Category Archives: Enticing Events

Chamba’s Soup(er) Pot and A Food Gal Giveaway

La Chamba soup pot. (photo courtesy of La Chamba)

La Chamba soup pot. (photo courtesy of La Chamba)


Whenever I make a big pot of soup, I do so in a cheery lapis Le Creuset that I practically fill to overflow with stock and plenty of veggies and heirloom beans.

But imagine making soup in the striking pot pictured above. Its shape makes it ideal, doesn’t it?

Indeed, it was created just for that purpose, handmade in Columbia from black clay that contains mica, which allows it to withstand a lot of heat, as well as to retain heat.

La Chamba cookware is revered for its beauty and its performance. The unglazed pot can go on the stovetop, in the oven or even the microwave (well, if you’re using a small piece).

Just don’t put it in the dishwasher, though. And before using it for the first time, it must be seasoned by filling it three-quarters of the way with water and baking in a hot oven for half an hour.

Its bulbous shape makes me think of Chinese winter melon soup, a soothing sip if there ever was one.

At Chinese banquet meals, that soup would arrive inside the cavity of the huge winter melon itself, its thick jade-green rind often carved intricately with Chinese characters and its flesh having been scooped into balls or chunks to simmer in the bubbling broth.

My Mom often made a more simplified version in winter fortified with small slivers of chicken that had been coated in egg white to add tenderness.

With its quenching, almost watermelon-like texture, and its mild, subtle natural sweetness, it makes for a soup that goes down comfortingly and easily, and somehow always makes me think of family.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a large, 6-quart La Chamba soup pot (a $69.95 value), courtesy of Toque Blanche, a gourmet cookware store in Half Moon Bay, which also has a sister store, Chefworks of Santa Cruz. It is the only direct importer in California that stocks the entire La Chamba line.

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The (Cheese) Table

Ribbons of Bohemian Creamery's Capriago cheese cover the top of mushroom-pork ragout with grits at The Table.

Ribbons of Bohemian Creamery’s Capriago cheese cover the top of mushroom-pork ragout with grits at The Table.


Last week, San Jose’s The Table was transformed into the cheese table.

The popular Willow Glen neighborhood restaurant hosted its inaugural cheese dinner. This one spotlighted the cheeses of Bohemian Creamery of Sebastapol in a $75 seven-course dinner that included paired beverages. I was lucky enough to be invited in as a guest of the restaurant, which plans to make the cheese dinner an annual event.

Owner and cheesemaker Lisa Gottreich was on hand to talk about her hand-made cheeses, which are sold at retailers such as the Cheese Board in Berkeley and Sunshine Foods in St. Helena, and featured at restaurants such as Ad Hoc in Yountville, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Nopa in San Francisco and SPQR in San Francisco.

Gottreich makes her 13 types of cheeses the Italian-way, with little salt. The goat cheeses are made with milk from her own herd of goats. The other types of milk that go into her cheeses are purchased from nearby farms.

In the far right, Chef-Owner Jim Stump greets cheesemaker Lisa Bottreich in the dining room of The Table.

In the far right, Chef-Owner Jim Stump greets cheesemaker Lisa Bottreich in the dining room of The Table.

The kitchen at work with Chef "AJ'' Jmenez in the baseball cap.

The kitchen at work with Chef “AJ” Jmenez in the baseball cap.

The first course brought her Bodacious five-day-old goat cheese with a bloomy rind in a spring dish of asparagus and Oro Blanco grapefruit that was paired with Sikyo “Mirror of Truth” Takehara Junmai sake. What a great way to start with a creamy, tangy cheese and a floral, clean sake that worked well with the always tricky-to-pair asparagus.

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You’re Invited To #Foodtography With the Food Gal and Craig Lee

SunnyvaleLibraryWorkshopDo you like to share your opinions about food? And photograph what you eat or cook?

Then, you’ll want to join me and award-winning food photographer Craig Lee when we host a workshop, “#Footography,” 7 p.m. April 25 at the Sunnyvale Public Library.

I’ll share the in’s and out’s of food writing these days — whether it be a simple post on Facebook or an in-depth magazine story or even writing a cookbook. Want to break into food writing? Learn what it takes, as well as the benefits and the pitfalls involved. Want to start your own food blog? Learn what that entails — the good, the bad and the crazy.

Craig, who for years was the main food photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle’s food section, will teach you how to compose, light and shoot better food photos — no matter if you’re using a camera phone or a DSLR.

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Annieglass Debuts New Spring Collection, Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

A stunning hand-made glass cheese board by Annieglass. (Photo by Annieglass)


Looking for a perfect bridal shower gift? Or wedding gift? Or perhaps just something new and pretty for your own entertaining needs?

Annieglass has you covered with its new spring line.

Watsonville designer Annie Morhauser has been handcrafting unique glassware for more than 30 years. Made in her Watsonville studio, her elegant pieces have been featured at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, and at the Four Seasons resorts. Celebs Jennifer Aniston and John Grisham are reported fans, too.

You’ll find the designs at her store, which opened last year in San Jose’s Santana Row.

Annieglass debuts new collections only twice a year. The new spring collection is all about spring blooms with bowls and glasses with scalloped, petal edges. The pieces range in price from $67 to $240.

The new spring collection by Annieglass. (Photo by Annieglass)

The new spring collection by Annieglass. (Photo by Annieglass)

CONTEST: See that gorgeous Annieglass large Grove Plank Cheese Board at the top of this post? The wood grain and knots were actually textured using wood grain from an actual tree. The 15-by-8-inch hand-made glass board (valued at $113) is durable, chip-resistant and dishwasher-safe. It’s one of Annieglass’ best sellers.

Imagine serving cheese, crackers, fruit or canapes to friends and family from that stunning piece. You can — if you’re the winner of this contest.

One lucky Food Gal reader will receive that glass board. Entries, limited to those on the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST April 16. Winner will be announced April 18.

How to win?

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Call for Entries for Sunnyvale Library’s “Cooking Up Stories” and So Much More


Participate in “Cooking Up Stories”

The Sunnyvale Public Library invites foodie writers to take part in its “Cooking Up Stories,” an ebook about food and cooking.

The library is seeking your best short story or non-fiction piece to publish in this electronic compilation. If your submission is chosen for inclusion, it will be added to the library’s online collection, making it available to a wide audience. You still retain the copyright to your story, so you can reuse your submission elsewhere in the future, too.

Submissions will be taken starting April 1. For more information about the project, click here.

Smitten Ice Cream Coming to Santana Row

The upside to all that construction going on lately at the Park Valencia area of San Jose’s Santana Row?

A new and improved plaza that will include Smitten Ice Cream.

Mint chocolate ice cream being made at Smitten Ice Cream in Los Altos. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Mint chocolate ice cream being made at Smitten Ice Cream in Los Altos. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

The 600-square-foot shop will open in July, serving Smitten’s patented made-to-order ice cream. You can watch for yourself as liquid nitrogen freezes the mixture in a flash at a super low temperature, resulting in smaller ice crystals and a supremely smooth ice cream.

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