Behind the scenes: Hiroshi's 'secret' omakase dining

Photos by Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Chef Hiroshi Kimura opened an eponymous restaurant at 328 Main St. in Los Altos devoted to truly intimate dining. He hosts one table of diners each evening, serving a multicourse menu of seasonal Japanese vegetables and seafood and the restaurant’s hallmark dish, A5 Wagyu beef, below. A charcoal-heated ceramic grill allows diners to heat each bite to taste, with ponzu, wasabi and truffle salt as optional accents.

Hiroshi, the Los Altos restaurant as known for its mystery as its A5 Wagyu beef, trades on the tailored experience of private dining.

When the “appointment-only” restaurant at 328 Main St. opened its doors to local food writers last month for a conversation with the chef, it offered glimpses of a dining experience intended for the world of loftier paychecks. The omakase menu starts at $575 per person for groups of four to eight – and diners must book the evening as a group. Omakase refers to a multi-course meal driven by chef’s customized selections. You won’t find a wine list or menu on the website. Chef Hiroshi Kimura’s sake collection headlines the pairings, though Napa Cabernet Sauvignons including Stones and Alpha Omega complement the red meat on the menu.

Breweries bring local tastes to LA Beer Stroll

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Central Rail Brewing Co. founder Bob Crum serves his brewery’s Hefeweizen at Cranberry Scoop during the Beer Stroll.

The Los Altos Village Association held its third Downtown Los Altos Beer Stroll last month, an event at which Bay Area breweries and cidermakers have the opportunity to share their products in partnership with various downtown merchants.

A total of 16 breweries and cidermakers provided 24 different beers and four ciders, all served inside or in front of 22 downtown Los Altos businesses on Main, State and First streets.

Local AeroPress inventor takes coffee to 'Go'


Los Altos inventor Alan Adler’s AeroPress is a staple of high-end coffeehouses at points around the globe, and he’s releasing a travel version of the coffee-brewing apparatus this month.

Bitters celebrate the aromatic and medicinal in native plants used around the world

Photos Courtesy of Ashley DuVal
Bitters – tinctures and tonics derived from plants – form a base for cocktails, teas and restorative drinks in the new book, right, from Shoots & Roots Bitters, a company made up of ethnobotanists, above right, from left, Ashley DuVal, Rachel Meyer and Selena Ahmed. They will be crafting bitters-based drinks, above, at Hidden Villa Sept. 28.

Bitters taste like a tincture taken from some older time, a combination of flavors carefully weighed through generations of experimentation and foraging. Each region of the world uses its native plants to create intensely aromatic, often medicinal, plant tonics.

Ethnobotanist Ashley DuVal, a Los Altos native, has developed a sideline in studying these recipes with two friends from graduate school, Selena Ahmed and Rachel Meyer. DuVal met her collaborators more than a decade ago, when they were ethnobotany grad students spending time at the New York Botanical Garden.

Beers, too, are going rosé all day

Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
California breweries recently made rosé beers in styles reminiscent of, from left, a tart fruit beer (Modern Times), a rosé wine (Sierra Nevada), a sparkling cider (21st Amendment) and a sour European ale (Bruery Terreux).

With the popularity of rosé wines growing over the past few years, especially in warm weather, it seems almost inevitable that craft brewers would try to capture a portion of the market share for refreshing pink beverages.

This summer saw a marked increase in the number of brews marketed as rosé beers by California breweries. As summer fades into fall, it’s not too late to try some pink beers, which represent a wide variety of styles.

Summer suds: Lagers offer easy drinking with clean, simple flavors

Firestone Lager” width=
Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Lighter beers that are low in alcohol, such as Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s Firestone Lager, are sometimes known as “lawnmower” beers because of their refreshing character after an afternoon of yard work.

More and more craft brewers have recently been creating lagers as refreshing, easy-drinking alternatives to the IPAs that have dominated craft brewing for so long.

Lagers are brewed using bottom-fermenting yeast that ferments at much cooler temperatures than ale yeast, and they are difficult to make well because the clean, simple flavors very quickly reveal any flaws that are present.

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