Frenchie and the San Francisco Chef

12 Jun

As promised after last week’s teaser, here are California pictures, stories, emotions, travel memories and a special guest on Frenchie and the Yankee with an exclusive recipe.

A wedding is always an exciting time. The setting, the guests, the reception and the party. A moment to celebrate and share with everyone invited to honor the united couple.

But when it’s one of your best friend getting married, the experience is somehow different. A bit closer to home.

And since my friend “A.” is now married to foodie extraordinaire Chef John Beardsley, Garibaldi’s Executive Chef in San Francisco, I couldn’t not feature one of his new exclusive recipe he created for the blog…

… I give you Le Frenchie Burger aka Le Gut Buster.

But before I talk about the burger, first Napa.

I had never been to Napa Valley. And I will definitely go back.

Napa kept its promises of sunny drives through green and luscious vines.

Winding roads up and down the hills reminiscing of drives in Corsica.

Oaky, powerful, upfront style wines to taste.

And small wineries to visit – dropping by unannounced in beautiful settings with hints of Tuscany yet welcomed with open arms as if we were expected all along.

The wineries we visited all offered something different setting them apart from one another.

Places, details and smells start flashing back as I am writing this.

The Duel wine at the Darioush Winery with its fleshy and earthy attributes while shiny waterlilies gently float away in the outdoor pool.

The restful patio at the Black Stallion Winery offering patches of shade and a cool break from the hot California sun.

The small bites at Robert Sinskey along with the discovery of their vibrant Abraxas vin de terroir.

The drive up and down the hill to Pride Mountain Vineyards and the reward of sipping a Viognier in front of what is probably the best view in all the Valley.

The beautifully recreated Italian grounds at the Jacuzzi Winery.

And the best for last – elegantly mixing a centerpiece courtyard, an outdoor fireplace, wonderful wines, original food and a view – Ram’s Gate in Sonoma.

Napa surprised me.

It breathes a certain vibrant Mediterranean flavor marrying local with foreign styles, traditions and cultures.

Napa is a bit like fusion cooking. Or just like its wines – it has this exotic appeal in its landscapes yet proudly displays and has developed complex characteristics with a vintage quality.

Powerful but supple. Lighter and almost palatable.

Definitely more casual and a lot groovier than I had imagined.

One fact that will probably surprise most of my French readers is that the wine region of Napa Valley has the highest Michelin star concentration in the world.

14 stars were awarded to the region’s restaurants – more than any other wine region in the world.

A fertile farming region paired with a diverse culinary scene makes for an immensely satisfying array of food choices.

Being back in San Francisco felt like a breath of fresh air.

The unavoidable daily workout provided from walking up and down the hills as the city shares some of its quaintest and quirkiest secrets.

I am always in awe at the richness of San Francisco’s Chinatown. A tiny microcosm in the big city yet a giant subject on its own to explore, study and discover over and over.

I photographed the colors. The shapes. Looking up, down, twisting my head in all directions. I couldn’t capture it all.

Just like a kid, I take great pleasure at climbing the biggest San Francisco slopes because you never know what unseen treasures you might discover once all the way at the top.

The goal is to resist temptation while climbing – the temptation to turn around and admire the view of the Bay that is.

And just like that, once at the top, I turn around and take it all in.

Alcatraz, the Bay, the ocean, the wind on my face and a great sentiment of satisfaction that I am one step higher and can start exploring a new area.

Since I mention the Bay, if you’ve never been to Sausalito across from San Francisco, treat yourself and take the boat to spend a day there.

Not only you will get to spend some time at the Ferry Building before taking the boat but you will be able to eat at Bar Bocce for lunch – where the water comes right up to the edge of the restaurant and where the fire pit makes for a cosy spot among friends who watch other friends play bocce (Frenchies, understand this as the Italian version of pétanque).

But I was here for a wedding.

And with the bride’s authorization, I am able to talk about it here and show you some of the pictures.

“A.” is probably one of the first person I met back when I moved to the States in Milwaukee, WI. She was sitting next to me in our Advanced English Grammar class.

She was intrigued by my “Frenchness”. I was fascinated by her energy.

She talked to me right away. I was probably still standing up next to my chair removing my coat when she asked me where I was from.

Fresh off the boat, I couldn’t help but think that she probably was an annoying talker trying to chat with everyone. Why is she talking to me?

Pourquoi moi ? <French shoulder shrug> So American!

I give her most of the credit for subtly teaching me about Americans’ social skills and how to go about in this new country of mine.

I felt adopted and somehow protected under her wings. And trust me, her wings are the most loving, generous and comfortable wings to be nestled under.

She moved away. I did too. And we’re still linked. Very much so.

Three weeks ago, when the door of the Chapel at the Presidio of San Francisco opened to let her and her dad appear in front of all of us as they were surrounded by the bright white light coming down from the upper windows located on the outside doors, I thought… a stunning bride!

A stunning friend!

The reception was intimate.

Happiness and joy pouring out of the guests spread faster than wild fire.

The bright light coming inside Garibaldi’s created this airy, beautiful atmosphere sending all of us into a daydream land.

