Amy Sherman

Chef jW Foster

Chef jW Foster

What’s the buzz on Nob Hill? It’s probably honey bees! Restaurants and hotels with kitchen gardens are nothing new, but a hotel with beehives is something quite out of the ordinary, especially in the middle of a city like San Francisco. Executive Chef jW Foster arrived a year ago from Dallas at The Fairmont San Francisco, where he established a 3,000 square foot herb and vegetable garden. His desire to save the bee colonies and promote awareness about colony collapse and the importance of bees inspired him to collaborate with Marshall’s Farm to bring bee hives to the rarefied air of Nob Hill, in particular the roof garden.

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Interior of 1500 at Eden Roc

Interior of 1500 at Eden Roc

If you are looking for a kind of late 1950s, early 60s glamour, it’s hard to beat Eden Roc Resort, Miami on the upper “Golden Mile” of Miami Beach. Though just a short cab ride, it feels a world away from the thumpety-thump of South Beach where the party scene is inescapable. The $200 million renovation has the place feeling fresh and modern with a cool and shimmery color palate, and nods to a time when it was the resort of choice for entertainers like Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Lena Horne, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Elizabeth Taylor.

The property has multiple pools and a great view of the ocean, but not a lot of choices when it comes to dining. Fortunately, I found the new restaurant there, 1500 Degrees, to be absolutely wonderful. Hell’s Kitchen fans will recognize the name of the chef, Paula DaSilva, a past contestant on the show who was named one of the “Top 40 under 40″ by Gold Coast magazine and “Best Celebrity Chef” by Broward/Palm Beach New Times.

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Chef Gopinathan

Chef Gopinathan

Campton Place the restaurant at Campton Place Taj Hotel San Francisco has an illustrious history in San Francisco. Many celebrated chefs have passed through the kitchen, including Laurent Manrique, Jan Birnbaum, Bradley Ogden, Daniel Humm, Todd Humphries and Peter Rudolph. The restaurant added an Indian flair to the menu when the Taj took over the hotel and Executive Chef Sri Gopinathan took the helm. The restaurant has flown a bit under the radar for the last few years, but now it’s back in the spotlight. Michelin just awarded Campton Place a star in their 2011 guide.

Chef Sri Gopinathan, who hails from Southern India, trained at the CIA Hyde Park and apprenticed in the kitchen of Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at the famed Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, in Oxford, England, a Michelin 2 star restaurant.

Since Campton Place is sure to be on the list for local and visiting foodies, I checked in with the chef to learn more about him and his cooking.

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Laurel Court at the Fairmont San Francisco

Laurel Court at the Fairmont San Francisco

There are three things I feel are necessary when it comes to afternoon tea, and the beautiful Laurel Court restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel San Francisco atop Nob Hill excels at each. The first is the tea itself. It should be very high quality. It should be loose leaf, not served in tea bags! The service should be attentive and never rushed, because tea is meant to be leisurely and relaxed. Finally there should be abundant food. Although the meal is named after a beverage, it often features three separate courses of food. Generally served on tiered trays, there are finger sandwiches, scones with cream and finally pastries, often petit fours.

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Peppers at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market

If you’ve never been to San Francisco, you need to know — our summer starts NOW. Yes, in September. Not only is it pretty and warm and sunny but summer produce — tomatoes, corn, pepper, and peaches — is ripe and delicious at the moment. It’s easy to roll your eyes at our “sustainable, local, organic” mantra, but while you’re here, be sure to try some of these bites of summer.

Heirloom tomato salad at Scala’s Bistro
Around this time of year, just about everyone makes a tomato salad. But the heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella di bufala and olive oil croutons at Scala’s Bistro, attached to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, is particularly fabulous. The tomatoes are the star of the show, but they share the stage with the milky, creamy and moist mozzarella. The olive oil croutons add crunch and body to the salad. Scala’s Bistro, 432 Powell Street, 415-395-8555 Read More »

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Pizza from Americano

I’ve eaten at Americano three times in the past couple of months, and each time it was better than the last. Located on the ground floor of the Hotel Vitale, it’s main architectural feature is a large patio that runs the length of the restaurant and faces the bay. With heat lamps, plenty of tables, chairs and even couches, it’s one of my favorite outdoor dining spaces in San Francisco (Foreign Cinema is the other).

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