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A Happy Napa Gets Sushi

A Happy Napa Gets Sushi


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Between Mustard’s Grill and more recently, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, Chef and restaurateur Cindy Pawlcyn, has been veteran of Napa Valley for more than 25 years. Executive Chef Victor Scargle’s menu ranges from sushi and sweet shrimp macaroni and cheese, to raw bar and cioppino. The kitchen draws on the restaurant’s garden, which is supplemented with regional produce and fish flown in fresh daily.

Pawlcyn’s restaurant certainly fills a void. Special care is taken to make the food visually appealing— even the edamame looks beautiful. But this cuisine has still not been done with the precision and expertise the area still deserves. When it comes to sushi in the Valley, unfortunately, the name ‘Go Fish’ is a sage piece of advice.

: Special Lobster Roll


Get Rolling with Flat Top Hills and Demystify Sushi and Wine Pairings at Home

Napa, CA, April 28, 2021– Making it easier to enjoy the fresh flavors of sushi right at home, Flat Top Hills invites consumers to learn from Angelina Mondavi along with special guests through Rolling In Style, a series on Instagram Live in May. Designed to demystify how to create sushi-inspired dishes in a home kitchen, the three-episode event brings Angelina Mondavi, consulting winemaker, together with guests from Lundberg Family Farms, Eiko’s Modern Japanese and Osprey Seafood to share tips and ideas.

“Sushi and wine can be a really beautiful pairing. The crisp acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc or citrusy richness of Chardonnay play off fresh fish, while the savory notes in a Cabernet Sauvignon complement deeper flavors like unagi,” said Angelina Mondavi, consulting winemaker for Flat Top Hills and member of the fourth generation of the C. Mondavi family. “But even for accomplished home cooks, making sushi can feel intimidating. That’s why we’ve gathered some experts and friends to share advice and techniques, and of course some favorite wines.”

Hosted by wine and culinary personality Oscar Peralta of @Beyond.The.Taste, special guests will join Angelina Mondavi to talk about ingredients, techniques and great pairings. Live on @FlatTopWines on Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. Pacific, the full series includes:

Rolling In Style with Flat Top Hills

  • May 6 – with Brita Lundberg, Lundberg Family Farms
  • May 13 – with Allison Hallum and Chef Tateki Noma, Eiko’s Modern Japanese
  • May 27 – with Kelsey Coulson, Osprey Seafood

Kicking off on May 6, Brita Lundberg, member of the fourth generation of leadership at Lundberg Family Farms, will chat with Angelina about different varieties of rice and why sushi rice is key. She’ll also share some easy recipes and swap stories about growing up in the family business.

On May 13, Eiko’s Modern Japanese Proprietor Allison Hallum and Executive Chef Tateki Noma will showcase Poke, a beloved favorite at the restaurant, located in the First Street Napa district. They’ll talk about the differences in California and Hawaiian-style Poke, both available for take-out or dine-in orders, and also demonstrate how to make a delicious, simplified version at home.

The series concludes on May 27 with Osprey Seafood Culinary Director Kelsey Coulson. For those in the Napa area, Osprey Seafood will offer an exclusive Flat Top Hills Hand Roll Meal Kit, complete with everything needed to create hand rolls for two, including fresh fish, nori, rice, accompaniments and Flat Top Hills chopsticks* (*while supplies last). Purchase a kit, pick up a bottle of Flat Top Hills, tune in, and cook along as Culinary Director Kelsey Coulson demonstrates how to make the perfect hand roll right at home. Kits must be ordered by Tuesday, May 25 for pick-up Thursday through Saturday, May 27-29. Call 707.252.9120 to reserve.


Sushi Bake Is the Lockdown Trend I’ll Never Stop Making

The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy to make that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we talk you through the process of making the dishes and drinks we can make with our eyes closed.

What lockdown food will you be happiest to take with you into the post-pandemic world? Would it be sourdough? Banana bread? Dalgona coffee? The answer for me is a trend that hasn’t quite hit mainland American shores in the same way—yet. It’s the sushi bake, and if there’s one lockdown food I’ll be happy to make on repeat when I finally relinquish sweatpants for real jeans, it’s this one.

Imagine a California-style roll, but deconstructed, layered, and baked in a casserole format: Seasoned rice is topped with furikake rice seasoning, a creamy, spicy mayo-laden seafood layer, more furikake, and drizzles of mayonnaise and Sriracha, and then it all gets heated up in the oven. After it comes out, let it cool long enough to set before spooning out portions onto seasoned Korean-style dried seaweed or gim (a.k.a. the roasted seaweed snack you might find in stores like Trader Joe’s) with optional garnishes of cucumber and avocado.

