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Ongoing Whole Animal — Magruder Beef

Whole Animal at Oliveto

Even after the Whole Hog dinners, whole animal butchering is always going on at Oliveto, and Magruder Beef is always hanging in the locker.

Whole animal has long been central to Oliveto. We hang up a new steer in the locker about every three weeks. Chef Jonah has perfected a system of slowly utilizing cuts when they’re at their best, immediately serving up the cuts exposed to air like the flank and skirt steaks, and letting those cuts deeper in the animal, protected by fat caps, to age for sometimes 4-5 weeks until the flavor is at its peak. This week, we’re moving from flank steaks to tenderloin. The careful butchering and low-waste methodology is really a tribute to the quality of the animals that we get from Magruder Ranch in Potter Valley, CA.

The Magruder Family is one that we feel particularly close to.
See an old video we made about them below.

What we learn with every food that we prepare, is that the quality of the food is largely determined by the farmer, or in this case rancher. When you come in and see Magruder on the menu, its from a remarkable family. They raise an animal with superior genetics, well fed and finished. Normally grass fed animals are being fed silage for much of the year, but Magruder has irrigated pasture and finishes them on what he calls “ice cream”. This is the grass when its just turning brown at its peak nutrition and bioavailability. This type of grass management creates better tasting beef, and some marbling that you don’t expect from grass fed.


Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-03-23T16:43:11-07:00March 23rd, 2018|Coming up..., Events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Whole Hog Dinners are Underway


Whole Hog Dinners are Underway

 Three more nights through Saturday, March 17

Here are some highlights…


Plated clockwise from top left:

Coppa di testa with horseradish crema, mustard greens, and crumbled bacon


Rigatoni with whey-braised pork shoulder


Frascarelle with braised pork, sweet herbs, and consommé; black garlic-fish sauce aïoli


Tasting of pork sausages: boudin blancboudin noir, and Tuscan sausage with Puy lentils


Full menu below & available online.

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356


2018-03-15T16:33:52-07:00March 15th, 2018|Coming up..., Events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Whole Animal For A Reason


Oliveto’s 19th Annual Whole Hog Dinners–Whole Animal for a Reason

 March 13-17, 2018, Tuesday through Saturday

An interview with Italian butcher, Dario Cecchini from 2009.

In our yearly travels in Italy, we’ve heard from traditional wine makers and culinary historians and grandmothers and chefs that what gives Italian cuisine its broad variation, its depth of flavors, and, in general, what makes it one of the great world cuisines is its roots in the kitchens of the poor. That is certainly so with the preparation of meats. Out of respect for the animal (as expressed in the above video) and out of the need for economy, traditional techniques use the whole animal. In doing so, this has developed a repertoire that makes use of highly skilled butchery, meat preservation techniques and flavorings, and a seeming infinite array of offerings.


The menu chef Jonah has devised for our upcoming Whole Hog Dinners will include the following examples of traditional (and unusual to us) use of the whole animal: pappardelle di sangre with Manila clams, ‘nduja, and radishes; fritto of pig’s ears, artichokes, and asparagus with green garlic aïoli and Meyer lemon; minestra of butter beans and pork rind with salsa verdewarm terrina of pig trotters with Walla Walla onion soubise.


Of course, Jonah’s menu will include beautifully prepared, more familiar and “refined” cuts as well (along with non-pork items).  We’ll be sending the whole menu in the next few days.


Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-03-06T17:36:53-08:00March 6th, 2018|Coming up..., Events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

19th Annual Whole Hog Dinners–and Looking Back


Oliveto’s 19th Annual Whole Hog Dinners–and Looking Back

Willis Hog Farm from Oliveto Community on Vimeo.

Our first Whole Hog Dinner, in 2000, represented two sources of excitement for us:  first, our Chef, after spending years in Italy mastering hog butchery and in innumerable ways making use of the whole animal, had, at Oliveto, been serving house-made fermented and cured salumi, along with spit-roasted brined hams,aristas, wood-grilled chops, and so on, to considerable accolades from critics and customers. And second, we were part of a community that was, it turns out, changing the food system: we’d developed relationships with traditional, family hog farmers whose practices were humane and organic, and who were delighted to finally have connections with cooks who deeply appreciated what they were doing.

