California Cuisine

A California Culinary Experience

Exactly what is California Cuisine? Ask a dozen chefs and you’ll get at least a half a dozen different answers, but all of them will have 3 words in common: local, organic and sustainable. And that is where I start, in the farmers’ markets that abound in the SF Bay.
Cal Cuisine has also been described as “a style of cuisine marked by an interest in fusion cuisine (integrating disparate cooking styles and ingredients)” (WIKI). Add “chef-driven” and “a focus on letting the ingredients speak for themselves” and this becomes a very good description of my approach to cooking.
Salmon 3 ways edited
Salmon 3-ways: Salmon Roe/ Tequila-cured Salmon/Salmon Rillettes

My cooking has been influenced by my time in Mexico, where I am building a Casa de Huspedes (guest house) and cooking school. I fell in love with the old world techniques:  the time taken to grind spices with a mortar and pestle, toast seeds and chiles on a comal,  working the masa to make tortillas by hand— honoring the ingredients and coaxing out the flavors in a way that no other techniques can. These techniques lend themselves beautifully the locally-sourced, organic ingredients we are blessed with in the SF Bay Area; where the food scene is all about a chef’s creativity– the perfect place to explore the fusion of the cuisines I love to cook.  Allow me to share this privilege with you, with an exquisite meal which I will prepare in your kitchen.

The featured photo here (left) is one example of the results: Foie Gras presented on a delicate hand-crafted corn masa shell with poached green apple and salsa verde 

 

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Mexican woman grinding spices with a molcajete while chiles and tomatoes are roasting on a comal

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SAMPLE MENUS

Below are sample menus; I custom-design every menu I produce, working closely with the host/ess. Get in touch and we can work on something truly memorable, together!

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(menus are seasonal, each one is custom-designed working closely with the host/ess)

Steak Tartare edited
Steak Tartare/Salt-cured Egg Yolk/Pickled Beet/Fired Caperberry/Brown Rice Crackers

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Porcini-crusted Black Cod, photo by Chun Yip So

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Grilled Peach

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Seafood Specialties

Seafood Specialties

Whenever possible, I cook with sustainable seafood, sourced from local fishermen who meet rigorous standards so as to guarantee the highest-quality. The following is just a sampling of the dishes I prepare.

APPETIZERS

Salmon 3 ways edited
Salmon 3-ways: Salmon Roe/ Tequila-cured Salmon/Salmon Rillettes

Ceviche Tasting*

Ceviche Tasting Station

Rosemary / Pancetta Shrimp Skewers

shrimp-skewers-rosemary-proscuitto

Seared Scallop / Parsnip Purée / Pressed California Caviar 

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Crab Salpicon Meaning “hodgepodge” or medley in Spanish, in Mexican cuisine, the term refers to a salad mix containing thinly sliced or chopped flank steak, onion, oregano, chile serrano, avocado, tomatoes, and vinegar. This version combines delicate, sweet crabmeat, crunchy jicama, scallions and lime juice. Served with housemade tostadas.

 

crab tostada (not mine)
Photo by T.Tseng

Grilled Calamari

Grilled Calamari Citrus Chile

SOUP

 Saffroned Mussel and Smoked Lobster Chowder

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Chilled Corn Cob Stock & Buttermilk Soup / Crabmeat and Crispy Prosciutto

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Sopa Siete Mares/Seven Seas Soup, also can be an entrée

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ENTREES

Crispy Halibut/ Handmade Udon/ Wild Mushroom Broth/ Bonita Flakes & Chicharron Crumble

Chef Gray's Crispy Halibut Handmade Udon Wild Mushroom Broth Bonita Flakes & Chicharron Crumble

Pecan-crusted Wild Salmon Pecan-crusted Salmon edited

Crab Carbonara with Meyer Lemon, Black Pepper and Parsley (James Beard Foundation recipe)

Sole Meunière/ Haricots Verts/ Peruvian Purple Potatoes in Truffle Butter

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Mexican Paella

Saffron Rice / chicken bites/ housemade Chorizo/ scallops / shrimp /mussels

house-roasted sweet red peppers / sugar snap peas

Paella

Sous Vide Ahi Tuna

Tuna (not mine)

