Category Archives: General

Now’s The Time For Crostata Di Marmalata

Apricot squared -- with apricot jam and fresh apricots.

Apricot squared — with apricot jam and fresh apricots.


Last week at the farmers market, when I spied baskets of ripe apricots with the intense orange-red glow of a tropical sunset, I couldn’t contain myself.

Then, I just had to bake.

These beauties were destined for “Crostata Di Marmalata,” an easy apricot jam-filled tart that I took the liberties of blinging out by decorating it with halves of these early stone fruit.

The recipe is from master baker Jim Lahey’s newest book, “The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook” (W.W. Norton, 2017), of which I received a review copy.


You probably know Lahey for the phenomenon he created with his revolutionary no-knead bread recipe a decade ago. Lahey, who opened his Sullivan Street Bakery in New York in 1994, is known far and wide for his way with bread, made with wild yeast he hand-cultivated in Italy.

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Psst — There’s A New Secret Burger at Bird Dog

Presenting the new burger at Bird Dog (conveniently cut in half for the two of us to share).

Presenting the new burger at Bird Dog (conveniently cut in half for the two of us to share).


It might very well be the best burger you’ve ever had.

But it’s not listed on the menu. At least not yet.

The only way you can try the sublime double-patty creation at Bird Dog in downtown Palo Alto is to know about it and ask for it.

So for those of you reading this, go for it. You won’t regret whispering this order to your server.

What makes this burger so special?

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Final Days of La Cocina Auction, Mini Shops in San Jose, and A New Farmers Market

Nite Yun's offerings. (photo courtesy of IfOnly)

Nyum Bai’s soulful offerings. (photo courtesy of IfOnly)

La Cocina Online Auction

San Francisco’s inspiring food entrepreneur incubator, La Cocina is holding an online auction now through May 28. Proceeds will benefit the organization’s entrepreneurs, who are largely immigrant women working to launch self-sustaining food businesses.

Among the incredible items up for bid are:

For a look at all the items up for bid, click here.

The New Moment at San Pedro Squared

Now, you can not only park your car at San Jose’s downtown Market-San Pedro garage, but do a little shopping, too.

Four new mini stores. (Photo by Rick Jensen)

Four new mini stores. (Photo by Rick Jensen)

Twelve parking spaces on the San Pedro side have been converted into four micro stores to help give greater visibility to new, small business owners.

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Discover Kinako Ice Cream

Ice cream flavored with a toasty tasting Japanese product.

Ice cream flavored with a toasty tasting Japanese product.


When my husband heads to the store to buy ice cream, I just roll my eyes.

Because he always gets the same flavor, no matter what.

In a world of Chunky Monkey, Tin Roof, strawberry cheesecake, Vietnamese coffee and more, he reaches for vanilla. Every single time.

Oh, he’ll tell me that he might get something different this time.

But of course, he never does.

So I am left to my own devices — to make my own. And in my mind, the more distinctive, the better.


That’s why when “The Perfect Scoop” (Ten Speed Press) was revised and updated recently, I couldn’t wait to pore through my review copy. The original frozen desserts bible by food writer and popular blogger David Lebovitz, who worked at Chez Panisse for a dozen years, was published a decade ago — when I didn’t yet own an ice cream machine. This time around, I was ready. Boy, was I, to make something creamy smooth and unique.

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Parcel 104 Celebrates Its 17th Year

Not to big, not to small, but just right citrus tart by Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez.

Not to big, not to small, but just right citrus tart by Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez.


To help celebrate Parcel 104’s 17th anniversary this year, the restaurant in the Santa Clara Marriott near Levi’s Stadium last week reunited founder Chef Bradley Ogden with the team there for a special Cakebread Cellars wine dinner last week, which I was invited to as a guest.

The festivities will continue, as the restaurant is offering a $35 three-course lunch through July 31 with appetizers by Ogden, entrees by Executive Chef Sergio Morales, and desserts by Pastry Chef Carlos Sanchez.

Ogden, who practiced farm-to-table long before it became part and parcel of the Bay Area lexicon, is now working and living in Lodi’s wine country, as culinary director at the Wine & Roses resort.

Chefs Bradley Ogden (left) and Sergio Morales, (right).

Chefs Bradley Ogden (left) and Sergio Morales, (right).

Sanchez has been with Parcel 104 since day one. Born in Columbia, he has staged and worked with Juan-Mari and daughter Elena Arzak at Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain, as well as Pastry Chef Jordi Roca of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, two of the greatest restaurants in the world. Over the years, Sanchez has become known for his dainty-sized desserts, often served in trios, that are perfection personified.

Cakebread Cellars' wines matched to each course.

Cakebread Cellars’ wines matched to each course.

Morales was supposed to be a lawyer like his father. In fact, he attended Santa Clara University’s law school for a year and a half before leaving to follow his passion of cooking. He graduated from the Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell, now known as the International Culinary Center. His Dad first feared that he’d end up being a short-order cook, flipping burgers for the rest of his life. But now, his father couldn’t be prouder of his son working his way up from a cook to head chef here.

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