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Three New Places To Check Out in 2018

The famous Doughnut Wheel at Charlie Palmer Steak Napa. (photo by Paige Green Photo)

Charlie Palmer Steak

Just before Thanksgiving, Chef Charlie Palmer opened the first California location of his American steakhouse concept. Charlie Palmer Steak Napa marks his fifth steakhouse across the country.

Housed inside the new Archer Hotel Napa, the 4,000-square-foot restaurant is headed by Executive Chef Jeffrey Russell.

Enjoy raw bar specialties; pig ear pad thai ($16); a 21-day dry-aged, bone-on tomahawk chop for two ($130); and A5 Wagyu from Japan at $100 for 4 ounces.

The Bottomless Brunch ($38) per person includes unlimited Bloody Marys and Mimosas for two hours, the choice of a main course, and either a charcuterie board for the table or a “doughnut wheel.” The latter is sure to become an Instagram sensation with its cinnamon-sugar, chocolate-glazed, and almond-chocolate doughnuts stacked on a wheel with caramel and raspberry dipping sauces.

New Pastry Chef for Bacchus Management Group

Bacchus Management has hired its first executive pastry chef to head all of its restaurants and bakeries.

The new Nutella baby cake at Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, and the Village Bakery & Cafe. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

For the first time, one person will oversee the baking and dessert programs at The Village Pub in Woodside, The Saratoga in San Francisco, Spruce in San Francisco, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto, The Village Bakery & Cafe in Woodside, and four Pizza Antica outposts in the Bay Area.

Janina O’Leary grew up in Texas, graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York, and went on to work in such top-tier, fine-dining establishments in Manhattan as Per Se, Del Posto and Restaurant Daniel. She also worked at Bouchon Bakery in New York. When she moved to Austin, she became famous for her doughnut pop-ups, whimsically named Play Dough.

She’s already adding new touches to Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, and the Village Bakery & Cafe, by increasing the number of cakes and tarts available for sale whole in the bakery cases, and by the slice in the cafes.

Pastry Chef Janina O’Leary’s carrot cake with caramel ice cream. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Fromage blanc cheesecake with oat crumble, and vanilla ice cream. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Her Nutella baby cakes ($3.75) have been a hit since Day One. They’re like shrunken devil’s food cupcakes made with olive oil to keep them a little savory. Nutella gets mixed into the batter, and is plentiful in the buttercream topping, as well.

And yes, doughnuts are on the way. They’re already making their way onto a few of the restaurant menus. Additionally, she hopes to introduce brioche ones at the bakeries, starting with once a week, where they will be fried fresh and available in the mornings with seasonal glazes.

Oaktown Spice Opens Second Outpost

Since husband-and-wife John Beaver and Erica Perez opened their original Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland in 2011, it has amassed a loyal following, including being named by Food & Wine magazine as one of the world’s best spice shops.

Samples from Oaktown Spice. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

In December, they opened a second shop, this one at 1224 Solano Ave. in Albany.

Both locations feature an amazing array of spices, everything from Ajwain Seeds to Honey Powder to Persian Lime Curry Rub.

Look for fun classes, too, such as kimchi workshops.