Category Archives: Bakeries

You Don’t Know Babka Until You’ve Tried This Babka

Chocolate (left) and halva (right) babkas by Babka by Ayelet.

Chocolate (left) and halva (right) babkas by Babka by Ayelet.

 

If you think babka is just a sweet yeasted bread swirled with chocolate or cinnamon, then get ready to have your mind — and palate — blown.

After months of delays, Babka by Ayelet finally opened its doors two weeks ago at Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village to serve up babka in a variety of flavors, both sweet and savory.

Babka Logo

Made by Israeli-born Ayelet Turgeman Nuchi, a former private chef on the Peninsula, this Eastern European specialty bread has been transformed.

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Sponsored: Add Pizzazz To Your Holiday Baking with New Pazazz Apples

A gluten-free, crust-less dessert made with new Pazazz apples.

A gluten-free, crust-less dessert made with new Pazazz apples.

 

There’s a new apple in town. And it’s full of pizzazz.

Or should I say pazazz?

The Pazazz apple is a descendent of the Honeycrisp. So if you love the latter as I do, you will go nuts for the new variety, as well.

Like the Honeycrisp, the Pazazz is crisp as can be, making it an ideal apple to eat out of hand. It has just enough tartness to balance its flavor. I think it has a fuller, more winey taste, too.

The process of creating this apple started a decade ago through cross-pollination with a Honeycrisp. The Pazazz is now grown by family orchards across the country, and available at Safeway stores.

Just say "Pazazz''!

Just say “Pazazz”!

When I received samples recently, I knew they would be ideal to bake with.

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Bread Galore In Every Which Way at the New Manresa Bread Campbell

A two-fisted chicken schnitzel at the new Manresa Bread in Campbell.

A two-fisted chicken schnitzel at the new Manresa Bread in Campbell.

 

If you already love the artisan loaves at Manresa Bread, then you are sure to go bonkers for the new downtown Campbell location that opened less than two weeks ago.

That’s because it features not only its already adored long-fermented loaves made with its freshly milled flours, but bread in so many other incarnations.

We’re talking chicken schnitzel breaded in the bakery’s own crumbs before being fried to a crisp and loaded into a fresh-baked bun with caper, mayo and house-fermented kraut.

Spaetzle made with a sourdough starter, and finished in a sauce of whey, butter and Pecorino.

And bone marrow matzo balls bobbing in bone broth, with the tender, moist dumplings actually made with levain bread crumbs.

Shelves of bread where you help yourself to loaves.

Shelves of bread where you help yourself to loaves.

Crusty baguettes.

Crusty baguettes.

At 2,100 square feet, the Campbell locale is twice the size of the Los Gatos and Los Altos locations, enabling it to also operate much more like an all-day cafe, with hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Bread And All That At Tartine Manufactory

Almost too pretty to drink: the Speaker Box cocktail at Tartine Manufactory.

Almost too pretty to drink: the Speaker Box cocktail at Tartine Manufactory.

 

I should rename myself Carb Gal because when it comes to artisan bread, I have no will power.

So when I recently met a colleague for dinner at Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco, I was all set to indulge in some very fine bread — and to take a loaf home for later. But no such luck on the latter. More often than not, the bakery-restaurant runs out of retail to-go loaves long before dinner, and reserves the rest for the evening service.

I may have left with an empty hand, but in no way with an empty stomach.

We still managed to order some slices of oat porridge bread to enjoy at the table. The thick, substantial slices were made for spreading butter on. It really does have a cooked grain, porridge-like flavor. This is bread you could happily eat all on its own and be satisfied. But if you know Tartine, you know that already.

Loaves reserved for dinner service.

Loaves reserved for dinner service.

What you might not know is how inspired the cocktails are, and how beautiful the food is in a naturalistic, non-contrived way.

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Holiday Cranberry Crumble Pie

Wouldn't this be a beauty for your Thanksgiving table?

Wouldn’t this be a beauty for your Thanksgiving table?

 

What would Thanksgiving be without a perfect pie to end the meal?

Just lacking, plain and simple.

I know people who would gladly bypass the turkey and fixings, just to lunge for the finale of pie, pie and more pie.

Because I’m one of those people who actually doesn’t like pumpkin pie, I’m always on the hunt for an alternative that’s just as homey, festive, and — in my mind — far more delicious.

I found it in “Cranberry Crumble Pie.”

Sister Pie Book

It’s from the new “Sister Pie: The Recipes & Stories of A Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit” (Lorena Jones Books), of which I received a review copy.

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