Archives for category: Chef

Phillip Basone Eats Out

A few weeks ago some boys started asking me if I knew who the hot new chef was in town from New York City. I put down my nail polish and made a few calls to investigate who this guy was. Phillip Basone is originally from Connecticut, his culinary career got on track when he went through the doors of Barbuto, a Greenwich Village restaurant owned by Jonathan Waxman – one of the pioneers of California Cuisine. When I lived in NYC during the late 80’s – it was Waxman’s restaurant Jams on East 79th that I dreamt of cooking at – but fate had me head in a different direction and I ended up under the aprons of some very hot French chefs. I know what tough work it is in a kitchen, especially when you are as talented as Phillip.

I recently stopped by  Waxman’s in Ghirardelli Square where Phillip is spending most of his time while in San Francisco to introduce myself and have dinner. It’s all true – he is even more handsome in person then the boys say and welcomed me with the warmest hug and smile. Dinner was fabulous and the kitchen executed Waxman’s signature dishes to perfection – especially the JW Chicken & Potatoes! I don’t know how much longer Phillip will be in town, so get your butt down there to get a glimpse of him in his chef whites and eat soon. I’m not promising any hugs though.


Phillip answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?
I hate to admit it but I just love Oreos dipped in peanut butter…..

What restaurant would you call your home?
Barbuto! It is where I started my career at 18 and have been working for Jonathan Waxman on and off for the last 6 years.

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?
I am a extremely picky eater so for strangest I don’t even know where to begin. As far as most inspiring I would honestly have to say this one meal a friend of my father prepared for me. It was pernil, which is so simple yet so delicious. It really set me on this path of incorporating more Latin flavors into my food and relishing in the simplistic beauty of some cuisines.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?
Chicken fingers with french fries and a bacon, egg & cheese. Extra ranch please!

IMG_4234Jackson getting a good sniff of Phillip at Waxman’s.



Roasted Frog Hollow Peaches, Rosemary Biscuit & Creme Anglaise at Waxman’s
Chef Cory Armenta at Booty Call Wednesdays

Chef Cory Armenta at Booty Call Wednesdays

Cory Armenta Eats Out

There is no better friendship in the world then one that allows you to sit down to a dinner with a friend and completely rip the food apart trying to figure out how to make it better. That is exactly what Cory and I do best – besides inspire each other in the kitchen.

Cory is currently the executive chef at Castro Districts family-style Mexican restaurant, HECHO. The food has taken a huge turn since he’s been on board. One that has prompted me to stop by at least once a week for his chili verde. He is also the Organizer and Head Chef or the non-profit Mama G’s Thanksgiving Street Dinner founded in 2009 – which is serving food and hope to the Tenderloin neighborhood over the holiday.

This winter I will join Cory and the team at HECHO  to create a pop-up Tamale Night celebrating recipes I grew up cooking with my family.

Cory and I at Cleve Jones 60th Birthday Bash.

Cory and I at Cleve Jones 60th Birthday Bash.

Cory answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?

I don’t even know where to start. If we’re talking right now during fall season, I’d have to say an apple Tarte Tatin with  vanilla ice cream. Frankly, whatever fruit is in season, throw a great pie crust on it, and I’m sold.  Usually, dessert for me is bourbon and a cigarette.

What restaurant would you call your home?

Obviously I am at Hecho the majority of the time, constantly creating new dishes. When I do go out for a meal, it’s Kokkari. They get me. Everyone should love and know Kokkari.

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?

When I was in culinary school, my classmate/friend was working at Kyo-Ya at The Palace Hotel. I went in for dinner, and was treated to Geoduck clam sashimi…still twitching. That would be the strangest. As for most inspiring, I am constantly inspired by everyone and everything. The simplest meal at a friends home can send my mind racing about what I want to do the minute I get to the kitchen the next day.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

I have two. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Because duh. Grape Nuts. Because it hurt my jaw to chew it and I believed that’s what being a grown up must feel like. Yeah. I liked that it hurt.

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?

