Freedom, Progress, and the Dinner Table: Sophie Egan, author of Devoured

Sophie Egan, author of Devoured, in discussion with Paolo Lucchesi

Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm

4:30-5:30 – Conversation (with time for Q&A)
5:30-6:00 – Book signing & mingling downstairs

Why does McDonald’s have 107 items on its menu? Why are breakfast sandwiches, protein bars, and gluten-free anything so popular? Will bland, soulless meal replacements like Soylent revolutionize our definition of a meal?

In Devoured, food journalist Sophie Egan takes us on an eye-opening journey through the American food psyche, making connections between the values that define our national character—work, freedom, and progress—and our eating habits, the good and the bad.

“Breezy, irreverent, often quite funny, Devoured nonetheless has a serious message.” (Joe Queenan, Barron’s)

Sophie Egan is the director of programs and culinary nutrition for the Strategic Initiatives Group at The Culinary Institute of America. Based in San Francisco, Egan is a contributor to The New York Times‘ Well blog, and has written about food and health for KQED, Time, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit,WIRED, and Sunset magazine, where she worked on The Sunset Cookbook and The One-Block Feast book. She holds a master of public health from the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on health and social behavior, and a bachelor of arts with honors in history from Stanford University. This summer, she was named one of the UC Global Food Initiative’s 30 Under 30.

Paolo Lucchesi is the editor of The San Francisco Chronicle Food & Wine team. Before coming to The Chronicle food section in 2010 as its Inside Scoop columnist, he served as the founding editor of Eater San Francisco, which launched in fall 2007, and later Eater National, which launched in fall 2009.

Free event; book signing to follow.
Feel free to stick around afterwards for dinner in the cafe or make a reservation for the dining room!

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September 19th, 2016|Coming up..., Commons Past Events, Events|Comments Off on Freedom, Progress, and the Dinner Table: Sophie Egan, author of Devoured

Ingredienti Dinner With Victor Hazan

 

Photo by Barbara Banks

The spirit of the late Marcella Hazan’s cooking is still very relevant today, through her cookbooks – which we keep in our kitchen office – classic recipes like her famous tomato, butter and onion sauce, and the handwritten notebooks filled with her thoughts on how to select the best ingredients. This last makes up the largest part of her most recently published book, Ingredienti. Her husband, Italian wine expert and longtime collaborator, Victor, has translated and transcribed these vignettes for the book, and we will actually be having Victor with us for a special dinner in partnership with
DIESEL, A Bookstore. Please come!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
7 pm

$75 for book plus dinner

Please note: tax and 15% service charge will be added at the end of the meal. In addition, you can order wine. Our collection of older Italian wines is exceptional, and Victor, an authority on Italian wine, will be able to provide commentary.

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July 7th, 2016|Commons Past Events, Events|Comments Off on Ingredienti Dinner With Victor Hazan

An Afternoon of Exceptional Music and Conversation

 

Join us for a friendly conversation with two East Bay musical treasures: cellist Tessa Seymour, one of classical music’s most promising young talents, and Cal Performances’ Director Matias Tarnopolsky.

Tessa is on the brink of becoming a widely recognized concert artist. Freshly graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, she has already performed as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras, made a televised debut at Carnegie Hall, and recorded a debut album set to release this year. Her viewpoint is a rare one – that of a young prodigy with a musical understanding beyond her years, well on the way into a career full of promise.

As director of Cal Performances, Matias is tasked with planning inventive and compelling programming for one of the most influential performing arts centers in the world. In doing so, he helps steward the many artists that perform on Cal Performances’ stages. Having worked with pretty much all of the celebrated performers of the world, he brings to this conversation a singularly knowledgeable viewpoint of the tough business of classical music today.

We hope to learn something about the journey of a young classical musician and its many challenges and enjoy some beautiful music. Our Meyer Sound-enhanced room allows us to provide a beautiful environment in which to enjoy live performances.

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016
1 pm to 2:30 pm

$35.

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January 6th, 2016|Commons Past Events, Events, Meyer Sound|Comments Off on An Afternoon of Exceptional Music and Conversation

Musicians from Valley of the Moon Music Festival: Beethoven and Haydn

 

valley-of-the-moon

Join us for a light, 3-course prix-fixe dinner and an evening of Beethoven and Haydn at Oliveto Restaurant. Presented by Valley of the Moon Music Festival. Following the program, there will be time to meet the artists.

The performance takes advantage of Oliveto’s dining room — dubbed the Magic Room, it was designed by the acoustical wizards at Meyer Sound to enhance musical performances and conversation.

