Category Archives: General

A Chocolate Bar With An Unusual Ingredient

A new chocolate bar that uses Coffee Flour. And yes, that's a mound of Coffee Flour on the plate.

A new chocolate bar that uses Coffee Flour. And yes, that’s a mound of Coffee Flour on the plate.

 

Jcoco’s newest chocolate bar tastes of cherries.

Yet there are no actual cherries in it.

Instead, its fruity taste comes from discarded coffee waste, otherwise known as the pulp leftover when a coffee bean is extracted from its fruit.

Canadian company Coffee Flour, which has offices in Redwood City, started working with coffee farmers five years ago to turn coffee waste into a type of gluten-free flour. Now, food manufacturers are starting to use coffee waste in new products like this chocolate bar.

Coffee flour has more iron per gram than spinach, more fiber than whole wheat flour, more protein than kale, and more potassium than a banana.

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Fill’er Up in Los Angeles

How pretty is this lemon cake from Sycamore Kitchen?

How pretty is this lemon cake from Sycamore Kitchen?

Sycamore Kitchen

Sure, they serve lunch, but I was there for the baked goods. But of course.

Husband and wife owners Quinn and Karen Hatfield cooked for a spell in San Francisco, before departing for Los Angeles to open Hatfield’s. In 2012, they also opened the Sycamore Kitchen, an urban cafe and bakery with a large outdoor patio.

Karen is a long-time pastry chef, so it’s no surprise that the pastries excel here.

How good are they?

Let’s start with the buttercup ($3.50), the renamed version of a kougin-amann. It’s buttery alright. It’s also the closest kouign-amann I’ve found to that of Belinda Leong’s of B. Patisserie in San Francisco and John Shelsta’s of Howie’s Artisan Pizzeria in Redwood City (he trained with Leong). It’s golden and crisp, with airy layers that are just a smidge heavier in texture than Leong’s and Shelsta’s versions. It’s a dream to nibble on.

The buttercup (kouign-amann).

The buttercup (kouign-amann).

Yes, this is a babka.

Yup, this is a babka.

Then there are the cookies. At first glance, they look incredibly flat and thin — almost as if they were a mistake. But take a bite of the rice crispy cookie ($2.50) and the oatmeal toffee cookie ($2.25) and you know they were baked with purpose. The thinness means they are somehow crisp and chewy through and through. Brilliant.

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Smile For Grapefruit Custard Pie

A sunny pie with a bitter edge.

A sunny pie with a bitter edge.

Grapefruit was one thing I didn’t grow up eating.

Sure, our house was filled in the winter with the scent of fresh oranges, lemons and tangerines.

But grapefruit was noticeably absent.

Its powerful bitter edge is not something kids naturally gravitate to.

It took becoming an adult for me to appreciate its singular gifts.

After all, bitterness has a pleasing way of balancing out sweet, and adding a sophisticated character.

That’s especially true in “Grapefruit Custard Pie.” This sunny recipe is from “Sweet and Tart” (Chronicle Books) by food writer Carla Snyder, of which I received a review copy.

SweetandTartbook

The book includes 70 recipes spotlighting citrus in both sweet and savory preparations, such as “Key Lime Bars with Tropical Nut Crust” and “Lemony Pesto-Goat Cheese Dip with Vegetables.”

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Sent Sovi Transforms Into Relish Gastro Lounge

An adult root beer float at Relish Gastro Lounge.

An adult root beer float at Relish Gastro Lounge.

 

The hushed atmosphere and the white tablecloths have been jettisoned. And a whole new concept and personality have taken hold.

Sent Sovi in downtown Saratoga was Chef David Kinch’s stepping stone to even greater accolades as he went on to establish the Michelin three-starred Manresa in Los Gatos.

Chef Josiah Slone purchased the restaurant from Kinch, and for nearly 13 years kept the fine-dining ambiance, but with his own spin on it.

Now he and wife Khin Khin Slone have overturned that format, and launched a much more casual restaurant in its place.

Relish Gastro Lounge debuted in February with its reclaimed wood tables, color-changing lights, and soundtrack of rock and jazz. I had a chance to check it out a couple weeks ago when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

RelishSign

The tap system.

The tap system.

The wine preservation system.

The wine preservation system.

You’ll find 20 wines by the glass (preserved with the same argon gas system Sent Sovi used), along with 24 beers on tap. The menu, headed up by Chef Timothy Uttaro, former Sent Sovi sous chef, is made for sharing.

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