Category Archives: Enticing Events

Celebrating San Francisco with Harry & David, And A Food Gal Giveaway (Sponsored Post)

San Francisco-Inspired Gift Basket (photo courtesy of Harry & David)

San Francisco-Inspired Gift Basket (photo courtesy of Harry & David)

 

Even though I was born in San Francisco and have spent almost my entire life in the Bay Area, I admit that when I was younger I took this region for granted.

I remember spending college summers interning in Portland, OR and Boston, where the moment I told people where I was from, their faces would light up with envy. The same happened when I lived in South Florida.

It took living away to make me finally appreciate what was in my own backyard. Namely, a climate that is almost always comfortable; spoil-you-rotten pristine produce available year-round; a food scene other cities would kill for; a gorgeous setting with ocean, mountains and redwoods; and an educated, curious, multi-ethnic populace so often at the forefront of meaningful issues and trends.

Of course, these days, it’s also a breathtakingly exorbitant place to live, with nightmare traffic on the freeways, construction everywhere, and an increasingly frightening divide between the haves and the have-nots.

For all of that, though, I can’t ever imagine leaving. It is home. And always will be.

Harry & David recognizes just how special the San Francisco Bay Area is. That’s why it chose this area as one to spotlight in its new regional gift baskets. The other foodie areas celebrated with their own themed gift baskets are: Chicago, New York and Austin.

The San Francisco gift basket ($99.99) includes Cheddar Corn Chowder Soup Mix, Seafood Rub, sourdough loaf, Habanero Pineapple Seafood Glaze, Ghirardelli chocolates, a dishtowel imprinted with the San Francisco skyline, and a cute trolley-car cookie. It all comes packed in a woven basket.

For every regional gift basket purchased, 20 percent of net proceeds will be donated to food banks in those respective cities, including the SF-Marin Food Bank.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a Harry & David San Francisco-Inspired Gift Basket ($99.99 value). #TasteYourCity

Entries, open only to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST June 25. Winner will be announced June 27.

How to win?

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Your Chance To Win A $50 Gift Card to La Pastaia in San Jose

Cassarece pasta at La Pastaia. (Photo courtesy of La Pastaia, Hotel De Anza)

Cassarece pasta at La Pastaia. (Photo courtesy of La Pastaia, Hotel De Anza)

 

Located in the historic Hotel De Anza in downtown San Jose, La Pastaia was always one of my favorite restaurants when I worked in that city.

After all, I unabashedly love my carbs. And La Pastaia’s pastas always had a way of winning me over. Executive Chef Juan Zaragoza, who has been at the restaurant for a decade, turns out Italian favorites such as spaghetti vongole ($22) and cacio e pepe ($16), and standards such as a pork chop with warm farro salad ($27) and pan-seared salmon with toasted orzo ($25).

The hotel’s Headley Club Lounge, which features live jazz, has a sophisticated yet laid-back vibe that’s perfect for enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine. I’ve had many a reunion or good-bye party there with friends and colleagues.

Salmon at La Pastaia. (Photo courtesy of La Pastaia, Hotel De Anza)

Salmon at La Pastaia. (Photo courtesy of La Pastaia, Hotel De Anza)

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a $50 gift card to La Pastaia.

Entries, open only to those who can actually use the gift card within a year, will be accepted through midnight PST June 18. Winner will be announced June 20.

How to win?

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Join The Food Gal and Pastry Chef Dries Delanghe of Alexander’s Patisserie For A Baking Demo

MacysAlexandersPatisserie

Get ready for the sweetest demo ever when Pastry Chef Dries Delanghe of Alexander’s Patisserie in Mountain View joins me for a baking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 6 p.m. June 14.

The Belgium-born, acclaimed pastry chef starting baking at the young age of 14. After graduating at the top of his class with a bachelor’s degree in pastry techniques from a program in Bruges, Delanghe moved to Paris to train with the legendary Pierre Herme.

He followed that up with a stint as pastry sous chef at Joel Robuchon’s Las Vegas restaurant, before being hired as the executive pastry chef of Alexander’s Patisserie when it opened its doors in 2014.

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Get Ready for Dine Downtown San Jose — Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

DineDowntownSJ

A slew of restaurants will be offering special three-course prix fixe dinners, June 10-19, as part of Dine Downtown San Jose.

The prix fixe offerings will be priced from $20 on up. Participating restaurants include Arcadia, Cafe Stritch, The Farmers Union, and Poor House Bistro.

For every prix fixe meal sold, Sysco will donate $1 to Martha’s Kitchen, too. The San Jose organization provides meals to those in need.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a $50 gift certificate to Mezcal Restaurant in downtown San Jose. Use it toward the $30 three-course prix fixe the restaurant is serving up for Dine Downtown San Jose, which includes options such as tortilla soup, grilled steak with chipotle sauce, and warm Oaxacan chocolate cake. Or use it another time.

Chef Octavio Gomez of Mezcal. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Chef Octavio Gomez of Mezcal. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Mezcal specializes in moles, as well as chapulines (fried grasshoppers). If you’ve never experienced the latter, this is the place to try them. Seasoned with garlic, salt and lime, they’re as crisp and addicting as potato chips. So, no need to be squeamish.

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San Jose To Welcome First Northern California Halal Guys On June 3

Gyro and chicken platters by the Halal Guys.

Gyro and chicken platters by the Halal Guys.

 

Three Northern California franchises of the wildly popular The Halal Guys are set to open.

But it’s lucky San Jose that will get the first one, beating to the opening date the ones planned for San Francisco’s Tenderloin and downtown Berkeley.

That first Halal Guys will open 11 a.m. June 3 at The Plant, 81 Curtner Ave. #20. The first 100 guests in line will receive a free entree and the first 2,500 guests in line will receive a choice of a complimentary Halal Guys t-shirt or pair of sunglasses.

Get ready for gyro sandwiches, chicken and rice platters, and their famed white sauce and hot sauce.

The Halal Guys phenomenon began in 1990 when three guys from Egypt had the smarts to realize that Muslim cab drivers in New York were hungry for quick halal food. What started as a sidewalk food cart is now a booming franchise with locations not just in New York, but also Southern California, Houston and Chicago.

Thanks to delivery service Caviar, which was ferrying orders ($11.99 for platters) from the Halal Guys for a preview taste, I had a chance to sample some of the food a few days ago.

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