All This Beauty: Hamachi and King Salmon




Hamachi crudo. 

There are lots of gorgeous things on the menu, and these two dishes are particularly stunning. For the next few days, we’ll be having:

  • Crudo of Japanese hamachi, with hazelnut milk, lightly fermented cucumber, pickled green apple, harissa verde, and fennel flowers
  • Pan-roasted king salmon with fall vegetables. Last Sunday, it was accompanied by fennel purée, broccoli di ciccio, fregola di Sardo, and preserved lemon-fennel pollen salsa verde

These will be available for the next two nights or so, until they run out — we’re at the tail end of Alaskan king salmon season just now.

Stop on by! We’d love to see you.


King Salmon. Photo by Joan Benney


2017-09-12T15:46:32+00:00October 4th, 2016|Coming up..., Events, Fall, Uncategorized|0 Comments

New Oil and Fall Delights

tajarin 600x400

 It’s Fall (Finally)

Mild it may be, but it is indeed fall. The afternoon light is as rich as egg yolk, the clocks have shifted, and our menu has shifted too.

Nocellara olio nuovo has just arrived from Sicily. It’s an intensely green oil made from nocellara del Belice olives (the same ones which, when cured correctly, become extra-mild Castelvetrano olives for the table). At the moment, we’re drizzling it on our ribollita, an autumn vegetable soup with smoked tomato, Tuscan kale, and poached egg.

Other things to look forward to:

  • locally produced new oils (we’re currently scouting these out)
  • our annual Truffle Dinners, set for November 17th through the 21st

On the menu this week…

cranberrybeans_450ON THE MENU:

Pan-roasted chicken rolata with braised Lacinato kale, King Trumpet mushrooms, and chicken sugo

Vitello tonnato
classic Northern Italian cold veal with tuna sauce

Charcoal-grilled local pole-caught Albacore with fresh Cranberry beans, eggplant puree, cherry tomatoes, and Armenian cucumber


This week’s aged wines by the glass:

Barbaresco, “Riserva,” Barale 1999

Barolo, “Vigna Castellero,” Barale, 1999


2017-09-12T15:47:15+00:00August 22nd, 2014|Market Reports, Summer|0 Comments

First Tomatoes

Average temperatures out in Yolo County have been hot but not too hot (95 degrees during the day, low 70s at night) which is great for summer produce. Lots of stuff hitting the market (and the menu) this week including Cranberry beans, zucchini, corn, egglant, and YES, tomatoes! Mainly cherry tomatoes but also our first Early Girls from Riverdog Farm. Chef Rhodehamel has been dehydrating these, then lightly smoking and serving them in a traditional southern Italian dish:

Cavatelli with Santa Barbara sea urchin, smoked Early Girl tomatoes, Calabrian chili, and parsley

Also decidedly summer:

Soup of Brentwood corn with salsa of cherry tomatoes, Jalapeño pepper, and basil

Charcoal-grilled shrimp-stuffed squid with eggplant puree, fresh Cranberry beans, and marinated cherry tomatoes

2017-09-12T15:47:19+00:00June 27th, 2014|Market Reports, Summer|0 Comments

Stone fruit from Blossom Bluff


Although cherries got hit hard this year, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots seem to have been less affected with most varieties appearing right on schedule and in good supply. As we head towards July many of the mid-season varieties are taking a turn on both the Oliveto dinner menu and the dessert menu and occasionally showing up in the early a.m. cafe in the form of a pop-up crostata (which goes great with an cappuccino btw).

Fran looking cute in her fruit hat

Fran looking cute in her fruit hat


Santa Rosa Sour
Platte Valley straight corn whiskey; Santa Rosa plum; Oliveto white peach shrub; lime; egg white; Angostura bitters


Terrina of pigeon with pistachios, Santa Rosa plums, old aceto balsamico, and crostino

Panzanella of grilled peaches with wild arugula, balsamic vinegar, and Pecorino cheese



Apricot sorbetto

Blossom Bluff aprium crostata with almond ice cream

Oven-roasted Regina peach with shortcake and fennel pollen

This Just In: freaky spring produce!

We can’t believe we’re about to say this, but…asparagus. Artichokes. Radicchio!

Clockwise: treviso tardivo, rossa di verona, orchidea rossa, with variegata di chioggia in the center

Clockwise: treviso tardivo, rossa di verona, orchidea rossa, & variegata di chioggia in the center

Due to a record warm January, farmers just south of here in Monterey County are already offering produce we don’t usually see until well into March.

It’s disturbing but at the same time, we must admit, delicious. Martin Bournhonesque hooked us up with some of this unusually early produce that will be on the menu this week:

Roast pork belly with artichokes two ways and long-cooked onions

Salad of roast asparagus with little gem lettuces, radish, preserved lemon and herb crema

Poached farm egg with duck confit potato hash cake, black trumpet mushrooms, and asparagus

and in the Oliveto Cafe...

