Traditional recipes

Olea: The Quintessential Brunch at Olea

Olea: The Quintessential Brunch at Olea

The Quintessential Brunch at Olea

Brunch is probably my favorite meal of the day. In comparison to New York, these districts of San Francisco are much more accessible than the boroughs of the Big Apple. Depending on what neighborhood you live in or care to venture out to, you will find what your heart desires, whether it be an eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, or simply buttermilk waffles.

Olea is one of my favorite brunch spots in the city. From its location in Nob Hill on the corner of California and Larkin, you can hear and see the vibrations from the cable car running up and down California Street. Olea is the epitome of what a San Francisco restaurant should be: simple and delicious. The restaurant sits below a three story building, giving patrons an intimate atmosphere of dining in someone’s home.

The menu changes frequently depending on their ingredients but there is one constant on their menu that everyone comes for: The Challah French Toast. The texture of the bread comes out light and fluffy, lightly dusted with cinnamon and sugar, topped with fresh strawberries. I would recommend sharing with the table as everyone is going want to a bite as soon as they see it. My go to always consists of the Eggs Cazuela, which is translated as baked eggs in a dish. The poached eggs usually come with kale or spinach, ground pork, and bacon. This dish also comes with three pieces of toasted baguette to dip into the soupy goodness.

If you’re in the mood for something more on the heartier lunch side, I would definitely recommend the Pulled Pork Sandwich which comes a side of Olea‘s amazing fries. One of the best things about Olea’s brunch is the Blue Bottle Coffee they serve in a French Press. They also serve Stevia as a sugar alternate!

If you’re in town next time and looking for a brunch spot for a small party, definitely add Olea to your list.

Tree of Life

The olive tree is as deeply embedded in the history and mythology of olive-growing lands as it is in the Mediterranean landscape itself.

You plant grapevines for your children, my Tuscan neighbors say, and olive trees for your grandchildren. It can take as long as 40 years for Olea europaea, the olive tree, to grow to full maturity (though many begin bearing fruit after just five to seven years). Once planted, however, barring frost, fire, or flood, the tree can live for centuries, its taproot stretching deep—up to 20 feet—into the soil, seeking moisture. All over the Mediterranean—from Andalusia in Spain (where this photo was taken) to Puglia in Italy to Kalamata in Greece—you’ll find ancient, gnarled trees still faithfully producing delicious fruit every fall.

The olive tree is as deeply embedded in the history and mythology of olive-growing lands as it is in the landscape itself. Olive trees may have originated in the Middle East, possibly in what is now Syria, but as they moved west with human settlement, into Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Italy, southern Spain, and North Africa, their bounty made a deep impression on the people who lived in those places. The trees’ fruit and the oil it produced were considered nothing short of miraculous. The oil was used as a food and also as a balm for the ill, an unguent for cleansing the skin, and fuel in lamps.

The three great Abrahamic faiths—all rooted in lands where olive trees grow—pay heed to the trees’ gifts: it’s no accident that olives provide the chrism, or consecrated oil, used in Greek and Latin churches for baptisms and ordinations. Or that the miracle celebrated at Hanukkah commemorates a spontaneously replenished supply of olive oil in the lamps that lit the Temple of Jerusalem. Here is the tree again, in the Koran: “A sacred tree. . . [whose] oil almost gives light of itself though no fire touches it.

Today, the olive tree has spread far afield—to North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, India and China. But wherever its split trunk rises and its knobby, twisted branches and silvery leaves cast shade, the olive tree remains a beloved and quintessential symbol of the Mediterranean, its historic home.

Growing your Olive tree

To ensure you give your olive tree the best possible start to life, just follow these criteria:

  1. Site in the sunniest position possible, ideally south or west facing with some protection from the north and east winds
  2. Plant in free-draining soil that will not become waterlogged during the wetter parts of the year olives are tolerant of both acidic and alkaline soils. Poor sandy soils will benefit from the addition of organic compost and clay soils may require additional drainage or if this is not feasible, then consider a raised bed.
  3. Olive trees can successfully grow in containers for many years and while they will grow in most composts, for long-term cultivation we recommend mixing a good quality multipurpose compost 50/50 with John Innes No.3. Never over-pot your olive tree and always re-pot just to a slightly larger pot.
  4. Olive trees can be easily pruned to maintain the size and habit required. We recommend that light, formative pruning is undertaken in mid-spring with heavier trimming in early to mid-summer. Never prune during the winter and be cautious in the autumn: like many Mediterranean trees, olives need some heat and recovery time to heal wounds before the dormant winter period.
  5. Feed your olive tree with seaweed extract fortnightly between May and September to ensure the tree stays healthy, vigorous and happy.