I first started noticing sushi bakes on my social media feeds in the early summer of 2020, with the majority of the videos and images coming from the Philippines, where sushi bake had taken off in the early days of lockdown. It wasn’t only all the rage in home kitchens—there also seemed to be plenty of homegrown shops selling sushi bakes via pickup and delivery in and around the capital of Manila.

“When the quarantine started, my sister and I re-created recipes from TikTok and other social media platforms,” says Leiana Aika Go, who started Manila-based Sushi Lab with her sister, Debbie Ann Go. “The kitchen became our laboratory. It was an avenue for us to experiment with different flavors from sweet to savory. When the sushi bake craze went viral, we tried making one of our own, and it turned out to be so good that we decided we had to share it with others.”

The sushi bake has all the hallmarks of a great dish waiting to be brought to a potluck (remember those?): highly shareable delicious warm rich and creamy. And while parties of the usual kind aren’t condoned in the current environment, food that’s big on comfort and fun, to enjoy with your household pod, is welcome.

“Filipinos love to eat rice and share a good meal with their loved ones,” says Pamela Chuateco, the chef and owner of Taste & Tell, whose sushi bake trays are inspired by Japanese aburi-style, or flame-seared, sushi. “Given that everyone is spending so much time at home with their families due to quarantine protocol, the sushi trays have become such a big hit because it’s a really easy meal to share with the whole family.”

According to my friend and former colleague Rebekah Daniels, who grew up in Hawaii, sushi bake isn’t new and she’s always known it as an easy, crowd-pleasing party dish. “It seemed to always be a staple dish during holidays or special occasions,” she tells me. “And even in a more casual setting, it would be at a party or potluck since it was something that was meant to be shared with people. I’m sure that there are restaurants or places that will sell you trays of sushi bakes, but in my experience, they have always been homemade, often served cold or at room temp, or be placed in the oven for a bit so that it has a warm and melty texture.” (In my own research, I also found several delicious-looking uncooked renditions of the sushi casserole, in the form of a “pan sushi” and a “poke pan sushi” on beloved Hawaii grocery chain Foodland’s own site.)

It quickly became apparent in my search that there’s a sushi bake to suit every taste. While imitation crab usually makes up the bulk of the seafood layer, there are countless versions that mix in cooked salmon, shrimp, scallops, eel, fish roe, and more. Sushi Lab in the Philippines offers non-seafood fillings like rib-eye steak on the menu, while Taste & Tell incorporates ingredients including mango, fried garlic chips, and fried salmon skin in a variety of its aburi trays. “The fun thing about making this,” Daniels says, “is that you never need a recipe! Everything is to taste.”

Back in the continental U.S., it wasn't long before I started hearing of sushi bake services cropping up, including in my own friend group.

“I could see sushi bakes becoming more commonplace in the States, whether it’s with home cooks or from businesses like mine,” says Gia Lee, who calls her Chicago-area Hot Box Sushi a “COVID baby.” Lee, who grew up in Manila, started her take-and-bake casserole business over the summer of 2020, anticipating that the popularity of the food trend would hit the mainland. “With dining out at restaurants no longer being an easy option, people are really looking for unique experiences they can enjoy at home.”

What will the fate of sushi bake be, once the pandemic is over and some semblance of “normal” returns? Time will tell but Leiana Aika Go of Sushi Lab has a feeling they’re here to stay. “Honestly, we never really thought of [the trend] lasting this long,” she tells me. “It has unexpectedly caught the Filipino palate.” Go believes sushi bakes will join the ranks of the traditional lechon and adobo that are often served on special occasions.

In learning about sushi bake, I’ve tried different versions and I’ve finally settled on one that suits my household perfectly.

Start by making 2 cups uncooked sushi rice according to package or rice cooker directions (if you use the small plastic measuring cup that comes with your rice cooker, it will be about 2¾ of these cups)—you want 5–5½ cups cooked rice. Once the rice is cooked, transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil (optional), and carefully mix and keep covered with a clean kitchen towel while you proceed with the recipe.

In a large bowl, combine 1 pound imitation crab meat, separated and chopped into small but not minuscule pieces, 1–2 Tbsp. Sriracha, 3–4 scallions, finely chopped, 3 Tbsp. masago or tobiko (fish roe), and 1 cup Kewpie mayo. While many recipes rely on some combination of mayonnaise and sour cream or mayonnaise and cream cheese as the primary binder, I prefer Kewpie (a rich, slightly sweet Japanese mayonnaise) for the best flavor, without being over-the-top heavy. Combine crab mixture thoroughly, but gently.

