Wake Up and Smell The Coffee, Tea, Yerba Mate, Etc.

It's coffee. But more. Kind of. Sort of.

It’s coffee. But more. Kind of. Sort of.

 

San Franciscan Kelly Peterson was on the hunt for a coffee alternative — one that had the flavor of her favorite brew, but not the jarring acidity.

She ended up creating her own: Levity Brew.

It’s a blend of organic, single-origin Columbian coffee; organic yerba mate (naturally caffeinated leaves from the rainforest tree); organic chicory; organic imperial green tea; and wild-harvested guarana seed (naturally caffeinated seeds from the South American tree).

You brew it just like a cup of tea using the nifty bag it comes in.

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Rewarding Yourself in the New Year — The Fika Way

Isn't it time you took a little break?

Isn’t it time you took a little break?

 

Go, go, go!

That’s how our lives are these days.

But I’m here to say it’s time to stop, stop, stoppppppppp.

At least once in awhile.

The Swedish way.

As in fika.

It’s the art and practice of taking a break to enjoy a coffee with a little treat.

And in Sweden, it’s a custom adhered to at least once a day.

Doesn’t that seem positively wonderful and civilized?

A few minutes to unplug, to stop typing, to put down the phone, and to just take a breath and be present with your surroundings and companions.

It’s what we should all do more of in this new year. It’s what we all deserve, too.

Fikabook

“Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break” (Ten Speed Press) will put you in the mood to do just that.

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Mexican Food Like You’ve Never Experienced — At Californios

The fanciful Yerba Buena Fruit Cup at Californios.

The fanciful Yerba Buena Fruit Cup at Californios.

 

If your idea of Mexican food is nothing but bulging burritos and bargain-basement tacos at a sombrero-saturated cantina, prepare to have your mind blown by Californios.

At this nearly year-old Mission District restaurant in San Francisco, Chef-Owner Val M. Cantu and his wife, maitre d’ Carolyn Cantu, serve up a contemporary single prix fixe each evening of, yes, Mexican cuisine. Oh, there are beans. There is menudo. And agua fresca. But reinvented with startling finesse like you’ve never seen.

Together with the new much-lauded Cala in San Francisco, which I’ve not yet visited, Californios is changing perceptions by broadening our definition of Mexican food in a most exciting way.

The open kitchen provides a dramatic centerpiece for this dark, enveloping little restaurant.

The open kitchen provides a dramatic centerpiece for this dark, enveloping little restaurant.

Art, wine, and culinary books fill a nearby bookcase.

Art, wine, and culinary books fill a nearby bookcase.

A few weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. It’s a very intimate space of only about 22 seats that was designed by Carolyn Cantu. You step inside and it’s as if the restaurant envelopes you immediately in a cloak of secrecy. The street windows are tinted deep gray, the walls are paneled darkly, and the lighting inside is very dim — like that of a movie theater. Your eyes are drawn to the brightest spot — the open kitchen fronted by a chef’s counter, where three chefs, including Val Cantu, work the line. The effect is very romantic even with the classic rock music in the background. The look calls to mind a moody Edward Hopper painting, though it’s not a diner that’s glorified here, but a unique restaurant for the ages.

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Christmas Biscuits? Why Not!

Merry Christmas with out-of-the-oven, homemade biscuits!

Merry Christmas with out-of-the-oven, homemade biscuits!

 

As you ready to open presents this Christmas morning or prepare for the big holiday feast to come tonight, wouldn’t a pan of fresh, warm biscuits hit the spot?

Imagine them slathered with sweet butter and marmalade for breakfast today or alongside glazed ham tonight.

Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine sure is.

Biscuits don’t get any easier or more irresistible than these from Howard Bulka, chef-owner of Howie’s Artisan Pizzeria in Palo Alto and Redwood City.

The Palo Alto location is all about pizza. The Redwood City one, with its much larger and fully equipped kitchen, goes beyond the charred, flavorful pies to include everything from house-made pasta to classic burgers, too.

What’s more, the Redwood City one also offers weekend brunch, which includes an astonishingly great array of baked goods. This is where you’ll often find these heavenly biscuits offered.

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