I don’t eat after the club. My favorite thing is getting a text from you with a picture of SPAM and fried eggs. The next morning, however…its on.

Cory in the kitchen at HECHO

Cory in the kitchen at HECHO

I am also guilty of these drought changing habits in my kitchen at home. My window plants are thriving because of the left over water I cook with.

Click the image to read the full-story at The New York Times.

The chef Melissa Perello douses an olive tree with used cooking water outside Octavia, her new restaurant in San Francisco. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

The chef Melissa Perello douses an olive tree with used cooking water outside Octavia, her new restaurant in San Francisco. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times


News today of bar Jules closing after brunch this Sunday is a sad thing for Hayes Valley. It’s been my favorite burger spot for lunch for years. Here is an interview I did with Jessica for Apartamento Magazine.

I’ve always loved a neighborhood restaurant. I’ve actually met some great friends at local eating establishments – you know you’ll at least have one thing in common, and thats the food.

When you eat out in Hayes Valley it feels more neighborly than almost any other district in San Francisco. Many restaurants here have seemed to find their niche and become great staples in our city, garnering cultish obsession and faithful followers in the devoted eaters that call this neighborhood home. A great example is Hayes Street Grill which has been serving opera, symphony and ballet patrons for more than 30 years and continues to stay true to its clientele with its passionate staff and their signature dishes.

Resting on the western edge of Hayes Valley at the end of the strip, bar Jules is six years old. To the uninitiated, this little 38-seat restaurant may be just another in a burgeoning atmosphere of San Francisco institutions committed to serving sustainable fish, meats, and produce from the best small farmers in the area but for all of the years that I’ve been dining and shopping on Hayes Street bar Jules has managed to virtually redefine the lines of what is considered to be Hayes Valley. The location offers a feeling that is both edgy and sophisticated.

Owner Jessica Boncutter has worked at Zuni Cafe and as the chef at Hog Island Oyster Co, two of my favorite places to eat in San Francisco. Here she spends her time working the restaurant as a mother would in her own home. The menu at bar Jules isn’t fancy or punched with tons of trendy ideals – in fact they don’t even bother printing one out for you, it’s written on a blackboard.

The wonderful thing about bar Jules is that it feels so much like an integral part of the community, you’d think it had been where it is longer than it has.

How long have you been in Hayes Valley?
Bar Jules opened in November of 2007.

What attracted you to open your business in Hayes Valley?
I loved that it felt both edgy and sophisticated at the same time.

More than any other Hayes Valley restaurant, Bar Jules appears to be a classic model for a neighborhood institution. Was this your intention when you opened it?
Thank you! Yes that was my intention above everything else!

Your menu changes so often – what have your regulars made you keep on it?
I think the regulars like that the menu changes. It feels like going over to a friend’s house for dinner.

What have the challenges been in basing your restaurant around a menu that changes daily?
Writing menus everyday can be hard. Sometimes you think dang it would be much easier if I had opened a Houston’s.

Hayes Valley seems to be in a constant state of evolution. Would you say the ever-shifting menu is reflective of this?
I hope so. I feel very proud that Bar Jules still feels fresh and unique after being open for 6 years.

Who are some of your culinary heroes?
Some of my culinary heroes include Julia Child, Rose Gray and Ruthie Rogers from the River Cafe, Judy Rodgers from Zuni Cafe, Carol Bever from Zuni Cafe,  Diana Kennedy and Margot and Fergus Henderson from St John, and Rochelle Canteen respectively.

Is the menu at bar Jules reflective of what you actually eat on a day to day basis? Describe your ideal lunch or dinner.
Yes it is. I usually eat very simply with a lot of vegetables.

Do you have any aspirations on opening up another restaurant in San Francisco?
I do and I don’t. Sometimes your personal touch can be lost if you are running more than one restaurant at a time.

Is there or has there ever been something you love that has been unsuccessful on the menu?
Beef tongue for obvious reasons. It is so delicious and anyone brave enough to order it is solo happy.

