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Chocolate Fest, Tomato Dinner, Grilled Cheese Galore & More

Thursday, 8. September 2011 5:25

Enjoy the fun at the sundae-eating contest. (Photo courtesy of the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival)

16th Annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Fest

Celebrate all things wonderfully chocolate at the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival in San Francisco, noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 10-11.

Enjoy chef demos, live entertainment, ice cream sundae eating contests, and plenty of chocolate to swoon over.

The event benefits Project Open Hand, a San Francisco-based organization that provides meals for people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as seniors.

Tickets are $20 each, which entitles you to taste 15 samples.

VIP “Sweet Sixteen” Affair tickets also are available for $50 each for a noon-4 p.m. special event on Sept. 10. You’ll forgo the lines to enjoy exclusive sweets, wine and music, along with your standard 15 sample tastes and full access to the rest of the festival.

Live Out the Fantasy of Being a Chef for a Day

You can do just that at Puccini & Pinetti Restaurant in San Francisco.

Under the tutelage of Executive Chef Richard Hodge, you will don chef whites, and get behind the line at this bustling Union Square restaurant. You’ll learn about food safety, shadow various cooks throughout the day, chop herbs, wash veggies and make pasta. Dress requirements include comfortable clothing and closed-toed, slip-resistant shoes. Participants also must be at least 18 years old, germ-free from colds or the flu, and willing to sign a release form.

The “Chef for a Day” experience is $125 for a five-hour shift and includes dinner afterward prepared by Hodge at the chef’s counter. Proceeds benefit the Larkin Street Youth Program, which helps provide services for homeless and at-risk youths.

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Category:Cheese, Chefs, Chocolate, Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Wine | Comments (10) | Author:

My Favorite East Bay Haunt — the Cheese Board

Thursday, 25. August 2011 5:25

My VERY favorite sourdough cheese rolls. Heaven! ($2 each)

If I am ever in the vicinity of the East Bay, there is one place I always have to stop — the Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley.

It doesn’t matter if I happen to be headed to Oakland or Emeryville. I gladly make the detour, put up with finding parking in Berkeley’s congested Gourmet Ghetto, and happily wait in line at this bakery.

Because the baked goods are just that good.

I’m talking sourdough cheese rolls so incredible that I almost always inhale one right when I get back into my car; the freshest English muffins with a plethora of lovely nooks and crannies; sweet, crumbly corn cherry scones the color of sunshine; and moist, deep, dark, wonderful chocolate cake loaves with a hint of coffee.

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Category:Bakeries, Cheese, General, Great Finds, Pizza | Comments (19) | Author:

New Sourdough Specialities, McEvoy Ranch Garden Walk, Wine Crawl & More

Wednesday, 20. July 2011 5:25

Sourdough gnocchi with lovely lobster. (Photo courtesy of Boudin Bistro)

San Francisco’s Bistro Boudin Offers New Sourdough Dishes

Bistro Boudin at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf has upped the sourdough factor on its summer menu.

A variety of new dishes highlight the tangy, wonderful bread made by the cafe’s Gold Rush-era bakery.

Look for Bistro Shrimp Salad ($14.95) with grilled avocado, tangerines, chopped romaine and cilantro vinaigrette piled into a crispy sourdough cup; Grilled Salmon Al Tagine ($25.95) with clams, spinach, cherry tomatoes, Moroccan olives and capers served with sourdough crostini; and Sourdough Gnocchi ($23.95) with decadent chunks of lobster in a creamy pesto sauce.

Grilled salmon tagine with sourdough crostini. (Photo courtesy of Bistro Boudin)

San Francisco Wine Crawl

Sure, you’ve heard of food truck crawls, where those culinary four-wheelers gather in one spot to ply their delicious wares. Now, get ready for a wine version of that.

SF Wine Crawl, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. July 24, affords you the chance to taste wines from 10 of San Francisco’s urban wineries.

Treasure Island is the location for this unique event — only appropriate since several wineries already make their home there. Sip wine, meet the winemakers and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Bay.

The event is accessible by car and #108 Muni bus.

Tickets are $40 per person; $60 VIP tickets include a VIP shuttle to ferry you around to each winery.

Enjoy a visit to McEvoy Ranch -- complete with lunch. (Photo courtesy of the ranch)

Garden Tour and Lunch at McEvoy Ranch in Marin County

McEvoy Ranch — producers of spectacular estate-grown, certified organic extra virgin olive oils — is opening up its 550-acre property in the hills west of Petaluma for a garden walk plus lunch, 10 a.m. to noon July 22.

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Category:Bakeries, Cheese, Enticing Events, General, Restaurants, Wine | Comments (5) | Author:

Getting Acquainted with Goat

Tuesday, 12. April 2011 5:25

Fluffy dumplings made with goat  milk, goat butter and two types of goat cheese.

Seventy percent of the red meat eaten around the world is not cow, nor pig, nor lamb. Would you believe it’s goat?

Yet for most of us in the United States, goat merely brings to mind a creamy chevre, and little else.

The prolific food writing duo of Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough are hoping to rectify that. Their latest cookbook is “Goat: Milk, Meat, Cheese” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), of which I recently received a review copy. This comprehensive book includes a wealth of information about all things goat, as well as recipes that include “Goat Shanks with Cabbage, Port, and Vanilla,” “Chilled Blueberry Tzatsiki Soup” made with goat yogurt, and “Goat Cheese Brownies.”

They realize that a lot of folks are predisposed to hate goat meat, even if they may never have tried it. So many people fear it’ll be too barnyard-y or funky tasting. But goats that are slaughtered between six and nine months possess none of that. Instead, the meat is slightly earthy and quite tender. Ounce per ounce, goat is also lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than chicken, beef, pork or lamb.

Latin chefs have had a love affair with goat for generations. Nowadays, more and more chefs are discovering how fabulous the meat is and even spotlighting it on pricey tasting menus.

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Category:Cheese, General, Meat, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (16) | Author:

Tomato Sale to End All Tomato Sales & More

Wednesday, 23. March 2011 5:26

Grow your own tomatoes -- with the help of Love Apple Farm. (Photo courtesy of the farm)

Love Apple Farm’s Annual Tomato Seedling Sale

Yes, folks, this is the biggie — the tomato seedling sale that’s the largest in California, the one that attracts droves of home gardeners, including folks from Los Angeles, who have been known to drive up and back in one day just for it.

Why? Because Owner Cynthia Sandberg knows her tomatoes.

Sandberg runs the 20-acre Love Apple Farm in Santa Cruz, which supplies one — and only one — restaurant with an astounding variety of produce. That would be the Michelin-two-star Manresa in Los Gatos.

The seedling sale will kick off at 9 a.m. March 26 and run through June 26. An astounding 30,000 plants representing more than 100 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes will be sold, including Black Oxheart, Gary O’ Sena, Hippy Zebra and Mountain Pride. Seedling prices range from $3.50 to $5.50 each.

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Category:Bakeries, Cheese, Chefs, Fruit, General, Wine | Comments (9) | Author: