Category Archives: New Products

California’s Olive Queen Olive Oil

You might just feel like a queen when you taste the Olive Queen's extra virgin olive oils.

You might just feel like a queen when you taste the Olive Queen’s extra virgin olive oils.


California produces 3.5 million gallons of extra virgin olive oil annually from more than 400 growers/producers, according to the California Olive Oil Council.

Rob Akins and Mark Berry of Olive Queen Olive Oil in Forestville are among the smaller growers. But they make up for that in quality. The oils they produce are exceptional, as I found out when they sent me some samples to try.

Akins and Berry moved from Southern California to Sonoma County to buy an old, forlorn apple orchard, which they replanted with olive trees.

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Lobster — Smoke That!

Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster dip (cherry wood-smoked-style).

Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster dip (cherry wood-smoked-style).


You may be familiar with smoked salmon and smoked trout. But Robert Young wants you to get to know smoked Maine lobster.

His Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster company is named for Vinalhaven, a small island 12 miles off the coast of Maine, where Young fishes.

For the past decade, he’s been catching fresh lobsters aboard his boat, then steaming them, before extracting the meat to smoke over either cherry or hickory chips. The flesh is then either preserved in oil or turned into a lusty dip.

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Bee Free Honee — It’s Like Honey, But It’s Not

A honey-like product that tastes of apples.

A honey-like product that tastes of apples.


With its golden, amber hue, it looks a lot like honey.

But from the moment you unscrew the cap on the jar, you get the unmistakable whiff of sweet apples.

Bee Free Honee is a honey substitute made from organic apple juice, cane sugar and lemon juice — all cooked down until sticky and viscous.

The company was founded by Minneapolis-based Katie Sanchez, who grew up on an apple orchard with a father who was a beekeeper. One day, while trying to make a less sweet apple jelly, she accidentally created this syrupy concoction instead.

It’s vegan, and safe for anyone who has a honey allergy. Use it just like you would honey.

With bee populations decimated over the past decade, it’s also a way to enjoy a honey-like product while stressing bees less. Moreover, for every jar sold, Bee Free Honee donates 10 cents to pollinator-friendly groups.

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What Do You Want to Learn? Plus A Food Gal Giveaway for CourseHorse

Cooking up a storm in a CourseHorse class. (Photo courtesy of CourseHorse)

Cooking up a storm in a CourseHorse class. (Photo courtesy of CourseHorse)


One of my great regrets in life is not learning Cantonese as a child.

I blame my oldest brother for this.

You see, my parents sent him to Chinese school so he would learn the native tongue of my grandparents. They thought he was doing great — until my uncle let it slip that he saw my oldest brother playing basketball after school every day, which is when he should have been in Chinese school.

So much for that.

My parents, no doubt defeated by that experience, never even tried to send my other brother or me to Chinese school.

In high school, I had another chance to study Chinese. Mine was one of the few high schools at the time that offered courses in Mandarin. Not exactly my family’s mother tongue, but at least in the ballpark.

But what did I do instead? I took French, because I thought it sounded so pretty.

Yup, that one I have only myself to blame.

If only there was an easy way to learn now. Well, there just might be. CourseHorse is a start-up educational program that offers access to classes on everything from — yes — Mandarin to architecture to computer programming to pilates barre to sushi making.

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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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