Add your rice to a 9x13" baking or casserole dish. Press down firmly, but not too tightly, in an even layer. Sprinkle about ⅓ of one 1.7-ounce bottle of furikake rice seasoning across the top of the rice.

Add the imitation crab mixture on top of the furikake layer. Again, press firmly (not tightly) and evenly. Sprinkle another ⅓ of the furikake bottle on top of this mixture.

Using the fine tip of the Kewpie bottle, garnish the top of the sushi bake in a zigzag pattern. Repeat the zigzag pattern from the opposite direction with the Sriracha bottle. Using your finger or the tip of a butter knife, sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of masago or tobiko on top of the sushi bake. I love using masago or tobiko fish roe in the imitation crab mix and to top the sushi bake because it adds salty brininess as well as a nice pop of texture.

Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until the top gets a light golden brown. If you’re using a glass pan, you may see the edges of the rice start to sizzle (that’s a good thing!).

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5–10 minutes. Serve with about 3–4 packages seasoned, roasted Korean seaweed snack (a.k.a. gim), sliced cucumber, and sliced avocado. You’ll spoon a small portion onto the roasted seaweed sheet and it will resemble a mini taco of sorts. Cucumber adds a much-needed crunch and cooling respite and avocado's inherent creaminess pairs well too—it’s even better if it's cold from the fridge. Refrigerate any leftovers. Reheat in a 325°F oven for about 10—15 minutes.

This is not traditional sushi as you know it, but if you’ve ever enjoyed an American-style spicy roll, I have a strong feeling you will also enjoy the sushi bake. Having tested the following recipe more than a handful of times for a rapt crowd (my husband and six-year-old), I can safely say it’s already become a family favorite.

While I would recommend following my version of sushi bake as written the first time around, I’d encourage you to customize it to your and your household’s tastes moving forward. Use this extra time at home now to perfect your sushi bake so that when we can eventually gather with others again for a real potluck, you’ll know exactly what your contribution will be.

Hana Asbrink is a writer, editor, and recipe developer based in New York. She likes long walks and the elusive egg bagel.


What’s Sukiyaki?

If you are familiar with the Japanese hot pot dish, you have probably heard of Shabu Shabu. With Shabu Shabu, you cook thinly sliced beef and pork in a clear kombu-based broth. The flavor is subtle and you dip the food in a ponzu or sesame based sauce.

Sukiyaki is completely different the food is cooked in a sweet and salty soy sauce-based broth and full of bold flavors straight from the pot.

Besides the broth, the pot used to cook sukiyaki is also quite different from Shabu Shabu. Traditionally it is cooked in a cast-iron pot while Shabu Shabu is cooked in a Japanese clay pot called donabe (土鍋), and the thinly sliced beef (but slightly thicker than Shabu Shabu meat) are seared first in the pot before adding ingredients and broth.

Despite having a different flavor and cooking pot, most Sukiyaki ingredients are similar to Shabu Shabu, such as leafy vegetables, tofu, shiitake mushroom, and so on.

Kansai Style vs. Kanto Style

As my mom’s side of the family is from Osaka (Kansai) and my dad’s side is from Tokyo (Kanto), my sukiyaki recipe is the combination of both Kansai style and Kanto style.

In Kansai (Osaka) area, we sear the meat and season with sugar, soy sauce, and sake. Then we enjoy some of the meat first before the rest of the ingredients are added to the pot. However in the Kanto (Tokyo) area, we make Sukiyaki Sauce (Warishita, 割り下) first, and all the ingredients are cooked at the same time in the Sukiyaki Sauce.

Sukiyaki Beef

For the sliced beef, if you shop at Japanese grocery stores, look in the meat section. There is usually pre-sliced beef, and they are specifically labeled as beef for Shabu Shabu or Sukiyaki.

The Japanese like to splurge and enjoy really good quality meat for both Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu. Wagyu (beef from cows raised in Japan) is very expensive ($40/lb), so typically each person only enjoys about 120-150 grams of sliced meat.

When you shop for the meat, find a well-marbled piece of meat so that fat of the meat becomes tender when you eat. Otherwise, it’ll very chewy after being cooked.

If you can’t find pre-sliced beef, you can try slicing the beef chunk at your home. Follow my directions and tricks on How To Slice Meat.

Substitutions of ingredients for Sukiyaki

Some of the ingredients we put in Sukiyaki (or Shabu Shabu) like napa cabbage and shungiku may not be easy to find in where you live. If so, use available mushrooms and leafy vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, and bok choy.

