Category Archives: Great Finds

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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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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