Thoughtul Gourmet Blog

It takes big muscles to stomp grapes

The experience of wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma has shifted dramatically in recent years (read more about wine country changes here). A likely result: Wine Country has never been more accessible to children and families. This is a boon to my family of four as for years, wine country has been, at worst, off-limits, […]

The classic Seven Layer Dip is topped with sliced olives.

The seven layer dip I make every year for the Super Bowl is classic with olives on the top and refried beans on the bottom. For summer parties, I refresh the dish with hummus and fresh corn. No matter how I serve it, the entire dish disappears every time.  The joy of this dish is its […]

Pitaya Plus Smoothie

Smoothies are a weekend staple in my home. Suitable as a fresh foil to January’s endless roasts and soups, they also make a perfect interlude on a warm summer afternoon. Quick to prepare, refreshing and satisfying, smoothies are like soup – you can toss in the kitchen sink and culinary odds and ends find new […]

Chef Ed Lee's Gochujang chile sauce

Long ago relegated by my partner to Hallmark Holiday status, Valentine’s Day nevertheless requires a little someth’n – someth’n to celebrate love. For my two young sons, that means making – and receiving – enough valentines for each child in their class. For me and my husband, that means steak for dinner. Steak is our […]

GEFU Spiralizer cuts carrots and broccoli stems into shreds

Last summer, it seemed everyone I knew had caught the spiralizer bug. Courtesy of the paleo movement, which asks its adherents to, among other things, give up carbs, spiralizers, a kitchen gadget that slices vegetables and fruits into curls and (duh) spirals, are having their moment in the sun. I jumped on the bandwagon to take […]


The Feast of the Seven Fishes, that Italian seafood bacchanal that arrives every Christmas, is a celebratory meal like no other. The wines you pour should match the flavors of the food as well as the spirit of the event. I recently spoke with Stevie Stacionis, who along with Josiah Baldivino, own and operate Oakland’s […]

Oro's zucchini soup with mint and vadouvan

Mint Plaza Redux –  What’s New and Happening Now San Francisco’s Mint Plaza, that L-shaped wedge of open space behind the old Mint Building at the corner of 5th and Mission, is bustling once again with restaurants, food trucks and events. Just steps away from the Westfield Center and Union Square, Mint Plaza is a […]


San Francisco’s taste for the flavors of the Southeast Asia shows no signs of slowing. New restaurants bring the food of Guam and Sri Lanka to the city while an established restaurant defines the food of Indonesia in elegant style. 1601 Bar & Kitchen Neighborhood: San Francisco, SOMA Located on a quiet stretch of Howard Street, […]