New Year’s Eve at Oliveto

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The panini tartufati of Procacci in Florence

Most nights at Oliveto, we offer large menus with many choices. New Year’s Eve is a rare opportunity for the Chef to put together a prix fixe menu which combines earthiness and elegance, celebration and deliciousness, and a logic to bind the meal together (perhaps evocative of a place or time). We asked Chef Jonah Rhodehamel what we should do for New Year’s Eve.

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The Inspiration
On this year’s trip to Italy, we brought back a good quantity of truly exceptional white truffles for our November truffle dinners. They were so fresh that the one or two we’d saved for friends who were out of town, are still fairly pungent and healthy. Impressed by the quality of this year’s truffles, Chef Jonah decided to save some of them for our New Year’s Eve dinner by employing the best way to preserve their initial potency: he mortared them, combined them with sweet creamery butter, then froze them.

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The panini tartufati of Procacci, Florence’s beautiful old food shop, are little brioche sandwiches filled with truffle butter. This became the starting point from which Chef Jonah began to devise a menu. To the panini he added risotto alla Milanese, and, of course, if you’re going to serve risotto alla milanese, then you’ve got to also serve osso buco.

The Specs:

Early seating
5:00 to 6:30
Panini tartufati and three courses:
$85.
with wine pairings $130.

Late seating
7:30 to 10:00
Panini tartufati and four courses (scallops course added)
$100.
with wine pairings $155.

Phone reservations ONLY
(510)547-5356

2017-09-12T15:48:13+00:00 December 10th, 2011|2011, Events|0 Comments

2011 Truffle Report #3

Caterina, 2011 Truffle Cleaning Crew

Caterina, 2011 Truffle Cleaning Crew

We arrived at Giorgio’s on Saturday and got our first look at what he’s recently been digging up: some beautiful specimens with nice fragrance and good weight. No ginormous ones like last year, but many in the 25 gram to 60 gram range. As always with Giorgio, it’s a family affair. His niece, Caterina, was on hand to help with truffle scrubbing.

Tomorrow we head to Umbria, to see and smell what’s being dug up around there.

2017-09-12T15:48:13+00:00 November 14th, 2011|2011, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

Dinner With Patricia Wells

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

World-famous cookbook author and expert on French cooking Patricia Wells will be dining at Oliveto at 6:30 on Saturday, November 12, 2011, as she celebrates her latest book, Simply Truffles. A precursor to our own white truffle dinners, which will commence on November 16th and continue through the 19th, the dinner will feature several dishes inspired-by recipes from Patricia’s book. As you can see from the items listed below, the dishes will overlap nicely with Oliveto’s Italian cooking.

Customers who wish to make an all-Wells dinner for themselves will be able do so with ease. And it will be fascinating to compare the French black truffles we will be sourcing for this event with the Italian white truffles co-owner Bob Klein will be bringing back from Italy the following week for our Truffle Dinner blowout.

We will have a supply of her book on hand should you wish to buy one and have her sign it.

Chef Jonah Rhodehamel will intersperse a number of dishes inspired-by Wells’ recipes on that night’s á la carte menu.

First courses:

Salad of oil-poached potatoes, frisée, and black truffles

Poached truffled farm egg with Chanterelle mushrooms and black truffle zabaglione

Pastas:

Tajarin with black French truffles

Cannelloni of leeks, house-made ricotta, and French black truffles

Main courses:

Truffle-studded breast of hen with potato gratinata and Parmesan cheese

Alaskan halibut with truffled brandade and wild nettle risotto alla pilota

2017-09-12T15:48:13+00:00 November 8th, 2011|2011, Events|0 Comments

2011 Truffle Report #2

So far, all is well in Truffleland. I arrived last night in Barbaresco, surveyed the truffle scene this morning in Alba, and talked to confidants in Umbria. I feeling pretty good about this year’s offering. Better truffles are just now coming on and a very good rain just passed, which will only improve things.

Aldo Vacca from Produttori del Barbaresco was taught that proper truffle shaving meant completely covering the dish. Here he demonstrates. This was a block-buster truffle. We ‘re at Trattoria Antica Torre in Barbaresco, famous for their hand-cut tajarin, which is made with only flour and egg yolks.

2017-09-12T15:48:14+00:00 November 7th, 2011|2011, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

First Truffle Report for 2011

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Oliveto co-owner Bob Klein and General Manager Shane Walker depart in less than a week for Italy to gather white truffles for our upcoming dinners. We’ve already heard some preliminary reports about the start of the season from a few of our contacts.

Bad news first: Our friend Aldo Vacca in the Piedmont says the weather has been very dry and very hot.