Social by Heinz Beck

Live unforgettable moments with your loved ones this festive season and celebrate Christmas at Social by Heinz Beck. Enjoy a classic Italian four-course menu featuring delicacies like rack of lamb, seafood salad, and more.

25th December, 12:30pm-4:00pm, AED 400 (only food), AED 600 (grape pairing)


Janie Wu

Pan-seared scallops, cauliflower, potato, aji amarillo, puffed quinoa, bell pepper-mango vinaigrette

Olea’s scallops might be the most beautiful dish we have ever eaten. Served with potato puree, then topped with a mix of purple cauliflower, red bell peppers, and orange mango, the vibrant, spring-time colors make the scallops pop. The potatoes are spiced with aji amarillo, a Peruvian yellow chili pepper that gives the potatoes a warm golden hue and subtle spicy kick. The scallops themselves came with perfectly crisp edges, followed by a sweet, slightly salty inside. Overall, the dish relied on many delicate flavors to not overwhelm the fresh scallops. We recommend this as a light entree that is also great for sharing.

Janie Wu

Roasted boneless suckling pig, lemon, thyme, honey-port wine, parmesan cheese dauphinoise potato, petit mesclun salad

The Cochinillo, which takes around half an hour for the chef to assemble, was a definite standout and 100% worth the wait. A perfect rectangle of vertically stacked parmesan cheese dauphinoise potato is topped with a round of crispy skinned sucking pig with a dark and sweet wine sauce. The pork was incredibly tender and seasoned simply, while the skin was delicate and crispy. With the combination of lemon and thyme as aromatics, the Cochinillo was not at all heavy. We cannot say enough about how delicious this dish was!

Janie Wu

Eggplant cannelloni

Roasted eggplant, onion bell pepper, butternut squash, grape tomato, black olive, Parmesan crackers, vegan pesto

This dish was an example of Olea’s creativity and mindfulness to diners of varying food preferences. A vegetarian spin on traditional cannelloni, which is typically filled with ricotta, this incredibly light, delicate version was filled instead with roasted, well-spiced eggplant, topped with crunchy, sharp Parmesan crackers for texture and fresh basil leaves for refreshment within bites. All elements were married together in a lightly creamy sauce, which left us feeling satisfied but not overwhelmed. For vegetarian and non-vegetarian diners alike, this cannelloni is a great option for a well-balanced, beautifully presented main course.

Fairmont Sonoma Spa– Willow Stream is located in the lovely Fairmont Sonoma Inn and Spa. They are rated among Travel + Leisure’s top 25 spas and is built on top of an ancient thermal mineral spring. The spa has indoor and outdoor heated pools, fireplaces, saunas, and heavenly massages to cater to all your relaxation needs. This is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate to wrap up a perfect weekend in wine country.

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Accor welcomes you to share a memorable dining experience in our restaurants. Whether you're enjoying a stay at one of our hotels worldwide or stopping by for a delicious meal, you'll find all the hospitality you've come to expect from Accor. Make a reservation to discover both exotic cuisines and traditional specialities exclusively created by our chefs. Gather with the family for a fun, well-priced lunch or dinner, dine with colleagues and clients, or savour sophisticated gastronomic cuisine. At every table, delicious moments await!

Chicago Chef Pens a Quintessential Classic Cookbook

CHICAGO, Ill. — Chef Michael Baruch, author of “The New Polish Cuisine,” creates another winner that touches the heartstrings of the city’s ethnically varied soulful cooking style. “Street Food Chicago” (ISBN: 0-9715313-1-5) sizzles with 25 mouthwatering chapters, 375 original recipes, 300 vivid photos and kitchen-friendly instructions.

Mike the chef, a sixth generation Pole, was born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago. Hand-picked and trained by some of the best four star chefs in the city’s history, Mike’s work ethic has brought his food service company La Baruch Cuisine Moderne awards, accolades and recognition as a leader in recipe development for start-up operations worldwide.

The author’s writing career began 5 years ago with his first self-published cookbook, “The New Polish Cuisine” (ISBN: 0-9715313-9-0). A cooking stint with Julia Child back in the 1980s fueled his appetite to become an author.

