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[whitespace] Heirloom Hot Spot

Organic pearl in a beaux arts setting

By Christina Waters

JESSE COOL'S LATEST FOOD CAPER--Cool Cafe at the Cantor Arts Center (the elegant beaux arts museum on the Stanford Campus)--adds another organically grown pearl to this restaurateuse's tasty résumé. A sleek little oasis of sophistication with a terrace overlooking the lawn, the Cafe showcases Cool's almost all-organic menu, filled with Niman Ranch natural meats. Think of it--a BLT made with hormone-free bacon! Local salmon, fresh produce, even organic beers like Wolaver's and Butte Creek, and local wines from Thomas Fogarty, Troquato Organic and Bonny Doon Vineyard fill the small menu. Pastries from Fat Rascals had me moaning. But so did an exceptional, destination salad of Heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped and tossed with nuggets of creamy buffalo mozzarella and avocados in a garlicky pesto vinaigrette. God! Pink, crimson, yellow and green-striped Heirloom varieties offered a hit of old-fashioned tomato flavors--and two pieces of bruschetta slathered with Kalamata tapenade finished me off. A huge, sensuous portion--hard to imagine $9 doing all that. It's just like Cool to come up with dishes that pack big flavors and homemade sensuousness. I watched as gorgeous sandwiches went by, piled with Diestel turkey breast and caramelized onions, and Niman Ranch ham with Swiss on organic baguettes from Bay Bread. So deliciously civilized, Cool Cafe is open Wed-Sun, 11am-5pm, and for dinner on Thursday. Go around the left side of the museum, past Rodin's erotic Gates of Hell sculpture and up to the terrace entrance. One hundred percent Cool. Stroll around and check out the art while you're there. Your consciousness is bound to expand. If you have trouble remembering where Stanford University is, call the Cafe at 650.725.4758. Or try Chelsea's cell phone.

Lost Horizon Honeymoon

A month in Nepal made restaurateur Emile Mooser so homesick that he returned to San Jose and made plans to marry his paramour of three years, Angela Yano. "We've been working together for over three years," Mooser said, "and we'll marry on October 14." The wedding happens at an undisclosed site in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but the reception and dinner will take place--guess where? Mooser admitted that he wouldn't be cooking his own wedding meal, "Probably my staff will cook for us." Mooser's head is still in the clouds over his trip to the Himalayas and the recent departure of Nepalese Sherpa houseguests, who returned with the chef after he helped tune the rugged kitchen at Inventa Everest Environmental Expedition 2000 base camp. The expedition was part of a 2-year project to return the Everest region, devastated by trekking, to its pristine condition. A lifelong outdoorsman and ace skier, Swiss-born Mooser didn't make it to the top of the world's highest mountain. "But that was never my intent," he added. The chef spent several weeks at the 17,600-foot base camp, climbing up to the 18,500-foot point before having to return home, felled by a local virus. Congratulations to Mooser and Yano, whose upcoming alliance is just one more tasteful event at downtown's landmark Emile's, where you can enjoy memorable Euro-California cuisine Tues-Sat evenings, at 545 S. Second St. Reservations--408.289.1960--are absolutely a must.

Operatic Expansion

John Akkaya, owner of the popular Don Giovanni Ristorante in Mountain View, confirmed that he is indeed expanding those Tuscan terracotta walls to include two new private banquet rooms and an enlarged kitchen space. "We start construction next week," he told me, "and hopefully by mid-October it should be ready." Don Giovanni is on my shortlist of places to recommend to my Italophile friends. And now they can have private parties of killer pasta at Don Giovanni. Serving lunch and dinner daily--Mediterranean hospitality con gusto--the restaurant named for the legendary lover in Mozart's opera is located at 235 Castro Street in greater metropolitan Mountain View (call 650.961.9749 for reservations).

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From the September 14-20, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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