"...I have no doubt some serious work went into getting the formula just right because no one flavor dominates, the spice and seasonings all meld together beautifully. I couldn't stop dunking my short ribs into this sauce. I'm convinced it would make just about anything taste good."

– Amy Sherman, Cooking with Amy

Friday, October 2, 2015

A San Francisco BBQ Festival is Born!

We are proud to announce that on October 24, we’ll be participating in the inaugural San Francisco BBQ Festival! This event is being billed as a celebration of the best in Bay Area barbecue, and we’re beyond thrilled to be involved. 

Of course, the event will include lots of great, smoky barbecued meat, but there’s also going to be games, music, and a beer garden; as well as what the organizers are describing as the latest in barbecue technology. We’re not exactly sure what that’s going to be, but hey, you can’t have a festival around these parts without including some cutting-edge tech.

If you’d like to check it out, you can get more info on the official event website. By the way, tickets are limited, so if you think you’d like to go, don’t wait too long to order yours. We hope to see you there, and if you mention this blog post, we're going to send you home with a complimentary jar of SFQ. So, come by, and say hi! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Good Food Awards Go Into the Pantry

Last year around this time, I had a few fans of the sauce wish me good luck in the Good Food Awards. It was very flattering, but also a little awkward, since SFQ wasn’t actually entered. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but the awards simply didn’t have a category that our barbecue sauce fit into. Well, I’m happy to announce that has changed this year!

They’ve added a Pantry category, and not only that, but I’ve been asked to serve on the committee for this new group of products. My friend, and local artisan food maven, Alli Ball, is chairing the committee, and being able to participate with her and the other members, is quite an honor. In case your wondering, even though I'm on the committee, we can still enter SFQ, since I don’t have anything to do with the voting.

My main duty is to hunt down similar producers, and encourage them to enter their fine products. Basically, I’m trying to help assemble the toughest competition imaginable, knowing full well that the real winner is the buying public, who hopefully learns about many great, new companies by following these awards.

You can read all about it at the Good Food Awards website, and if you know of any worthy participants, please let me know! You can leave a comment here, or tweet me: @MicheleManfredi. I’m really looking forward to this celebration of authentic, and responsibly produced food, and will keep you updated as news breaks. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Eating with Our Hands

Our very first dinner date was in February, 1989. We went to a local barbecue joint, so there was none of those anxious, wondering what I should order, first date food fears. I remember laughing when we both ordered the same thing, a big, saucy plate of ribs. Smiling at each other, flirting, we forgo the napkins.

Our table etiquette was sauce covered fingers, with only occasional downward glances to pick up more ribs. Conversation was easy, the food was good, and a romance began over shared plates of lip smacking, messy barbecue. Our first date aside, one could argue that barbecued food just tastes better because it’s socially acceptable to eat with your hands.

It has that primal aspect of shared culinary history, that no matter where you’re from, eating with your hands is something our ancestors did. I like to think everyone at the table feels more comfortable when they’re eating barbecue. That there's more of a connection with the food. It’s a special camaraderie you only get through plates being shared.

Now, some 26 years later, we're still eating with our hands, flirting with each other, and just like back then, I always manage to somehow drip some sauce on my chest, only this time it's our sauce. With that in mind, I hope you have a great Valentine's, and if you're still deciding on what to eat, you can't go wrong with barbecue...especially, if it's served with a sauce spiked with potent and popular aphrodisiacs like chiles and chocolate.

Monday, September 1, 2014

As Summer Ends, Another San Francisco Barbecue Season Begins

Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." It’s a brilliant quote, except for the fact that he never said any such thing. No one knows who actually spouted the famous quote, but it certainly is appropriate. Summer in The City is often cold, foggy, and windy; not exactly the kind of weather you hope for when planning a barbecue.

Before you feel too sorry for us, I should mention that to make up for this, the weather Gods give us plenty of gorgeous weather over the next month or two so we can catch up. The winds die down, the fog disappears, and things get downright pleasant. Unfortunately, the sun doesn’t care, and the days continue to get shorter and shorter. So, while we have great weather to cook outside, we don’t have quite as long to do it, and that’s where SFQ comes in.

The sauce is a perfect way to finish quickly grilled things like fish, shrimp, Korean-cut short ribs, tofu, and vegetables. Just before you think dinner is cooked, brush it generously with SFQ, wait a minute, turn, and repeat. The sauce caramelizes very quickly, and you’ll soon be enjoying the taste of summer – just not in summer. Mark Twain would have been proud.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to SFQ Your Summer Salad

Here's the scenario: you’re hosting a backyard party and the ideas for main courses have come relatively easy, but coming up with some creative side dishes has presented a bit more of a challenge. If you’re in such a pickle, then consider a barbecue sauce vinaigrette made with SFQ!

Not only is this recipe easy and delicious, it's also unexpected, and I’ll bet it will be something your friends have not yet had, but will certainly love. Simply add a few spoons of SFQ to a bowl, and whisk in some rice vinegar, followed by your favorite vegetable oil to taste. You get big flavor, and the SFQ helps the vinaigrette emulsify easily and quickly.

My favorite seasonal salad for this application is raw corn. Shave raw corn into a bowl, add some beans, diced red peppers, and green onions, and finally the dressing. It's sweet, tangy, crunchy, and subtly smoky, and shines with the familiar colors and flavors of summer.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Gifts For and From Dad

As we head towards Father’s Day weekend, I’d like to share the news that we’ve been included in an exclusive holiday gift basket put together by City Grit for Williams-Sonoma.

Sarah Simmons, founder and chef of City Grit, is inspiring in many ways. Her creative and entrepreneurial spirit shines through all her work, whether showcasing celebrity chefs’ from around the country at her NYC culinary salon, or championing artisan food makers in projects like this great basket.

Also featured in this basket is Three Jerks Jerky. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the “jerks,” Daniel Fogelson recently at Cheese Plus’ 9th Summer Artisan Food Festival. I got a chance to taste his jerky, and can happily say it’s amazing, and worth seeking out. So, if you’re looking for something uniquely curated with a dad’s taste buds in mind, then I encourage you to head over and order one up.

Speaking of dads, I also wanted to take a moment and introduce you all to my father, Al Manfredi, pictured here rocking the always fashionable SFQ baseball cap. He’s been a huge supporter of SFQ and my culinary career from the very beginning, as you can see from this photo below. Those are his arms and feet as I’m about to create something delicious for him.

He enthusiastically spreads the word about SFQ wherever he goes. He’s retired now, but taught P.E. and coached Varsity Basketball at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, CA for over 25 years, so he runs into many former students and colleagues, and makes sure they know all about the sauce and our story.

Along with my mother Peggy (also invaluable to the cause), he makes local deliveries for me, and they both keep me up to date with pictures of our sauce displays on stores shelves around town.

He’d be a great father even without all the extra help he gives, and I wouldn’t have found all this love, happiness, and success in San Francisco without him. Thanks Dad! I love you!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Looking at Healdsburg Through BBQ-Colored Glasses

The drive from San Francisco to Healdsburg has always been a favorite of mine. Best enjoyed unhurried, sunglasses on, rolling hills, rolling by. Always a beautiful and scenic trip, it’s even more so viewed through the lens of a brand new wine country account. So, indulge me while I wax poetic about one of those special, slow-moving, dreamy kind of days that I didn’t want to end.

The official purpose of the trip was a sneak-preview of the new Jordan Winery Estate Tour, which I was accompanying John on that afternoon. We had decided to start our journey early, so we could spend a full day in one of our favorite cities anywhere. The timing was perfect, and it allowed us to do our delivery first, and meet the folks at our new account, Shed.

I felt instantly comfortable and welcomed walking into this two-story modern barn, where floor-to-ceiling glass windows impart a lit-from-within glow. The natural light washes over you and puts you at ease. Classes are taught, meals are served, drinks are poured, ice-cream is scooped, dinner-parties are imagined, and it’s obvious the wide array of offerings have been curated with great care.

I could have easily spent a good part of my day inside of this idyllic culinary petting zoo. I got to chat with the owner Cindy, who describes Shed as, “a place where people eat, gather, stock up and learn.” Needless to say, I feel fortunate that our sauce has been included as part of their offerings. If you’re in the area, this is a must-stop.

Once outside and back on the road, a sign for The Gardener caught our eye. Having visited another location before, we were easily lured in, car tires crunched gravel as we pulled in and parked in the shade of a sycamore tree. Walking in, under a canopy of trees, the late morning light was soft and slightly muted, as a slow moving swing caught a gentle breeze and greeted us with a wave. An even slower moving mobile lulled us inside the tranquil, undisturbed garden setting. We were the only ones there. Such was the setting as morning became afternoon.

Walking next to rows of pomegranate heavy with hanging fruit, red and ripe, low and tempting, within arm’s reach. Meandering down a path where huge sunflowers bent down and touched our heads, we sat side by side in weathered adirondack chairs, looking out at a sea of red dahlias surrounding a red barn. Before leaving, we purchased a baby finger-lime tree, and a purple succulent, and drove to Jordan – going from one Eden to another.

Our next task being to sip wine all afternoon, in and around the vine-covered castle that is the Jordan Winery Estate. When we arrived a small group had gathered in the shade, sipping water and juice, enjoying a few snacks while awaiting the winery’s inaugural tour to begin. After exchanging pleasantries, we boarded a small van, and began the tour.

Listening to the family’s history unfold while eating al fresco by a small lake, we enjoyed nigiri of apricot and plum with Jordan’s extra virgin olive oil, Sonoma honey, and arugula flower; followed by a spiced garden vegetable escabeche with Gravenstein apple vinaigrette and wild fennel, with sips of their delicious Chardonnay in between.

Then, it was up the mountain for more of Chef Todd Knoll’s sophisticated cuisine. Almost all the edible products used at Jordan are grown on the property, and the kitchen staff really knows how to show them off. We finished this near-perfect afternoon with a gorgeous walk through the overflowing gardens, and then it was time to reluctantly return to the car, and head home.

It was a magical day, and as we drove out of town, I couldn’t help but wonder how fast the sauce would sell at Shed, and how long it would be before we returned. I can’t wait.

How To Make Your Own Dry Rub 

Jordan Winery's Chef, Todd Knoll shows how to make your own variety of dry rubs. Great video!