BUT he also says the truffles he has seen so far are small but high quality and just recently, the weather has turned and it has started raining. That is definitely GOOD news.

In Tuscany, our truffle hunter Giorgio is saying much of the same.

If you want to follow along, we encourage you to bookmark this page or add it to your RSS feed as we will be posting videos and dispatches live from the hunt.

2017-09-12T15:48:14+00:00 October 25th, 2011|2011, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

Truffle Dinners 2011

kneeling truffle

Wednesday, November 16th through Saturday, November 19th

SEE THE FULL MENU

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

We first got the idea of going to Italy to obtain the truffles for our truffle dinners sixteen years ago, after a shipment of specially selected truffles with Oliveto’s name and address on it got lost in Heathrow Airport. Although the truffles were located within a few hours, the following year we went to Italy for the truffles ourselves and have been doing so ever since. By so doing, we stay in good touch with Giorgio (our principal truffle hunter), know that our truffles are fresh and salubrious, get the best prices, and have a wonderful time to boot.

This will be Chef Jonah’s first truffle event at Oliveto, and we can’t wait to see how he intersperses the traditional with the creative in his menu. Because our white and black truffles are harvested in Piedmont, Tuscany, and Umbria, many of the dishes will derive from a northern Italian sensibility.

The flavor and aroma of truffles being utterly of those places, the most evocative truffle dishes are traditionally based and composed of ingredients grown close to where the truffles are found. Fortunately for us, we live in an area which has access to those ingredients and Oliveto’s kitchen practices the same artisanal methods of food preparation practiced in northern Italy.

Please join Chef Jonah Rhodehamel and the staff at Oliveto and allow us to shave a few grams of white truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico fresh from the Crete Senese) over some tajarin al burro right under your nose.

We will be posting reports from the hunt as Oliveto co-owner Bob Klein and General Manager Shane Walker pursue this year’s bounty — conversing with truffle hunters, cooks, and our old Italian friends along the truffle road. Follow along here.

2017-09-12T15:48:14+00:00 October 20th, 2011|2011, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

Look Who’s Coming To Dinner: Randall Grahm

Monday, September 19th

Last year, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Bonny Doon’s Le Cigare Volant, Randall Grahm’s great Rhone Valley blend that has contributed so much to California’s wine palette. More importantly, we celebrated Randall’s newest adventure — his latest efforts in reinventing the way he makes wine.

Here’s some background on what he’s up to.

As for this coming Monday night, it’s pretty casual. Randall will be in the dining room to say hello to, or engage in conversation.

We’ll be pouring Le Cigare Volant ’07 “en foudre” and Le Cigare Volant ’07 “en demi-muid”. En foudre is a 10,000 liter standup wood tank, and en demi-muid is a 600 liter barrel, over twice the size of tradition barrique. These are alternative barrels not as commonly used for aging wine. Randall will tell us what he was trying to do and what he learned from the process.

And, if your looking for a spectacular outdoor adventure this Sunday, I believe there are a few spots still open at Bonny Doon’s annual “DAY OF THE DOON.” For the first time, it will take place at the newest vineyard site in San Juan Bautista. There’s a membership involved, perhaps a secret handshake, but it is bound to be pure fun.

2017-09-12T15:48:15+00:00 September 14th, 2011|2011, Events, Wine Events, Wine Journal|0 Comments

Menu for Late-Season Tomato Dinners 2011

September 13th – September 16th

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Antipasti

Cold

Parmesan cheese panna cotta with marinated heirloom tomatoes and watercress

Millefoglie of Zebra tomatoes with summer savory goat cheese, walnuts, and sherry vinaigrette

Carne cruda of Angus beef with Beefmaster tomato, basil, and Parmesan cheese

Gazpacho of Early Girl tomatoes with basil-tomato gelatina

Warm
Fennel sformatino with tomato “maionese”

Fried green tomatoes with lobster remoulade

Salad of warm lamb’s tongue, cherry tomatoes, and new potatoes

Beef polpette all’ arrabbiata with Fiore Sardo Pecorino cheese and arugula

Pastas
Lasagnette of house-made ricotta with heirloom tomato sauce

Durum wheat spaghetti with a long-cooked San Marzano tomato and its juice, garlic, and oregano

Tortelli di pomodoro with garlic crema and rosemary crumbs

Summer savory pappardelle with Early Girl tomato-braised hen

Penne alla bolognese

Grills, sautés, and rotisserie
Gratinata of braised San Marzano tomatoes with Gigande beans, pork skin, and garlic sausage