You can substitute Leeks and scallions/green onions for Tokyo Negi. Instead of shirataki noodles (yam noodles), you can use vermicelli.

Cooking at Dining Table

Sukiyaki is usually cooked over a portable stove at the dining table and each person uses their own chopsticks to pick up the ingredients from the pot and add more ingredients as the food disappears from the pot.

It’s a fun dinner for family and friends’ get-together, and not to mention, all you have to do is to chop ingredients before dinner time!

How to Eat Sukiyaki the “Authentic” Way

I am a bit hesitant and actually slightly reluctant to talk about the “authentic” way the Japanese enjoy Sukiyaki as some of you may not find it appetizing. However, I do want to let you know in case you end up enjoying this dish in Japan and you won’t get caught off guard.

So, in Japan, a lot of people dip the cooked ingredients in raw egg. I know, I can almost hear “eww” from some of my readers but that’s the fact. I actually recommend you try if you are in Japan where eggs are sometimes safe to consume raw. The sweetness from raw egg coats well with salty vegetables and meat and it balances out the flavors very well.

Here in the U.S., raw eggs are not safe to eat, so purchase pasteurized eggs (they are actually hard to find) or you can pasteurize your eggs at home using sous-vide method.

I hope you enjoy making my Sukiyaki recipe!

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A Happy Napa Gets Sushi - Recipes

Bistro Napa is a fine dining venue at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno. If you are looking for something more casual, they have a terrific happy hour from 4 to 6 pm in their comfy casual restaurant and bar, which is just adjacent to the fine dining space. We visited the bar for drinks (dinner was planned at the Sky Terrace Oyster Bar for our 25th Anniversary) and were lucky to secure a table right away. Our waiter -- Travis -- arrived promptly and delivered several excellent drinks -- Ketel One Vodka & Soda for me and Makers Mark & Soda for my husband. At half price the drinks were quite reasonable and very good pours. We were so intrigued by the Wood Fired Baby Artichokes that we ordered some, and they were outstanding. Travis gets a "high 5" as his service and demeanor was great. Couldn't have started our evening off in a nicer place. Look forward to our next visit!

86 - 90 of 726 reviews

I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad time at the Bistro. I’ve been coming here for years and the atmosphere, staff and food make it a regular stop for me and my wife when we visit Reno. We get treated like family right when we walk in the door. Mark the general manager and Tyler at the bar are always quick to recognize us when we walk through the door. Tyler makes us welcome and is super attentive to all our needs every time we’re there, even if it’s busy. It makes such a difference to have great front line staff that operates with professionalism to give us a great dining experience. Thanks Tyler, we’ll see you next time.
Scottie and Simone

My wife and I are locals and visit the Bistro Napa happy hour often. The menu of small plates is quite good although it changes every few months and we see favorite dishes disappear, but the chef usually comes up with a good replacement. Drinks are winners but the serve persons are the icing on the cake. Manager Mark has a light touch with his staff, Matthew and Susan are two of the best wait persons in Reno. And, youngster Dylan buses attentively. The rest of the staff is quire good but these four are standouts. I just wish that Napa would bring back the lettuce wraps. Korean ribs, prime rib sliders, sexy fries, and more are winners.


Welcome to Benihana in Concord, California, where you’ll find a dining experience unlike any other! Our guests are seated at communal hibachi grill tables in groups, where your personal chef will perform the ancient art of Teppanyaki. Watch as we slice and dice, preparing a meal that will dazzle your eyes as well as your taste buds, whether you choose mouth-watering steak, tender chicken or succulent seafood. You can also enjoy sushi and sashimi prepared by a talented sushi chef and indulge in our famous, award-winning signature hot sake or a specialty cocktail.

Benihana Concord has been a beloved institution in Contra Costa County for over thirty years. The restaurant is located in Willows Shopping Mall, not far from Hurricane Harbor and the Concord Pavilion concert venue. Benihana Concord features four private dining rooms with seating for groups of eight to forty guests. The beautifully-renovated lounge offers sushi and a selection of hibachi grill dining options.


My family’s fragrant hongshao chicken stew delivers rich flavor and lovely memories

Sometimes, chasing comfort food nostalgia can lead us down complicated paths. Instead of channeling the instinctive baking wisdom of a beloved aunt, we hunt for out-of-season blueberries and leaf lard to try to replicate the exact way our forebears crimped a pastry.

Conjuring the past with the precision of a forensic scientist might be fun for a weekend project, but the process is hardly comforting — or practical.

When I was growing up, my mother’s hongshao chicken stew was a hallowed institution for me. But these days, instead of deferring to The Way It Was, I like to take inspiration from the resourceful spirit of the dish — how you can maximize the output of a single pot of delicious chicken by adding plenty of ingredients to cook with it. And it’s transformed the dish further and further from my early memories of it.

Maybe that’s because hongshao, a Chinese braising technique that translates to red-cooking or red-braising, invites variation. You can simmer any cut of pork, beef or poultry hongshao-style, as well as tofu and vegetables, infusing them with soy sauce and five-spice. The unifying attribute to hongshao stews is more about the outcome than the technique: Everything in the pot acquires a deep, mahogany sheen and resounding savoriness.

My mother began by browning chicken parts in a large pot with thick slices of ginger, whole garlic cloves and large midsections of scallions. This wildly aromatic sizzle was then snuffed out with a few glugs of rice wine and both light and dark soy sauces — the latter largely responsible for that reddish-brown stain — all cupboard staples in my mother’s kitchen.

Five-spice — usually in the form of a satchel containing the whole spices: star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon, fennel seeds and clove — was added. Dried shiitakes were tossed in like umami bath bombs. Then, a rotating assortment of hongshao add-ins that usually included hard-boiled, peeled eggs and firm tofu cubes, and maybe tofu skin and kelp knots.

In the end, the cafe au lait-colored eggs, tofu and other morsels that absorbed the flavor (and color) of the stew could be enjoyed with the meal, or fished out as a delicious byproduct to enjoy separately. Besides the chicken and shiitakes, those soy sauce-stewed eggs are the only solid addition that’s imperative to me. Having a batch of them on hand can even inspire the whole endeavor.

Though we always called it hongshao at home, this tendency for braising extras is akin to lu wei braising, a method popular with street vendors in Taiwan who submerge the customer’s choice of ingredients in their aromatic broth it’s said that their braising liquid is never discarded and so only gets better the more it’s used, like a happy sourdough starter.

Perhaps my version today is also inspired by family hot pot meals, where chunks of napa cabbage and taro root were left to simmer in the bubbling pot while other delicacies were quickly dipped. Because I often have stores of cabbage and root vegetables such as daikon and rutabaga from my CSA share in the winter, I’ll add these to my hongshao chicken, letting them practically melt in the same fashion. I’m sure red-braised potatoes and carrots would be delicious as well.

The chicken should be falling off the bone and become quite tan as well. The silken texture of a stewed wing is a highlight for me — though it doesn’t need to be yours. I learned recently that my mother only used chicken so often because it was a more accessible protein in typical American grocery stores than pork belly, a popular option for hongshao in her native Taiwan. And rather than going out of her way to an Asian grocery, where a butcher might hack up a whole bird for stewing, she settled for picking out the smallest drumsticks and wings from the nearby grocery — and maybe grew to favor cooking with them.

A lot of home cooking might follow a similar formula: Cook an accessible protein in a pot along with seasonally available ingredients, liquids and spices that add flavor until it all melds into one deeply satisfying meal to slurp up with a starch. It might not always look Instagram-worthy. A key thrill here might be just olfactory. If our noses could be our eyes, I think they would guide us toward “liking” these kinds of dishes by the millions.

Though a longtime favorite, it has taken me a while to write this dish in recipe format because it seemed antithetical to its flexible virtues.


Kenzo

Designation: One Star

What It Is: Kenzo Estate owners Kenzo and Natsuko Tsujimoto’s elegant Japanese restaurant using ingredients flown in daily from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market.

What Our Inspectors Say:
“Designed by Tsujimoto’s wife Natsuko, this 25-seat arena is spare and minimal, incorporating traditional woods, maple trees and river rocks to create a peaceful sanctuary. Though Kenzo offers a handful of tables, the best seats are at the lengthy counter, where diners can chat with the chefs and see their sushi made firsthand. There are two menus: sushi kaiseki presents edomae-style bites that are beautifully composed and elegantly paced (and product is sourced from Tokyo's Tsukiji market), while the kaiseki menu features cooked presentations like Wagyu tenderloin with a reduction of the estate's own Bordeaux-style blend.”


Opposition to Newsom recall grows as Caitlyn Jenner, GOP generate little support, poll finds

The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom has failed to gain momentum in recent months as significantly more California voters favor keeping him in office, and only anemic support has surfaced for reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner while other Republican candidates hoping to take the governor’s place have little backing, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll that was co-sponsored by the L.A. Times.

The survey’s results were especially bleak for retired Olympic gold medalist Jenner, as just 6% of Californians who took part in the survey said they would vote to have her replace Newsom — a vast majority of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated or independent voters said they would not be inclined to support her candidacy.

