Archive for May, 2010

Market Report #8: Stone Fruit & Rain Delays

We headed inside for this week’s report because it was just too darn rainy & cold.  Bill showed us some of the best (i.e. crunchiest) cherry varieties currently available at farmers’ markets and local supermarkets.  He also makes some predictions about what all this rain means for the upcoming summer crops (e.g. don’t count on serving corn for Father’s Day).

At the restaurant, we’ve been collecting information on how this year’s super-saturated spring has effected some of our farmers and we plan on posting their reports some time next week.

In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day!

Announcing Oceanic Dinners 2010

June 9 – June 12

At a time when many of us worry about what sort of fish we should be eating, one Californian reader kindly sent me the exemplary menu from a special seafood dinner held at Oliveto restaurant in Oakland.

It’s a fine example of a restaurant taking great care.”

-Nicholas Lander, Financial Times of London, Aug. 2009

MK fish510-547-5356
or reserve online

Oliveto’s Chef Paul Canales and fish purveyor Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Company, in their yearly collaboration for our now widely-known oceanic event, have described June’s menu thus: it will be less sprawling than in previous years and more focused, a “curated” (as Paul says) event where each fish or sea creature will be chosen for some extraordinary characteristic or quality. Some thoughts they tossed around: “We’ll balance rustic and refined.  Some dishes will be more composed, developed, conceptual, fussy, or edgy. Some more traditional. There will be great fish you don’t want to mess with-you keep that simple.” Tom will undertake a “culinary study” Continue reading ‘Announcing Oceanic Dinners 2010′

Market Report #7: Ferry Plaza

Last Saturday we hit the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market with Bill Fujimoto.   And no, we didn’t suffer a caterpillar attack.  That fuzzy business in the upper right hand corner is due to some unfamiliar equipment.  Apologies for the distraction.  Moving onward…

As the spring rains have finally started to subside (at least for today), many crops are just now beginning to get their first exposure to serious heat, which in turn leads to superlative flavor.  A great example of this are the Seascape strawberries from Lucero Farm.  Another great example of this is Pastry Chef Jenny Raven‘s Seascape strawberry ice cream.

Heirloom Polenta in the Cafe

Beginning tomorrow, May 14th, we’ll have a new addition to the Oliveto Cafe evening menu  — La Polenta.  This fresh, whole-milled heirloom Red Flint corn polenta will be served with simple to exalted accompaniments that run the gamut from saucy meats, cheeses, poultry and wild game, to vegetables, mushrooms and fish stew.  Three different accompaniments, including a vegetarian, meat, and cheese topping will be offered in the Cafe each night.  La Polenta is a meal meant to be eaten communally (although in the Cafe, individual servings will be available). We’ve acquired some nifty polenta boards, on which the polenta will be poured out and set in the middle of each table as polenta is traditionally served in Italy.  It should be a fun, new way to share a meal with friends & family in the Oliveto Cafe.

Continue reading ‘Heirloom Polenta in the Cafe’

This Just In: Soft Shell Crabs, Martin’s Spinach, & Morels


Our first soft shell crabs from the Chesapeake Bay came in two days ago.  We never know how long the season will last, but we do know we’ll have them on the menu this weekend.

Martin Bournhonesque, our source for impeccable arugula among other leafy greens, recently sent us a movie he made last September.  It features his prized, antique, Planet Junior push seeder; a device that was developed in the 19th century and perfected in the 1930s.  He thinks his model is 50-80 years old, and he also believes, “the older they are, the better they work.” Continue reading ‘This Just In: Soft Shell Crabs, Martin’s Spinach, & Morels’

Market Report #6: What to Buy This Week!

We visited the Berkeley Farmers’ Market last Saturday with Bill Fujimoto and got a look at what’s in season right this minute & what will be even-more-in-season by the end of this week.  We also got an insider’s tip on a savvy way to save some money during this time of year.

This Just In: Goat’s Milk Ricotta

Things are definitely feeling like spring around here.  Meaning deliveries from our suppliers keep arriving with new types of produce.  Meaning the kitchen in like a sparking motherboard of ideas.  Meaning the menu is like that magic trick where the magician keeps pulling more & more incredible stuff out of his top hat: fava greens, lettuces, young carrots, asparagus, artichokes, strawberries, and just when you think there can’t possibly be anything more in that hat, Chef Canales (who is the magician in this extended metaphor) busts out some house-made goat’s milk ricotta ravioli served with first-of-spring English peas from Catalan Farms.  On the menu starting tonight.