Mercato Opens in North Beach

Imported and local oils and vinegars at North Beach’s new Mercato

Mercato Artisan Food & Gifts just opened in North Beach on Columbus near Green, nestled between Stella’s Pastry & Lola’s Card Stop.

Mercato features imported and local artisan food and gift products, with a focus on Italia that befits the neighborhood. You may not know many of the artisan goodies, but don’t worry. Almost everything in the store is available for tasting.

I did a balsamic vinegar flight. I tasted a 6 and 8-year old traditional balsamic and a young and 6-year old white balsamic vinegar. My favorite was the 8-year old traditional. It was syrupy, the sweetness nicely balanced by the mild acidic finish.

Drizzle a few drops of this finishing vinegar on grilled vegetables or a sharp cheese. Any of these vinegars would pair well with fresh strawberries to create a simple dessert.

Stop in and say hello soon. Don’t forget to taste before you buy. If you live in North Beach you get a local’s 5% discount.

Mercato is the second retail location for Buyer’s Best Friend, the San Francisco wholesaler of a carefully curated collection of artisanal food and other products. Check out Bold Italic’s take on wholesaler Buyer’s Best Friend and their Haight Street retail store.

Braised Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage stuffed with rice and flavorful browned ground beef braised in San Marzano tomatoes is a comfort food that helps me transition to early fall. I don’t give up late summer easily.

Stuffed cabbage is easy to prepare and packs a ton of texture and flavor. You can have it on your table in less than an hour. The recipe is my memory of my mom’s Neopolitan-style stuffed cabbage.

Soft, silky and sweet cabbage leave enrobe a tasty rice and ground beef filling scented with garlic, pecorino and oregano. The bundles are baked in the oven bathed in a San Marzano tomato sauce.

Each bite is complex. The tangy rice and beef filling is balanced by the sweetness of the cabbage and tomatoes. The perky garlic, oregano and pecorino notes are reinforced in both the filling and the sauce, kicking the flavor complexity up a couple of notches.

Stuffed cabbage is a comforting and filling meal all on one plate. I like it even better the next day so make sure you make enough for leftovers. Welcome to fall.

Buon appetito!

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Off the Grid in North Beach

Off the Grid Food Trucks Will Gather Here

San Francisco food trucks are hot. These roving kitchens offer fantastic food from all over the world. Many follow their favorite trucks on Twitter and Facebook and track them down at various parking spots around the city.

Luckily, Off the Grid brings a horde of food trucks together in one place every week. Eat your way around the world at these round-ups, from appetizers to desserts.

If you don’t know about Off the Grid, here’s what they say about their weekly markets.

Off the Grid is your roaming mobile food extravaganza — bringing you delicious food, with free sides of music, craft and soul. Check out all your favorite gourmet food vendors in one place – creating markets like you’ve never seen before.

I don’t mind trekking to Fort Mason or Mint Plaza for an OtG food truck orgy, but I’m ecstatic that Off the Grid is bringing a market to North Beach. The soft launch is tomorrow,  Wednesday, 10/24.

Show up and make this the first of many weekly OtG North Beach markets. Food trucks and music galore, what’s not to like? See you there.

Off the Grid at North Beach’s Joe DiMaggio Playground.

Buon appetito!

 

Grilled Chicken Marinated with Rosemary & Garlic

Rosemary & Garlic Grilled Chicken

Last week we were staying in an updated 1930s cabin overlooking Lake Tahoe. I was excited about the grill on the deck right outside the kitchen door and we used it every day.

One of our dinners included delicious grilled chicken breasts simply marinated in EVOO flavored with garlic and rosemary.

I liked the way the chicken turned out so much that I had to make it when I returned to San Francisco. I don’t have an outdoor grill so I used a grill pan on top of my stove this time. The chicken was flavored through and moist with a nice charred crust. Give the chicken a squeeze of lemon before serving to add a fresh dimension.

I served the grilled chicken with an Italian potato and green bean salad dressed with wine vinegar and EVOO.

This is a easy dish that can be a star on your table any day of the week. Here’s the recipe for two breasts that can easily be adapted to feed more if you like.

Buon appetito!

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