Program

Beethoven
A-Major Cello Sonata

Haydn
Trio

Performers 

Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
Widely admired as a Baroque violinist of expressive eloquence and technical sparkle, Elizabeth Blumenstock is a long-time concertmaster, soloist, and leader with the Bay Area’s American Bach Soloists and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and is concertmaster of the International Handel Festival in Goettingen, Germany.

Tanya Tomkins, ‘cello
Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, cellist Tanya Tomkins is equally at home on Baroque and modern instruments. She has performed on many chamber music series to critical acclaim, including the Frick Collection, “Great Performances” at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, San Francisco Performances, and the Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal.

Eric Zivian, fortepiano
Music Director and Co-Founder of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Eric Zivian was born in Michigan and grew up in Toronto, Canada, where he attended the Royal Conservatory of Music. He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree. He went on to receive graduate degrees from the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. He studied piano with Gary Graffman and Peter Serkin and composition with Ned Rorem, Jacob Druckman, and Martin Bresnick. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center both as a performer and as a composer.


Additional Information:

Dinner begins at 8:45 p.m., and the performance follows at 9:30 p.m. Beverages, 18% service charge on dinner ($45 value) and beverages, and tax are additional and will be charged that evening.

Friday, November 27th, 2015, 8:45 pm to 10:45 pm

$80.

 

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November 21st, 2015|Commons Past Events, Events, Meyer Sound|Comments Off on Musicians from Valley of the Moon Music Festival: Beethoven and Haydn

Sunday Impromptu Concert

Tessa-and-jiyeon

 

Jiyoen Kim and Tessa Seymour
Sunday, November 22, 2015

This Sunday, we’ll be interrupting our regularly scheduled program for an impromptu performance by cellist Tessa Seymour and guitarist Jiyeon Kim, two prodigiously talented artists from the Curtis Institute of Music with exceptionally bright futures before them.

Seymour and Kim will be performing in the later half of Sunday evening, dining with us and playing as the mood strikes. Friends as well as colleagues, they are mesmerizing to watch as they perform both classical repertoire and contemporary work . As always we’ll be enhancing their musical interludes with our Magic Room’s marvelous Meyer Sound system .

The performance is free. Please come, book a table during the later half of Sunday evening, and enjoy some compelling music.

Jiyeon Kim is a multifaceted instrumentalist, playing a wide range of music from free improvisation to contemporary classical music on both classical and electric guitar. Hailing from Seoul, South Korea, Kim entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011 and studied with renowned guitarists David Starobin and Jason Vieaux. Ms. Kim has appeared on NPR’s From the Top, and has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Great Mountains International Music Festival, and the Bang on a Can Music Festival.

Tessa Seymour recently graduated from Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Carter Brey, principal cello of the New York Philharmonic, and Peter Wiley of the Guarneri Quartet. Ms. Seymour held the Jack Kent Cooke Fellowship at Curtis. Ms. Seymour made her televised Carnegie Hall debut in 2007 and has performed as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras. Her debut solo album is set to be released this year. Ms. Seymour’s cello is the 1720 Carlo Giuseppe Testore “Camilla” of Milan.

Kim and Seymour will also be performing at the Center for New Music on November 25th: Five Faces of Modernity, with works by Falla, Reich, Vasks, and Gardiner.

Telegraph Quartet: Britten and Haydn

Join us for a light, 3-course prix-fixe dinner and an evening of Britten and Haydn performed by the Telegraph Quartet at Oliveto Restaurant. Following the program, there will be time to meet the artists. Presented by Benvenue House.

The Telegraph Quartet was formed in September 2013 with a commitment to a passionate approach to the standard chamber music repertoire as well as contemporary and non-standard repertoire, alike. Described alternately as “intensely urgent” and “poignantly resonant”, the Telegraph Quartet received the prestigious Grand Prize of the 2014 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and has gone on to perform in concert halls, music festivals, and academic institutions across the United States, from Santa Barbara to New York.

The members of the quartet are graduates of top conservatories and universities including The Juilliard School, The Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Telegraph Quartet is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The performance takes advantage of Oliveto‘s dining room — dubbed the Magic Room, it was designed by the acoustical wizards at Meyer Sound to enhance musical performances and conversation.


Additional Information:

Dinner begins at 8:45 p.m., and the performance follows at 9:30 p.m. Beverages, 18% service charge on dinner ($45 value) and beverages, and tax are additional and will be charged that evening.

Friday, January 15th, 2016, 8:45 pm to 10:45 pm

$80.

