Another year, another 365 days of satisfying the appetite. Which eats do I still dream about? Which would I go back to just for another sublime taste?
These are my Top 10 dishes of the year (in no particular order). Here’s to 2019 — and more unforgettable meals to come!
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.
Made by Israeli-born Ayelet Turgeman Nuchi, a former private chef on the Peninsula, this Eastern European specialty bread has been transformed.
Rice crackers and cheese puffs are among the treats inside this Bokksu box.
Elevated Snack Attack
Founder Danny Taing has elevated the snack box — big time — with his Bokksu subscription service.
Every month, he curates a selection of premium Japanese snacks, which — yes — can include such coveted treats as the newest Japanese Kit Kat flavor — that are mailed directly to you from Japan.
Recently, I had a chance to try a sample box. They come in two sizes, the $25 “Tasting” size and the larger $39 “Classic” size, which is the one I had sent to me.
Each month, there is a different theme for each box. For the November one, it was “Tea Story,” which meant everything inside — about 20 items — married well with Japanese tea. With every month’s box, there is always tea included, too.
Everything is tucked inside a custom box.
The snacks arrived in a sturdy, custom logo box, which is a nice touch if you’re giving it as a gift. Inside, there’s a pamphlet with a primer on tea (apparently, it originated in Japan in the 9th century by Buddhist monks as a religious practice), as well as descriptions of the items inside. That’s a handy guide, too, since much of the information on the actual packages is in Japanese. It even identifies possible allergens in the various products.
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.
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.
A friendly scarecrow stands watch at the Santa Clara Unified School District Farm.
With new condos and tech buildings going up at a dizzying pace in Silicon Valley, it’s hard to believe that in the midst all this concrete and glass, one can actually still enjoy the bucolic experience of a dinner on a farm here.
But you can — right here in Sunnyvale at 1055 Dunford Way. At an 11-acre organic oasis owned by the Santa Clara Unified School District.
After taking over the property last year from Full Circle Farm, the district hired farmer Dave Tuttle to over see it. And how fruitful the SCUSD Farm has become. This season, 1,500 pounds of tomatoes were harvested and turned into sauce for use in lunches at the district’s 28 schools. In fact, every day, there is something featured from the farm on school menus, most notably in the salad bars.
Persimmons ripening on the tree.
Twenty tons of pumpkins were grown, along with 3,000 pounds of watermelon. There are persimmon, avocado, pomegranate and lemon trees thriving. Rows of fava beans, Persian cucumbers, and kabocha squash were planted. There are nine laying hens, and beehives, too.