Democratic voters polled also overwhelmingly favored having a prominent Democratic replacement candidate on the recall ballot in case Newsom was ousted from office, putting them at odds with efforts by their state party and Newsom’s campaign to prevent that from happening.

Slightly over half of California registered voters, 52%, approve of the job Newsom has been doing as governor, a small increase from January but still far below the findings in September when 64% gave him high marks, according to the poll.

That’s one of Newsom’s potential soft spots that the recall campaign’s organizers will probably try to exploit, along with strong voter dissatisfaction over how the governor has handled the homelessness crisis, housing affordability and crime in California, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll.

A Republican-led drive to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office has collected enough voter signatures to qualify for the ballot.

“Most of his decline appears to have been about the pandemic and now that we’re emerging out of that, voters are giving the governor generally better marks on the pandemic. He still doesn’t have great job performance numbers,” DiCamillo said. “If the focus then shifts away from the pandemic to the other issues facing the state, he’s gonna have some work cut out for himself.”

The poll found that leading the Republicans in the race were former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox, who lost handily to Newsom in the 2018 governor’s race, although each had backing from just 22% of those polled. Former Northern California Rep. Doug Ose registered 14% support.

Of Jenner’s low support, DiCamillo said that, despite the media attention, “there doesn’t seem to be a significant constituency for her candidacy.”

“Even among Republicans, only 13% say they’d be inclined to vote for her,” DiCamillo said. “It’s a very poor showing.”

Jenner’s leap into the race has ginned up plenty of national media attention, and comparisons to the last major celebrity candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger, quickly followed. Schwarzenegger, with his broad appeal across party lines, easily won enough votes to take Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’ place as governor after he was recalled in 2003.

But compared with Jenner, Schwarzenegger had a lot more support even before he officially jumped into the race. Among California registered voters, 31% said they were inclined to vote for Schwarzenegger compared with 62% who were not, according to a Field Poll conducted three months before the recall election.

Still, the effort to recall Newsom remains in the beginning stages, providing ample time for political fortunes to rise and fall. It’s only been two weeks since Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber announced that recall proponents had gathered enough signatures to force a special election by year’s end, most probably in October or November. The cost of the special election could run as high as $400 million.

And as governor of the most populous state in the union, Newsom possesses ample power and opportunities to court California’s electorate before the recall makes its way to the ballot. Aided by the state’s economic recovery and a $75.7-billion budget surplus, Newsom on Monday proposed sending $600 state stimulus checks to millions of Californians along with a $5-billion rental assistance plan.

“That’s the largest year-over-year tax rebate that’s ever been provided in any state in American history,” Newsom said Monday.

Critics quickly labeled it Newsom’s “recall refund.”

According to the poll, just 36% of registered voters in the state said they would vote to recall Newsom, the same percentage of support found in a survey by the same pollster in late January. In comparison, 49% of voters oppose removing the governor from office, a slight improvement over the 45% who opposed doing so in January.

As the effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom moves forward, candidates line up to replace him.

Dan Newman, one of the governor’s political consultants, said the poll results showed that Californians were proud of what Newsom had accomplished since he took office in January 2019 and cast the recall effort as political subterfuge orchestrated by dissatisfied Republicans.

“Voters strongly support moving forward with Gov. Newsom instead of being dragged backwards to Trumpism with the Republican recall,” Newman said.

Still, 15% of voters remain undecided. According to the poll, only about a third of Democrats and independent voters have a high interest in the recall compared with the 75% of Republicans in California who do.

That may be a reflection of Republicans being excited about ousting a Democratic governor — it is only the second recall of a sitting California governor to reach the ballot. That could lead to a Republican advantage in voter turnout, though that may change once Newsom and the state Democratic Party mount what is expected to be an aggressive effort to rally their own supporters.

“Newsom benefits from the improving situation with the pandemic, but there are still some warning signs — the low interest of Democratic voters and the substantial number of undecided voters,” Berkeley IGS co-director Eric Schickler said. “But the governor is now in better shape and is helped by the absence of a compelling GOP alternative.”

Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be a major driver of his increased support among voters — 45% of those surveyed believed the governor had done an excellent or good job, compared with 35% who said his response had been poor or very poor. That flipped since January, when 31% said he was doing an excellent or good job, and 43% gave him poor marks.

The governor’s oversight of vaccine distribution saw a similar turnaround. In January, 22% voters thought he was doing a good or excellent job on that issue. In the latest survey, support for Newsom jumped to 54%.

