This Just In: Summer Truffles


Beginning this Friday and through the weekend: antipasto of roasted shaved Porcini with black summer truffles (aestivum). It should be fantastic!

By |May 14th, 2015|Coming up..., This Just In|0 Comments

Opening Our Treasure Trove of Bandols



For many a bébé boomer, Provence’s Domaine Tempier, and Lulu and Lucien Peyraud, opened a door to what food should be: full-flavored, true, beautiful, not fussy, seasonal, and full of life.

We were shown a way. Preparing for next week’s dinners and the release of our little treasure trove of old Tempier red Bandols, we’ve been going through a tasting of bottles from select vintages. It’s been an honor and an adventure.

We’ve tasted many extraordinary bottles and a few “interesting” ones-the lesser ones having aged, alas, for too long, or some in which Brett yeast cells have run amok. Unfortunately, there’s little accurate information on what to expect as each vintage ages-even from the experts at Kermit Lynch. We’re rather enjoying performing the task of looking into each to determine the effects of time. (We must keep in mind that bottles might even vary within each vintage, creating yet another problem in making them available to you.) But we know we will be offering many spectacular aged Tempier Bandols at good prices, along with some merely good ones. Yesterday, we opened a ’79 and last rites were performed; then, an ’87, and it blew us away, and today it is still very much alive, with interesting character.

Here’s what we are working with.

1979 Mourvédre, “Speciale La Miguoa,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1981 Mourvédre, “Speciale La Miguoa,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1982 Bandol Cuvée Speciale, Domaine Tempier
1982 Cinsaut-Grenache-Mourvédre, “La Tourtine,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1985 Mourvédre, “Speciale La Miguoa,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1985 Cinsaut-Grenache-Mourvédre, “La Tourtine,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1987 Mourvédre, “Cabassaou,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1988 Grenache-Syrah-Mouvédre, “Speciale La Louffe,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1988 Mourvédre, “Cabassaou,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1989 Mourvédre, “Speciale La Miguoa,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1989 Cinsaut-Grenache-Mourvédre, “La Tourtine,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1989 Mourvédre, “Cabassaou,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1999 Mourvédre, “Cabassaou,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée


View our special Provençal menus for May 19th and 20th here.


This Just In: Exceptional House-cured Meats


We’re in salumi production pretty much all year long, gearing up particularly for Whole Hog Dinners in February. But the meats don’t become perfect in a steady stream. Sometimes many are ready in a mild eruption — an embarrassment of riches between dry spells.

Cured meats are the very best way to taste the quality of the pig, and we have salumi from two very fine breeds. From Front Porch Farm, we have their Cinta: culatello, coppa, and pancetta, all from great whole muscles. Culatello is the small muscle at the rear of the leg and is considered the king of cured meats.

And, though Mac Magruder has stopped hog production, we have a variety of salumi from his amazing stock as well. They’ll be on the menu beginning Wednesday, and into the following week.

By |May 11th, 2015|Coming up..., Magruder Ranch, This Just In|0 Comments

This Just In: Local Salmon and White Asparagus



Our salmon crudo this week hits all parts of the palate. Our salmon right now is top notch — luscious with a vivid pink hue from having fed on a healthy fishery of krill. We’re using white asparagus purée to accompany, early peaches, a touch of spice with pimentón, and piccolo fino basil for a sweet, herbaceous note. It’s been absolutely fantastic.

By |May 7th, 2015|Coming up..., This Just In|0 Comments

A Trip to the Cheesemonger



We went to one of our favorite cheesemongers, the Cheeseboard in Berkeley, in anticipation of our upcoming Provencal Dinners on May 19th and 20th. We love the Cheeseboard for its continuing passion, personal attention, and the sheer variety of cheeses it sells.

Erin Fox, our guide – and former Oliveto cook – shared with us a bounty of goat cheese. Nocetto di capra was gooey, with a long finish. The ash-covered Besace du Berger was sterling — soft in the middle and velvety on the tongue. The quadra di capra was something like a goatsmilk Taleggio — pungent, mushroomy, and yeasty.


Erin shows us an example of a mold-ripened cheese, which demonstrates its age through noticing the gradation of texture from its crusty outside to its creamier middle. This one is ready.

