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.
An incredible diversity of grains, herbs and fruits goes into the world’s alcoholic drinks, as writer Amy Stewart explains. Her new book describes the plants behind cocktails and other boozy beverages and features drink recipes and growing instructions.
When scientists scoured lists of the city’s community gardens, they discovered they didn’t tell the whole story of where food was being grown. Satellite images instead show the city’s food-producing gardens tucked away in backyards, on roofs and thriving in vacant lots.
Mary Ladd interviews Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland’s Councilmember At-Large, who was recently re-elected and is a champion of food businesses as a way to grow and ultimately improve the city.
Are you feeling sad that the local pepper season is drawing to a close? Don’t be. The owners of Emmy’s Pickles and Jams, Jarred SF Brine and Paulie’s Pickling show how a little vinegar, salt and aromatics will let you enjoy those late-season jalapenos and serranos well into the winter.
The second annual National Heirloom Exposition took place in Santa Rosa on September 10-12. It was a celebration of the imperfect, the unexpected, and many people attending it learned that sometimes the most blemished fruit has the sweetest flavor. There were squash with warts, spiky cucumbers and “Cannibal” tomatoes. A display showed off Hopi Blue corn, Rainbow Inca corn, and Seneca Blue Bear Dance corn. Genetically modified corn, well, it was not welcome at the table.
Coconut is the new pomegranate, prized not only for it’s flavor and versatility, but its health benefits as well. Coconut is also plays an important role in traditional Filipino cuisine. Second generation Filipina American, Aileen Suzara recently taught Cooking with Coconut class at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, featuring binakol, laing and palitaw.
In the heart of Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, nestled between grapevines and the area’s rolling foothills, is the modern yet rustic Medlock Ames Tasting Room and Alexander Valley Bar. The tasting room is the only place in town where you can enjoy all of the lovely wines made by Medlock Ames just up the road at their Bell Mountain ranch. And just as it’s making its last call, the bar next door starts serving up fresh, garden-inspired cocktails using ingredients grown at that very location.
In celebration of LGBT Pride month, Mary Ladd profiles culinary artist Yasmin Golan, who lives in Oakland and has worked locally in the pop-up scene and restaurant world. Golan’s ideas on cooking and living are based around community and sustainability.
Tucked away along the hillside of Dry Creek Valley, in the sleepy little town of Healdsburg, is a century-old mansion called Madrona Manor. Built in 1881, this nationally-registered Victorian estate was once just a weekend getaway for a very well-to-do banker. Today, it’s an inn with a one star Michelin-rated restaurant. The grounds at Madrona Manor–as one would expect–are immaculate. It is a mansion after all. Tulips, roses, annuals and perennials, leave the eight-acre estate billowing with floral delights. But my favorite part is the property’s organic kitchen garden.
Raising rabbits and goats not only provides appealing pets, but their poop turns a garden into a sustainable urban farm. A recent tour of 7 East Bay farms sponsored by the Institute of Urban Homesteading demonstrated how even tiny backyards can produce prodigious amounts of food with the help of chickens, quail, bees, rabbit and goats.
British food writer and passionate backyard gardener Nigel Slater is back, this time on the joys of homegrown fruit and nuts, with the newly issued American edition of Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard. Recipe for Crisp pork belly, sweet peach salsa included.
In the heart of East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, a handful of Mien refugees are growing vegetables from the home country at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. It’s a sunny microcosm of California’s rich and complicated past and present, and when the crops are ready for harvest, the public will be invited to join in the feast that follows.