 

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October 21st, 2015|Commons Past Events, Events, Meyer Sound|Comments Off on Telegraph Quartet: Britten and Haydn

A Tasting with Alto Piemonte’s Brilliant Young Winemaker Cristiano Garella

We are great admirers of young winemaker Cristiano Garella. Considered a “whiz kid” by Wine Spectator, he quickly made his mark with outrageously good wines in the emerging region of Northern Piedmont. At the age of 23, he was made the winemaker of Tenute Sella, the most prominent winery in the region at that time, and manager of the whole estate a year later. Now 30, he is a consulting winemaker for a number of small producers in Northern Piedmont, and one in the Oltrepò Pavese.

“Cristiano is my kind of enologist,” says wine importer Oliver McCrum, “very technologically savvy but committed to making wines that express terroir through largely traditional techniques. He’s an amazing taster, too.”

This area is considered up-and-coming, but actually the area was producing Nebbiolo far before Barolo and Barbaresco became fashionable — in fact it is the original home of Nebbiolo, and these new wines are a reconnection to the area’s past and its long-held traditions, which are capable of producing beautiful, age-worthy reds with character.

We will be tasting four wines based on the delicate and complex Nebbiolo grape, coming from three different growing areas in Northern Piedmont — Bramaterra, Fara, and Lessona, all with varying soil types and terrain. These wines come from small, young wineries for which Garella consults: Le Pianelle, Boniperti, and La Prevostura. Garella makes wine organically, favoring a low-intervention approach with natural yeasts.

After the tasting, our menu upstairs will feature Garella’s wines by the glass and Piedmontese dishes, and Garella will be present to discuss his wines.
August 16th, 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm

$40.

 

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July 30th, 2015|Commons Past Events, Events, Happened already..., Italy, Piedmont, Wine Events|Comments Off on A Tasting with Alto Piemonte’s Brilliant Young Winemaker Cristiano Garella

The Whole Peach: Tarts to Cocktails

peach_480

Learn to make the most of stone fruit season with Pastry Chef Yakira Batres and Cocktail Chef Daniel Clayton. Taste peaches, plums, and nectarines that have just come to ripeness, and learn which varieties make the most sense for your baking or boozy ambitions. We’ll assemble galettes, a quintessential use for peaches and plums; then, learn how to make liqueurs, syrups, shrubs and bitters with what’s left over. Includes a stone fruit galette and summer cocktail tasting.
July 12th, 12 pm to 3 pm

$40.

 

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June 30th, 2015|Commons Past Events|0 Comments

Wine Tasting with Ciro Biondi

Mount-Etna

 

On the ferry to Sicily from Naples, you can see the city of Catania and its surrounding villages, above which the active volcano, Mt. Etna, looms. Here lives Ciro Biondi, who tends centuries-old vines on his family plot.

His vineyards are a simple, beautiful place on the eastern slope, where cool evenings and warm days make for a wine that far exceeds the standards of the island. Its soil is of young volcanic ash, crumbly and crystalline, and its eastern aspect allows the morning dew to dry from the grapes when the sun rises. His wines are spectacular. Over the last five years, Etna has emerged as one of the most important wine regions, and Ciro is one of its biggest players.

We love Ciro personally as well. He’s warm and passionate, both in winemaking and in life. We’re happy to have him for a tasting of his wines, and we’ll be having Sicilian dishes on the dinner menu that evening in his honor.

The wine tasting will consist of:

2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’ Etna Rosso
2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

$40 per person
Monday, June 15, 2015 from 6:15 PM to 7:00 PM
Oliveto Restaurant & Café
Oakland, CA

 

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Book discussion with Maria Speck, author of Simply Ancient Grains

Simply Ancient Grains cover

From black rice to red quinoa to golden Kamut berries, ancient grains are becoming ever more abundant and easy to procure. In Simply Ancient Grains, cooking with these fascinating and nourishing staples is made easy and accessible by veteran food writer and journalist Maria Speck. Maria’s first cookbook, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, won multiple awards, among them the coveted Julia Child Award, and was named a top cookbook by both The New York Times and the Washington Post. Maria has also been featured in the upcoming documentary The Grain Divide, starring Dan Barber, Chad Robertson, and Michael Pollan among others.

Maria will be reading from her book and discussing the varied and intriguing world of ancient grains in the Siena Room. A book signing will follow.

Oliveto Restaurant & Café
Saturday, May 30, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Oakland, CA

 

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May 20th, 2015|Commons Past Events|0 Comments