United States Chef
Jason Freund Profile
I picked up the foodie bug from a friend (Gordon Colburn) in college. I love exploring restaurants in the bay area, and cooking is my hobby. My favorite recipes get re-written into my own little cookbook (a word document that gets printed into a binder I keep in the kitchen).
I used to take this hobby more seriously back in the dot com days when we had much more disposable income and no kids :) But now, we're lucky to go to a fancy restaurant once a month, and I usually stick to my tried and true recipe binder rather than experiment and plan out elaborate dinners. My main outlet is cooking one nice family dinner on the weekend.
We're very lucky to live in the bay area. Not only is SF and the bay area a mecca of great restaurants, but there are family or romantic food-themed tourist destinations a couple hours in any direction. I hope to try out and review some recipes on this site and maybe learn some secrets from the professionals. And since I already have a few dozen of my recipes nicely typed up, I may post some of my favorites.
Over the past few years, I've become more interested in sustainable food practices and worked to reduce meat consumption. I try to go up to Seattle once a year to feast at the Palace Kitchen and celebrate the Oyster season at Elliot's, the first weekend of November every year.
Kitchen Confidential, Gordon Colburn (college friend); Dos Coyotes (Davis, CA); Food & Wine, Mario Batali. Most of my recipes come from food magazines (Sunset, F&W) and the web (like CookEatShare)
- All About Braising (Molly Stevens)
- Potato (Selma Brown Morrow)
- Available at William Sonoma
- my bread (Jim Lahey)
- Simple "Lahey method" for no knead bread
Restaurants I Recommend
- Dos Coyotes ($) (Davis, CA)
- #1 favorite of all time, any category. Sparked my first interest in food. I used to eat there an average of once a day when I was in college, and still go out of my way to hit it when I'm in the area.
- Il Postale ($$) (Sunnyvale, CA)
- Our favorite neighborhood restaurant with excellent service, large portions, and consistent quality. Somehow they manage to work equally well for romantic, business, and family dinners. Been a regular there for almost 20 years.
- Plumed Horse ($$$$) (Saratoga, CA)
- Haute cuisine with a somewhat trendy atmosphere, nice piano lounge with a bar menu.
- Sierra Mar ($$$$) (Big Sur, CA)
- At Post Ranch Inn. Spectacular views and interesting architecture. Supurb food with focus on healthy, seasonal, and local.
- Chick-fil-a ($) (Any, CA)
- My guilty pleasure. No, they don't use organic chicken. Yes, I know they use MSG. The founders are outspoken social conservatives. On the plus side, they use a very healthy peanut oil for frying everything on the menu, and the service and cleanliness is outstanding for a fast food restaurant. Update: Hooray! Chick-fil-a has finally delivered their Jesus chicken unto San Jose!
- Los Altos Grill ($$) (Los Altos, CA)
- Outstanding American bistro, with specialties like prime rib french dip, bangers and mash, tuna poke with avocado and shrimp, and oreo icecream sandwich
- Cin Cin WIne Bar (Los Gatos, CA)
- A new favorite. Very creative and successful fusion of California cuisine (if that can be considered a cuisine) with a hint of Asian influence. For example: Togarashi-Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna- charred avocado guacamole, tempura fried baby bok choy, rice noodles, mango nuoc mam sauce, wasabi salt
- The Palace Kitchen (Seattle, WA)
- Once a year, my wife, sister, and her husband make a trip from the bay area to Seattle, for a weekend party. Though we only stay two nights, the formula is fixed every year with Palace Kitchen first, then Elliot's New Year's Oyster Bash the second night. The ritual requires building an appetite by fasting, exercising, and arriving late (the kitchen is open until 1am. The bar selection is outstanding, atmosphere is great, and the staff is exceedingly nice. On our last visit, the waiter recommended the crispy pig ear which was fantastic, and a sausage appetizer dish which was in a completely different category from any other sausage
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