Category Archives: Food Articles

Sake 101

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in February 2018.)

There are plentiful options when it comes to choosing a beverage to accompany a Japanese meal. Since Japanese cuisine is frequently subtle, it can go nicely with well-chosen wine and beer is also a popular  accompaniment. However, those seeking the full Japanese experience should order sake (sock-ay) to go with their meal after first learning a few basics about this surprisingly complex beverage. First off, sake is not rice wine, as many diners believe it to be. Rather, it’s fermented from special rice varieties that have first been milled to expose the starchy core, then a special enzyme, koji, is added that helps convert starch to sugar while the sugar is turned into alcohol. Typically, the more the rice has been polished, the higher quality is the sake it produces, which is best consumed within a year of bottling in most cases. Continue reading

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Way Beyond Sushi

Bay Area diners are increasingly crazy about Japanese cuisine, which is fresh, healthful and includes much more than just raw fish.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in February 2018.)

Quick — what city in the world has received the most Michelin stars for its restaurants?  Paris, you say?  Not even close. Tokyo has led this august group of awardees for awhile now, boasting almost triple the stars compared to the French capital: 302 versus just 105, including a dozen achieving the lofty three-star ranking.  This interesting development underscores a trend that is well underway in the South Bay, where Japanese cuisine is hot, hot, hot. Continue reading

Crazy for Abalone

Red abalone is a locally raised ingredient that is inspiring chefs around the region. 

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in October, 2017.)

Once so common in California that it could be collected at low tide, red abalone — the tastiest member of the species — is now a luxury ingredient not seen on many menus but beloved by those who have tried it. Rich, subtle, creamy, with a whisper of ocean, the meat of this giant sea snail is different from most other seafood. Deliciously so. Continue reading

Where to Get Fresh Local Abalone

Once harvested commercially until few were left in the wild, California red abalone is so delicious that demand is ongoing.  Now the farmed abalone available at two Bay Area operations is said to taste even better than the wild kind and is a “best choice” according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. Find out where to buy it in the Bay Area and learn about its interesting history. Read all about it on KQED’s Bay Area Bites here.

Fast Casual Eateries Redefining Quick Cuisine

The super-hot fast casual trend is taking the region by storm, demonstrating that counter service doesn’t mean bad food.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in August, 2017.)

While fast food undeniably has a bad rep, Americans still like the stuff, with one in four citizens consuming some sort of fast food daily. Made-ahead greasy burgers, oily pizza, salty fries — people enjoy such fare not just because the unhealthful properties resonate with guilty taste buds but largely due to the fact it’s inexpensive and, well , fast. But the supersize-me crowd is being joined by more discriminating eaters as both flock to one of the hottest dining trends in the last few years: fast casual restaurants. Continue reading

Hawaiian Food Hot in Bay Area

hawaiian-foodThere’s more to modern-day Hawaii than beautiful beaches. The food has become almost as popular on the mainland as tropical vacations.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in February, 2017)

It might take five hours to fly to the Hawaiian Islands from the Bay Area but for many of us, the gorgeous 50th state feel like it’s almost next door given how nui (that means “big”) Hawaii is as a popular vacation destination. But in recent years, we can get a taste of the islands without any air travel whatsoever because Hawaiian music, drinks and — particularly — food have become a sizzling trend on the mainland. Too bad the trade winds and sub-tropical sunsets aren’t as easy to transplant. Continue reading

Where to Taste the Finest Olive Oils

fresh-olivesOlives turned into luscious oil is not only healthful but this oil can be tasted in the Bay Area.

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

It may often be called “liquid gold” but olive oil actually comes in a range of luscious hues from pale yellow to deep green, with an exquisite range of aromas and flavors that vary from oil to oil — grassy, acidic, buttery, bitter, floral, fruity, nutty, spicy and more.  This agricultural crop is booming in Northern California, where some have said it’s starting to  parallel our state’s thriving wine-grape sector while being heralded by foodies and health professionals as a beneficial, delicious substance. And like wine, it can be challenging to select an olive oil due to the abundant choices available as well as controversies that have muddled the minds of many consumers regarding what should be an essential culinary staple. Fortunately, it’s easy to get savvy about olive oil in the South Bay and beyond, including tasting this wondrous product right where it’s made. Continue reading