Man O Man.

by Matt on September 23, 2007


I get emails. Stuff like "Can you recommend a good camera for me?" or "Do you know of any restaurants around here?" or "I didn’t raise you to be such a dork — please call your father today." Oops, sorry Mom. Anyway, since a few have asked for personal recommendations of food products and places to go I decided to start blogging about a few of my favorite things over the next few months (thanks for the idea, Oprah… call me!) And why not? The holidays are coming up and it’s always good to be prepared.


The year was 1996. I had just moved to San Francisco from Chicago, finally ridding myself of those long midwest winters and trading them in for even colder summers in the Bay Area. All joking aside, it was an eye-opening experience for me and one that I embraced fully. I absorbed the California experience on every level and tasted my way through the City, spending Saturday mornings at the old farmers’ market before it moved to the Ferry Building and familiarizing myself with local foods and personalities. I grew to love Peet’s coffee (trust me, it took some doing), developed a huge crush on Albert Strauss, became obsessed with Tu Lan and all its horrors and discovered what eating fresh and local was all about.  Somewhere in there I discovered meyer lemons and instantly became obsessed with them. I started buying them whenever I could find them, matching them up with just about anything I could and realizing that while I may suffer from high cholesterol I will never ever develop a case of scurvy. Hallelujah!

With my meyer love affair still in full swing, I remember the first time I sampled a particular variety from O Olive Oil. Hmmm, the label said it was crushed with my lil yellow pals, but could it be good? I knew I didn’t care for "flavored" olive oils, but I took a sip anyway (a strange concept to me at the time but now I realize it’s a great way to get a complete mouthful of flavor) and felt my knees tremble and my toes tingle. I almost felt like fainting (ok I’m being overly dramatic but just go with it, k?) Holy crap, I thought, this is phenomenal stuff. And then I bought some. And them some more. And it went on tomatoes, on bread, on lox,  roasted chickens and even sardines with slices of celery and pecorino. And for 10 years it’s been a staple in my kitchen. And I refuse to be without it – especially when we’re not in peak winter citrus season.

Imagine my delight when I got the sweetest email from a company who was just sending out sweet lil emails to bloggers. But it wasn’t just any company, mind you, but O Olive Oil. Now O Olive Oil needed no introduction from me — they’ve made everyone’s Top Ten, Favorite, or Awards list for several years already. And if you’ve ever tasted their oils you’ll certainly know why. They begin by hand-harvesting ripe olives from Northern California and crushing them with organic meyer lemons, Tahitian limes, blood oranges or organic jalapeños to produce a variety of amazing olive oils. Crushed, not flavored. They’ve saved my butt from dreary dressings a million times, and they always impart that wow flavor to anything I cook. And lest you think I sound like a commercial for them (nobody paid me for this!), remember that I’ve been in food marketing for many years and can tell you the O story backwards and forwards!

So there. Today I’m spreading some California love to one of my favorite products ever. You can find them online or at specialty food stores. And don’t forget their line of vinegars, too. Amazing.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Broderick September 23, 2007 at 9:00 am

Great story and graphic!! I’ll have to check out some O soon…

anita September 23, 2007 at 9:11 am

Yay! I was just thinking last night (as I booked a trip to your neck of the woods): “It’s a shame that Matt doesn’t review restaurants; I bet he knows some good ones.”

David September 23, 2007 at 11:11 am

You mean you can’t be bought?

What a shame…

Tana September 23, 2007 at 12:51 pm

When you get a chance, try the Stonehouse Persian Lime olive oil, which has revolutionized my cooking. I do love lemon olive oils—for my Italian side. But I use the lime for a Mexican direction: like turning roasted chicken into soup with corn, cilantro, tomatoes, etc., all started with a lime olive oil sauté. YUM.

Mariel (tablefuel) September 23, 2007 at 1:44 pm

You seriously have the coolest blog! And your an excellent graphic designer~ I’m so inspired! Thanks for making the postings on Fall. I am too looking forward to winter root vegitables, fresh crisp apples and Thanksgiving, even if I am in the UK!