Our original hog farmers were Don Watson, who had a small family operation in Napa, and Paul Willis in Iowa, part of the Niman cooperative of family farmers. We visited both farms, and saw first-hand why it was their meats were so fine. At Paul’s place, the farrowing barn was a highlight. Naturally inseminated (we know what that means) sows and their litters of piglets had every opportunity to indulge in their natural behaviors. When they’d had it with their offspring, the mothers could escape to a comfortable, hay-strewn portion of the barn and be with their friends, the other sows. The babies, at all stages, were given warmth, isolation from other litters, and clean beds. Even in the dead of winter, the sows had the option to go out into the surrounding fields should the need to be alone grab them. There was a barn cat who, from atop the partitions separating the litters, seemed to assume a proprietary role in the barn.

We used words like “authentic” and “genuine”—commonplace enough now—and created a series of videos we called Real Food, the attached piece being the second in that sequence. Now, nineteen years later, the traditional pork dishes and salumistill represent a high point in artisanal pork butchery, and the new dishes add the excitement of Chef Jonah Rhodehamel’s creativity. Family hog farms have proliferated, and each offers different breeds with different diets and variations on humane husbandry practices.


Menu will be à la carte

& includes non-pork items

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-03-02T17:28:03-08:00March 2nd, 2018|Coming up..., Events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Whole Hog Dinner, dates set: March 13-17

A well-wallowed, Red Wallow sow with her piglet
Photo credit: Heritage Foods USA


Oliveto’s 19th Annual Whole Hog Dinners
are coming…soon.

Our curing room is packed with salumi, and our sauerkraut is underway. Long-time Olivetians anticipate revisiting some of Italy’s greatest traditional pork dishes; the new cooks in our kitchen are eagerly anticipating all things pig for the first time in a seasoned, traditional, whole-animal-based kitchen under the tutelage of our expert chef Jonah Rhodehamel. And Brian Griffith—our new, talented sous chef—is eager to contribute additions to an old tradition:

Whole Hog Dinners at Oliveto, March 13-17

Reserve Now

Menu à la carte

Plenty of non-pork items on the menu

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-03-02T17:27:39-08:00February 26th, 2018|Coming up..., Events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

This Just In: The Season’s Frist Asparagus

The First of the Spring Asparagus is in the Kitchen

A quick note to herald in the changing of seasons. The asparagus this early spring are particularly sweet and delicious. They’re grown in the Salinas Valley, supplied to us by long trusted farmer Martin Bournhonesque. The season came 10 days early this year. Martin thinks that the proximity to the sea is in part responsible for their flavor.

“Sparrow Grass”, as it was commonly called in England, has been eaten by humans for centuries. Originally found growing wild, there are records of it from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Highly nutritious and low in calories, these perennial spears were cultivated for their gastronomic, medicinal, and even aphrodisiacal virtues.

We’re serving them simply, blanched and sautéed with olive oil.

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-02-21T12:52:40-08:00February 21st, 2018|Coming up...|0 Comments

Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu 2018

Valentine’s Day Dinner 2018

We googled Saint Valentine to see if there was
anything worth writing about. Turns out there really
isn’t, but we think you’ll like this menu.

Kushi oyster with blood orange gelée and shiso


Parfait of Dungeness crab, winter citrus, and avocado
Soup:  vellutata of wild mushrooms with Perigord truffle crema


Tortelli di zucca with crumbled Amaretti cookies, brown butter,
and sage
Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of Maine lobster with fines herbes and
Pecorino Romano cheese



Butter-poached Maine lobster with celeriac crema, Black Trumpet
mushrooms, and smoked trout roe spumante


Due of Liberty Farms duck:  breast and sausage with rainbow chard
and Seville orange mostarda


Choice of desserts.  tba


Prix Fixe Menu

95. per person

A 20% pre-tax Service Charge will be added.


Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

2018-02-01T17:07:05-08:00February 1st, 2018|Coming up...|0 Comments

New Year’s Eve Dinner 2017

New Year’s Eve Ball in Time’s Square

New Year’s Eve Dinner 2017

We’re ready for a new year, the menu is complete,
come join us on Sunday December 31st to celebrate.


