February 20, 2010
Lark Creek and Pizza Antica owners among semi-finalists for James Beard Award
Some notable East Bay suburban restaurants made the cut for consideration for James Beard Foundation Awards. For foodies, the James Beard Awards are like the Oscars. "These awards confer prestige on recipients, inspire neophytes, and draw attention to food innovation across the country," writes Jennifer Dawson on the Diablo magazine website.
Michael Dellar of the Lark Creek Restaurant, which owns Lark Creek Walnut Creek and other eateries, and Tim Stannard of the management group that owns Lafayette's Pizza Antica, are on the shortlist to receive an outstanding restaurateur award. Lark Creek happens to be a a date night favorite for my husband and me. It's an easy place to go, casual but sophisticated enough to feel special. I've never tried its famous pot roast, but have appreciated the bacon-wrapped meatloaf for the comfort food it is. Another favorite is the shredded chicken tamale pancake, an appetizer that can also be enjoyed as a main course.
Usually, I love to get whatever fish is on the menu. And, through February 28, it is featuring its annual Dungeness Crab Festival, with, crab cakes and flatbread, wood-oven baked with crab.
It's been a while since I've been to Pizza Antica, the upscale but family-friendly pizza which tends to be one of the few restaurants, east of the Caldecott Tunnel, that receives much notice from the San Francisco Chronicle's venerated critic Michael Bauer. Well, I did have an amazing pizza there a few years ago--an unusual pizza that I remember mixed, yes, lemon with possibly tarragon (?) and possibly leeks. On the other hand, my son's basic cheese pizza came with black char on its crust. Sorry, Mr. Bauer, but was that supposed to be a sign of something incredibly gourmet?
(OK, my swipe at Bauer. Think his reviews are mostly a pain to get through--foodie porn is what a friend calls it--but I happened to like his dishy, news-y blog.)
Back to those James Beard Awards: The finalists will be announced on March 22 in New Orleans, with the honorees to be awarded on May 2 and 3.