Tuscan-style sausage with Treviso radicchio, red flint corn polenta, and arugula


2017-09-12T15:47:26+00:00February 18th, 2014|Market Reports, Oliveto Cafe, This Just In, Winter|0 Comments

2013 Tomato Season: Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Dirty Girl Produce at South Berkeley Farmers' Market 9/10/13

Dirty Girl Produce at South Berkeley Farmers’ Market 9/10/13

This really has been a record year for tomatoes. Here we are well into September, the Tomato Dinners having ended almost three weeks ago, and the farmers’ markets are still overflowing with delicious tomatoes. This year’s peak is actually more of a plateau, where there are amazing dead ripe tomatoes available for weeks on end, due in most part to the steady heat we’ve had. Of particular note are those incredible dry-farmed Early Girls from Dirty Girl Produce. We know we’ve mentioned these before but this year’s crop is exceptional.

We dropped by the Berkeley farmers’ market yesterday to chat with Sales Manager, Stella Araiza about why this year’s tomatoes are just so darn good.

Turns out two waves of tomatoes were planted this year on a newer plot of land in Watsonville that has super rich soil. Because the soil is so rich, the plants continue to flower and flower, producing more and more tomatoes! Because tomato plants really need to be stressed to get that intense flavor, in Stella’s words the soil may actually be ‘too good’.

The first wave peaked right in time for the 2013 Tomato Dinners at Oliveto. The second wave of plantings is just now coming to harvest and the tomatoes are pretty big…bigger than what you normally would expect from an Early Girl. Stella said the first tomatoes in a wave are always a little on the big side, but again, because the soil is so good these big Early Girls are even bigger than usual. They still taste a whole lot better than your average tomato, but they don’t have that super condensed vibrancy the smaller Early Girls are known for. By the end of this week the second wave should be in full swing and there will be less size variation…

First of the second wave...Dirty Girl Produce 9/10/13

First of the second wave…Dirty Girl Produce 9/10/13

but there are still A LOT OF TOMATOES. So many in fact that Dirty Girl will host its first ever Tomato U-Pick at their farm in Watsonville coming up on September 29th. Check their Facebook page for updates. In the meantime, Early Girls continue to grace the current Oliveto menu and probably will be showing up here and there well into October. On the menu this week:

Salad of heirloom and dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes with avocado, fresh Cayenne pepper, Armenian cucumber, and Parmesan cheese

Charcoal-grilled flatbread with dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes, house-made ricotta, Genovese basil, and Frantoio di Campagna olive oil

2017-09-12T15:47:36+00:00September 11th, 2013|Market Reports, Summer|0 Comments

Market Update: INTENSE Season equals INTENSE Produce


Although the weather has taken a cooler turn in the past week, the produce at the South Berkeley Farmers’ Market yesterday was the product of an unusually hot season that got off to an early start with a number of heatwaves that began back in May. Instead of a steady trickle of new harvests, things seem to be arriving all at once with peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, (all those heat-loving plants) taking the lead.

Melon display from Riverdog Farm - July 2013

Melon display from Riverdog Farm. July 2013

Not to be outdone, the melons this year are outrageous. Both Full Belly Farm and Riverdog Farm had incredible displays that heavily perfumed both ends of the market like fragrant book-ends. When asked to describe this year’s season, Judith Redmond blew a lock of hair from her forehead and said, “INTENSE.”

On the menu starting tonight:

Salad of Canary melon, Armenian cucumbers, anise hyssop, and 30-month prosciutto

Roast breast of hen with eggplant purée, Jimmy Nardello peperonata, and salmariglio

Yay summer!

This Just In: Tomato Season is Early; Tomato Pastas on the Menu

spaghettini with tomatoes

Spaghettini with Santa Barbara sea urchin, Full Belly Farm tomato, pancetta, and hot pepper

We’re surprised, to say the least. Tomatoes, already?

After two years of late seasons, what do we see? These beautiful spaghettini and paccheri pasta dishes, both featuring ripe tomatoes from Full Belly Farm. Just in time for the summer solstice.

It’s unusual to see tomatoes in June normally, but it’s even more startling to see tomatoes this good this early. It’s an exciting sign for us — the transition from a spring to summer menu has begun.

More updates to come as the season continues…and we work our way towards Tomato Dinners.

paccheripasta_with tomatoes
Paccheri with Full Belly Farm cherry tomatoes, eggplant, Calabrian chili, and smoked mozzarella

Call (510) 547-5356 or reserve online


Want to meet the woman behind the tomatoes and other amazing produce on the Oliveto menu?

Farmer Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm will be here, with her husband and partner Andrew Brait, on Monday, June 24, for a special, intimate dinner in our Siena Room. A couple spots are still open: Join us and enjoy a prix fixe menu full of peak Full Belly produce, plus a chance for conversation with one of our great local farm institutions.

See the full menu, pricing, and more details here.

Call (510) 547-5356 for reservations. Please note there will be one seating at 6:30pm.


2017-09-12T15:47:41+00:00June 20th, 2013|Market Reports, Summer|0 Comments