Prix Fixe Menu
First seating (5:00 – 6:15), four courses $95
Second seating (7:45 – 9:15), five courses $130


Stuzzichino  Smoked salmon-stuffed gougères


Antipasto  (choose one)
Dungeness crab and winter citrus salad with watercress and avocado
Salad of roast winter vegetables with töcco di noci, fried garlic, and lemon


Primo (choose one)
Acquerello Carnaroli risotto with Perigord truffle
Tortelloni of Fontina Val d’Aosta with truffle honey and candied walnuts


First Seating:

Secondi (choose one)

Pan-roasted salmon with soubise, candied carrots, and caviar spumante


Due of Liberty duck:  pan-roasted breast and sausage with sunchoke crema and saba


Roast Piedmontese ribeye of beef with long-cooked onions, barley, and truffle sugo


Second Seating:

Secondi di Pesce (choose one)

Pan-roasted salmon with soubise, candied carrots, and caviar spumante


Pan-roasted truffle-studded scallop with salsify purée, fingerling potatoes, and old aceto balsamico


Secondi di Carne (choose one)

Due of Liberty duck:  pan-roasted breast and sausage with sunchoke crema and saba


Roast Piedmontese ribeye of beef with long-cooked onions, barley, and truffle sugo



Choice between two special desserts.  tba


Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

2017-12-14T14:12:51-08:00December 12th, 2017|Coming up...|0 Comments

Four Ways to Truffle at our Dinner

Tuber magnatum pico and Tuber aestivum

Truffle Dinners Start Next Tuesday

November 14th – 18th, 2017

Four Ways to Truffle at our Dinner

  1. Shaving Whites: We all know about shaving – classic and exquisite, shaving is a fine way to go. There’s nothing like white truffles shaved on our tajarin (hand cut noodles, 32 egg yolks per kilo of flour). White truffles (Tuber magnatum pico) will be shaved at the table.
  2. Mortar & Slather: A truffle hunter’s favorite. White truffles mortared in fresh pressed oil and then slathered on a meat – excellent with beef or pork. We’ll have a Olio Nuovo pressed the day before that will be super peppery.
  3. Black Truffles: Burgundian Truffles (Tuber aestivum) are common during white truffle season in Tuscany and have a simple but really delicious flavor. Usually Burgundian truffles are prepared in the dish so the heat of cooking releases the flavor. Black Périgord truffles (Tuber melanosporum) come later in the season
  4. Truffles for the Table: During the dinners, people will be given a chance to buy a white truffle for the table, to be used for the dinner. You may also buy more than you need to take home.


We’ve always tried to make it a fun evening, and make it as inexpensive as possible. This year the truffles are expensive, and we’ll do everything we can to bring people the best truffles at the best price.

View Chef Jonah’s menu here.

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356

Dinners for Truffles 2017

The niece of our favorite truffle hunter Georgio from earlier days

Dinners for the Italian White Truffle:
Tuber Magnatum Pico über alles

November 14th – 18th, 2017

The week before Thanksgiving, we will celebrate, as we have done for the past twenty-two years, perhaps the most evocative event in our series of dinners: that for truffles and wild mushrooms. The darkness of the dining room as we approach winter solstice, the aromas from the kitchen and wood-fired grill and rotisserie, not to mention that indescribable scent of the most expensive food of them all (a simple tree-root parasite which looks like a small, troubled potato) characterize fall at Oliveto.

Chef Jonah Rhodehamel has devised this year’s à la carte menu:

 Cold: Antipasto of roast autumn fruits and vegetables with malted barley
and black truffle vinaigrette

Salad of shaved Brussels sprouts with bagna cauda, lemon, and white truffle

Crudo of local halibut and artichokes with fried Black Trumpet mushrooms with
celery leaf pesto, and truffled egg yolk

Dungeness crab salad with Hachiya persimmon, fennel, and orange

Warm: Poached farm egg with crispy potato-duck confit hash and truffled hollandaise

Roast octopus with Tuscan sausage, Butter beans, and black truffle

Soup:  tba

Acquerello Carnaroli risotto of Black Trumpet mushrooms and Castelmagno cheese

Stinging nettle gnocchi with Chanterelle mushrooms and ricotta salata

Tortelloni of Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese with brown butter, sage, and candied walnuts

Tajarin al burro

Farm egg raviolo with house-made ricotta and duck sugo

Cappelletti of bone marrow with black truffle and fried shallots

Whole grain pasta with wild mushrooms Vallesana

Pan-roasted Liberty duck breast with Kabocha squash, Lacinato kale, and spiced sugo

Sformatino of Lobster mushrooms with chestnuts, ricotta salata cheese, and Delicata squash

Fontina-stuffed chicken breast with wilted radicchio, parsnip crema, and Morel mushroomsugo

Black sea bass with cardoons, salsify, roast sunchoke crema, and Barolo spumante

Beef tournedo alla Rossini with Hudson Valley foie gras, Swiss chard, Yellow Finn potatoes, and black truffle sugo

Truffled boudin blanc with celeriac crema, escarole, and hazelnut salsa

Dolci (tba)

Reserve Online or Call 510.547.5356
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