Sicilian-style stuffed Momotaro tomatoes with Listada di Gandia eggplant purée and Pecorino cheese

Charcoal-grilled tomato-glazed pigeon with Cetriolo tomato slaw, Cranberry beans, and sweet corn

Cioppino of Chilipepper rock cod with heirloom tomatoes

. . . beef, hen, and rabbit dishes to be announced

Desserts
Momotaro tomato water and prosecco sorbetto

Walnut house-made nocino ice cream in cialdone cigarettes with Cherokee Purple tomato sauce

Mascarpone budino with Sungold tomato compote

Jonathan apple-green tomato tarte Tatin with crème fraîche

Brandywine tomato caramel-Valrhona chocolate tart

Pistachio-sultana raisin biscotti

2017-09-12T15:48:15+00:00 September 12th, 2011|2011, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments

Joe’s Early Girls are a Late-Season Stand Out

Video edited by Dallas Mark

As in the past, Joe Schirmer of Dirty Girl Produce has planted two waves of his famous dry-farmed tomatoes, and the first wave which started coming in at the end of August is currently just hitting its peak. And word is definitely getting around.

Yesterday at the Derby Street Farmers Market, Dirty Girl Produce’s Early Girl tomatoes completely SOLD OUT. There was this beautiful, jewel-like mound of them…and then in the blink of an eye they were gone.

Thankfully, we’re planning well enough ahead to make sure we’ve got some for next week’s Late-Season Tomato Dinners (Sept. 13-16). One of the first confirmed menu items Chef Jonah has revealed is Early Girl gazpacho over a tomato-basil gelée.

Check out this cool, old book on dry-farming.

Early-Season Tomato Dinners 2011 Menu

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Tuesday through Friday, August 23rd – 26th

Smaller items, soup, salads
Cold:

Brodetto of tomato with poached white shrimp, lemon verbena, and Sungold tomatoes

Burrata cheese with Early Girl tomato marmellata, arugula, and grilled crostino

Salad of marinated tomatoes

Crudo of tomato and watermelon with Green Zebra tomato gelatina

Carpaccio of Lemon Boy, Green Zebra, and Red Zebra tomatoes, with Regina olive oil, sea salt, and basil

Shaved green tomatoes with abalone, crème fraîche, and smoked sea salt

Oysters with Cetriolo tomato mignonette

Garden lettuces vinaigrette

Warm:
Sformatino of ricotta with marinated Julienne tomatoes

Black Prince tomato tart with chèvre and Parmesan cheeses

Grilled Sardinian-style sausage with sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and mint; roast Lipstick pepper and frisée salad

Stuffed sardine with spicy Principe Borghese tomato sauce and farro

Soup: vellutata of Early Girl tomatoes with Cabot Clothbound cheddar panino

Pastas
Durum wheat bucatini all’ amatriciana

Durum wheat spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan

Pappardelle rosse with tomato-braised beef shoulder, hot pepper, and oregano

Tortelli of pigeon with tomato brodo

Ravioli of Parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella cheeses with wood oven-roasted tomato sauce

Red winter wheat penne alla bolognese

Lasagnette of house-made ricotta and slow-roasted tomatoes

Grills, sautés, and rotisserie
Charcoal-grilled pork porterhouse with fresh Cranberry beans, oven- roasted tomatoes, and pork sugo

Roast hen rolata with Brentwood corn succotash, Gypsy peppers, and Red Zebra tomatoes

Tomato-braised beef short ribs with Red Flint corn polenta, tomato jam, and beef sugo

Spit-roasted, pancetta-wrapped rabbit loin with fried green tomatoes

Whole-roasted pigeon with farro-stuffed Early Girl tomatoes and long-cooked onions

Spezzatino of 36-month Angus beef with roasted Yellow Finn potatoes, Black Prince tomatoes, and summer squash

Charcoal-grilled pole-caught albacore with eggplant purée, grilled pole beans, and cherry tomato salsa

Involtini of eggplant with fresh mozzarella, basil, and Beefsteak tomatoes; arugula salad

DESSERT:

Green tomato and Galia melon sorbetto; drizzle of Regina olive oil

Thai basil ice cream profiteroles with Pineapple tomato sauce and roasted pineapple confetti

Early Girl tomato, cornmeal, and rosemary upside-down cake with lemon mascarpone cream

Tomato leaf panna cotta with tomato compote

Bittersweet Valrhona chocolate and Brandywine tomato-caramel tart

Post-meal treat: Brandywine tomato pȃte des fruits

2017-09-12T15:48:16+00:00 August 19th, 2011|2011, Events, Happened already...|0 Comments