It must be summer in San Francisco.
in fog and wind and rain... oh! Wait! That's why we're booking
flights to warmer climates! With that in mind, we hope you're
soaking in the long, lazy days beneath a blue sky with sand
between your toes, preferably with someone who will still be
heating you up long after the sun is gone...
A LETTER FROM SAN FRANCISCO CHEF ANDREA FRONCILLO
started out with fireworks... only the ones I enjoyed were
not the usual kind. Instead of hanging around San Francisco to
grumble about the blanket of fog that wrapped around the city
that weekend, I headed up to Mendocino with someone special. We
checked into the Albion River Inn, a rustic lodge off of Highway
1 perched against the coastline. It feels like being in the
middle of nowhere - with a fireplace and a spa tub, and a
private terrace overlooking the ocean! We popped a bottle of
champagne and staged our own fireworks show. Let's just say I
wish we could have stayed longer.
The following weekend was the Sonoma Showcase of Wine and
Food. I have been going now for several years, and each time
I enjoy myself a little bit more than the year before. I stayed
at the Honor Mansion once again, in one of their new Vineyard
Suites. It was hard to decide between venturing out to the
dining room for a three-course breakfast or enjoying breakfast
from the hot tub... either way, it's the only time I eat
breakfast all year.
The Showcase was fantastic. The place was packed with
incredible wineries and wonderful food. I've included a couple
of pictures of the weekend below. If you haven't been before, I
highly recommend that you put it on your calendar for next year!
As if all of that wasn't enough to pack into one month, I
headed down to the Gilroy Garlic Festival on the 23rd. I am
always amazed at the way the town of Gilroy comes together every
year for the festival. It seems that everyone is involved, from
the kids to the grandparents. They direct traffic, pick up trash
and smile the whole time. It makes me wish I had neighbors like
that! To all of the Garlic Festival Crew: a job well done! I
It was blazing hot in Gilroy, but the crowd wasn't going
to let me get off without cooking, so I whipped up a batch of
garlic noodles and 40-clove garlic chicken and even a pot full
of cioppino! The audiences were wonderful, as always, and I
spent a long time afterwards meeting people and signing books.
I'll be back again next year!
Now I'm at home in the City, making my usual rounds. I'm
often at Bobo's or one of the other restaurants, making menu
changes and expanding the wine lists. On Tuesday nights, I make
it a point to stop by the Purple Onion, where Robin Williams and
Francis Ford Coppola and other North Beach hotshots have been
hanging out recently. What a great place to live!
I'm also hard at work on the new Stinking Rose Restaurant
Cookbook, which will be published next year. I'm excited
to make the latest recipes available to everyone.
But as you can guess, I'm not in town for long! Next on
the intinerary is Vegas, where I've got front-seat tickets for
"O" (called "wet" seats, since you get splashed!), Elton John
the following night, and Rod Stewart on the third night to make
it a star-packed weekend. I'm considering another trip across
the ocean to Italy in the fall. I might even leave my sweetheart
there for a few weeks to spend some time with my family and
learn Italian... could it be love?!
Ciao for now!
the Sonoma Showcase of Wine & Food
Listening to the San Francisco Symphony on the
lawn after sunset is one of the highlights of the showcase
weekend. Conductor Michael Tillson Thomas is a superstar, and
the phenomenal music and spectacular setting make a perfect
combination. That's me on the right, next to the winnings board
from the silent auction; if you squint, you'll see my name there
more than once. Silent auctions are kind of like touching
someone's body in dark - one dimension of an experience, but
still fun! I walked away with some fantastic wines. Once again,
the weekend was terrific. Kudos to everyone involved.
Lazy Sunday Recipes
weekend, I whipped up a magically levitating Italian fritatta
for two. It came out so well that I wanted to share the recipe
with you! A fritatta is the perfect destination for all of your
farmer's market finds. Feel free to substitute whatever fresh
veggies suit your (and her) palette. Mangia!
Open-Faced Skillet Roasted Fritatta
• 1 bunch asparagus (10-12 spears)
• 2 ounces fontina cheese, diced into 1/4" cubes
• 4 eggs
• 1/4 cup half & half
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese
• 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced (sub: 1/2 basket sweet cherry
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Salt & pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons chopped basil
• Olive oil
In a pot of boiling water, blanch the asparagus for 2-3
minutes. Remove from heat; rinse in ice water. Cut the
asparagus spears 1" from the tip. Reserve the bottom pieces for
the recipe below, if desired.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, and whip together with
the salt, pepper & cream until very foamy. Place a cast iron
skillet over medium heat; when the skillet is hot, add the
butter and tilt the skillet to coat with melted butter;
immediately pour in the foamy egg mixture. Do not stir! The eggs
will rise in the pan very quickly. Sprinkle the asparagus tips &
fontina cubes over the top. Arrange the tomato slices in a
circle on the surface; dust with parmigiano cheese.
