Category Archives: Restaurants

Ham 2.0 – Culinary Trends Magazine

Ham Culinary Trends Food Fashionista Mika Takeuchi Writer

For this issue of Culinary Trends Magazine, I showcased cured ham. It was both an interesting and educational topic to write about since I found it to be a subject that many chefs and diners were both so passionate about. Also, having been a judge at a previous L.A. Cochon 555 event, and having attended the recent hog wild San Francisco event, cured ham was on the brain, and most likely still in my intestines. Enjoy!

 The Elite of Meat

 by Mika Takeuchi

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Oliveto Restaurant and Meyer Sound Collaboration

Oliveto - Food Fashionista

Oliveto Restaurant recently got a much-needed facelift and with it, addressed a huge problem in restaurants… acoustics. With their new updated look, the owners tackled not only aesthetics, but thought deeply about providing a comfortable dining experience. Doing so, they collaborated with award winning, renowned, Berkeley-based Meyer Sound to address noise pollution in restaurants. Meyer Sound tailor made Constellation and Libra acoustic systems to install an integrated system of microphones, advanced signal processing, and small, self-powered speakers distributed throughout the upstairs dining room.

Oliveto Agnolotti

Striking photography of a historic California olive orchard conceals acoustic panels that provide the right level of absorption. As a result, conversation becomes effortless and natural, heard clearly and without interruptions or distractions from background noise or voices from a neighboring table — setting the perfect tone for conversation and connection, while maintaining the all-important buzz of an exciting, busy restaurant.

Next time you find yourself in the East Bay, visit Oliveto for their rustic, Italian cuisine while experiencing the benefits of their revolutionary sound system in the newly redesigned dining room.

Olivetti Whole Hog Dinner

Another great time to visit, would be for their upcoming Whole Hog Dinners in March. See the details on their website at:


Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618


Escape to Splendid Saratoga in Northern California

Mountain Winery - Food Fashionista

Many believe that living in San Francisco with its multitude of offerings is ultimately superb, and although true on many levels, I believe one of the not-to-be taken for granted perks about living in the Bay Area is the easy access to get out of the city for a quick day trip or an even longer weekend retreat. For those thinking of getting away, the nearby town of Saratoga is an ideal destination to put on the map. Only an hour away from San Francisco, it’s the foolproof mix of food, wine, music, art and relaxation. Saratoga also offers ideal weather for many outdoor activities including hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, golf, and biking.

When venturing out there, here are a few of my Saratoga highlights that you don’t want to miss:

Horses at Cooper Garrod Winery

Cooper Garrod Estate Vineyards

On a recent visit, I visited Cooper Garrod Winery for a bit of wine tasting and a picnic in their rustic, outdoor space surrounded by vineyards and 100-year old eucalyptus trees. The comfortable, casual winery boasts a historic-country ranch setting with an antique barn, horseback riding and valley views. On every last Sunday of the month, there is a combination horse back riding and wine tasting trail ride. And yes, it was well-thought out with the riding taking place before the wine and buffet consumption. Yee Haw!

Cooper Garrod Estate Vineyards


Hakone Estate and Gardens

If you’re seeking some zen in your life, and who isn’t really… this is the place to be. The exquisite landscape is host to the oldest Japanese garden on the Western Hemisphere. Portions of the film Memoirs of a Geisha were even filmed here. Get visually lost in the koi pond or find your peace in the bamboo garden. Think of it as your mini-Japanese vacation spot in the Bay Area.



Plumed Horse

Executive Chef/Owner Peter Armellino’s elegant restaurant is a favorite among those seeking fine dining in the South Bay. From the contemporary, glass-encased wine cellar to the traditional, elegant souffles, this is the spot to head to for a romantic dinner date, or a bottle of champagne to celebrate life and all its milestones. Their wine selection is no-doubt impressive and includes both the classics and the eclectic. See the list here.

plumed horse


Deja and Co Exquisite Jewels

Indulge your inner princess at this boutique of baubles. Owner Deja is a gem and her highly-curated selection includes both exquisite domestic and international pieces. Gather a group of your loveliest lady pals and enjoy a “Sip, Sparkle, Wish” party where you can try on the many glorious jewels from the glass cases, while enjoying desserts and champagne.



