Author Archives: foodgal

Dining — To The Hilt — At Mourad

The magnificient basteeya at Mourad.
The magnificent basteeya at Mourad.

Whenever visitors from out of town query me about where to eat, one restaurant in particular always merits a high recommendation.

And that is Mourad in San Francisco.

Because chances are wherever they hail from, they do not have a restaurant in their vicinity that serves modern Moroccan cuisine. At least not anything as elevated and imaginative yet still stirringly soulful as this.

So, when I recently gathered to catch up with family in San Francisco last weekend and discovered they had never eaten here, I knew it was high-time they were introduced to Chef-Owner Mourad Lahlou’s singular cooking.

The kitchen at Mourad.
The kitchen at Mourad.
With Chef Mourad Lahlou.
With Chef Mourad Lahlou.

We perused the menu, ordered, and paid our tab — but had no idea that Lahlou would end up sending out nearly three-fourths of the menu to our table on the house. To say that we each needed a wheelbarrow to cart us out afterward would be putting it mildly. It proved a feast in every sense and for every sense.

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The Marvelous Spirals At Marvel Cake

The famed spiral croissants at Marvel Cake bakery.
The famed spiral croissants at Marvel Cake bakery.

It seems that just about everyone has wound themselves into a tight tizzy over spiral croissants.

Ever since the original “Supreme” was launched in New York City at Lafayette Grand Cafe & Bakery, the lines have grown legendary for the tightly coiled laminated pastries that have a hidden filling and a fanciful drizzle of glaze on top.

So, it’s no surprise that when Campbell’s Marvel Cake started turning out a similar version called the “Spiral Croissant,” it started drawing fans near and wide, with queues the norm.

I’m happy to report, though, when I took a chance last Tuesday and showed up five minutes before the bakery opened at 10 a.m., there was no line at all. Hallelujah!

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Mixing It Up with Edamame Herb Hummus

Swap out the usual chickpeas for edamame in this delicious and quick hummus.
Swap out the usual chickpeas for edamame in this delicious and quick hummus.

Anytime you can blitz together a few ingredients in a flash for a tasty and healthful snack, appetizer or light lunch that keeps for days, that’s a huge win.

And that’s exactly what “Edamame Herb Hummus” is.

Purists may scoff at the traditional chickpeas swapped out for those little green immature soybeans typically nibbled out of the pod at Japanese restaurants. But edamame are actually higher in protein, Vitamin C, calcium, and potassium than garbanzos, making them an alternative to be embraced heartily.

This super easy recipe is from the cookbook, “The Vegan Week” (Ten Speed Press, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by New York City-based Gena Hamshaw, a registered dietician nutritionist who created the vegan recipe blog, The Full Helping.

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Dining (And Drinking) At Adrestia and Nokori Japanese Whisky Bar

The Corvina Nikkei -- sans konbu dashi.
The Corvina Nikkei — sans konbu dashi.

Admittedly, when it comes to whisky, I am a total light-weight. It’s not that I don’t enjoy its smooth smoky, vanilla and caramel richness. It’s just that I fear keeling over after two sips.

That’s why I was glad to get introduced to Nokori Japanese Whisky Bar in the Tetra Hotel in Sunnyvale. It’s designed not only for true connoisseurs who like to sip premium and potent whisky neat, but for more wimpy imbibers like myself who can kick back instead with a lightened-up, tall whisky highball instead.

Last week, I was invited in as a guest of both Nokori and its adjacent restaurant Adrestia. Both are housed inside the upscale Tetra Hotel, which is actually right across from the AC Hotel Sunnyvale Moffet Park, which has a bar that conversely specializes in gin. Both are Marriott properties.

The Tetra Hotel in Sunnyvale.
The Tetra Hotel in Sunnyvale.
The hotel's Japanese whisky bar.
The hotel’s Japanese whisky bar.

Since it’s located near several Google buildings and Lockheed Martin, don’t be surprised to see plenty of tech types with laptops and suitcases biding their time in the lobby, bar or restaurant until they depart for the airport.

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A Panna Cotta For Adults Only

If you love a Negroni, you'll be smitten by this Negroni panna cotta.
If you love a Negroni, you’ll be smitten by this Negroni panna cotta.

Have you ever wanted to drink your cocktail — and eat it, too?

You most certainly can with this playful “Negroni Panna Cotta.”

Made with gin, Campari, and vermouth just like the classic Italian cocktail, this is one panna cotta you’ll want to reserve only for grown-ups.

The recipe is from “Bar Menu” (Running Press, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by Andre Darlington, a food and beverage writer based in Philadelphia and North Carolina.

While a few specialty cocktail recipes are included, this is really a collection of recipes for food that pairs with various mixed drinks — from light bites to more substantial noshes to even desserts.

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