To get to your daily 9-5, you may find yourself sprinting to catch the BART, huffing on a bike path or enduring gridlock on Interstate 680.
But once it's time to unwind, those same paths can lead you to a quick day trip, as well as tasty fare.
When Dwight Alfaro takes a road trip, whether to Sonoma's wine country or Lake Tahoe's powdery slopes, he grabs a picnic basket brimming with gourmet salads and sandwiches. Maybe even a dessert to nosh while watching the Pacific sunset.
Inspired by seasonal ingredients and a love of Bay Area locales, Chef Alfaro has epitomized the California scene at his restaurant, Picnic Sandwich Bistro.
Alfaro's culinary history is deeply rooted in the Bay. After cutting his teeth as a line cook out of high school, he honed his skills at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
"Even after earning my degree, I still had to prove my skills in the kitchen," he concedes.
So, he forged his education at kitchens all around the Bay, including a steakhouse in Campbell, a Tex-Mex cantina in San Francisco, winery banquets in Livermore and several microbreweries in Fremont.
Now at his own restaurant, Alfaro pays homage to the places that inspired him on his culinary journey. From a gooey grilled cheese that pays homage to Mission Peak to a celebration of coastal fare with the Monterey Ceviche, Chef Alfaro will take you on a tasting tour of the Golden State without even leaving your seat. But in case you're in the mood for a little road trip of your own, there's a basket of California eats waiting for you at the Picnic Sandwich Bistro in Fremont.
The Picnic Sandwich Bistro is located at 39370 Civic Center, Suite A, in Fremont. For more information, visit http://picnicsandwichbistro.com.
Recipe, courtesy of Chef Dwight Alfaro
This is one of Chef Alfaro's favorite condiments, because it goes with just about anything and is delicious all by itself. At the Picnic Sandwich Bistro, his original recipe salsa fresca is used to jazz up salads and sandwiches, and can even top a warm bowl of soup. For this recipe, it is recommended to taste as you go to achieve the flavor you prefer.
2 Cups Roma Tomato, diced
1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced
1/2 Cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4-1/2 Jalpeno, minced finely
1-2 Limes, juiced
Kosher Salt to taste
1. Dice the tomato and red onion, taking care to cut the vegetables uniformly. Add to a large bowl. Note: The red onion pieces should not be larger than the tomato pieces.
2. Finely chop the cilantro, and add it to the bowl.
3. Finely mince the jalapeno, adding 1/4 or 1/2 of it depending on how much heat you prefer. For less heat, remove the jalapeno seeds. Add to the bowl.
4. To the bowl, add the juice of 1-2 limes, depending on how juicy they are. Gently toss all ingredients together.
5. Add salt to taste, starting with about 1 teaspoon.