Craig Ramini, 56, chucked his software career in 2009 to raise water buffalo in a leased former dairy in West Marin and produce what could be the only buffalo mozzarella in the United States.
(Published by the San Jose Mercury-News and its affiliates on March 6, 2014.)
Joan Jett sounds like a barking seal as she bellows at her son, Roy Orbison, hoping to keep him out of trouble. The 40-pound baby is adorable now but if he’s lucky, he’ll eventually take on the tall, dark Mediterranean looks of his dad, Van Morrison, rather than end up like Elvis or Neil Young — turned into steers.
It’s another idyllic day in the rolling, green West Marin countryside among Craig Ramini’s herd of 33 water buffalo named after aging rock stars. The reinvented dairyman is now firing on all cylinders after spending years in a trial-and-error period of learning how to raise these horned beasts, milk them and produce mozzarella di bufala as luscious as his Italian model. Continue reading
This made-up vegan dish is delicious, with soft, spiced flesh and crispy edges. The cauliflower is cut “steak-style” rather than in the usual florets and the exotic, tart but rich, spiced flavors are very appealing. Vadouvan is known as “French curry,” being a French interpretation of an Indian Masala called vadavam, from the Pondicherry region of southern India, where France colonial influence is still felt. Basically, it adds that French staple, shallots, to a classic spice blend that features turmeric, cumin, curry leaves and coriander, among others. Continue reading
There are a slew of restaurants in the South Bay offering Latin-style small plates these days, so which are the most popular dishes?
(Published by South Bay Accent in February, 2014.)
Spanish-influenced appetizers have become as hot as spicy chorizo. Whether you call them tapas (Spain), picadas (Argentina), petiscos (Brazil), bocas (various Latin American countries) or just snacks, the idea of petite quantities of food served with alcoholic or other beverages has universal appeal, with more tapas spots now open in the South Bay than ever. With so many choices out there, it’s high time we selected the region’s ten tastiest tapas. Continue reading
Wine tasters can access the wineries on San Francisco’s Treasure Island (this photo was shot at a cool park on its west side) via boat or bus in addition to by car. Beyond that, cyclists can take tasting tours of the urban wineries popping up elsewhere in San Francisco and the East Bay.
(Published by the San Jose Mercury News and its affiliates on January 19, 2014. To see the newspaper’s whole urban winery section, click here.)
You quickly forget about the wind blasting like a building-sized fan set on high after stepping into the salon of the comfy old Neptune cruiser docked at Pier 39 and immediately receiving a glass of locally made sparkling wine and a smile.
You’re on your way over to Treasure Island for a day of winery visits but during this part of the leisurely outing, you’re seeing spectacular bay views and sleek seals through the windows as you munch on cheese and fruit while quaffing some merlot.
Pleasantly ensconced in the boat’s heated cabin with 18 other happy citizens, you vow never to drive to a wine tasting again. Continue reading
The Basin has long been Saratoga’s most enduringly popular dinner spot.
(Published by South Bay Accent in November, 2013.)
The high turnover rate among new restaurants could easily be avoided if more restaurateurs were like Andrew Welch. You’ll find no slapdash service, sketchy cuisine concept or edgy vibe at his popular dinner spot, The Basin, in downtown Saratoga. For 14 years, this popular eatery has had a singular focus: delivering what pleases guests rather than trying to cram some restaurateur’s personal vision down their throats. Continue reading
The Hahn winery in Santa Lucia Highlands is offering view-full tours of its steep vineyards followed by a tasting.
(Published by the San Jose Mercury and its affiliates on September 19, 2013)
We’re blitzing between rows of grapevines on an ATV, fat tires spewing up dust. Our driver-guide is saying something about all the vines we’re passing but the motor’s roar drowns her out. Now hotfooting up a steep trail, we come to a quick stop at the upper edge of this mountain vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The green Salinas Valley with its checkerboard of crops spreads out below and in the sudden quiet of the silenced engine, we hear starlings chatter as they dive-bomb the vineyard. Continue reading