When his 12-hour day in the kitchen lessened enough to keep the morning hours free, avid fisherman and Poggio executive chef Benjamin Balesteri knew just how to fill them. The 17-year-old Sausalito restaurant has halted lunch service for now, affording the chef enough time to head out on the bay a couple of days a week to augment the restaurant’s classic Italian dinner menu with the freshest of halibut, rock cod and lingcod.
“I’ve been fishing and foraging ingredients my whole life,” says the Salinas Valley native. “My mom was from a farming family and my dad was a descendant of Sicilian fishermen, so my culture has always been land- and water-to-table.”
Balesteri got his commercial fishing license prior to the restaurant’s pandemic-driven transition to takeout, and now you’ll see his fresh catch showing up on the menu the following day. Most recently, he seared lingcod and served it with braised butter beans, sugar snap and English peas, asparagus, infused olive oil, preserved lemon and capers.
The fisherman has become a firm believer in the Ikijimie method, a specific set of steps for killing the fish that’s more humane and better preserves the flesh to improve its texture and flavor. He’s found this sustainable process “makes a 100% difference in the quality.”
As for how the 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant is holding on these days, Balesteri says it’s an unfortunate new reality.
“I don’t see the light at end of tunnel for us yet, but we are trying our best to stay open for the community,” he says.
Poggio, at 777 Bridgeway, is open from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. daily for coffee and pastries and 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays and 2 to 8 p.m. weekends for dinner. Find the menu and wine list priced at 50% off at poggiotrattoria.com and order takeout by calling 415-332-7771 or delivery through Grubhub.
Dine11 steps up
Six Marin volunteers led by Jennifer Lefferts, of San Anselmo, have rapidly sprung to action to adopt a Marin offshoot of the successful Los Angeles-born fundraising model, Dine11.
Dine11 Marin is on mission to “feed the healthcare workers at Marin medical facilities, support local restaurants that have had to restrict operations to takeout services and unite the Marin community in helping during the COVID-19 crisis.” Several Marin-based senior and assisted living facilities have been added to expanding network of care communities benefiting from the generosity of Marin donors. Dine11 Canal is providing Canal restaurant meals from El Palmar, Los Palillos, El Lucerito, Lotus Cuisine of India and Luna de Xelaju to immigrants in need.
By the end of this month, the new nonprofit will have delivered 1,745 meals to local hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, thanks to $25,000 in tax-deductible donations. Every dollar funds meals purchased from a network of Marin-based restaurant partners that provide meals — Cucina, Buckeye Roadhouse, Burmatown, Gott’s, Hummingbird, Iron Springs, Juice Girl, La Toscana, Magnolia Park Kitchen, Parranga Taqueria, Perry’s Delicatessen, Playa, the Hub, the Lodge, Uchiwa Ramen, Village Pizzeria and World Wrapps.
“Overnight, we had to shift to relying on takeout orders with curbside pickup and delivery options,” says Donna Seymour of Cucina Restaurant in San Anselmo. “For the sake of our community and staff, our priority is to keep going so that we can all survive this crisis. We appreciate organizations like Dine11 Marin and the opportunity to prepare delicious meals for people working on the front lines.”
Dr. Kristen Matsik, an obstetrician and gynecologist at MarinHealth Medical Center, says, “The anxiety and stress among our healthcare workers cannot be overstated. To have a delicious meal delivered during your shift is a very welcome relief and morale booster.”
Find out more, donate, volunteer or add your hospital or restaurant to the roster at Dine11Marin.org, charity.gofundme.com/dine11marin or dine11marin.org/dine11-canal.
Over the course of less than two years, San Rafael-based Addictive Coffee Roasters expanded from a garage in Terra Linda to an airplane hangar in San Rafael to becoming the featured coffee in the offices of businesses like Facebook, LinkedIn, Fitbit, Electronic Arts Inc., Oracle and more, and locally at Andy’s Local Markets, Libations Taproom, Marinwood Market, Mill Valley Market and Pond Farm Brewing Co.
With recent office and restaurant closures, chief executive officer Mike Ralls is returning his focus to direct-to-consumer and retail sales, giving us the opportunity to order the 100% arabica specialty coffees directly from the website. Read more about why it’s so addictive and place orders at addictivecoffee.com. Marin residents are eligible for discounts, including three bags for the price of two (MARIN241); 20% off orders over $20 (MARIN20); and free shipping through the end of May.
Servino restaurant in downtown Tiburon has transitioned its Italian menu to takeout, but has also become a neighborhood Italian market with curbside pickup of homemade fresh pasta, sauces, pantry items, cleaning essentials, wine, small-batch liquors and even a 27-pound box of vegetables. You can also order children’s pizza kits and family-style Sunday dinner. The restaurant is at 9 Main St. Call 415-435-2676 or go to servino.com.
Tiburon’s Caffe Acri has re-opened and in addition to offering its regular menu items (coffee, espresso, produce, baked goods, soup, sandwiches and beer), it’s a corner market source for pantry and baking supplies, including harder-to-find items like yeast, flour and toilet paper. All items can be ordered online and picked up within 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. It’s at 1 Main St. Call 415-435-8515 or go to caffeacri.com.
Both restaurants are feeding local front-line workers in partnership with Frontline Foods. Find out more or donate at frontlinefoods.org.
Finding it’s finally the time to learn how to ferment almost anything? Karin Diggs, of Kraut Source, is offering a free livestream fermentation class at 6 p.m. Thursday on Facebook at @DriversMarket. The expert will teach how to turn vegetables, nuts and mushrooms into superfoods using traditional techniques and modern tools, and demonstrate basic kraut-making techniques. She’ll also cover the health benefits of fermented foods and how to incorporate them into your diet.
Participants are encouraged to have a Kraut Source device (a clever, stainless steel gadget that fits on a mason jar) to make the ferments at home. Find out more and register at driversmarket.com.
Find a complete and regularly updated list of Marin restaurants offering takeout and delivery on the Marin IJ website’s trending bar. If you’d like to be added, tweet with the hashtag #MarinFood or send me an email.
Leanne Battelle is a freelance food writer. Please email her at [email protected] or follow the Marin dining scene at instagram.com/therealdealmarin.
Source: Thanks https://www.marinij.com/2020/04/21/poggio-chef-turns-to-fishing-skills-to-offer-ocean-to-takeout-dining/