Category Archives: Great Finds

Three Gourmet Gifts For Friends, Family — Or Yourself

Rice crackers and cheese puffs are among the treats inside this Bokksu box.

Rice crackers and cheese puffs are among the treats inside this Bokksu box.

Elevated Snack Attack

Founder Danny Taing has elevated the snack box — big time — with his Bokksu subscription service.

Every month, he curates a selection of premium Japanese snacks, which — yes — can include such coveted treats as the newest Japanese Kit Kat flavor — that are mailed directly to you from Japan.

Recently, I had a chance to try a sample box. They come in two sizes, the $25 “Tasting” size and the larger $39 “Classic” size, which is the one I had sent to me.

Each month, there is a different theme for each box. For the November one, it was “Tea Story,” which meant everything inside — about 20 items — married well with Japanese tea. With every month’s box, there is always tea included, too.

Everything is tucked inside a custom box.

Everything is tucked inside a custom box.

Voila!

Voila!

The snacks arrived in a sturdy, custom logo box, which is a nice touch if you’re giving it as a gift. Inside, there’s a pamphlet with a primer on tea (apparently, it originated in Japan in the 9th century by Buddhist monks as a religious practice), as well as descriptions of the items inside. That’s a handy guide, too, since much of the information on the actual packages is in Japanese. It even identifies possible allergens in the various products.

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Bread Galore In Every Which Way at the New Manresa Bread Campbell

A two-fisted chicken schnitzel at the new Manresa Bread in Campbell.

A two-fisted chicken schnitzel at the new Manresa Bread in Campbell.

 

If you already love the artisan loaves at Manresa Bread, then you are sure to go bonkers for the new downtown Campbell location that opened less than two weeks ago.

That’s because it features not only its already adored long-fermented loaves made with its freshly milled flours, but bread in so many other incarnations.

We’re talking chicken schnitzel breaded in the bakery’s own crumbs before being fried to a crisp and loaded into a fresh-baked bun with caper, mayo and house-fermented kraut.

Spaetzle made with a sourdough starter, and finished in a sauce of whey, butter and Pecorino.

And bone marrow matzo balls bobbing in bone broth, with the tender, moist dumplings actually made with levain bread crumbs.

Shelves of bread where you help yourself to loaves.

Shelves of bread where you help yourself to loaves.

Crusty baguettes.

Crusty baguettes.

At 2,100 square feet, the Campbell locale is twice the size of the Los Gatos and Los Altos locations, enabling it to also operate much more like an all-day cafe, with hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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You Won’t Believe This Cookie Is Nonfat

No fat -- yet with an explosion of ginger goodness.

No fat — yet with an explosion of ginger goodness.

 

I am often put off by the word, ”nonfat.”

It usually means non-flavorful, non-satisfying and non-worth-it.

That’s why I approached with trepidation the recipe for “Nonfat Gingersnaps” in the new Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake (Food52 Works) (Ten Speed Press) by Kristen Miglore, Food52’s creative director, of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook comprises more than 100 recipes that are touted as game-changers. Indeed, they span from a “Brazilian Carrot Cake” recipe in which raw carrots are blitzed in a blender with eggs, oil and sugar for the batter” to “No-Stress Pie Dough” in which the cubes of butter are pinched into the flour before adding cold water to “Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake with Superfluffy Frosting” that uses avocado in the batter, and almond milk and brown rice syrup in the frosting for a cloud-like Cool Whip-texture.

Food52GeniusDesserts

So many people embrace nonfat because of health concerns. But every chef will tell you that fat equals flavor. It also provides satiation. Just consider how much more full you feel — and for far longer — if you choose full-fat yogurt over nonfat, not to mention the added calcium you get.

As I read over the recipe, visions of awful Snackwells nonfat cookies popped into my head. But I knew that if the recipe was published in a Food52 book, it must be good. Moreover, if it was a recipe created by pastry chef extraordinaire David Lebovitz, well, then it had to be superb.

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Scenes From “Taste of Yosemite” November 2018

A giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park that will have you in awe.

A giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park that will have you in awe.

 

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA — If you didn’t make it to the grand “Taste of Yosemite” event last week — actually held twice this year — you definitely missed out, because the next one won’t take place until January 2020.

The popular winter-time extravaganza that draws a host of celebrated chefs to host cooking demos and cook multi-course gala dinners at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, normally takes place every January for nearly the entire month. But it will be on hiatus January 2019, as the hotel’s kitchen gets renovated.

So mark your calendar for January 2020 for its return.

Meantime, to rev your appetite and interest, I happily serve up morsels from last week’s event, in which I served as moderator for two sessions.

Thrilled to moderate this session that featured Cowgirl Creamery, Peter Armellino of the Plumed Horse, and Adam Mali of The Battery.

Thrilled to moderate this session that featured Cowgirl Creamery, Peter Armellino of the Plumed Horse, and Adam Mali of The Battery.

It was actually the second “Taste of Yosemite” of 2018, with the first one occurring in January of this year. Organizers decided to do another shortened bonus “Taste of Yosemite” this month.

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A Complete Thanksgiving Meal — Rendered In Ice Cream Form

Turkey fat caramel ice cream with candied turkey skin brittle mixed in. I kid you not.

Turkey fat caramel ice cream with candied turkey skin brittle mixed in. I kid you not.

 

I just downed a scoop of turkey ice cream — and I loved it!

If you’re looking for a way to jazz up Thanksgiving, look no further than Salt & Straw.

The Portland-based ice creamery that has become a sensation with its highly unusual offerings has encapsulated the quintessential flavors of the Thanksgiving feast in its new holiday ice creams.

I had a chance to try samples of the five festive flavors, when pints were sent to my home.

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