May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015
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Heritage Eats will open in Napa on May 8th. Photo courtesy of Heritage Eats.

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Goose & Gander in St. Helena has hired a new chef. Photo courtesy of Goose & Gander.

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Chef Howard Lee Ko of Goose & Gander in St. Helena. Photo courtesy of Goose & Gander.

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

Another Napa restaurant to put on your to-do list? ~HERITAGE EATS~ is opening Friday May 8th at the Bel Aire shopping center in the town of Napa. With the tagline “Slow Meats Fast,” the owners describe it as “a globally influenced, locally sourced, and California-born destination with an emphasis on heritage-breed meats, produce from local farms, and housemade sauces.”

Diners can mix and match things like jerk chicken, cider-braised pork, pita bread, rice, edamame, Asian pickles, and a variety of sauces for an upscale fast-casual experience. If you’re not so great at the whole DIY thing, predesigned pairings—like a Banh Mi Dutch Crunch with lemongrass pork, Asian pickles, cilantro, and “boom” sauce, or Jamaican jerk chicken with steamed bao buns, and pineapple-habanero sauce—get you noshing in style. Chef Jason Kupper, the opening chef de cuisine at The Thomas, pairs up with fellow AvroKO vet Ben Koenig on the project. BiteClub’s got a front-row seat at the preopening bash, so stay tuned.

St. Helena’s ~GOOSE & GANDER~ has tapped chef Howard Lee Ko as its new chef de cuisine. Most recently from the kitchens of Michelin darlings The Restaurant at Meadowood and The French Laundry (as well as Picholine and Daniel in NYC), he’s some serious firepower for the nearly four-year-old restaurant. Opening chef Kelly McCown left last winter for an offer in Sacramento.

“We are thrilled Howard Ko is leading our culinary team at Goose & Gander. He brings his incredible talent, vast experience, and a fresh, new perspective to our restaurant and is excited to add his take on the popular style enjoyed by our many happy regulars. The timing is perfect as we embark on our fourth year of business…We feel very fortunate to have him with us,” said proprietor Andrew Florsheim.

The restaurant, which was formerly the Martini House, received solid reviews under McCown and got a well-needed face-lift when the new owners took over. The two-level space features a large dining room and an intimate and well-loved bar downstairs. The menu, described as “public house” New American cuisine, includes hearty dishes like steak tartare, roasted bone marrow, burgers, duck confit, and pan-roasted chicken. The restaurant and bar are open Sun-Thu 12pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 12pm-12am. Starting July 1st, the bar will be open until 12am nightly. 1245 Spring Street, St. Helena, 707-967-8779.

Sonoma County journalist Naomi Starkman of the popular food politics blog ~CIVIL EATS~ has been named a 2015 James S. Knight Fellow. The prestigious award is given each year to just 20 individuals to study a particular issue facing the media. Starkman will spend her time looking at how to make food-policy news part of readers’ daily diet. “My goal is to explore ways in which Civil Eats—and all online publications—will survive in this rapidly changing media landscape while making sure that award-winning, independent journalism stays alive,” she said. Amen, sister.

In an editorial on her website on Thursday, she wrote: “Journalism and agriculture are two sides of the same coin: Both have been made artificially cheap. We have come to expect free media, just as many expect to be able to buy a dozen eggs for under $3. But lack of social investment in both of these public goods is leading us down the wrong path…Buying healthier, sustainably produced food helps keep the environment cleaner, ensures that farm animals and workers are treated better, and leads to better personal health outcomes.” She adds, “Investing in well-crafted reporting and thoughtful commentary is equally important in a world of listicles, sponsored content, sensational headlines, and dumbed-down aggregation.”

The fellowship is based at Stanford, where journalism and technology are being carefully studied. Stanford’s Palo Alto location gives easy access to both the Central Valley and Silicon Valley. “This ideal location foments solutions to this food journalism question and is the perfect place for me to incubate Civil Eats as I mine its myriad assets,” she said. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

Food and tech innovation is also the focus of ~BITE SILICON VALLEY~, a three-day event featuring high-profile chefs Roy Choi, José Andrés, Michael Voltaggio, Tom Colicchio, Michael Mina, and local chef Louis Maldonado (of Healdsburg’s Spoonbar and Pizzando), as well as digital food movers Danielle Gould of Food + Tech Connect, Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank, and Kerry Diamond of Yahoo! Food. The event runs from Friday June 5th until Sunday June 7th at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium and includes a Grand Tasting and cooking demos on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $149 for a one-day tasting to $499 for a three-day all-access pass. Details online at Bitesv.com.

People.com has chosen Bodega Bay’s ~THE DUCK CLUB~ as one of its 10 Most Beautiful Restaurant views in the United States. According to the magazine: “The stone fireplace is the centerpiece at this cozy, clubby eatery, but the panoramic views of Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean deserve equal billing. Nestled in a dreamy bay, the restaurant overlooks a wildlife sanctuary, adding to the serene, natural beauty.” Just another day in paradise.

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