Mariel :)

Mariel (tablefuel) September 23, 2007 at 1:46 pm

doh! spelling error… vegetables!! :)-

Mark Swain September 23, 2007 at 7:04 pm

Hey Matt,

It’s Swain I was in the food styling class with you last fall.

O olive oil is amazing. Try the vinegar’s as well.

Keep up the great work on your site! Read it every week!

===Mark Swain—-

Kate Sinclair September 23, 2007 at 9:36 pm

This is so wonderful! I loved reading the backstory on beautiful O…have always enjoyed and was reminded by your post that it is a perfect hostess gift. PLEASE keep the recs coming for pantry stocking staples and lovely gifts. Doesn’t everyone freeze up when they actually hit Dean & Deluca or William Sonoma for the weekend hostess gift? Can’t wait for the next, Oprah.

Kate Sinclair

Randolph September 24, 2007 at 8:54 am

I’m a fan of their oils and vinegars, though I haven’t tried the meyer lemon oil… yet! Nice story!

Casey September 24, 2007 at 9:34 am

I so agree with the ability of great citrus-infused olive oil to save one’s butt re: last-minute dressings. I haven’t tried the O line–running to my nearby fancy grocery store to seek them out. many thanks for the recommendation.

Lauren September 24, 2007 at 9:50 am

I am eating this olive oil on my tuna salad RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Coincidence?? Tuna, capers, mint, O’s meyer lemon olive oil, a shot of lemon zest, and tomatoes on spinach and arugula. Verrrrrrrrry healthy. Wish I had some meyer lemon ice cream to make up for it. I have a bottle of their blood orange olive oil at home waiting to be experimented with. This stuff rocks.

I am in love with meyer lemons too. Even bought a little tree, but no luck with fruit yet. Tip: when they were in season earlier in the year, I bought a bunch every time I went to the store. Put the juice and zest of several at a time in a tupperware in the freezer so I can make salad dressing or meyer lemon ice cream or, or, or… at any time. I’m thinking of making some lemonade but don’t know if I can part with that much of my stash all at once!

susan September 24, 2007 at 5:04 pm

hi matt,

thanks for this post! i never buy flavored olive oil but always see this brand around. but now i know it’s good stuff. can’t wait to try it.

VeggieGirl September 25, 2007 at 7:18 am

I’ve never heard of O Olive Oil, but after this post (and another one of your brilliant photographs), I MUST find it!!! normally I just stick to extra-virgin olive oil… this looks quite enticing!

Amber September 25, 2007 at 11:55 am

Ooh thanks for the recommendation. Ever since I used up all my New Zealand olive oil, everything else tastes like crap. Ha.

Hillary September 25, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Oh dear, I would fall in love with an olive oil too! Hehe. Nice graphic.

ansook September 25, 2007 at 4:23 pm

matt, i’ve bought bottles of O Olive Oil and other O products for low, low prices at….

TJ MAXX! Not to mention, Le Creuset Dutch Ovens for a 1/8 of the price. Go check out your local TJ MAXX for some great finds!

The Guilty Carnivore September 26, 2007 at 3:43 pm

I have the meyer lemon on my counter – I drizzled some onto some gazpacho the other day. Perfect.

marettesyndrome September 28, 2007 at 7:20 am

We participated in an olive oil tasting class at the LA County Fair this year. “Sipping” olive oil is HARD CORE. I was not prepared. It was extremely educational, however. I thought I would leave having found an olive oil I could put on everything. But once we started tasting with food I could not pick one oil. Each oil tasted SO different with food. And bread which I thought would be the most neutral, was probably the most difficult. Fascinating.

Victoria October 11, 2007 at 3:28 am

You are absolutely spot on. This stuff IS phenomenal. And I practically go into withdrawal if I am making a salad and find I am out of their zinfandel vinegar. It’s amazing too.

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