Plantain-wrapped Halibut

(from my Cuban Taste Adventure Menu)

Chilean Sea Bass / Pipian Sauce /Mango Salsa

Halibut Plate

Roasted Garlic Scallops with Toasted Almonds

Red-Chile Seared Scallops with Jalapeño Polenta

Surf & Turf: Bourbon & Brown Butter Poached Lobster Tail/ Sous Vide Filet Mignon

surf-n-turg

Pescado Pibil

45 - Pescado pibil

Shrimp Volavanes

from my Comida Alfrancesada (French-Mex) Menu

68 - volovanes de camaron

Shrimp / Hazelnut Mole / Wild Rice

Cuban-style Fish

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* These items are served raw or undercooked, or contain (or may contain) raw or undercooked ingredients. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

Cuban Fare, Gluten-free, Latin Cuisine

A Cuban Taste Adventure

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 3.02.20 PMWhy just dine when you and your guests can take a virtual voyage to somewhere exotic? Let our Mixoligist pair a Cuban Bar Menu, and then add a tablescape that matches your menu.

SIGNATURE COCKTAILS

pisco sour not ours

CHOPIN CUBAN COCKTAIL
Vodka / Champagne/ Sprig of Mint

MOJITO

VOLSTEAD
Fresh strawberries muddled / simple syrup/ vodka/ elderflower liqueur

CEVICHE TASTING

Scallops /Habanero /kumquat / sweet potato / smoked sea salt

Chef’s choice of white fish / Aji Amarillo /pineapple /vanilla / tomatillo

Arabesque: tuna / soy /citrus / chile verde / sesame seeds

Scallop Ceviche

SMALL PLATES

(served plated,  restaurant-style)

TROPICAL SALAD

Beets /grilled blood orange /almonds /radish coins /Manchego/ Blood orange vinaigrette

beet salad 2

ENSALADA DE PULPO: Grilled octopus salad

Enslada de Pulpo

PLANTANOS MADUROS

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YUCA CON MOJO DE AJO

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LARGER PLATES

PLANTAIN-CRUSTED HALIBUT GIMG_0999

ARROZ CON POLLO G
Slow-cooked chicken with saffron rice, olives, capers and roasted red peppers
served with white rice and Cuban-style Black beans
OR
CHULETAS CON ARROZ CON COCO  G
Grilled Chile-marinaded Pork Chops with Mango Salsa
and Coconut Rice
OR
CUBAN PORK ROAST
Cuban Pork Roast

DESSERT BAR

Parfait de limon verde y mango: Mango-Key Lime Mouse Parfait/ shredded sweet coconut

Mango-Key Lime Parfaits

Chocolate con crème de aguacate: Artisanal dark chocolates filled avocado cream

Pastelito de naraja y almendra con ron y yogurt: Orange-Almond Cake / Rum & Yogurt Sauce

Panna Cotta de Coco con Mango: Coconut Panna Cotta/ Mango Purée

coconut-panna-cotta

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INDICATES GLUTEN-FREE OPTION

* These items are served raw or undercooked, or contain (or may contain) raw or undercooked ingredients. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

Gluten-free, Holiday Menus, Latin Cuisine, Mexican Specialties, Mother's Day, Valetine's Day Dinner

Summer Floral Notes 6-course Dinner Menu

Nothing says “Mother’s Day” quite like flowers! In this unusual menu, I infuse something floral in every course to create an unforgettable meal.

AMUSE BOUCHE

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Salmon Candy/ Edible Flowers

APPETIZER
69 - Stuffed zucchini flowers
Flores de Callebaza Rellenos
Squash blossom flowers / Bellwether Farms ricotta

SALAD
Raw Artichoke Salad / Parmigiano Reggiano / Mint

baby arugula / Napa Valley EVO

ENTRÉE

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photo by Ann Larie Valentine

Quail in Rose Petal
(the very same dish that was made famous in the bestseller Like Water for Chocolate)

served with
HANDMADE TORTILLAS WITH PRESSED EDIBLE FLOWERS

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DESSERT
GELATINA ARTISTICA
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Rosa Rodgriguez prepares an all-natural gelatin dessert which is completely edible, artwork on a plate in a French tradition that migrated to Mexico