Disenchanted with the publishing industry, Baruch self-published a classic that drew attention from the White House and the ambassador of Poland. Baruch received an award in 2005 from the Polish American Association for his contribution and involvement in advancing Polish culture. The Pol-Am Journal reviewed and named Baruch’s work as “the best Polish-American cookbook ever written.” Also The Warsaw Voice praised the work as having “unsurpassed attention to detail that elevates Polish cuisine to aristocratic heights.”

“Street Food Chicago” has been a work in progress for the last 2 years. While on the road promoting his first book, Mike was deluged with requests for Chicago style food recipes. So he interviewed a thousand fellow weary travelers to get their perception of Chicago’s street food as ideas for a new book. Another self-published work, Street Food showcases the most popular recipes of the best local foods Chicago’s streets have to offer. From pizza, beef and hot dogs to Thai, Mexican and Soul, Chef Mike captures the city’s classics in a new and exciting style.

Midwest Book Review gives Street Food Chicago 5 stars as “an impressive compendium of culinary delights and as a very highly recommended addition to personal and community library ethnic cookbook collections.”

Nutritional therapy is not a replacement for medical advice and any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms will be referred to a medical professional. This site gives you information NOT medical advice. You should consult your medical practitioner if you have any unexplained symptoms of illness or concerns about treatment. Do not stop a prescribed conventional treatment without consulting a doctor. Tell all the practitioners you are working with, conventional or complementary, about any medicines, remedies, herbs or supplements you are taking or considering using.

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What to eat in Ukraine


Try these sprats fried in pancake batter in Odessa – it’s one of the most moreish regional dishes of Ukraine.


Borsch with smoked dry pears and pig’s ears at Kanapa restaurant in Kiev, or cooked by a babushka (the recipe pictured uses duck) in Poltava in central Ukraine, where this dish comes from.

Potato cakes

Try these delicacies stuffed with salted curd cheese and dill by the Belarus border.

Cabbage and cucumber salad

This salad can be eaten in every part of Ukraine – it’s a delicious go-to, especially when dressed with another typical Ukrainian ingredient: deeply aromatic unrefined sunflower oil.

Fermented aubergines

Fermented aubergines stuffed with carrots and herbs are a must-try dish from south Ukraine.

The recipes to these dishes and more are available in Olia Hercules’s latest book, Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine, which is out now (£26, Bloomsbury). Photography by Elena Heatherwick and Joe Woodhouse.

Don’t Miss New Haven’s Olea Restaurant

From Faith — We waited in anticipation of the duck. There have been whispers that the chef and owner have discovered a New York State duck source akin to the Holy Grail, a small farm, a few esteemed ducks sitting around on thrones, eating exceptional things. We were not disappointed. The duck arrived roasted to perfection with dried cherries, and drizzled with an orange reduction infused with vanilla bean heavenly. And then came the beef tenderloin, which made me swoon…

Olea Restaurant, just a short walk from The Yale Art Gallery in downtown New Haven, was formerly Ibiza it is now a Mediterranean fusion restaurant. Of course Spanish food is a specialty since the owner and chef are Spanish Americans, born and raised in Spain, but now their creativity is explosive. The restaurant interior is casual chic. Yale faculty and students mix with actors and staff from Long Wharf and Yale Rep, buzzing across from business people and those who simply love to eat and drink. (Fantastic tapas, wine and innovative cocktails at the bar.)

Happily installed at a banquette, and noticing how we look so much better under Olea’s mood bath lighting, our bread appeared, light and airy and delicious, with a chewy, crackling crust. Then the fire-roasted shishito peppers were delivered, cooked in gorgeous Spanish olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, nothing more I could eat them all day long.

The wild mushroom oxtail croquettes have reappeared at Olea, but this time served with caramelized onions and to-die-for crispy flakes of brussels sprouts.

While the duck is terrific, I was surprised to fall so deeply in love with Olea’s beef tenderloin in port wine sauce it’s first marinated in the chef’s barbecue aioli, then grilled. The steak was a show-stopper, especially paired with a mouth-watering red, Vina Ardanza. (Do not miss this wine!)

Owner Juan Carlos Gonzalez is at the top of his game. The decor, thanks to a designer at Cesar Pelli’s architecture firm nearby, and the menu, are all new. Chef Romero is clearly happy, and inspired working exclusively with Gonzalez, a master.

Olea is now among the most exciting restaurant experiences in the state. Writing this, I’m thinking I might slip over there right now for that steak and a couple of glasses of that juicy Vina Ardanza. I’m in a leopard hoodie, running shoes and black yoga pants, but the thing is, no one will care. Just like New York, casual chic here belongs to everyone.

39 High Street, New Haven, Ct. 203-780-8925.

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