At the beginning of the year, the governor’s plan to distribute vaccines across a state of nearly 40 million people sputtered out of the gate. California’s vaccine plan initially prioritized all essential workers and those 65 and older. But just weeks into the plan’s rollout, the Newsom administration changed course and adopted a chronological age-based system for residents younger than 65.

As of May 9, close to 32.5 million vaccine doses had been administered statewide, with 14.2 million Californians fully vaccinated.

The latest effort to recall Newsom is one of six launched since he took office in 2019 and the only one to gather just under 1.5 million petition signatures from registered voters necessary to qualify for the ballot. The effort was spearheaded by supporters of former President Trump with assistance from far-right fringe groups and has since been embraced by mainstream California Republicans and received financial support from the national Republican Party.

A special statewide election this fall where voters could remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office could cost $400 million to conduct, elections officials estimate.

The recall petition listed a number of long-standing Republican grievances against Newsom and the state’s Democratic leadership, including homelessness, which remains a major political vulnerability for Newsom. Of those surveyed, 57% said the governor had done a poor or very poor job addressing the crisis.

Newsom also was dinged on housing affordability, with 53% of voters saying he’s done a poor job on that issue. Criticism of Newsom’s effort to handle crime and criminal justice also is growing — 42% of those surveyed said he’s doing a poor job, up from 35% in September.

“This governor is radioactive,” said Orrin Heatlie, the official proponent of the recall effort. “The true damage that he’s done to the state won’t be known for decades.”

Heatlie pointed to the recent announcement that California might give 76,000 inmates, including some violent offenders, an opportunity for early release.

Recall organizers also believe voters will continue to be frustrated over the billions of dollars the state has paid out to fraudulent unemployment claims during the pandemic, along with Newsom’s attendance months ago at a lobbyist’s birthday party at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley after asking Californians to refrain from similar gatherings.

Newsom enjoys solid support in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, home to about half of California’s electorate. Voters there oppose the recall by roughly a 2-1 margin. However, his prospects are far less rosy in the Inland Empire and Central Valley, where support for ousting Newsom crept up slightly since January. Roughly 45% of voters in those areas support removing the governor from office, and 39% oppose it.

DiCamillo said that, according to the Berkeley poll, Newsom appeared to be in a much stronger position politically than Davis was 18 years ago, when he became the only California governor to be recalled from office. During the 2003 recall campaign, a Field Poll found that 67% of California voters had an unfavorable opinion of Davis. In the new Berkeley poll, 43% of voters had an unfavorable opinion of Newsom. DiCamillo conducted statewide opinion surveys for the Field Poll before joining Berkeley IGS.

The Berkeley IGS poll, administered online in English and Spanish, surveyed 10,289 California registered voters from April 29 to May 5. The estimated sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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Phil Willon covers Gov. Gavin Newsom and California politics for the Los Angeles Times. Willon grew up in Southern California and previously worked for the Tampa Tribune and the Capital in Annapolis, Md.


Why Some Chefs Just Can't Quit Serving Bluefin Tuna

Hand-rolled bluefin tuna sushi is prepared with green onions at Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit's Grand Tasting event in Las Vegas.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd

On Monday, a single 380-pound bluefin tuna sold for about $37,500 in the first auction of the year at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. That's far below the peak price of $1.76 million that a bluefin went for at the same market in 2013, and this year's price isn't a good indicator of the supply, or population status. But it is a reminder of the unrelenting hunger and willingness to pay top dollar for the fatty pink flesh of this swiftly disappearing wild fish.

The 2015 inaugural bluefin is bound for a popular restaurant chain in Japan called Sushi-Zanmai, according to wire reports. Japan consumes 80 percent of the world's bluefin, and international conservation groups say that demand from the Asian sushi and sashimi industry is mainly to blame for the rapid decline in bluefin populations in recent decades.

In November, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List moved Pacific bluefin tuna from "least concern" to "vulnerable," which means that the fish is now threatened with extinction. It joins the southern bluefin, which is "critically endangered" — the third, and most threatened IUCN designation — and the Atlantic bluefin, which is "endangered," the second level. In all cases, overfishing is making it nearly impossible for the spawning stock to rebuild the population.

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But, just as many Japanese sushi chefs can't say no to the glistening meat on offer, neither can several American chefs — even though U.S. conservation groups and marine biologists have been badgering them about bluefin for years. The media and the food cognoscenti made a big stink about it in 2009, and in 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity launched the Bluefin Boycott, which has garnered 80,000 signatures from people who've pledged not to eat the fish or serve it. (Among the signatories were owners of big-name restaurants like Blue Hill, Chez Panisse and Tataki Sushi.)

