Since 2012, Rich Table has been a one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurants. The Rich’s pride themselves on providing new and delicious flavors in a relaxed, convivial and comfortable atmosphere. Rich Table became so popular that the couple decided to open RT Rotisserie, a casual, counter-service spin on Rotisserie Chicken & New American sides – it quickly multiplied to three locations – NOPA, Hayes Valley and Redwood City. The Covid-19 crisis has momentarily upended their well-oiled restaurant empire, but they are pivoting and continue to delight diners.
MOWSF: Generally speaking, how would you describe the last couple of months? As a business owner, as a wife and as a mother?
Sarah: Well, the last few months have been a legitimate roller coaster. I think I have felt every emotion known to humans. The first several days after we closed Rich Table were very hard. We had to make many difficult decisions and there was so much uncertainty and fear that it was really overwhelming. We just had to take each day as it came. We’re still feeling that to be honest. We are back to a more consistent schedule with Rich Table being open for take-out and delivery, but there is still a lot of uncertainty with how this will all play out.
Evan and I have worked together for years and that dynamic works really well for us. We have really rallied together between the two of us, and our business partner Jonny to do whatever we can to figure out how to make this new normal work as best we can. And we’ve actually had more family time together since this all started. We are all home together in the mornings evenings and get to spend that time together, which is really nice. We haven’t had that before and it’s been great for our family.
As a mother it has been stressful for sure. The first few months had the added stress of distance learning for my two boys. They were finishing up 3rd grade and Kindergarten and there was quite a bit of work to get done everyday between the Zoom sessions, school work, homework, and projects. Their school staff and teachers did a wonderful job adjusting, but it was definitely more work for me. The kids are super happy, though. They love being at home so they don’t mind this at all.
MOWSF: What would you say is your favorite comfort food?
Sarah: A fully loaded baked potato. Like, fuuuuulllly loaded. I love them, I ate them a lot when I was pregnant. They’re just so warm and delicious.
MOWSF: Do the boys take after mom and dad in the kitchen?
Sarah: Well, our 9-year-old doesn’t really have much interest in cooking. But our 6-year-old loves to help out. He gets right up on the counter or stands on a little stool and helps peel and slice and season things. He has his own little knife and peeler just for the job. I would say that he takes after his dad because he likes to leave a mess!
MOWSF: What is your go-to therapy these days?
Sarah: A good workout. I bought a Peloton bike a few years ago and I love it. When we first closed up I was riding every day, it is such a great way to clear my mind and let off steam. Now that I’m back to working a lot I only get in 2 or 3 rides a week. I’m trying to force myself to get up earlier and get it done in the morning though, it’s so important!
MOWSF: We see pics of you in the basement on Facebook – tell us about it?
Sarah: Well, the basement is where I work. I have a little corner where I do all of my pastry production. It’s right next to the walk in and all of the equipment so I don’t have to run up and down the stairs all day long. I don’t get any sunlight, but I do get space to myself and that’s worth its weight in gold.
MOWSF: What are some of the first things you will do once things “normalize”?
Sarah: I want to visit my parents as soon as this is over. That’s the first thing I’m going to do – take my kids to see their grandparents.
I can’t wait to go to a movie with my kids. Get a huge icy Coke, a gigantic bowl of buttered popcorn and top that with some peanut M&M’s. I can’t wait. Give a friend a hug. I miss that.
MOWSF: Anything special we should know about coming up at Rich Table and RT Rotisserie?
Sarah: We’ve got something special for you every week! We don’t have any events planned but we do serve our meals every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We also have a huge pantry selection. We have pastas, sauces, steaks, cobblers, pies, dips, tons of delicious things for you to purchase for your home. You can see everything we offer on our website.
MOWSF: Is there a recipe you would like to share?
Sarah: Absolutely – two of my favorites for summer.
RICHILINI WITH GREEN GARLIC, SQUASH BLOSSOMS AND MOZZARELLA
1 Tbsp plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup thinly slice green garlic
½ cup water
10 fresh squash blossoms, about 6 oz
Fresh Pasta Dough, cut into bite-size pieces
1. Trim the squash and slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from the center of the squash. Thinly slice the squash into half-moons.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the green garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the squash and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the water, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. With the blender running, slowly drizzle the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil. Continue to blend until emulsified, 15 to 30 seconds. Blend in four of the squash blossoms until smooth, 45 to 60 seconds. Season with salt.
4. Pull the petals off each of the squash blossoms and tear each into three or four pieces.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.Add the pasta and cook until just tender, 20 to 30 seconds. Brain immediately, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
6. In a large skillet, heat the squash sauce over medium-high heat until bubbling. Add the past and ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring constantly, until a creamy sauce has formed around the past. Add additional pasta cooking water, as needed, to make the sauce. Add the mozzarella and stir until it starts to melt. Remove from the heat. Season with salt.
7. Divide the pasta among four shallow serving bowls. Top with the torn squash blossom petals. Serve immediately.
SLICE TOMATO WITH SORREL, WHITE CHOCOLATE, AND POPPED SORGHUM
1 ½ oz sorrel
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch xanthan gum
Small pinch salt
1 extra-large ripe heirloom tomato
Shiro Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Flaky or crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon or Jacobsen
About 6 Tbsp Popped Sorghum (recipe follows)
2 small pieces high-quality white chocolate, such as Valrhona
Torn or shredded fresh sorrel leaves for garnish
To make the sorrel sauce:
1. In a blender, puree the sorrel with the water until smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium size bowl pressing on the solids to extra all the juices. Discard the solids.
2. Rinse out the blender and then return the strained sorrel puree to the blender. Add the olive oil, xanthan gum, and salt, and puree until smooth and emulsified, about 30 seconds. Set aside for serving.
To assembler and serve:
1. Chill two serving plastes for final plating. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice four 1-in thick slices from the center of the tomato. Reserve the remaining tomato pieces for a salad or another use. Season the tomato slices with a little vinaigrette and flaky salt. Cover the tomato slices with an even layer of popped sorghum and press down gently to form a crust. Using a Microplane grater, finely grate with chocolate over the top of the sorghum. There should be a light but noticeable dusting of chocolate.
2. Pour about 1 Tbsp of the sorrel sauce in the center of each of the now-chilled serving plates. Place the dressed tomatoes on top of the sauce. Garnish with torn sorrel leaves. Serve immediately.
Makes about 1 cup
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ Tbsp shiro dashi
1 Tbsp finely dice shallots
In a 2 cup glass jar, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, shiro dashi, and shallots. Cover the jar with its lid and shake to emulsify the mixture. Season with salt.
When popped, sorghum looks like miniature popcorn and it is a little sweeter and meltier. It’s super cheap online and, once popped, it magically keeps in your pantry for about a week.