Farm to screen: The much-lauded David Kinch, chef-owner of the two-Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos, can now add film star to his résumé. He and the restaurant's agricultural muse, grower Cynthia Sandberg of Love Apple Farms in Santa Cruz, are the focus of a documentary premiering March 9 at San Jose's Cinequest Film Festival (www.cinequest.org).
In "The Farmer and the Chef," filmmaker Michael Whalen shows how the two collaborate to put exquisite biodynamic meals on the plate at Manresa. The partnership began more than a decade ago, when Kinch bought some of Sandberg's legendary tomatoes; today, the farm grows hundreds of varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs for Manresa.
"This is not a show garden; this is not a PR garden," Kinch says in the film, noting that the close relationship with Love Apple Farms -- he personally monitors what's ripening and when -- has "fundamentally affected how we write menus at the restaurant."
San Ramon spice: When a couple of guys whose résumés include stints at The French Laundry, Per Se and the Ritz-Carlton doff their toques in favor of T-shirts and Asian street food, we take notice. Now Will Pacio and Fred Tang are opening their third Spice Kit, the fast-casual restaurant they launched in San Francisco in 2010 and Palo Alto two years later. Now they're heading to San Ramon's Crow Canyon Commons. Think Korean ssams, Vietnamese banh mi, salads and bowls filled with five-spice chicken, lemon-grass-marinated roast pork, short ribs or organic tofu, and a lineup of sides that include lotus chips and ginger-peanut slaw. Look for an April opening at 3151 Crow Canyon Place. Meanwhile, peek at the menu at www.spicekit.com.
Flapper heaven: The oh-so-chic speak-easy trend is coming to Alameda, where Capone's Speakeasy will open on Park Street next month. Think craft cocktails, small plates, 1920s music and dancing. And no Eliot Ness to put a damper on the fun. Housed in an old bank building that dates back to 1888, the space has been reimagined in shades of maroon and mustard, with enormous chandeliers hanging over the 85-seat dining room -- and a private dining space in, of course, the old bank vault. Exec chef Nicholas Koliopoulos (The Ranch at Little Hills in San Ramon, Auburn James Tasting Room in Danville) is planning a modern American, seasonal menu ($6 to $30), with dishes such as smoked paprika french fries, yellowtail hamachi and endive salad and filet mignon with lobster mashed potatoes. The new place will be open Tuesdays-Sundays for dinner and late-night noshing, and on Sundays for brunch. Details: 1400 Park St., www.caponesspeakeasy.net.
Bao bites: The newest entrant on Mountain View's restaurant row, Buffalo, is all about the three B's: burgers, beers and -- foodies, take note -- baos. Chef-owner Brandon Poon, who grew up in the family restaurant business (Mr. Chau's) before earning a culinary degree and working on the line at Madera and elsewhere, has fashioned an Asian fusion menu that ranges from a bulgogi burger to banh mi sliders and baos, those tender steamed buns. Poon fills the bao with intriguing combos: duck confit and green mango slaw; hoisin-glazed pork belly; grilled Japanese eggplant and shiitakes. By the way, there's one thing you won't find on Buffalo's menu. Yep, buffalo. The eatery is named after a drinking game. Details: 292 Castro St., www.buffalomv.com.