Category Archives: General

Rockridge Market Hall Foods Celebrates 30 Years

Top-selling Italian ricciarelli cookies at Market Hall Bakery.

Top-selling Italian ricciarelli cookies at Market Hall Bakery.

 

More than three decades ago, this lot on College Avenue in Oakland sat empty except when it transformed into a pumpkin patch every Halloween.

But siblings Sara, Tony and Peter Wilson had a vision that it could be so much more.

The New Zealand natives set to work to turn it into the first European-style food court in the Bay Area.

This year, Rockridge Market Hall Foods celebrates its 30th anniversary, a remarkable achievement in this day and age when fewer and fewer family-owned markets seem able to survive yet alone thrive.

The bakery case.

The bakery case.

A wide assortment of cured meats for sale at Market Hall Foods.

A wide assortment of cured meats for sale at Market Hall Foods.

Just part of the cheese selection.

Just part of the cheese selection.

To celebrate, the marketplace is hosting monthly events all this year that feature fun free activities and treats. To see what’s upcoming, check out the calendar here.

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Planked Wild Salmon with Nectarines, Thyme, Honey, Almonds, and Ricotta — Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

Dinner is served -- right off the grill.

Dinner is served — right off the grill.

 

This might be the ultimate summer dish.

“Planked Wild Salmon with Nectarines, Thyme, Honey, Almonds, and Ricotta” combines summer’s prize of wild local King salmon with some of the season’s most luscious stone fruit — all co-mingled on a cedar plank that imparts a ravishing smokiness on the backyard grill.

Best yet? You can devour it all in good conscience because it’s all sustainable.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes From the West Coast” (Figure 1), of which I received an advance review copy, before it is released publicly in October.

LureCookbook

It was written by Ned Bell, who founded Chefs for Oceans to raise awareness for responsible seafood choices, and is a member of the Seafood Watch’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. He wrote it in conjunction with Valerie Howes, the food editor of Reader’s Digest Canada.

Doing the right thing when it comes to seafood can be daunting. Species that seemed plentiful often find themselves over-fished in no time flat. Do we have to give up eating what we love? Or is there another way?

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Just Pickle It — With SuckerPunch Gourmet

Making a Bloody Mary at home is a breeze with SuckerPunch Gourmet mixes.

Making a Bloody Mary at home is a breeze with SuckerPunch Gourmet mixes.

 

When David van Alphen launched his pickle-making business in Illinois in 2011, he wanted to give it a name that would convey the wallop of flavor he hoped to seal inside every jar.

Hence, SuckerPunch Gourmet was born.

Today, it makes not only pickles, but salsas and Bloody Mary mixes. I had a chance to try samples recently.

The Spicy Garlic Originals ($5.99 for a 24-ounce jar) is indeed the product that launched the company. Cut into thick slices, these are plenty garlicky, flavored with 15 spices including cloves and black peppercorns, and get a warm kick from arbol chiles. They are perfect tucked into a pastrami sandwich.

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Downtown Los Gatos Welcomes the Catamount

Soft serve with a chocolate magic shell and caramel sauce at The Catamount.

Soft serve with a chocolate magic shell and caramel sauce at The Catamount.

 

Following in the footsteps of Pizzeria Delfina, Gott’s and Tacolicious — all San Francisco restaurants that have ventured southward — now comes The Catamount in downtown Los Gatos.

It’s the newest establishment by restaurateur Ray Tang of the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco.

The handsome, 10,000-square-foot restaurant opened earlier this summer in the old California Cafe building. The interior was completely redone. The once open kitchen was closed off with trendy barn doors. The bar and dining room have been given the air of a modern plantation with breezy ceiling fans, plenty of rattan, and loads of windows to let streams of natural light in.

The old California Cafe redone completely.

The old California Cafe redone completely.

The inviting bar.

The inviting bar.

Its name pays tribute to the town’s name (Spanish for “the cats”), as well as its surrounding mountainous landscape.

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Coffee So Good

Raw cacao, cashews, a touch of sea salt, and cold-pressed coffee make up this Cashew Mocha.

Raw cacao, cashews, a touch of sea salt, and cold-pressed coffee make up this Cashew Mocha.

 

Coffee So Good is coffee so nutty, too.

In the best of ways.

This organic cold brew coffee manages to be creamy while being vegan.

The secret is cashews.

The nuts provide the creaminess that milk or cream normally would. Each 10-ounce bottle has 160-180 calories, as well as 4 grams of protein, about 10 grams of fat, and about 9 grams of sugar from agave nectar, depending upon the flavor.

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