Category Archives: Great Finds

Join the Food Gal and Lisa Murphy of Sosu Sauces For A Macy’s Demo


You’re in for a spicy, scrumptious time at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara when Lisa Murphy, founder of the Bay Area’s Sosu Sauces joins me for a cooking demo at 6 p.m. Nov. 19.

Sosu Sauces makes my favorite sriracha sauce. The artisan sauce is hand-made in small batches, then aged in whiskey barrels to give it great complexity and a hint of smokiness.

Learn how Murphy gave up a career in banking and high-tech to spread the gospel of sriracha and Srirachup (that’s her mashup of her sriracha with ketchup).

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Salivating for Artisan Sopressata

Take a taste of Sopressata Calabrese.

Take a taste of Sopressata Calabrese.


Brothers Steven and Eric are the fourth generation of Bavas to hand-craft a spicy Italian dry salami specialty known as sopressata Calabrese.

Their grandfather brought the recipe to America after immigrating to Chicago from the small mountain town of Simbario in Calabria, Italy. Every winter following Christmas, the whole family gathered to whip up a batch, which would then be served at every special family occasion throughout the year.

Now, the brothers are making that same cured sausage in small batches in Los Angeles and selling it via a small select group of retail stores.

Recently, I had a chance to try Bavas Brothers Sopressata Calabrese.

Deep ruby red, the squat sausage is firm and chewy. It’s full of sweet porkiness, along with a good jolt of peppery spice that builds the more you chew.

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Trokay — A Fine-Dining Surprise in Truckee

Kauai shrimp sizzling away on searingly hot granite at Trokay.

Kauai shrimp sizzling away on searingly hot granite at Trokay.


TRUCKEE, CA — In my youth, trips to Lake Tahoe didn’t involve sophisticated fare. Instead, it was all about burgers, pastas and Mexican food — hearty and inexpensive eats that filled you up after a hard day on the slopes.

But truth be told, it was also because those simple dishes were all that could be found then.

Not anymore.

Imagine my delight to find Trokay in Truckee, a fine-dining establishment versed in molecular gastronomy and true attention to detail that would be right at home in San Francisco or New York.

In fact, owners John and Nyna Weatherson are from New York. She was the head cheesemonger of the landmark Murray’s Cheese in the West Village. He is a Culinary Institute of America graduate, who was the top-ranked student in his class, and went on to be chef de partie at Restaurant Daniel.

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The Taste of Sriracha In A Rub

A lamb chop gets even more yummy with Sosu Sriracha Rub all over it.

A lamb chop gets even more yummy with Sosu Sriracha Rub all over it. Plus a few home-grown Padron peppers as a garnish.


Imagine the fruity heat of Sriracha crossed with the unmistakable aromatic, earthy smokiness of cumin.

That’s what you get in the new Sosu Sriracha Spice Rub.

Lisa Murphy of Oakland’s Sosu Sauces makes what is probably my favorite Sriracha sauce around. It’s aged and fermented in whiskey barrels to give it even more fruitiness and smokiness, adding to its overall complexity not found in other run-of-the-mill Asian hot sauces.

Very much like a winemaker, she produces the sauce only once a year — when peppers and tomatoes are at their peak in summer. It’s a controlled frenzy to take all that fresh produce and turn it into her Sriracha and Srirachup (Sriracha ketchup).

As a small producer cognizant of the importance of not wasting anything, she developed the rub as a way to use up the peppers used in aging the Sriracha. She was inspired by the cumin lamb skewers famed in Xi’an, China.

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A Taste of Korean Walnut Pastry

Discover Korean walnut pastries.

Discover Korean walnut pastries.



I am drawn to bakeries. What can I say?

So even after gorging one evening on fried chicken at Vons in Sunnyvale (a must-try for the “crispy” chicken, by the way), I still felt compelled to stop in at a bakery steps away in the same strip mall on El Camino Real.

What enticed me was Cocohodo’s sign: “Walnut Pastry.”

Walnut pastries? Korean ones? What could those possibly be?

Why, quite delicious, that’s what.

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