needed two orders of the Tuna Poke
($5.50), because it is so good that everyone will want to have their own. Each plate had two crisp crackers made from paper thin sheets of toasted seaweed that have been lightly battered and fried to a crisp, then piled with a mixture of raw tuna, sesame oil, topped with pungent crisp radish slivers, daikon sprouts and a rich, and drizzled with a spicy rich sauce.
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690 Van Ness Ave, SF 94102 | 415.346.2665 | website
I recently was invited to the San Francisco Cooking School with a group of fellow food bloggers and writers for a hands-on class to introduce us to their Pastry Arts Program. The format we experienced was similar to a day in the life of a pastry school student, but just a 3 hour slice. The class was held in the cavernous state-of-the-art exhibition kitchen in the front hall that can seem a bit intimidating when you first walk in, but we were greeted at the door and directed to our assigned seating. Jodi Liano, the founder of the school talked about their career training programs, which balance academic fundamentals with relevant industry exposure, which is all geared to prepare you to be ready to roll in a real restaurant. They have a very cool externship program where students in the certificate program get to work under award-winning chefs in San Francisco’s top kitchens (hello Delfina, Locanda, NOPA, SPQR to name-drop a few). Students get practical learning experience to prepare them for the real world, not stuck in a large hotel kitchen chopping vegetables or learning to carve ice sculpture (unless of course, that is the path you seek).
Our instructor was Nicole Plue, the Director of the Pastry Arts Program who won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2010. She began her career at the California Culinary Academy, then had an externship at Masa’s, lead the bread program at Hawthorne Lane, then she went east and was part of the opening team at Eleven Madison Park, then developed recipes for the pastry and baking segments for Martha Stewart, was executive pastry chef at Copia in Napa, then at Redd, Cyrus in Healdsburg, and now heads up the Pastry Arts Program at SF Cooking school. As she spoke to us, she had two pots full of butter melting on the stove which you can see reflected in the overhead mirror. Because you see, the topic of the day was cooking with fat which began with talking about butter.
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