Sui Generis Bird Dog Uplevels Peninsula Dining

Bird Dog 6Gorgeous, delectable, snazzy food made Bird Dog a hit since opening in November.

(To be published in June 2016 by South Bay Accent magazine)

Like the fungi that sprout after a rain, the South Bay’s thriving economy has procreated a swath of new restaurants in the last few years. One of the most sizzling, hands down, is Bird Dog in downtown Palo Alto, which has taken aim well above the heads of the average local dining spot. Indeed, chef/co-owner Robbie Wilson has said his goal is to elevate the level of dining sophistication in the burbs. While local restaurant owners might take issue with this concept, what’s undeniable is that Bird Dog has been lobbing home runs since it opened in November.  Good luck getting a table without planning well ahead. Continue reading

The Red Zone for Great Local Mex!

ZonaRosa blue corn enchiladasGorgeous, fresh and utterly delicious, the dishes at Zona Rosa entice fans of real Mexican cuisine.

Published by South Bay Accent in April, 2016.

Surveys say the mi favorita kind of restaurant for Americans is unanimously Mexican but it’s ironic that many people still haven’t had much real Mexican food. Big-as-your-head burritos, cheddar-cheese-drenched crispy tacos and fajitas were all invented north of the border. But this isn’t to say fresh, regional Mexican dishes don’t have fans for those who can find them. Consider the bang-up success story of Zona Rosa. Continue reading

Wine Salt – Magical Ingredient for Improved Outcomes

wine saltHow can something so simple be so transformative?  I read about wine salt in a New York Times article some years ago and the concept intrigued me. Combining the properties of marinades (adding flavor and tenderness) and dry rubs (helping create a crispy exterior and adding yet more flavor), wine salt is what it sounds like:  wine and salt (and a bit more). But its impact on proteins is magical. Besides tenderizing, it encourages juiciness and adds subtle but enhanced flavor.  Continue reading

Beet-Cured Salmon; Gorgeous, Easy and Tasty

beet-cured salmon on blini

Gravlax is a beloved staple in Scandinavia and in Jewish households that wouldn’t serve anything else but lox with their bagels and cream cheese. This simple fish curing technique is based on the idea of preserving salmon with a combination of salt and sugar. It’s super easy and only requires a little foresight because curing takes a couple of days. Continue reading

Irresistible Cookie Recipe for the New Year

chocolate butterscotch shortbreadThese two-bite-sized butterscotch shortbreads dipped in bittersweet chocolate are unbelievably tasty and make a standout addition to a cookie platter.

I whipped up a cookie assortment for holiday gifts this year and this particular not-super-sweet was the runaway favorite.   Easy to make, this shortbread can be cut tiny or larger, as you please.  Go with tiny because it’s definitely rich. Continue reading

Food and Drink at “The Lex” Are Packing Them In

the lexTiny, modern, noisy Lexington House in Los Gatos is a newish bar-restaurant with its finger on the pulse of today’s diner.

Published by South Bay Accent in December, 2015.

South Bay diners are increasingly gravitating toward a modern, kicked-back style of restaurant in which the vibe is casual but the food is fresh and inventive while still being moderately priced, as seen in newer outposts like Orchard City Kitchen, The Table and 31st Union. Such spots will likely offer exciting craft cocktails and have a staff of never-obsequious young servers. Often not taking reservations, these popular boîtes are noisy, friendly and packed full of happy, jeans-clad diners who don’t mind the long waits and the purposeful decibels. Continue reading

High-End Carbs Are Enchanting Local Eaters

carbsBreads and pastries are rising to new levels in Bay Area bakeries.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in October 2015.)

An airy cake crowned by thick swirls of silky, intensely chocolatey icing. Right-out-of-the-oven bread with a crunchy exterior that contrasts with a warm, soft crumb as delicate as baby skin. Since we eat with our senses, carbs have an absolutely unfair advantage. They entice us away from stringent diets and are so often the centerpiece of major events. Just inhale the voluptuous aromas inside a bakery and your body will instantly respond regardless of your intentions. Continue reading