Season One, Episode Seven California’s Bay Area
In this episode Maria goes to California’s Bay area where we visit some of the top young chefs in the area (who happen to be Portuguese!). Along the way we tour San Jose’s “little Portugal” and explore Avaya Stadium with Taylor Amarante.
I was aware of the Portuguese community that existed in this area of California, but I was not aware of how rooted these immigrant families had become into the social fabric of the greater community. Ms. Lucia wove together a wonderful history of the Portuguese in San Jose.
After our history lesson, we went up the block to Popular Bakery to see what Senhora Manuela and her crew are serving up. Oh, what amazing things we found! Angela and I could have stayed all day…maybe next time I’ll get to bake with them, too.
In between Bacalhau Grill and Popular Bakery is Adega Restaurant, opened in 2015 in San Jose and earning their first Michelin star in 2016 and again in 2017. They are one of only two Portuguese restaurants in the United States to have earned that honor (and the only Michelin star restaurant in San Jose!). Adega is run by two young, energetic chefs in a building rich with historical significance. They have turned their eatery into a place of pride and joy in San Jose’s Little Portugal.
Time next to visit Avaya Stadium, home to Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes. Taylor Amarante, Game Day host and a talented comedian, was our guide. Taylor shows us around, from the field to stands while explaining how they make each home game an experience in itself. One night a year the Quakes host a Portuguese heritage night with Portuguese foods and entertainment. It’s been a big hit and a favorite of the local community.
We end this visit to the Bay area by stopping in at Uma Casa restaurant in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood to meet with Chef Antelmo Faria. Chef Telmo is a joy, and everything about his place feels like old Portugual: the smells and the colors and the art work all let you know where you are. Chef Telmo is inspired by the classic Portuguese staples but he will cook them with his own twist.
The state of Portuguese cuisine in the Bay area is alive and well in the hands of the young chefs at Adega and Uma Casa. What they are producing in their respective kitchens is both modern but true to the Portuguese heritage and culture they pay homage to. Salud!