Archive for June, 2011

Update on all that beef


We asked you to do your part–
In exuberant response to our Beef Season post a lot of people came in and ate a lot of beef. So, we’ve revised the schedule and had to eliminate some things because we ran out sooner than expected…

Here are the remaining dates for grass-fed beef:

Wednesday, June 29 – Thursday, June 30
Our second dish from Milan. Tender ribeyes pounded paper-thin, breaded, then fried.
We will be starting with the Ribeye then moving into the New York Top Loin. This animal has amazing flavor while still being very tender.

Saturday, July 9
48 mos.
Prime Rib
The 48-month steer has a huge rib section. We’ll take the rack and slow roast it (12 hours) and carve prime rib in the dining room, for as long is it lasts.

2011 Oceanic Dinners

California Coast (see menu)
July 12 – July 15

Mid-Atlantic (see menu)
July 19 – July 22


This year’s Oceanic Dinners are just a few weeks away and Chef Jonah Rhodehamel and Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Company are working to finalize the menu.  Fish Dinners are always tricky in this respect because we can never be absolutely sure what the boats will bring in on any given day.  But here’s what we can say for certain:

We thought we’d focus on two healthy fisheries, our own and the Mid-Atlantic east coast.  Two menus, two opportunities for diners to experience seafood at the height of the season.  These will be smaller, more focused menus that will be available alongside our regular dinner menu.  The Oceanic Dinner offerings will be à la carte.

We consider sustainability when selecting what to serve and we have a long and trusted relationship with Monterey Fish to help inform us.  Their newly re-designed website is a wealth of excellent information.  We aim to represent the smaller fisherman who are using low impact methods and who fish with respect and knowledge.  And as always, we will feature only what is particularly fresh and delicious.

Some of the items we are excited about this year are the Chilipepper rockfish caught by the famed Mr. Morgan boat, local grass shrimp, sand dabs, little octopus, smelt from Kirk Lombard, a variety of crustacean from both coasts, and the first strong salmon run in many years which corresponds perfectly, as the local King Salmon season will start up again at the beginning of July.

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Signs of Summer


Today marks the first day of Summer 2011 and many signs of the season were on display at the Derby Street Market: fragrant basil, cherry tomatoes from Full Belly, summer squash & those knockout long stem Seascape strawberries from Lucero, and piles of “ripe shamefaced peaches” (had to get in a belated Bloomsday reference) at Blossom Bluff.

But one of the definitive signs that it is truly summer at the Derby Street market is the appearance of our friends from Dirty Girl Produce.  And there they were!  Right next to a freakin’ harp player!

Seems that Santa Cruz was not as waylaid by rain as it was last year, so most of Dirty Girl’s crops were planted on schedule.  Their romanesco was looking particularly lovely today, as well as some smaller bunched broccoli.  Coming up: beans. Lots and lots of beans (haricots vert, romano, cannellini, among others) should be arriving from Dirty Girl Produce within the next few weeks.  And the official statement on dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes?  ETA: 4-5 weeks.

It’s Beef Season

UPDATE: See the revised schedule

It is late spring and this is the time to be eating beef. The steers have been eating plentiful amounts of green grass (from our plentiful rains) and several important ranchers have presented us with offers too good to turn down.

First, Mac Magruder’s 8-month-old veal came in a couple of weeks ago.   Then, the huge and delicious 4-year-old steer from Jack Monroe in Covelo. And next week Moira Burke, of Agricola: flora et fauna in Dixon, CA, will send us half of a 22-month Angus. These are all grass fed and grass finished animals.

Three Angus animals: 8-mos, 22-mos., 48-mos. We are first to admit, that’s a lot of meat! But we thought we could do some pretty neat things with them. The animals will all be hanging in our meat locker, aging, and at the appropriate time, Chef Jonah will prepare them for the menu over the next month. Here’s a schedule of these extraordinary (seriously though, this is some exceptionally tasty beef) offerings and events over the next few weeks:

Friday, June 17
Short Ribs
We wanted to get into these without too much aging. Such a fatty cut doesn’t benefit from a lot of age and can end up tasting a bit stale.  We are salting these for twelve hours before braising them.