Many of my good friends are frequent diners at the restaurant and all of them talk about it as though it is there second home. What has inspired you to create that atmosphere at bar Jules?
I have always loved the idea of a canteen or a neighborhood restaurant. Nothing makes me happier than to have regular customers.

You have worked at two other local San Francisco restaurants that are staples for me – Zuni Cafe and Hog Island Oyster Company. What did you take away from those experiences?
Zuni Cafe and Hog Island Oyster Company were very different from each other. What was similar about the two of them was the dedication to the best quality ingredients.

I’ve been toying with the idea of opening a cafe / restaurant in San Francisco for years. Can you give me a sage piece of advice?
Don’t do it! Ha ha just joking. Like anything that is worth something in life, it’s a ton of hard work.

I have a blog titled Juanita Eats Out and I like to ask friends a few questions about their eating habits. What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?
Casu marzu – it is a sheep cheese that has worms (live insect larvae) in it from Sardinia.

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?
We had to eat grape nuts growing up – but I loved Lucky Charms.

What is your favorite dessert?
My favorite dessert is simple – cheese.

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after a late night?
I love to grab Chinese food after a late night.

What is always in your refrigerator at home?
I always have Champagne in my refrigerator.

Where did the name bar Jules come from?
Bar Jules is named after my old lady dog Jules. She is an 18 year old basset hound that I have had since she was three months old. She is the love of my life.

Taco MORE! Custom Apron

Taco MORE! Custom Apron


This limited edition custom Taco MORE! apron is available by following the link on the image.
100% Cotton Canvas with black cotton twill tape straps
Black ink / heat transfer silk-screen
Artwork by Dave Davenport, 1996
Custom made by Mr. David Couture

The HECHO Valentine Dinner staff!

The HECHO Valentine Dinner staff!

Thank you to everyone that came to the Valentine Dinner at HECHO – it was such a huge success. I want to give some special love to the great talents of Chef Cory Armenta for executing my families simple home recipes with so much respect and style. Our sous chefs Cole Church, Sean Lackey & Michael Christopher made working in the kitchen such an absolute joy. And, a special thank you to HECHO owners Dana Gleim and Jesse Woodward for letting me do it!

You can find most of the recipes right here on my food blog. The Tomatillo & Chipolte Salsa, Anaheim Chile and Chicken Stew and my grandmothers Capirotada (we served it with Humphry Slowcombe Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream.

I so enjoyed cooking for you and look forward to more food projects in the future! You can join my mailing list HERE to get updates about all kinds of amazing events!

Images by Uel Renteria from the event can be found in this ALBUM on my Facebook profile.

Loads of Love,



Valentine's Day Dinner at Hecho

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Hecho

Join me and HECHO Restaurant in the Castro for a special Valentine’s Day Dinner. I will be taking over the kitchen with House of MORE! chef Cory Armenta. We have created a prix fixe menu that revolves around some of my favorite family recipes – including my grandmothers delicious bread pudding. Dinner includes your choice of one of the three entrees – plus appetizer, salad and dessert. The restaurant has booths that accommodate 4-6 people (double & triple dates) and a communal table for singles (please email the restaurant directly to reserve a single seat).

Saturday, February 14, 2015
HECHO Restaurant, 2200 Market Street at Sanchez, SF 94114
Seatings: 5:30 PM, 7:30 PM & 9:30 PM
Cost: $55



Choice of one entree

Juanita’s Chipotle & Tomatillo Salsa with Chips

Hearts of Romaine Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette & Queso Fresco

Braised Chicken with Anaheim Chiles

Mulato Chile Braised Beef Short Ribs

Chile Rellenos

Petra’s Capirotada with Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

Be my Valentine.

Be my Valentine.

Jason Krause Eats Out

Image by Dan Ostergren

Image by Dan Ostergren

Jason and I recently fell in love at Booty Call Wednesdays. And, since that initial meeting he hasn’t made it any easier to fall out of love with him – especially with all of his late night sexy texting. The best part is that he keeps threatening to come back to SF for a visit and if it doesn’t happen soon, I’ll just have to jump on a plane to Portland and leave some glitter and feathers all over his apartment.

