The restaurant scene is roaring back to life in the South Bay and a common theme among them is restaurants featuring a unique bar program paired to a dining menu equal in creativity. While the concept of bringing together your favorite bar with gourmet bar bites is no new feat, here are 15 top-notch gastropubs in the South Bay.
Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.
In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.
Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.
Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.
She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.
Amy Sherman's Latest Posts
Anyone who knows me well would be surprised to hear me recommending a Christmas book. I am a “bah humbug” type who tries desperately to escape the holiday each year. Not only do I not celebrate Christmas but I despise the crass commercialism, forced sentimentality, and find green and red to be the most distasteful color combination of all. But I am loving Elizabeth David’s Christmas. It would seem David was a bit overwhelmed by the holiday as well, in part because her family had many birthdays right around Christmas. Her preference?
Did you know that olives needed blessing? Me neither! Common throughout California, olives are most extensively cultivated fruit in the world, and about 90% of all olives are pressed for their oil. A Mediterranean fruit, some olive trees bear fruit for hundreds of years.
The eighth annual Sonoma Valley Olive Festival, a celebration of the olive harvest and an agricultural and culinary showcase, takes place December 2008 through February 2009.
Recently I was invited to a taste test of recipes submitted online. The culinary social network CookEatShare held a cooking contest and brought together a number of restaurant chefs and food professionals to cook and judge the recipes. I wasn’t a judge, but I did get to try all the dishes.
Every year, the third Thursday in November is the first chance to enjoy the earliest fruits of the French harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is a fresh, fruity wine that marks the end of the harvest, and that is reason enough for light hearted celebrations. Around the Bay Area there will be plenty of different ways to celebrate and even an option for those who can’t stand Beaujolais Nouveau.
Local chef and restaurant owner Ranjan Dey will share the history and stories of curries from around the world, including the spread and cultural effect of curry in Southeast Asia. Learn about curry and get a chance to sample it as well at this presentation put on by the World Affairs Council Young Professionals International Forum.
Hands down, one of the most impressive cookbooks this season is A16 Food + Wine. The book is divided into sections on the wines of southern Italy, and a longer section on food served at the restaurant. In the food section it’s particularly helpful to read the introduction to learn about chef Nate Appleman’s approach to cooking Campanian style in San Francisco. A pantry section details the essential ingredients of the cuisine and then, finally, there are the recipes themselves. You’ll find tripe, bruschetta, pickled peppers, roasted sardines as well as pizza and pasta. If you are a fan of this restaurant the book is a must.
Restaurant Parcel 104, a restaurant specializing in seasonal, farm-fresh American fare will be holding a Cheese and Wine Dinner, featuring local artisan cheeses from around California on November 8th. Renowned Bay Area chefs Chris Schloss of Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos, and Mark Dommen from One Market in San Francisco, and Arthur Wall of The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards will each develop a course inspired by a specific cheese.
Fallen Fruit identifies where you can find free fruit that has fallen and encourages public consumption. The movement began in Los Angeles but public jam making events take place in various locations. At YerbaBuena Center for the Arts you an will bring your own fresh fruit and clean jars and learn to make jam with the folks from Fallen Fruit. Fallen Fruit will also lead a discussion about the basics of jam and jelly making, pectin and bindings, the aesthetics of sweetness, as well as the communal power of shared food and the liberation of public fruit.
On Friday October 10th the Asian Culinary Forum kicked off with a sold out tasting event, The Six Asian Flavors. What made this program such a fantastic success was the opportunity to see, handle, smell and taste examples of the defining flavors of Asian cuisine that spans many countries.
Every few years an amazing baking book comes along. You may already have a tried and true favorite, but if you are still on the hunt I have a suggestion for you, check out The Art and Soul of Baking from Sur La Table. Beginning bakers and seasoned experts alike will find something to love about the book. With glowing recommendations on the back cover from baking authorities and pastry chefs such as Peter Reinhart, David Lebovitz, Sherry Yard, Emily Luchetti, Dorie Greenspan and Flo Braker and an introduction from Alice Medrich you know it must be good, right?
Next weekend, the inaugural Asian Culinary Forum kicks off at the San Francisco Ferry Building and the theme is Asian Food Beyond Borders. There will be tours, classes, workshops and panel discussions. Learn about chutneys, kimchi and sambal, how to pair wine with Asian food, all about Asian diasporas, the delights of South India and so much more.
As a part of Out and About in Rockridge, Market Hall merchants will spill out onto College Avenue for their annual “Picnic in the Street.” Enjoy food and wine tastings, cookbook signings, music, and dancing. Children’s activities include cupcake decorating and pumpkin painting. There will also be a Cookbook Exchange—bring a used cookbook and exchange it for another (remaining books will go to the Rockridge Public Library).
Local chef and blogger Jennifer Carden wrote the cookbook The Toddler Café for picky kids, but truth be told, many of the recipes would satisfy picky adults. A recipe for Pumpkin Pockets isn’t so far from a very sophisticated Ravioli di Zucca.
One of my favorite group of folks to hang out with are sommeliers. First of all, they are in the business of making people happy and generally speaking, they’re pretty good at it. Because they know an awful lot about wine, I almost always learn something from them. Since you might only get a few moments consulting with a sommelier or wine director in a busy restaurant or wine bar, taking a class from them is a great way to absorb even more wine smarts.