Category Archives: New Products

Chinese-Italian Fried Rice — The Columbus Way (Sponsored Post)

Not your typical fried rice.

Not your typical fried rice.


When I was a kid growing up in San Francisco, it was not uncommon for my birthday dinner at home to consist of Chinese roast duck with plum sauce, followed by a St. Honore cake decked out with mini cream puffs.

Because Chinatown and North Beach bump up against one another, my Mom would often trek after work to pick up provisions for dinner from a nearby Chinese deli, then stroll over to an Italian bakery to buy my favorite cake.

Part Chinese, part Italian – it made perfect sense. And it was a most delicious way to celebrate. So much so that when the folks at Columbus Craft Meats invited me to create a recipe using one of their premium salami, I immediately thought of fried rice. Columbus was established in 1917 in North Beach, long before today’s craft salumi craze took hold. It’s what I grew up with, tucked into sandwiches or just nibbled by the slice out of hand.

Read more

San Jose To Welcome First Northern California Halal Guys On June 3

Gyro and chicken platters by the Halal Guys.

Gyro and chicken platters by the Halal Guys.


Three Northern California franchises of the wildly popular The Halal Guys are set to open.

But it’s lucky San Jose that will get the first one, beating to the opening date the ones planned for San Francisco’s Tenderloin and downtown Berkeley.

That first Halal Guys will open 11 a.m. June 3 at The Plant, 81 Curtner Ave. #20. The first 100 guests in line will receive a free entree and the first 2,500 guests in line will receive a choice of a complimentary Halal Guys t-shirt or pair of sunglasses.

Get ready for gyro sandwiches, chicken and rice platters, and their famed white sauce and hot sauce.

The Halal Guys phenomenon began in 1990 when three guys from Egypt had the smarts to realize that Muslim cab drivers in New York were hungry for quick halal food. What started as a sidewalk food cart is now a booming franchise with locations not just in New York, but also Southern California, Houston and Chicago.

Thanks to delivery service Caviar, which was ferrying orders ($11.99 for platters) from the Halal Guys for a preview taste, I had a chance to sample some of the food a few days ago.

Read more

Chamba’s Soup(er) Pot and A Food Gal Giveaway

La Chamba soup pot. (photo courtesy of La Chamba)

La Chamba soup pot. (photo courtesy of La Chamba)


Whenever I make a big pot of soup, I do so in a cheery lapis Le Creuset that I practically fill to overflow with stock and plenty of veggies and heirloom beans.

But imagine making soup in the striking pot pictured above. Its shape makes it ideal, doesn’t it?

Indeed, it was created just for that purpose, handmade in Columbia from black clay that contains mica, which allows it to withstand a lot of heat, as well as to retain heat.

La Chamba cookware is revered for its beauty and its performance. The unglazed pot can go on the stovetop, in the oven or even the microwave (well, if you’re using a small piece).

Just don’t put it in the dishwasher, though. And before using it for the first time, it must be seasoned by filling it three-quarters of the way with water and baking in a hot oven for half an hour.

Its bulbous shape makes me think of Chinese winter melon soup, a soothing sip if there ever was one.

At Chinese banquet meals, that soup would arrive inside the cavity of the huge winter melon itself, its thick jade-green rind often carved intricately with Chinese characters and its flesh having been scooped into balls or chunks to simmer in the bubbling broth.

My Mom often made a more simplified version in winter fortified with small slivers of chicken that had been coated in egg white to add tenderness.

With its quenching, almost watermelon-like texture, and its mild, subtle natural sweetness, it makes for a soup that goes down comfortingly and easily, and somehow always makes me think of family.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a large, 6-quart La Chamba soup pot (a $69.95 value), courtesy of Toque Blanche, a gourmet cookware store in Half Moon Bay, which also has a sister store, Chefworks of Santa Cruz. It is the only direct importer in California that stocks the entire La Chamba line.

Read more

Petit Pot — Pudding and Cookies, the French Way

Dark Chocolate Petit Pot with Vanilla French Mini Cookie.

Dark Chocolate Petit Pot with Vanilla French Mini Cookie.


When you shrink down desserts, they just get so adorable, don’t they?

Not to mention irresistible since you so want to covet one all to yourself.

Petit Pot’s pot de cremes and shortbread cookies make that easy to do.

The South San Francisco company was founded by Frenchmen, Pierre Coeurdeuil, a former Valrhona food engineer; and Pastry Chef Max Pouvreau, who has worked at Coi and Radius restaurants, both in San Francisco.

They specialize in certified organic French pots de creme in various flavors that are sold in individual glass jars, as well as little round shortbread cookies. Of course, the two together make for a perfect dessert duo. I had a chance recently to try samples.

Read more

Sprogs — A Fun-To-Eat, On-The-Go Snack

Front to Back: Bacon & Egg, Kale & Kimchee, and Coconut Red Lentil Sprogs.

Front to Back: Bacon & Egg, Kale & Kimchee, and Coconut Red Lentil Sprogs.


Are you a fan of onigiri — the Japanese rice balls wrapped around centers of pickled plum, cooked seafood, veggies, and pretty much anything else the imagination can come up with?

Then, you’ll love Sprogs, the small “rice scooters,” that take them to the next level.

The San Francisco company was created by Ching-Yee Hu, a busy mom who was looking for the perfect snack for her kids, as well as herself. When she couldn’t find exactly what she was craving, she decided to make it, herself.

It’s such a brilliant concept that you wonder why someone didn’t come up with it sooner. Hu was already making pressed fresh brown-rice squares for her kids when she decided to expand on the idea with more inventive flavorings.

She uses Northern California haiga brown rice that is partially milled to remove the tough outer bran to make it easier to digest yet retains the nutritious germ inside. Then, she created both “Veggie” (vegan) and “Meatie” varieties.

Read more

« Older Entries Recent Entries »