I remember when chef Charlie Phan opened the Slanted Door on San Francisco's Valencia Street back in 1995. The elegant restaurant with its big front window and white tablecloths made a big splash amid the Mission district bars and taquerias. The Slanted Door was not only a sign of the neighborhood's growing gentrification, but the beginning of Phan's rocket-ride of a career.
Phan later moved the restaurant to Ferry Plaza, cementing his place in Asian fine dining and earning himself a "Best Chef" award from the James Beard Foundation in 2004. Through it all he has remained a humble, accessible chef who is still in love with the food of his native Vietnam, a country he fled when he was 13.
Phan will make the drive up 101 Nov. 1 for a special dinner and interview with food writer Lora Zarubin about his new cookbook The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food. The event includes cocktails, a food and wine pairing, and dessert bar.
The menu includes bahn lot loc (steamed shrimp and pork tapioca dumplings wrapped in banana leaves), live scallops with lime-cilantro sauce, Vietnamese fisherman stew, steamed spare ribs and black cod with celery cucumber salad.
During the meal, Phan will be interviewed by Zarubin, who will discuss his life in Vietnam, influences in and out of the kitchen and the inspiration behind the cookbook.
This event is expected to sell out, so make a move if you want to go. Tickets are $175, including drinks, tax and tip. Go to healdsburgshed.com for tickets or call 707.431.7433.