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Go, Niners!

Thursday, 31. January 2013 5:25

The "Kaepernicking" cocktail at Ame's Lobby Bar. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Cheer on the 49ers with a “Kaepernicking” Cocktail

Oh, yes, you can. And it’s available at Ame at the St. Regis in San Francisco through Feb. 3.

The $14 cocktail is named for the team’s star quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, of course.

The “Kaepernicking,” available in the Lobby Bar, is appropriately gold colored with a rim of red. It’s made with El Jimador Reposado Tequila, Fees Lemon Bitters, orange slices, lemon juice, and a dash of Hefeweizen-style beer. The glass is rimmed in li hing mu powder (pulverized salty dried plum that’s sold at Asian and Hawaiian markets).

If you want to make your own, here’s the recipe:

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Category:Bakeries, Enticing Events, General | Comments (8) | Author:

Valentine’s Treats at Baker & Banker, and More

Thursday, 24. January 2013 5:25

Red Hot Red Velvet and Strawberry-Champagne cupcakes from Baker & Banker. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Never too Early To Think About Valentine’s Day Treats

Especially when it comes to holiday treats from San Francisco’s Baker & Banker bakery.

While Chef-Owner Jeff Banker will be offering a five-course tasting menu on Valentine’s Day, his wife, Pastry Chef-Owner Lori Baker will be whipping up a bevy of specialty baked goods.

They include an adorable Conversation Heart Cake (red velvet caked with cream cheese frosting or dark chocolate cake with ganache frosting — both shaped like hearts; 6-inch one for $50 or 10-inch one for $85), as well as Red Hot Red Velvet cupcakes ($14 for four), Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes ($14 for four), and a passion fruit cheesecake with guava caramel (a 6-inch one for $30 or a 10-inch one for $50).

Passion fruit cheesecake. (Photo courtesy of Baker & Banker)

Reserve your picks ahead of time to ensure they’re available when you drop by the bakery.

Islands Opens First Bay Area Locale

The beach-themed burger joint, Islands, which started in Los Angeles, has opened its first Bay Area location — at the Crossroads Shopping Center, 20750 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino.

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Category:Bakeries, General, Restaurants | Comments (4) | Author:

Dahlia Bakery’s Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Friday, 21. December 2012 5:25

You won't believe how much chocolate is in these cookies.

You will lose yourself completely to these cookies. Resistance is not only futile, it’s not even in the dictionary any more. Not when it comes to these cookies.

Just imagine: 2 pounds — yes, pounds — of chocolate in these cookies.

They don’t call these “Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Crackly Crust” for nothing.

The recipe is from the new “The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook” (William Morrow), of which I just received a review copy. The book is by Seattle superstar Chef Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance, his former pastry chef who’s now his chief recipe tester.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, Chocolate, Favorite Cookie Recipes | Comments (9) | Author:

Three Places to Pick Up Holiday Sweets

Thursday, 20. December 2012 5:25

Three types of holiday bredele are offered at Vitrine at the St. Regis in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Bredele at the St. Regis in San Francisco

When he was growing up in Alsace, France, Executive Chef Romuald Feger remembers his grandmother baking up to 50 pounds of bredele every holiday season.

These tender cookies are a cherished tradition that he continues to this day at Vitrine restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco.

He makes three varieties: Anisbredele with green aniseeds for a distinctive taste; cocosbredele, made with dried coconut; and Basler Leckerli, a Swiss take on the delicacy featuring honey, candied orange and lemon peel, almonds, ground cloves, and cinnamon.

The bredele are served complimentary at the end of each meal at Vitrine throughout winter.

But this year, you also can purchase them through Dec. 31 to take home or to give as a gift. A package of $13 is $16; a pack of 26 is $32. Each pack is accompanied by the story of how Feger came to make them. Order them 24 hours in advance by calling (415) 284-4049.

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. Oh my! (Photo courtesy of the Cheesecake Factory)

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory

Indulge in a massive wedge of white chocolate cheesecake swirled with chunks of chocolate peppermint bark, and topped with white chocolate mousse and chopped peppermint candies.

It’s the latest seasonal offering from the Cheesecake Factory, available in its restaurants, for take-out and through online orders.

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Macarons Galore in Palo Alto

Wednesday, 19. December 2012 5:25

Chocolate Yuzu, Lavender Cassis and Red Velvet macarons from Chantal Guillon.

Chantal Guillon chuckles that Americans feel it’s a required rite of baking passage to try to make their own macarons at home, while the French scoff at the idea and would just as soon buy them from a specialty patisserie.

It would be like trying to bake your own baguettes at home, she says. Why?

When she moved to the Bay Area in 2008, the cupcake craze was in full throttle. But most folks were still unfamiliar with the dainty French sandwich pastry known as a macaron and often confused them with American macaroon cookies made with shredded coconut.

Guillon, a former restaurateur in France and art importer, decided it was high-time Northern Californians got to know real macarons.

Chantal Guillon outside her Palo Alto shop.

So, in 2009, she opened her namesake Chantal Guillon macaron and tea shop on Hayes Street. It proved so successful that this summer she opened her second shop on University Avenue in Palo Alto.

Recently, I met up with her at her brightly lit Palo Alto storefront. Inside, there are long glass cases of macarons of every hue and a whimsical wall art of women’s purses, each with a box of macarons sticking out of them — just like you’d see women doing in France, she says.

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