Category Archives: New Products

Three Energy Bars to Fuel The Summer

Pure Organic Bars

Pure Organic Bars


During the summer especially, when we’re all hiking, playing tennis, biking, and traveling by car or plane, a healthful snack is a must-have.

It has to be easy to pack. It has to refuel our tired bodies. And it has to taste good, of course.

These three energy bars do the trick.

Pure Organic bars don’t contain gluten, dairy, soy or GMOs. The Fruit and Nut Bars weigh in at 200 calories or less, and contain 5 to 6 grams of protein and 3 to 4 grams of fiber. They are barely sweet and have a dense, chewy, fruitcake-like texture. The Apple Cinnamon one is like a taste of apple pie, only a whole lot less sugary.

Pure’s Organic Ancient Grain Bars have more crunch, thanks to quinoa, amaranth, flax and hemp. These have 150 to 160 calories, and 5 grams of protein and about 9 grams of total fat. Again, these have only a whisper of sweetness. The Chocolate Chunk Nut Bar won’t ever pass for a brownie. But it has the earthy, slightly bitterness of cocoa that makes it a pleasant way to enjoy a little chocolate without verging into dessert territory.

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New Ciao Bella Summer Flavor, Ruth Reichl To Pay A Visit, and More

Blueberries and passion fruit combine for this summery flavor from New York's Ciao Bella.

Blueberries and passion fruit combine for this summery flavor from New York’s Ciao Bella. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Introducing A New Summer Ciao Bella Flavor

I like to think of this as a non-guilty pleasure.

After all, Ciao Bella’s new Blueberry Passion Fruit Sorbetto is not only delicious, but it has 0 grams fat, 0 grams cholesterol, and 0 grams sodium. It’s also dairy-free. A half cup has 110 calories.

I had a chance to try a sample recently. It’s a little berry sweet. A twinge tangy. And a whole lot refreshing. Kind of like a favorite smoothie in frozen form.

A 14-ounce container is $5.39 and sold exclusively at Whole Foods.

Ruth Reichl in Conversation in Mountain View

You won’t want to miss the one and only Ruth Reichl in conversation with Michael Krasny at 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

Ruth Reichl. (photo courtesy of the author)

Ruth Reichl. (photo courtesy of the author)

The noted restaurant critic, author and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, Reichl will be joined by the host of Forum on KQED.

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Testing Out

Green beans with pork in a tamarind sauce (back) and fried fish with a jumble of salted beans, ground chicken and shallots from Chez Sovan via way of

Green beans with pork in a tamarind sauce (back) and fried fish with a jumble of salted beans, ground chicken and shallots from Chez Sovan via way of


These days, why bother driving to a store or restaurant, when you can get someone else to bring whatever you need right to your doorstep instead?

That’s the idea behind so many apps and Web sites now, including the new, now operating in more than 38 cities around the country.

It allows you to order provisions from markets, wine and spirits stores, and restaurants, as well as services from laundry and dry-cleaning shops.

I was asked to test it out with a $50 gift card. Because only restaurants are offered right now in my area of the South Bay, I decided to spend it all on a food delivery order from one of my favorite family-owned restaurants, Chez Sovan in Campbell. It’s one of the few Cambodian restaurants in the Bay Area, and its food is crave-a-licious.

The site is easy enough to navigate. Once you pick your restaurant, click on it to get a menu. Then, just click on each dish you want.

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Test-Driving (And Cooking) Sun Basket

I made this for dinner from a Sun Basket cooking kit.

I made this for dinner from a Sun Basket cooking kit.


There are enough meal delivery start-ups these days to make your head spin and your stomach growl over just which are worth ordering — if any.

When I was invited to try out a free delivery by San Francisco’s Sun Basket, I was swayed to do so by a couple of factors.

First, the recipes for the cooking kits were developed by Justine Kelly, former executive chef at The Slanted Door in San Francisco. Second, the quality of ingredients is impressive. The kits include organic, seasonal ingredients from highly regarded purveyors such as Dirty Girl, Far West Funghi, Water 2 Table, and Marin Sun.

Sun Basket was founded by Adam Zbar, a serial entrepreneur who found himself 50 pounds overweight from binging on burgers and pizza like so many young techies. That led him to develop meal kits that would make it easier for busy people to cook nutritious dinners at home.

All you do is go on the site a week ahead of time to order your weekly delivery, which consists of three different meals that you choose from Sun Basket’s menu. Each recipe is designed to take about 30 minutes to prepare, and has 500 to 800 calories per serving. There are also gluten-free, paleo and vegetarian options. Each meal is $9.99 per person.

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Farm Hill: A Meal Delivery Service Targeting the South Bay

The Classic Chicken entree from Farm Hill.

The Classic Chicken entree from Farm Hill.


Every time I turn around these days, a new startup is popping up to deliver either cooking kits or prepared meals to your home or office.

Almost all of them, though, zero in on San Francisco first, before spreading to other parts of the Bay Area.

Not so with Farm Hill.

The founders, Marc Manara and Mark Wittman, who got the idea for the business while students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, started the service first in the South Bay. They wisely deduced that in urban centers like San Francisco, it’s fairly easy to walk out the door to find a tasty lunch close by. But in more suburban areas, going for lunch often means getting in the car to drive a few miles for sustenance.

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