But you'll still find tiny morsels of bluefin on tasting menus at glittery sushi restaurants in New York and Los Angeles like Nobu, Morimoto and Masa, and at the Michelin-starred Terra in Napa Valley. It has become a luxury food item — like shark fin or pangolin in Asia.

The IUCN says the Atlantic bluefin tuna is endangered. Its stocks have declined globally between 29 percent and 51 percent over the past 21 to 39 years, according to the conservation group. Tono Balaguer/iStockphoto hide caption

The IUCN says the Atlantic bluefin tuna is endangered. Its stocks have declined globally between 29 percent and 51 percent over the past 21 to 39 years, according to the conservation group.

And we received an invitation in October from Jaleo, one of celebrity chef Jose Andres' Spanish-themed restaurants in Washington, D.C., for a "Tuna Celebration" featuring four dishes with bluefin. (The event was postponed more on it and Andres later.)

There's one clear reason why it's still on menus: "Bluefin tuna belly is one of the most delicious things in the world," says Bruce Mattel, associate dean of food production at the Culinary Institute of America. But, he says, the decision to serve bluefin is "largely driven by demographics and customer base" — in other words, chefs beholden to people spending hundreds of dollars on a meal.

Chefs at top restaurants can't really play dumb about how few bluefin are left in the sea, Mattel says.

The Salt

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"I think most [chefs] are aware of the conservation issues," Mattel tells us. "I don't know how you cannot be aware if you have a passion for fish."

One internationally acclaimed chef who's aware — and gravely concerned — is Japanese sushi master Jiro Ono, subject of the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi and the chef who prepared sushi for President Obama during a visit to Japan in April 2014. In November, Ono told the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan: "I can't imagine at all that sushi in the future will be made of the same materials we use today. I told my young men three years ago sushi materials will totally change in five years. And now, such a trend is becoming a reality little by little." According to the New York Daily News, Ono was referring to his troubles getting high-quality Pacific bluefin, and having to rely on Atlantic bluefin instead.

Mattel of the CIA says he won't order that species of tuna anymore, whether he's dining or cooking. And he's troubled and perplexed by chefs' continued use of it, when there are so many other delicious fish they could be cooking instead. "When you think about the diversity of the oceans, it just baffles that we're so dependent on this species," says Mattel.

We asked the chefs at Nobu and Terra in Napa Valley to explain why they still serve it, but we got no response to our calls and emails.

After repeated requests for an interview, Jose Andres finally sat down with us to explain why he included bluefin on the menu for his Tuna Celebration. The event was postponed last fall, but Andres says he may still host it in May. It will be focused around a ronqueo, a coastal Spanish tradition of carving a whole bluefin tuna in front of an audience.

"What I wanted to do was celebrate the way of life of the people in the Mediterranean, show the disappearing way of life, the ronqueo, the almadraba," he says, referring to the elaborate and ancient system of nets used in small fishing communities. For the celebration, he hopes to bring over fishermen from Galicia, Spain, who catch the fish this way only once a year.

And ultimately, Andres argues, these artisanal fishermen who've been catching Atlantic bluefin their whole lives the same way their grandfathers did, are not to blame for the species' decimation.

"I believe something radical should be done. We should be stopping those [large fishing] fleets following those tunas. If that means also stopping those almadraba in Spain, Turkey, Italy, I will say so . but I don't believe those almadraba catchers are the problem." (After our interview, Andres said he might not serve bluefin at the tuna event, after all.)

Catherine Kilduff, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, agrees that the agencies charged with regulating fishing of bluefin haven't set low enough limits for fishermen big or small to allow the populations to recover. And, she says, the fishermen who catch bluefin can still make a lot of money from them.

"Unfortunately, this is an environmental issue that's been very responsive in the past to economics," she says. "There are still people who want to buy it that's why the price is so high. The only way to break that loop is to have people say they're valuable in the oceans."

But, Kilduff says, eating a tuna caught by an artisanal fisherman in a Mediterranean almadraba isn't any more defensible than eating one caught by a massive Japanese trawler: "The argument that there's a way to catch them that makes it sustainable is kind of a red herring." (This is why some fishermen have decided instead to try and farm bluefin, as we've reported.)

And while American consumers are not the primary consumers of bluefin, their influence still matters a lot, she says.

"Public demand that these fish not go extinct is the only thing that's going to save them," says Kilduff. "Having people go into restaurants [serving it and telling them not to] is probably the most direct way to vote on those issues."


Watch the video: Ara Rebutan Sepeda Sama Neng Belajar Berbagi Mainan Bersama Teman (June 2022).


Comments:

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  3. Attewell

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  4. Indira

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