Friday, June 24
Flank Steak & Carne Crudo/Carpaccio – three animals
This will be a rare opportunity to taste the same cut/preparation of three similarly raised and fed animals from the same breed, but different in age.  This should be an interesting demonstration on what characteristics are associated with the age of an animal.

Continue reading ‘It’s Beef Season’

The Steer Is Here


Last friday, the Oliveto kitchen received delivery of one side of a magnificent four-year-old Black Angus steer raised by Jack Monroe, the owner of Monroe Ranch & Hay Farm in Covelo, CA.

This delivery was noteworthy on many levels but to start, we needed a forklift to get it off the truck.  The animal’s live weight was close to 2,100 pounds, and it dressed-out at 1,237 pounds.  At present, we have two 300 pound quarters aging in our meat locker.

The size of the animal and sheer amount of energy and care that has been put into producing such a beautiful animal is reminiscent of the great fattened oxen fairs found in Piedmont.  With that in mind, Chef Jonah has some special preparations in mind.  He will be pit cooking (buried in the ground) a whole leg for his Outstanding In the Field dinner coming up in a few weeks.  We are putting together a schedule of some beef-centric events at Oliveto that will be happening in next 5-6 weeks and we will be sharing that with you shortly.    At present we’ve got a few of the smaller cuts available on the menu such as:

Charcoal-grilled skirt steak of bua with di Diccio broccoli, new potatoes, and walnut pesto

Located located 28 miles east of Highway 101, on the Eel River Jack’s herd winter in the coastal mountains of Mendocino County, and summer in the valley.  Jack says, “Home on the range, we still have cowboys and Indians here. We herd our cattle on horseback- our way of life is natural and sweet, and we think that comes out in the flavor of the beef. Support wildlife- keep cowboys in the saddle!”

The animals are always on pasture, grass-fed and grass-finished producing meat that is well-marbled with great flavor.  This is honestly some of the best beef we’ve tasted.

Porcinis In The House


They’ve arrived.  Foraged by the foraging legend herself, Connie Green, we just received some gorgeous porcini gathered recently in the Shasta area.  Morels are still appearing as well, so the current menu should interest you fungi-enthusiasts:

Salad of shaved porcini mushrooms with celery leaves, and Parmesan cheese

Roasted lardo-wrapped morels stuffed with pigeon breast farce

Tajarin with sauteed porcini mushrooms

Currently on the menu: California Salmon


Summer Solstice is right around the corner, and California salmon season is reaching its end…until it starts up again in July.  The quality of this year’s salmon has been exceptional, with deep color and great flavor.  Add a little citrus, fennel, and chervil and you’ve got one of those classic late spring/summer all-star combos that knocks it right out of the park.

You want to get in on this:

Slow-roasted Monterey king salmon with fennel, chervil, Yellow Finn potatoes,
and navel orange sauce

Oliveto Farm Field Trip

For our first field trip of 2011 we visited two farms in Contra Costa County––both in Brentwood. First we stopped at Brookside Farm, owned and operated by the generous and kindly Tom family: Anne, Quong, and Welling. Welling (the son) showed us what’s in bloom and described to us a little of the journey from earth to table.   The Toms grow some of our Early Girl tomatoes (and other varieties), greens, peppers, squash, beans, cucumbers, etc. and have even planted a sour cherry tree at our request.  Photos by Teal Dudziac.

Then we headed over to Rick and Kristie Knoll’s Tairwa’-Knoll Farm where the Oliveto kitchen gets produce such as cardoons, beans, peas, figs, and chicories, just to name a few.   The Knolls traveled to Puglia and did some seed collecting so they could grow plants such as chicories for our use. Rick and Kristie showed us how they combine science and art to cultivate their harvests; they also provided us with what could be the freshest lunch many of us have ever had.

Also very worthwhile is the Knoll Farms website, where the Knolls provide in depth their philosophy, biodynamic methods, and history, and take on modern agriculture.