Category Archives: Bakeries

My Top 10 Eats of 2019

So many places opened in 2019; and so many places closed. Be it astronomical housing costs to an extremely tight labor pool and the rising price of ingredients, the Bay Area remains a challenging landscape for restaurants.

Still, they somehow manage to put their best forward day in and day out. Here are my favorite eats of the year (in no particular order) — the ones I still dream about, and the ones I’d race back for in a heartbeat. Enjoy! And cheers to even more delicious morsels in 2020.

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Going Green For The Holidays with Matcha Cream Pie

Beyond the tree and wreath, add a little more green to your holidays with this spectacular matcha cream pie.
Beyond the tree and wreath, add a little more green to your holidays with this spectacular matcha cream pie.

With a new year dawning, let’s all be brave enough to pledge to trust our gut instincts more.

I know so many friends who agonize over situations — analyzing, re-analyzing, and plain over-analyzing — before taking action, even if they know in their heart immediately what they should do.

I’ve been there many a time, myself.

Case in point: this “Matcha Cream Pie” recipe, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal in September.

It’s a recreation of the signature dessert at Stonemill Matcha in San Francisco by Pastry Chef Mikiko Yui.

It’s a dazzler, covered in a cloud of orange zest-scented whipped cream. It’s only when you cut into it that it truly reveals itself with its dramatic deep green filling made with matcha.

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As Kneaded Is What You Need

Bread pudding (foreground) and bostock (back) from As Kneaded Bakery.
Bread pudding (foreground) and bostock (back) from As Kneaded Bakery.

After graduating with an anthropology degree during a recession when jobs were scarce especially for liberal arts majors, Iliana Berkowitz was lucky enough to unearth her true passion in life — baking.

She took a job at a bakery, followed by a stint at a French bistro, all the while honing her bread and pastry skills.

In 2016, she started a bakery pop-up and bread club in the East Bay. Both did so well that in late-2018, she opened an actual brick-and-mortar, her As Kneaded Bakery in San Leandro.

Pain d'epi and honey rye porridge loaf.
Pain d’epi and honey rye porridge loaf.

It now supplies bread to such restaurants as Flea St. Cafe in Menlo Park and The Alembic in San Francisco. And its loaves sell at a host of stores around the Bay Area, including Bianchini’s Market in San Carlos and Portola Valley; Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley; and Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco; as well as through Good Eggs delivery.

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Pastelaria Adega Opens Its Sweet Doors in Downtown San Jose

Expect a line for these Portuguese custard tarts at the new Pastelaria Adega.
Expect a line for these Portuguese custard tarts at the new Pastelaria Adega

If heaven is a warm, eggy custard tart, you’re sure to be in total bliss then when the new Pastelaria Adega opens in downtown San Jose today.

From the team behind the award-winning, fine-dining Portuguese restaurant Adega in the city’s Little Portugal in the Alum Rock district comes a artisanal Portuguese bakery. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Last night at a preview party, I had a chance to check out the new spot at at 30 E. Santa Clara St., Suite 130.

Bakery case.
Bakery case.

As Chef-Owner David Costa, a native of Portugal, says: It’s the type of place you would go to in Lisbon every day for coffee, pastry and bread.

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Tartine’s Sweet Potato Tea Cake with Meringue

Not your average loaf cake.
Not your average loaf cake.

A tea cake is a tea cake is a tea cake — until Tartine gets its hands on it.

Like a basic little black dress that turns extraordinarily chic with the right broach or necklace, this sweet-potato loaf cake goes from fundamental to fancifully froufrou enough to be the life of the party, thanks to a halo of torched meringue.

“Sweet Potato Tea Cake with Meringue” is from the new “Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes + 55 Updated Favorites” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by co-founders Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of the famed Tartine bakery founded in San Francisco, with locations worldwide now.

It’s a revised edition to their original book that came out 13 years ago. Of the 122 recipes, 67 are new, including one for Tartine’s ever-popular “Morning Bun.” There are also more recipes that use less sugar and more global flavors, as well as more gluten-free ones.

A few of these recipes are indeed for ambitious bakers, including a sleek, contemporary “Buche de Noel.” The majority of them, however, shouldn’t intimidate most home-bakers. “Black Tea Blondies with Caramel Swirl,” “Cranberry Upside-Down Cake,” and “Brioche Jam Buns” just entice you into the kitchen.

Imagine your favorite pumpkin bread, but made with sweet potato instead. That’s what this moist, tender loaf cake is like. But it goes one better by getting a cloud of meringue on top that gets swirled with the cake batter to produce pretty streaks in it.

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