Sipping & Supping at Local Wine Bars

wine bar-1Local wine bars are flourishing — and are a great place to try varied wines and compatible eats.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in August, 2016.)

Having been discovered 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, wine has long since seeped into human history and culture while being the optimal escort for food. Thus it’s no surprise that dining establishments where wine plays the major role — wine bars — have been around long before Copernicus realigned astronomy to a correct axis in the 16th century. In fact, he reportedly favored an Italian wine bar that was built in 1435.  Rudyard Kipling wrote his first novel in the London building housing Gordon’s — a famous wine bar launched in 1890 — while the oldest Parisian wine bar, Réserve de Quasimodo, sits quietly in the shadows of gothic Notre Dame cathedral and was a hangout of famous criminal Cartouche in 1715. Continue reading

Silicon Valley’s Posture Guru

Gokhale-slumpThe high-paying, white-collar jobs in our region are killing our backs.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in June, 2016.)

Most of us pay little attention to the topic of back pain. That is, until inevitably joining the unhappy eight out of 10 Americans who will suffer from some sort of back episode during their lives. Ask any of the millions of sufferers and the picture is grim, with spinal trouble turning everyday activities like sitting, standing, moving or sleeping into agonizing or impossible acts.  Even just bending over to brush your teeth can become a painful challenge. Continue reading

Home “Wine Countries” Dotting the Bay Area

home vineyards

The image of strolling through lush vineyards while sipping a glass of wine made from the grapes isn’t just something seen in winery marketing materials. A growing number of one-percenters in the Bay Area are replacing their lawns with grapevines and shooting for more-than-just-drinkable vintages.  While these homeowners soon learn that lots of things can go wrong in farming, the siren song of Wine Country is hard to extinguish. Read all about it on KQED’s food and wine blog here.

Sui Generis Bird Dog Uplevels Peninsula Dining

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

(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