Category Archives: Great Finds

Route 11 Potato Chips — Addicting!

Lightly Salted Route 11 Potato Chips.

Lightly Salted Route 11 Potato Chips.

 

When one of my former magazine editors told me I had to try Route 11 Potato Chips, my ears and appetite perked up.

And when he told me that none other than celebrated Chef Jose Andres was a big fan (he even calls for them specifically in his recipe for a Spanish tortilla), well, how could I not order some?

Now, I don’t normally buy or even keep potato chips in my house. Yes, they are too much temptation to have on hand. So the thought of actually mail-ordering potato chips from Mount Jackson, VA was rather mind-boggling.

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Le Marché At Santana Row

Cardamom snail and sticky bun from The Midwife & The Baker stand at the Santana Row farmers' market.

Cardamom snail and sticky bun from The Midwife & The Baker stand at the Santana Row farmers’ market.

 

If you haven’t yet checked out the new summer farmers’ market at Santana Row, you’re missing out.

Le Marche takes place every Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., through September. The main Row is closed off to cars, so you can stroll both sides of the street easily to check out the wares of more than 50 vendors.

A bevy of stands to check out.

A bevy of stands to check out.

Beautiful summer tomatoes for sale.

Beautiful summer tomatoes for sale.

There’s everything from organic produce to fresh seafood and meat to cheese to baked goods.

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Black River Caviar — Just In Time For National Caviar Day

The makings for the good life.

The makings for the good life.

 

National Key Lime Pie Day. National Corn Chip Day. National Hummus Day.

Mentions of such food observance days on social media happen so frequently that I typically just roll my eyes.

However, when I was recently invited to a one-on-one private tasting just in time for National Caviar Day, well, how could I refuse? Yes, you see what gets my attention.

But Black River Caviar merits it.

After all, it’s the first farmed caviar in the Southern Hemisphere.

And it’s a favorite of U.S. chefs such as Michael Mina, Douglas Keane, Michael Tusk and Walter Manzke.

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Adagio Teas for the Gourmet Tea Lover

Genmai Cha from Adagio Teas.

Genmai Cha from Adagio Teas.

 

Born in Moscow, Michael Cramer (he Anglicized his original surname of Kreymerman after immigrating to the United States) grew up with tea as a staple.

So it may not be surprising that the former investment banker decided to establish a tea company in New Jersey in 1999 with his brother and mother.

What is remarkable is that Adagio Teas was profitable in its first year.

But when you taste the teas, you can see why.

There is a real vitality and vibrancy to them, as I found out when I was sent samples to try recently.

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Izakaya Rintaro — Spot-On From Start to Finish

Ribeye (back) and King Trumpet mushroom (foreground) yakitori at Izakaya Rintaro.

Ribeye (back) and King Trumpet mushroom (foreground) yakitori at Izakaya Rintaro.

 

Rare is the restaurant where you sit down to an entire meal and never experience one mundane bite.

Izakaya Rintaro in San Francisco’s Mission District is such a place.

That was my experience a week ago, when I tried the Japanese small plates restaurant with my husband, where we paid our full tab at the end of a delightful dinner.

Izakaya Rintaro was opened two years ago by Chef-Owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett, who was born in Kyoto. Early on in his career, he was Alice Waters assistant at Chez Panisse. When I was a food writer on staff at the San Jose Mercury News, I would call him incessantly, in need of quotes regularly from Waters, which he remembered.

The front of the restaurant.

The front of the restaurant.

Chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett manning the grill.

Chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett manning the grill.

At his izakaya, you’ll find the usual staple dishes and more. What truly sets them apart are the top-notch ingredients, detailed techniques, and flat-out care with which they are executed.

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