Bursting open with joy, John and “A.” were inspiring and touching.

I wish them a lifetime of happiness together.

When John told me about his idea for Le Frenchie Burger, I knew I wanted it on the blog.

A bunch of my French readers asked me for more American-style recipes, yet not necessarily all-American.

Something with a twist.

Very much like what Napa is – Le Frenchie Burger is a fusion of American and French culinary styles.

It’s an open-faced burger featuring some of France’s favorites: bread, Roquefort, cream and shallots.

What’s not to like? C’est délicieux ! 

And in honor of “A.” and John, I used their wedding favor to prepare my Frenchie Burger – a home-made spicy paprika olive oil – to grill the French bread.

Le Frenchie Burger was dubbed Le Gut Buster by John himself.

When trying out the recipe myself this past week, I made normal sized burgers as well as mini burgers to eat and enjoy in 2 or 3 bites. They were lighter and as wonderful as a full-sized one.

Les Minis Frenchie Burgers !

Thank you again to Chef John for sharing his recipe and allowing me to post it on Frenchie and the Yankee.

It’s an honor!

I will be back soon with Part Deux of the wedding season in Spain with new photos and a recipe.

Le Frenchie Burger – Open-Faced Burger with Caramelized Shallots and Roquefort Sauce by Chef John Beardsley

Serves 4 people

for the beef:

2 lbs (1 kg) beef – ground Chuck (80/20)

Fresh ground black pepper

Kosher salt (I used a Yakima Applewood Smoked Sea Salt from here)

for the blue cheese sauce:

1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

4 ounces (113 g) Roquefort (or your favorite blue cheese)

Fresh ground black pepper

for the caramelized shallots:

1 Ib (453 g) fresh shallots

1 bunch fresh thyme – chopped

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

putting it together:

Four 3/4 in. (about 2 cm) thick slices of levain or other country-style French bread

olive oil

4 ounces (113 g) Roquefort (or your favorite blue cheese)

Parsley or chives – chopped

Preheat the oven to 450 °F (230 °C).

Divide the ground beef into 4 patties. Shape into half in. (1.2 cm) thick patties to match bread slices.

Season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the blue cheese sauce, put the cream in a small sauce pan and reduce over medium heat to half a cup (125 ml). Whisk continuously and make sure it does not boil over.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the blue cheese until smooth. Season generously with black pepper and keep warm.

To prepare the caramelized shallots, peel them and halve the smaller ones and quarter the larger ones.

Place in a medium bowl, toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and the chopped thyme.

Place in an oven-proof roasting pan and roast stirring every 10 minutes until soft and caramelized  (about 40 to 60 minutes). (I placed the pan on the lowest rack in the oven).

Keep warm when done.

Preheat the grill and cook the beef patties to desired donenesss. Remove the burgers from the heat and let rest at least 5 minutes.

While the burgers are resting, brush the bread slices lightly with olive oil and grill lightly until toasted and hot. Place the burgers on the grilled bread slices.

Top the burgers with the caramelized shallots. Divide the remaining blue cheese in 4 and sprinkle on top of the shallots.

Place on a cooking sheet in the oven for 1 minute to warm the cheese.

Remove from the oven and place on a serving plate. Pour the blue cheese sauce over the top and finish with chopped parsley or chives and black pepper.

Serve with crispy pommes frites!


8 Responses to “Frenchie and the San Francisco Chef”

  1. Lindsey Tramuta (@LostNCheeseland) June 12, 2012 at 4:28 PM #

    Yep, must go to Napa! Looks like we had equally fantastic trips to California and for similar reasons – marriage!


  2. Donna A. June 13, 2012 at 4:36 PM #

    If it’s true that you eat with your eyes first, I just devoured that burger – yum! You set up a great Vin-itin that I would gladly follow – Beautiful wineries, beautiful photos!

    p.s. The wedding must have been Foodie Heaven 🙂


    • David Santori June 13, 2012 at 4:57 PM #

      @ Lindsey – I highly recommend going next time you’re in the States.
      @ Donna – oh yes, it was Foodie Heaven! 🙂


  3. Inspired and pretty June 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM #

    What a fantabulous post ! I loved everything about it. I love reading your stories and your photos are beautiful and so colourful !


  4. AFB July 17, 2015 at 2:22 AM #

    I just retread this….brought tears to my eyes to Read your descriptions and kind words about our special day. Thank you for that walk down memory lane and for being a loyal, fun, and inspiring friend. Love you




  1. Frenchie and España « Frenchie and the Yankee - June 21, 2012

    […] The memories from the wedding of my friend “A.” forever locked in our collective memories as well as on my camera memory card. […]


  2. Frenchie and the Two Weddings « Frenchie and the Yankee - July 5, 2012

    […] will be back very soon with posts about California and Spain. Rate this:Share this:ShareEmailFacebookTwitterStumbleUponDiggRedditPrintLike this:Like13 […]


  3. Frenchie and 2012 « Frenchie and the Yankee - January 1, 2013

    […] at Garibaldi’s, wishing a dear friend a happy married life and eating Le Frenchie Burger – specially created by Chef John […]


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