Category Archives: Bakeries

Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies That Can Be Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free or Vegan

Buckwheat, which is gluten-free, gives these cookies a dark gray-brown hue.
Buckwheat, which is gluten-free, gives these cookies a dark gray-brown hue.

Now that I’m trying to consolidate and minimize my trips to the grocery store, I have been on a quest to clean out my freezer of miscellaneous flours to create more space for other things.

You know, like tubs of ice cream. Kidding. Sort of.

So when I spied this recipe for “Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies,” I knew it would help me use up a bag of buckwheat flour languishing in the deep-freeze.

The recipe is from “Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats” (The Countryman Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Angela Garbacz, the owner of Goldenrod Pastries in Lincoln, NE.

What makes this cookbook especially intriguing is that every recipe has suggested ingredient swaps so you can make it easily gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan, if you prefer.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 8

A heap of yaki soba with pork belly chashu, cabbage, shiitakes, and pickled ginger -- from Ozumo.
A heap of yaki soba with pork belly chashu, cabbage, shiitakes, and pickled ginger — from Ozumo.

Ozumo, San Jose and San Francisco

What foods have you missed most during shelter-in-place? French fries, or most any fried foods for that matter, and sushi? That’s the consensus among my friends and family. Understandable, given that those are things most of us rarely prepare for ourselves at home.

Ozumo comes to the rescue on so many of those fronts. Former professional baseball player Jeremy Upland founded the restaurants after falling hard for Japanese cuisine during his time playing in the Japanese Pacific League. Its location in San Jose’s Santana Row is especially convenient because there are plenty of free parking lots just yards away.

To satisfy those fried foods cravings, look no further than karaage ($14) and Ozumo shrimp ($18).

Classic karaaage (front), and Ozumo shrimp (back).
Classic karaaage (front), and Ozumo shrimp (back).

I’m not going to lie — when you get these to-go, their crunchy coatings will suffer a bit by the time you get them home. But the fried white shrimp coated with shichimi can be re-crisped fairly well by just searing them in a hot frying pan on the stovetop. The accompanying yuzu-honey aioli is sweet and creamy like Japanese Kewpie mayo, with a citrusy and spicy edge. Our little plastic container of it got slightly melted when it was tucked inside the to-go container with the straight-from-the-fryer shrimp. But you can always transfer the sauce to your own dipping bowl at home.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 7

Khachapuri adjaruli -- a bread lover's dream at Bevri.
Khachapuri adjaruli — a bread lover’s dream at Bevri.

Bevri, Palo Alto

When it debuted in downtown Palo Alto in 2018, Bevri was thought to be the first Georgian restaurant in all of Northern California.

Russia-born Pavel Sirotin, who also works at Google, opened it with his brother and sister-in-law because he missed his favorite homeland noshes. Over the years, word has spread about this unique gem of a place, and even more so now after the restaurant was featured on a recent episode of “Check, Please! Bay Area Kids Special.” Sirotin says a lot of newcomers have discovered Bevri as a result of that show, with many of them racing in and declaring, “I want what those kids had!”

It’s all available for takeout, too. If you are a carb lover like I am, you simply must order the iconic khachapuri adjaruli ($21), the soft, puffy, canoe-shaped bread whose center is molten cheese. The bread comes packed in a pizza box so it won’t get smooshed on the drive home. A separate container of butter, and a raw egg yolk is included. Warm up the bread in a toaster oven, then plop the yolk and butter in the center, and mix it into the warm cheese. Tear off a hunk of bread, dip it into the center like fondue, and prepare to experience bread-and-cheese nirvana.

The simpler khachapuri imeruli.
The simpler khachapuri imeruli.
An appetizer of creamy walnut spreads and eggplant roll-ups.
An appetizer of creamy walnut spreads and eggplant roll-ups.

If you don’t want to contend with a raw yolk, there is also the khachapuri imeruli ($18), which is more like a flattened round bread that has a filling of soft, stretchy, mozzarella-like cheese. It’s also wonderful, but not as quite as special.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 6

A beauty of a prosciutto pizza at Vina Enoteca.
A beauty of a prosciutto pizza at Vina Enoteca.

Vina Enoteca, Palo Alto

Handmade pastas you can’t wait to twirl a fork into. Pizzas that make you lunge for a slice. An impressive Italian wine list. And creative cocktails that always put you in a peppy mood.

Vina Enoteca has long been one of my favorite Italian restaurants because it offers all of that with aplomb.

Ordering online is a breeze, as is parking when you pick up your order. These days, there’s plenty of open parking slots in the adjacent lot behind the Stanford Shopping Center. Walk up to the host stand outside to pick it all up.

A simple cacio e pepe, made more special with a Parmigiano crisp on top.
A simple cacio e pepe, made more special with a Parmigiano crisp on top.

My husband can never resist a pizza topped with prosciutto. The Pizza Emiliana ($22) is like the super-model version of that.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 2

Chilean Sea Bass with fried rice from District 7 in San Jose.
Chilean Sea Bass with fried rice from District 7 in San Jose.

District 7, San Jose

Even veteran restaurants with long-time loyal patrons have struggled during this pandemic, so imagine what it must be like for a brand new restaurant to open for business after shelter-in-place took effect.

Such was the case for District 7 restaurant in the The Shops of Vietnam Town in San Jose.

Fortunately, its chef-owner is John Le, the former operator of Three Seasons in Palo Alto, with years of experience under his belt.

Le was all set to open the doors to his new restaurant that serves modern takes on Vietnamese cuisine when those plans came to a sudden halt. Instead, he decided to offer to-go food instead, Wednesdays through Sundays. Last week, he invited me to stop by to try gratis a few of his new takeout, heat-at-home options.

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