Jason knows more than just a thing or two about food. He is a culinary graduate from Le Cordon Blue in Portland and comes from a family which boasts a grandfather and uncle who both owned bakeries in his home state of Missouri. Most recently he updated his grandfathers recipe for a creme cake – omitting the lard for a version that was “all natural and earth friendly” – even getting a stamp of approval from his grandmother!

Currently Jason is embarking on a new adventure – in fashion. This new turn comes from a long habit of making bow ties for himself and friends out of vintage fabric. These of course will not be the easy-does-it 1970’s clip-on type either. The line of custom made bow ties will be called Stiff Knot by Krause. We are currently talking about producing a limited edition bow tie featuring fabric from one of my iconic dresses!

If you are not into bow ties or creme cakes – you too can drool over shirtless pictures of Jason on Instagram.

Image by Gabe Ayala for Type / Face Magazine

Image by Gabe Ayala for Type / Face Magazine

Jason answers my foodie questionnaire here:

What is your favorite dessert?

I have an insatiable sweet tooth!! Gets me into trouble sometimes. I’ve defiantly been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. But if I were to pick one favorite dessert it would be the magnificent marriage of a buttery salty cake and macerated strawberries. Strawberry shortcake! A la mode? Don’t mind if I do!

What restaurant would you call your home?

Home, in the form of a dining establishment would be Little Big Burger! Beyond the fact they are one block away from me – they really do cook a mean burger. Local ingredients, 40s, and this fantastic secret dipping sauce…I’m a saucy boy, what can I say.

What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?

Pig snout count? It’s only pork but a bit out there. Inspiring perhaps because it was a huge gathering of us mates for a float trip and after the long float, sun and beer soaked bodies, we gathered and spit roasted an entire pig over the camp fire. Apple in mouth and all. Was a tasty reward!

What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

My favorite sugar coated kernel as a kid would have to be Corn Pops!! Salty sweet! The best!

What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?

Thank goodness for the many food carts that stay open late after hours to feed our beast within. My fav goes back and forth currently between pork sliders or the breakfast burrito. Usually they don’t last and I’m taking the last bite as I step up to the door of my building. Now I’m hungry!

Jason Krause

While I was recently staying in Brooklyn I got the chance to eat at this super cute low profile new restaurant called Lulu & Po in Fort Greene. The names Lulu & Po come from the chef and owner Matthew Hamilton’s daughter and wife. It’s a small – maybe 30 seat spot that feels like the coziest family / neighborhood restaurant.

The menu is made up of mostly small plates. But not in that annoying teenie-tiny way. They are thoughtfully put together and with the big current trend of focusing on seasonal vegetables and using meat as a side dish. Stating that – what really coxed me in was the call of Bone Marrow Tacos – two big bones served with corn tortillas, cilantro, pickled onions, capers and parsley which brightened the dish up nicely. My marrow craving was truly satisfied.

Bone Marrow Tacos

My dinner guest and Brooklyn host Kristofer has recently turned vegetarian – I don’t know if it was because of the three 22 pound turkeys I cooked in his apartment last Thanksgiving or the side of pork I roasted in the dead of winter last year or not. But he is a great eater and wasn’t shy about tasting a piece of the succulent pork belly I ordered after the tacos.

The vegetable dishes were outstanding and we kept adding more of those delicious little plates to our table. Standouts included the Sweet Corn Succotash, the grilled pizza dough with house made ricotta and the summer squash with brown butter and almonds.

Summer Squash with Brown Butter and Almonds

As we were wrapping up dinner I noticed the table next to us had order the Beef Burger – it was starting to haunt me. I asked our server if the kitchen would make me one to-go. She said they didn’t serve to-go food but would ask. The kitchen looked over at me and I told them I wasn’t getting off work until 5AM that next morning and would desperately need that burger. It arrived wrapped in foil. And, I ate the entire thing after DJing at Vandam all night. It  would have been amazing hot – but at 5AM it was just perfect cold.

Beef Burger

I can’t wait to go back there in the winter.

Kristofer and I

Kristofer and I after a long night.