Los Altos has a brand new eating place thought referred to as el Alto, adjoining to State Side road Marketplace. With a focal point on in the neighborhood sourced California delicacies and a nod to Mexican affect, it’s the most recent undertaking for two-time James Beard award-winning chef DJ Des Jardins.
Des Jardins is famed for her cherished Jardinière in San Francisco, which closed in 2019 after a 21-year run. Classically educated in French delicacies, she labored in kitchens in Los Angeles, France and New York Town prior to coming to San Francisco in 1991. She credit her Mexican and French-Acadian grandparents for instructing her the best way to prepare dinner.
Named The us’s most sensible emerging big name chef in 1995 whilst operating at Rubicon, Des Jardins partnered with Pat Kuleto (Street, Farallon) on Jardinière, and thereafter opened Commissary, Arguello and Public Space. She serves an adviser for Inconceivable Meals, being a few of the first cooks to position the Inconceivable Burger on her menu.
For her newest undertaking, Des Jardins, raised within the Central Valley, teamed up with chef Robert Hurtado, a Central Coast local with whom she labored at Arguello, to create an homage to her Mexican grandparents in addition to his wealthy Mexican heritage. The menu options trendy twists on Mexican dishes ready on a central, live-fire Mibrasa grill.
We requested Des Jardins and Hurtado what they’re aiming to succeed in with their new mission.
Peninsula Information: Had you been ruminating on this sort of thought prior to the pandemic?
Des Jardins: This undertaking used to be within the works lengthy prior to the pandemic. Over the last few years, my hobby in Mexican delicacies has grown and grown.
PN: How did the pandemic alternate your view of the position of excellent eating? Do you assume shoppers are trending towards extra informal and luxury meals dishes, or do they would like fancy, plated meals after being cooped up?
DJ: I believe each. I believe there was a collective hurt performed to all folks all through this revel in of the pandemic. I believe individuals are in the hunt for convenience, and on the similar time they’re in the hunt for stories that they couldn’t have all the way through that point.
PN: What attracted you to Los Altos?
DJ: Los Altos is an intriguing position in that it has an old-time feeling to it, like a small city however with an attractive, deeply ingrained group.
PN: What are one of the most dishes your maternal grandparents delivered to the desk that impressed you for your delicacies?
DJ: My grandfather advised stories of roasting goats in pits within the flooring, conventional barbacoa. My grandmother wouldn’t let him prepare dinner the tripe for menudo in the home, so my mom arrange a range within the storage the place he would prepare dinner it. My grandmother made flour tortillas on a daily basis with lard that she stored below her sink—her drippings. She additionally at all times had a pot of pinto beans at the range. The issues I take into accout at all times affect to some extent what I prepare dinner.
Hurtado: My grandfather used to be a butcher and would at all times convey house other cuts of meat and offal. My grandma and mother would prepare dinner in combination, however my grandpa used to be the one one that grilled or barbecued meats. Similarly to DJ’s grandma, my grandma would save bacon fats and use it to refry beans, and flour tortillas had been at all times made through hand on a daily basis for dinner, however she used Crisco for her tortillas.
PN: How did your French-Acadian grandparents affect your love of meals?
DJ: My dad’s mother used to be an important baker, and he or she had a large kitchen lawn the place I take into accout her rising a whole lot of various things. Of word had been okra and rhubarb, which you couldn’t purchase in our small-town grocery shops. My grandfather used to be a hunter and passionate prepare dinner. He in reality may have been a chef. He would prepare dinner the meals of his early life—shrimp creole, large crawdad boils for part town, it will appear. Feasts for 40 to 50 other people had been a quite common affair.
PN: What are one of the most el Alto menu pieces you might be maximum desirous about and why?
RH: I typically get excited for dishes because the seasons alternate. These days I just like the terracotta deviled eggs, the ayocote bean salad, the apricot mole with duck and the seasonal Mibrasa grilled greens with salsa macha.
DJ: The duck with molé needless to say. I really like the flavors of the entire dishes that pop out of the Mibrasa, it’s an excellent piece of cooking apparatus.
PN: The place do you supply the Blenheim apricots you function?
RH: At this time, we use a mix of dried apricots and a few preserved apricots that my grandma jars herself. We plan on operating with town of Los Altos to supply wonderful native apricots.
el Alto is at 170 State St. in Los Altos, adjoining to State Side road Marketplace. Open Thursday-Sunday, 5-9 p.m. https://www.elaltolosaltos.com, 650-949-1247