We were particularly excited about Pantaleo, a firm goat cheese from Sardinia – it’s mild, nutty, and savory, with plenty of citrus notes, and dissolves into fine crumbles in the mouth.

While we are still deciding what cheeses to use, we’re getting very excited about our Provencal Dinners and the aged French wines we will be sharing alongside. Our menu will come directly from the classic cookbook, Richard Olney’s paean to Lulu Peyraud and Domaine Tempier,Lulu’s Provencal Table. 

By |May 6th, 2015|2015, Happened already...|0 Comments

This Just In: Cherries!



Bing cherries, fresh from the farmers’ market, are here, and they’re scrumptious! Pastry chef Yakira Batres plans to soak them in St. George’s Spirits kirsch and pile them on zabaglione this week.

By |May 5th, 2015|Coming up..., This Just In|0 Comments

Newly Acquired French Wines Welcomed with Provençal Dinners, May 19 and 20


We just took delivery on part of a large, beautifully chosen cellar (17 cases) of vintage French wines including some great Bordeaux (Pomerol 1982 and Saint-Emillion 1982); Rhônes, vintages 1978-88; a few older bottles from Burgundy; and, in largest part, Bandols from Domaine Tempier, 1979-90.


We’ll start offering the wines on May 18, and will celebrate with two evenings of Provençal dinners May 19 and 20. Inspired by Richard Olney’s paean to Lulu and Lucien Peyraud and Domaine Tempier, Lulu’s Provençal Table: The Exuberant Food and Wine from the Domaine Tempier Vineyard, this classic late spring menu Chef Jonah Rhodehamel selected is comprised of:


Apèritif: Melon Cubes Wrapped with Raw Ham,
Bouchées de Melon au Jambon Cru
Black Olives, Olives Noires
Buttered Sardine Crusts, Sardines Crues, Croûtons Beurrées


Sautéed Squid with Parsley and Garlic, Suppions à la Persillade

Leg of Lamb on a Bed of Thyme, Gigot sur Lit de Thym
Sautéed Artichokes and Potatoes, Artichauts Sautés aux Rattes


Dandelion Salad with Garlic Croutons, Salade de Pissenlit aux Chapons


Goat Cheeses, Fromages de Chèvre Frais


Cherries, Cerises


Prix fixe 70.
(Does not include beverages, service charge, or cheese course)
Jonah’s resumé includes four years at La Folie, which culminated in a position as Sous Chef; the Provence dinners will give him a chance to practice some old chops, figuratively speaking, that is. A selection of our vintage French wine will be available by the glass. Reserve online, or call 510-547-5356.

This Just In: Rhubarb Pavlova



Dressed with gently poached rhubarb, a curl of vanilla bean ice cream, and rhubarb-ginger sorbetto, a pretty pink pavlova will be on the menu throughout this week.

By |April 28th, 2015|Coming up..., This Just In|0 Comments

In Discussion with Mary Berry


Mary Dee Berry, the Executive Director of The Berry Center, puts to work the writings of her father, Wendell Berry, the author of The Unsettling of America — a book that was, and still is, a rousing cry to protect our land for small farmers and a more sustainable food system. For the whole of her adult life, Mary has been farming organically and sustainably, raising cattle, heirloom pigs, non-GMO hay, and harvesting lumber on 300 hundred acres of mostly wooded land in Kentucky. She brings first-hand experience, expert knowledge of the fundamental thinking behind today’s sustainable food movement, and the wit, charm and good sense that remind us of her father.

What is a good farmer? How do we preserve farm land from agribusiness?? How do we protect the marketplace so that small farmers might thrive? All of these questions will be food for thought.

We are oh so excited to have her here.

Sunday May 3rd, 1 pm – 3 pm


By |April 26th, 2015|Commons Past Events|0 Comments

Sunday Family Supper Menu for April 26, 2015

Sant’Antimo Abbey, south of Montalcino in Tuscany


Zuppa di acquacotta: seasonal vegetable soup

Pappardelle with rabbit ragù

Beef shank with bone marrow and rosemary




Prix fixe $40.

Served family-style. For parties of one to twelve. The whole table must order the prix fixe menu.

(Does not include beverages and 18% service charge added in lieu of tip.)

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Larger parties: please let us know at the time of your reservation if your table will be ordering the Sunday Supper menu so that we can plan accordingly. Thanks!