Mountain Winery

With almost every seat being a not-too-far distance from the main stage, this is the concert venue to get up-close and personal to the biggest names in the music industry. From Ray Charles to Foreigner, they have all played here. Founded in 1901, Mountain Winery is a sophisticated gathering point for wine and live-music lovers. Since its inception, the winery has focused on cultivating Pinot Noir and Chardonnays due to the ideal growing soil of the environment. To this day, the winemakers at Mountain Winery use malolactic bacteria and yeast that are indigenous to the environment. Sample the Estate Wine and take in the panoramic view at the outdoor Vineyard Wine Bar.



Preston Wynne Spa

This is where many of the Silicon Valley set come to relax and beautify. Pamper yourself or someone you love with a facial, massage, or the latest technology (it is Silicon Valley, after all) spa treatment including an infrared Sauna Therapy suite. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they host a Happy Hour Manicure Bar where guests are treated to sparkling wine and sweets paired with their manis and pedis.


You now have no excuse not to add the Northern California city of Saratoga to a future upcoming weekend escape.

I’m Aquarius by Metronomy – Mika’s Playlist

I’m a Capricorn but I’ve sang, hummed, jammed to Metronomy’s I’m Aquarius more in the last few months than to my own astrological sign. The beat is hypnotic, and Joseph Mount’s voice sinks into your soul when listening. It’s my recent go-to tune for blasting in the car while zipping around the city or playing on my iPhone when sweatin’ it on the bike after eating a pound of “crack and cheese” and a “vegan” doughnut (no, the vegan doesn’t make it healthier). But yup, I fell for that marketing trick earlier today…ate two in fact.

fillmore san francisco

The incredible wall of musical past at The Fillmore

Oh, and I recently experienced Metronomy live at the Fillmore. If you haven’t been, the venue is historic with the likes of Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd having performed there in the past. Next time you see a show at The Fillmore, arrive to the San Francisco neighborhood early and visit Fat Angel for some pre-show comfort food including the chicken pot pie or the gruyère, cheddar, parmigiano-reggiano, cayenne mac and cheese. Be sure to wash it down with one of their signature cocktails, bubbles, or their generous selection of beer. Shoop-doop-doop, ah…

fat angel san francisco

Dine at the bar under the sparkly chandelier at Fat Angel – just hope there’s not an earthquake

Learn more about Metronomy at

Learn more about Fat Angel at

Learn more about The Fillmore at

Napa Valley’s PRESS Restaurant Welcomes Executive Chef Trevor Kunk

PRESS Spring Vegetable Soup (Photo: Morgan Bellinger)

PRESS Spring Vegetable Soup (Photo: Morgan Bellinger)

With its close access to abundant produce, non-brutal winters and a sunrise and sunset in an idyllic setting, Napa Valley offers a very enticing lifestyle to a chef. So, it’s absolutely no surprise that another talented New York chef has chosen to relocate and start a new life chapter in Northern California. Chef Trevor Kunk spent the last seven years as the chef de cuisine of Blue Hill New York, winner of 2013’s James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant. At Blue Hill, he worked closely with renowned chef Dan Barber, working his way up from cook to sous chef and then finally on to chef de cuisine, a position he held from 2007 to 2014.

St Helena’s farm-driven steakhouse PRESS was in need of a chef to take full advantage of the agricultural bounty with its exclusive relationship with local Rudd Farms and the Chef’s Garden at Edge Hill. The timing was right since the farms were ramping up production of their sustainable produce and herbs, free-range eggs, heritage-breed pigs, and honey. PRESS found an ideal match with Chef Kunk and his extensive knowledge and experience in the industry along with his passion and commitment to the sustainable food movement and land stewardship.

With summer quickly approaching, PRESS just opened up their new outdoor patio with fire pits, heated seating and a wine country view. Did I also mention that they have an award-winning wine list and some pretty creative cocktails? Just another reason to head on over to PRESS and experience Chef Kunk’s cooking.

Executive Chef Trevor Kunk credit Morgan Bellinger

(photo credit: Morgan Bellinger)

“The Northern California growing season is simply remarkable. To be able to showcase asparagus for four months out of the year, instead of just a few weeks, is incredible.”Chef Trevor Kunk

Learn more about PRESS Restaurant at