Remove skillet from stove and place it under the broiler
in the oven for 1-2 minutes, or until the top becomes golden
brown and the Parmigiano melts completely. Remove from oven;
sprinkle with basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil.
Place the fritatta on a large serving plate. Cut into
slices, pizza-style, and serve while warm. Enjoy with a bottle
of chilled Billecart-Salmon or your favorite sparkling wine. A
bowl of fresh strawberries would be the final decadent touch.
Now that's a good Sunday morning!
Tomasparatto Soup w/ Avocado Bruschetta
See, I'm making up words again! This is yet another dish
inspired by my frequent trips to farmer's market, made with
straight-from-the-vine heirloom tomatoes and asparagus. Perfect
for a cool San Francisco day.
• 8-10 asparagus spears, blanched (or, the reserve pieces from
the recipe above)
• 1 large heirloom tomato, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons chopped basil
• 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
• 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
• 1 ripe avocado
• 4 slices good bread, brushed with olive oil & lightly toasted
In a small saucepan, combine the blanched asparagus, tomatoes
and olive oil. Bring to a light boil; remove from heat and
cool slightly; pour into a blender and blend until smooth. Pass
blended mixture through a fine sieve. The resulting mixture will
have a velvety consistency. Place the strained mixture into a
fresh saucepan; add cream, lemon zest & grated cheese. Salt and
pepper to taste. Heat slowly over low flame, allowing some of
the liquid to evaporate until you are left with a thick, dense
Slice the avocado and place one slice atop each piece of
toasted bread. Divide soup into two serving bowls. Garnish
with a tablespoon of creme fraiche, a dot of dijon mustard and a
sprinkle of dill. Serve with the avocado toast.
I like to enjoy this with a crisp, fruity white or an
elegant, silky red - some of my recent favorites are the
Honig Sauvignon Blanc and the Coho Pinot Noir. Whatever you're
drinking, savor every bite - and take a moment to smile at the
person across from you. Life is good!
Search the Recipe Database...
Suggested Itinerary for Saturday Morning in San Francisco
I've been rolling out of bed on a lazy Saturday morning and
heading down to the Farmer's Market in the Ferry Plaza Building
on the Embarcadero. I spend several hours there, and make a day
of it. So here's my recipe for a wonderful morning; adapt to
suit your own interests:
10am: Pick up a doppio macchiato at Peet's, grinning at
all the other sleepy faces around me.
10:15am: Stop at the Wine Merchant and ask them to put a
bottle of champagne on ice for later. I'm partial to the
Billecart Salmon Brut Rose; it has teensy-tiny bubbles and a
sensual aroma that perfectly accentuates light, fresh foods.
10:30am: Wander leisurely through the stalls outside,
picking up whatever fruits & veggies look appealing for dinner
later that night or for Sunday brunch. I like whatever looks
fresh and tempting; there are so many fabulous farms that come
out every week, with gorgeous produce grown without pesticides,
straight off the tree or bush or vine.
11:15: Go back to shops inside the Ferry Building and
make a couple of key stops: Cowgirl Creamery for fresh artisan
cheeses; Acme Baking Company for warm loaves of herbed focaccia;
Recchiuti Confections for incredible gourmet chocolate, with
flavors such as lemon verbena and fresh lavendar.
12:00am: Pick out a boquet of fresh flowers from Oak Hill
Farm of Sonoma. Their display of freshly-cut flowers and grasses
12:15: Go back to the Wine Merchant to retrieve the
chilled champagne, buying an extra bottle for later. Sit and
enjoy a glass or two and watch the shoppers hurry by. Sample a
few of the Recchiuti chocolates in between sips.
1:00pm: Walk to the Tsar Nicoulai Caviar for a the bilini
sampler - warm bilinis heaped with generous dabs of their
signature caviars, including beet, ginger, wasabi and truffle.
Mmm! When you've had your caviar fix, sashay over to the Hog
Island Oyster Company for oysters on the half shell at the
2:30pm: Gather up the bags and walk back to the car,
thinking of nothing more complicated than what to make for
dinner with all the goods!
The Ferry Building Marketplace on the Embarcadero
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