A goblet of ahi poke at Fleming’s Santa Clara.
With Whole Foods, Il Fornaio, Sur La Table, Books Inc., and other businesses, Santa Clara Square has been hopping.
Even more so now with the opening of the newest Fleming’s Steakhouse nearly two months ago.
Be prepared to scour the parking lot for a space if you dine here, though. That’s because the lot is surprisingly compact, given the number of businesses. And there’s no street parking nearby. One can only wonder how much more congested the place will get once Puesto restaurant opens, too.
As it is, prepare to circle around quite a bit to snag a space. We did on a weeknight, when we were invited in as a guest of the restaurant. We ended up giving in to valet parking in front of Fleming’s. It will set you back $7. You pay with your credit card, then text when you are done with dinner to have your car ready and waiting when you leave.
The dining room.
A partition of wine bottles.
It’s a handsome restaurant with a glassed-in open kitchen at the back. The dining room has large booths, and a dramatic light fixture that may make you think of a UFO. Floating shelves of wine bottles act as a partition between the bar and dining room.
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.
A wide assortment of cured meats for sale at Market Hall Foods.
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.
Blue Jade corn growing in the Wente Vineyards produce garden.
That Livermore’s Wente Vineyards makes first-class wines is a given.
But the oldest, continuously operating family-owned winery in the United States makes so much more on its 2,000 acres in Livermore, as I found out when I was I was invited for a tour recently.
Extra virgin olive oil. Herbs, fruits and veggies galore grown in its own garden. And even beef.
Yes, The Restaurant at Wente gets 12 steer a year from its own herd that graze on the hillsides. Like Japan’s famed Wagyu, these Black Angus cows get some special treatment, too: two glasses of its Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon daily for the last 90 days of their life.
Chef Mike Ward.
Master Gardener Diane Dovholuk.
“We don’t get them drunk,” Wente Chef Mike Ward says with a chuckle. “It helps them metabolize food better so they can eat more.”
Rossotti Ranch’s veal rib eye grilled with herbs and spices. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)
For decades, veal has been shunned by many.
For good reason, what with horror stories of calves snatched from their mothers, only to be confined in crates so minuscule they couldn’t even turn around.
But just as some farmers now have instituted more humane treatment of chickens, pigs, and full-grown cows, so too have they done so with calves.
Rossotti Ranch is a ninth-generation, family-owned ranch on the border between Marin County and Petaluma, that is committed to raising 100-percent pasture-raised goat, chicken, duck, and veal. It was established by husband-and-wife Tony and Julie Rossotti, who hail from ranching families originally from Switzerland.
Ranch Co-Owner Julie Rossotti (photo by Kristina Franziska Haas).
They recently just started selling their meats nationwide through their Rossotti Ranch Web site, where you can purchase different packages, such as the Rancher’s Box, 5 pounds of premium veal cuts, plus 2 pounds of ground or stew veal meat, a jar of seasoning, and a cookbook — all for $125. Or create your own custom box of products.
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.
Beautiful summer tomatoes for sale.
There’s everything from organic produce to fresh seafood and meat to cheese to baked goods.