View all posts filed under 'General'

LV Mar — A Latin Party in Downtown Redwood City

Friday, 17. October 2014 5:26

A party on the plate -- and in the dining room -- at LV Mar.

A party on the plate — and in the dining room — at LV Mar.


Most nights, LV Mar in downtown Redwood City, offers up a taste of modern pan-Latin cuisine in small and large plates.

But once a month, Chef Manuel Martinez throws a veritable party — offering a prix fixe dinner themed to a different Latin cuisine, complete with a band, dancers and singers.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant to experience October’s showcase on the Caribbean.

Martinez, who has cooked at Left Bank and One Market restaurants, also owns the more casual La Viga in Redwood City. LV Mar is his newer restaurant, which opened in November 2013. He’s been throwing these themed-dinners almost from the get-go.

Chef Manuel Martinez adorned for the occasion.

Chef Manuel Martinez adorned for the occasion.

When you check in at the hostess stand, you’re welcomed with Mardi Gras-like beaded necklaces to wear. All the tables are strewn with colorful star confetti to put you even more in the mood.

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Category:Cheese, General, Restaurants | Comments (1) | Author:

Baked Therapy

Wednesday, 15. October 2014 5:26

Nothing can keep me from baking a batch of these scones.

Nothing can keep me from baking a batch of these scones.


I can be swamped with work…

I can be sleep-deprived…

It can be 100 degrees that day…

But when I feel the urge to bake, I can’t be stopped.

What can I say? It’s my therapy. It’s my relaxation. It’s my treat to myself and others.

So when a review copy of the new “Baked Occasions” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) landed in my mail, I immediately dropped everything else and started leafing through it.


This is the fourth cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the owners of the popular Brooklyn baker, Baked. It includes 75 recipes perfect for holidays, special events and just any day that is an occasion of any sort. Find recipes from “Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise” to “Easter Coconut Sheet Cake” to “Peppermint Chocolate Meringues.”

“Chinese Five-Spice Sesame Scones” caught my eye from the start because I love the intoxicating fragrance of five-spice in stir-fries.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (6) | Author:

Cinnamon, Spice & All Things Nice, Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 13. October 2014 5:25

What's inside?

What’s inside?


Why do I love cinnamon? Let me count the ways.

Perhaps it all started as a kid, when my Dad and I would indulge on weekend mornings with cinnamon raisin toast slathered with butter. Truth be told, he often ate it for a late-night snack, too. Crisp, and heady with that warm, sweet, fragrant spice, who could blame him?

When I got older, and started my endless weekend baking bouts, Snickerdoodles were a favorite to make. Of course, rolling them in cinnamon-sugar was the best part.

And when I got older still, there was nothing so intoxicating as a Moroccan chicken scented heavily with cinnamon all over its beautiful bronze skin.

As a result, jars of cinnamon are always on hand in my pantry.

But nothing prepared me quite for the beauty of this container of cinnamon, which I received as a sample.

“Prosperity Cinnamon” is a lovely cinnamon bark box hand-carved with the Asian character for “prosperity.” Inside is 3 ounces of ground Vietnamese sweet cinnamon that is so fragrant, you’ll want to use it the minute you open it up.

It’s one of the many items included in the 2014 World Vision Gift Catalog.

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (8) | Author:

Justin’s Nut Butter on the Go

Friday, 10. October 2014 5:25

A snack of Chocolate Almond Butter? Justin's makes it super easy to do so.

A snack of Chocolate Almond Butter? Justin’s makes it super easy to do so.


Justin Gold was a vegetarian with an athletic lifestyle when he started whipping up his own nut butters in his Boulder, CO home.

It wasn’t long before he was packing them in 16-ounce jars to sell at local stores.

As an outdoorsy kind of guy, though, it dawned on him that so many energy bars and goos were just packed with sugar, not to mention pretty lacking in flavor. So, he thought, “Why not package his nut butters in on-the-go individual squeeze packets”?


Justin’s nut butters come in eight flavors. They’re all natural, made with dry-roasted nuts, organic cane sugar, palm fruit oil, vanilla and sea salt, as well as organic cocoa and organic cocoa butter in the chocolate varieties.

The nut butters stay fresh until you open the packet. Just knead the packet a little before opening to soften the nut butter and to incorporate the oil that naturally tends to separate out.

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Category:General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (3) | Author:

Cauliflower Salad — The French Way

Wednesday, 8. October 2014 5:26

Plenty of creamy, chopped hard-cooked eggs makes this cauliflower salad creamy and substantial.

Plenty of creamy, chopped hard-cooked eggs makes this cauliflower salad creamy and substantial.


I adore hearty salads like this.

The type that can be a meal in and of itself.

Or a side dish.

And can keep well for days in the fridge so you can enjoy it for lunch, dinner or a midnight snack, again and again.

“Cauliflower Salad with Eggs and Anchovies” is from the new cookbook, “French Roots: Two Cooks, Two Countries & The Beautiful Food Along the Way” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. The book is by Jean-Pierre Moulle and his wife, Denise Lurton Moulle. He was the executive chef of Chez Panisse for more than three decades. She founded Domaine de Bordeaux, a company that distributes Bordeaux wines in the United States and Canada.

The very personal cookbook takes you from their first meeting on a street corner in Berkeley in 1980 to their being married six months later. The book is not full of fancy chef-y recipes. Instead, these are dishes that they cook at home, full of old-world French flavors and sensibilities.


Of course as an alumni of Chez Panisse, Jean-Pierre knows his way around vegetables. But this recipe actually comes from his wife. Growing up in Bordeaux with its long winters, her family relied on sturdy vegetables to take them through the harsh season. This salad was a staple her mother served often.

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Category:Chefs, General, Recipes (Savory), Restaurants | Comments (8) | Author: