Category Archives: Great Finds

Take A Taste of the Impossible and Beyond Meat Burgers

Sampling a slider-size of the Impossible Burger at Jardiniere before its public launch.

Sampling a slider-size of the Impossible Burger at Jardiniere before its public launch.

 

What is a burger without meat?

Diehard carnivores might answer, “A travesty.”

But even they might change their minds after a bite of the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger. Both are entirely plant-based patties that closely mimic beef burgers. And both are now available in the Bay Area for vegetarians and the curious to enjoy.

Impossible Burger is the creation of Redwood City’s Impossible Foods. It is fashioned from wheat, coconut oil, potatoes, and heme, a compound in plants and meat, which gives meat its characteristic aroma and taste.

Compared to raising cows for burgers, the Impossible Burger uses 95 percent less land, 74 percent less water, and creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also free of hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients. And you don’t have to worry about slaughterhouse cross-contamination.

El Segundo’s Beyond Meat Burger is similarly environmentally-friendly, and is fashioned from pea protein, yeast extract, coconut oil, beet extract and annatto extract.

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Real Good Fish Is…Real Good

Fresh Tomales Bay oysters that I got at my local library, of all places, thanks to Real Good Fish.

Fresh Tomales Bay oysters that I got at my local library, of all places, thanks to Real Good Fish.

 

Just-caught fish, delivered conveniently to pick-up locations in your Bay Area neighborhood each week, with reasonable prices and no long-list of middlemen to tack on more costs.

That’s what Moss Landing’s Real Good Fish is all about.

Established in 2012 by founder Alan Lovewell, who studied international environmental policy, it was one of the first community supported fisheries in Northern California. It operates in much the same way as a CSA. But instead of buying a “share” in a farm that provides you with a box of produce each week, you buy a “share” in the group of local fishermen that Real Good Fish partners with.

Not only are you getting impeccably fresh, local, sustainable, seasonal fish, but helping to support fishermen and their families in your community.

I shucked some to enjoy on the half shell with mignonette sauce.

I shucked some to enjoy on the half shell with mignonette sauce.

I was invited to try some sample deliveries, receiving a weekly full share (1 to 2 pounds of seafood), which is normally $22 per week.

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Oui Oui to These French Sable Cookies

La Mere Poulard puts a generous amount of butter in these biscuits or cookies.

La Mere Poulard puts a generous amount of butter in these biscuits or cookies.

 

BUTTER!

I had to type that in bold all caps — with an exclamation mark — just to emphasize how incredibly buttery tasting these cookies are.

La Mere Poulard cookies were first baked in 1888 by Annette Poulard, the local baker’s wife in Mont Saint-Michel, France at the inn she opened. La Mere Poulard pays homage to those original cookies with its own versions, made with no preservatives or GMOs. Produced in France for 15 years, they are now readily available in the United States.

The cookies are made with eggs from free-range hens and sugar from beets. It’s not surprising that after the first ingredient listed of wheat flour, comes butter. Because these cookies taste unabashedly of sweet, creamy butter.

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Prepare to Wait in Line: Din Tai Fung Ends Reservations

Read it and weep?

Read it and weep?

 

The sign above says it all. Dumpling-maker extraordinaire Din Tai Fung, which had to institute the first reservations system ever when its first Northern California location opened in May 2016 at Santa Clara’s Westfield Valley Fair mall, will no longer be accepting reservations starting today.

With waits of up to five hours when it first opened its doors last year, what can one expect now? The hostess said at dinner time on a weeknight, it shouldn’t be more than an hour and a half wait. On weekends, expect it to be longer. Yikes! But during the off-hours, you might be able to just walk right in.

I just squeaked in last week with one of the last reservations available. Of course, I did have to eat “dinner” at 4:15 p.m. — the latest reservation of the day that was open. But my friend and I (we paid our tab) didn’t mind at all. We were just glad to get in easily.

No line. But then, it was at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday.

No line. But then, it was at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday.

The bar area.

The bar area.

This was my first time to the Santa Clara location, though, I’ve dined at the original Southern California ones in Arcadia many times before. There were two, located just one block from one another. What made that ideal was that if there was a line at one, you could just walk to the other and usually get in without a hitch. But no more. The second Arcadia location has moved to the Westfield Santa Anita. That seems to be the new trend with the Taiwanese chain — opening its new locations in upscale malls.

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Thomas Keller Debuts A Chocolate Bar

Four-star chocolate from a four-star chef.

Four-star chocolate from a four-star chef.

 

When Thomas Keller of the French Laundry makes a chocolate bar, you just know it’s not going to be your run-of-the-mill candy.

Not by a long-shot.

What makes this chocolate bar so different and special is that it contains extra virgin olive oil. And naturally, it’s olive oil by one of Italy’s most exclusive producers, Armando Manni. The Tuscan producer makes some of the most cherished and expensive olive oils around, beloved by illustrious chefs such as Keller and New York’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Their collaboration is K+M Extravirgin Chocolate. The premium cocoa beans are processed in a way that maintains their antioxidants that are normally destroyed in the chocolate-making process. A small amount of Manni extra-virgin olive oil is added to boost the level of antioxidants even more.

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