Category Archives: Bakeries

Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 38

Shrimp sate from Warung Siska.
Shrimp sate from Warung Siska.

Warung Siska, Redwood City

One of the few Indonesian restaurants in the Bay Area, Warung Siska opened with a splash this year in downtown Redwood City, providing a real pop of joy in this dismal pandemic.

The space was formerly Nam Vietnamese Brasserie, which was opened by restaurateur Anne Le Ziblatt just weeks before the pandemic hit. Rather than reopen as is, Le Ziblatt decided to team with Chef Siska Silitonga and Ervan Lim, managing partner of Napa’s Live Fire Pizza, to start anew with an entirely different concept.

Perhaps it was kismet that the Indonesia-born Silitonga and Lim would join forces with Le Ziblatt, who fled Vietnam with her family and wound up in a Jakarta refugee camp, where local Indonesian families would help sustain them with homemade food.

Warung Siska is a tribute to the warmth and vivacity of the culture and cuisine, serving up Indonesian dishes full of big, bold, unforgettable flavors you’ll find yourself craving time and again.

The restaurant has no outdoor seating, and requires proof of vaccination to dine indoors. However, if your preference is takeout instead, you’ll be glad to know that the food travels quite well, which I discovered when the restaurant invited me to sample a to-go order recently.

Corn fritters that are to die for.
Corn fritters that are to die for.
Musubi-like sticky rice cakes with shredded chicken.
Musubi-like sticky rice cakes with shredded chicken.

When I interviewed Le Ziblatt for a story in the Nob Hill Gazette earlier this year, she told me one of Silitonga’s dishes that absolutely blew her away from the get-go was the bakwan (corn fritters, $13). I heartily agree. These golden, crisp and lacy fritters, each the size of my entire hand, are chock full of corn kernels, okra, and green onions. Makrut lime leaves give them an irresistible perfume and floral-citrus note. Best yet, they actually stayed crisp until I drove home with them nearly 40 minutes later.

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Dining Outside At La Bande At The Proper Hotel

House-made rabbit terrine shines in this charcuterie sampler at La Bande.
House-made rabbit terrine shines in this charcuterie sampler at La Bande.

I’m sure I’m not alone in mourning the 2019 closure of Michelin-starred Commonwealth in San Francisco due to a rent dispute. With its laid-back vibe, skillful ingredient-driven cooking, and a tasting menu with a price that didn’t leave you shell-shocked, Commonwealth was the kind of place every city would be glad to have.

Its chef-owner Jason Fox moved on — in a big way. He went from overseeing one restaurant to three when he was scooped up by The Proper Hotel in downtown San Francisco. As its executive chef, he now oversees Villon restaurant, the trendy Charmaine’s rooftop bar, and La Bande, formerly a coffee shop that he’s since turned into a tapas place.

The "Do Not Disturb'' sign at The Proper.
The “Do Not Disturb” sign at The Proper.

Fox’s arrival was to have been heralded with a big splash. But because it occurred in January 2020 — two months before all restaurants would be forced to shut down due to a worldwide pandemic — that never really came to fruition. Instead, he was left to deal with navigating an ever-changing roster of health mandates.

With the Bay Area in a much better place than it was last year, Fox has now been able to roll out the plans he had all along.

Executive Chef Jason Fox.
Executive Chef Jason Fox.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest to enjoy an overnight stay at the hotel, as well as dinner at the newly revamped La Bande, a compact yet cozy space resembling a Spanish mercado with a few indoor seats, as well as tables outside, which is where my husband and I dined.

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Sponsored Post: Honeycrisp Apple Cake With Rosemary

Welcome fall with this apple-licious treat.
Welcome fall with this apple-licious treat.

Fall means sweater-weather, new TV programs to binge, leaves turning a kaleidoscope of colors, and all things absolutely apple.

Indeed, few things beat biting into a fresh, sweet-tart, crunchy-as-can-be apple.

But apple cake just might.

So when samples of just-picked Honeybear Honeycrisp arrived on my porch, I eagerly set some aside to bake into fragrant, moist “Apple Cake with Rosemary.”

I am all about crackling-crisp apples. The ones that give when pressed gently with a thumb? They have no place in my life — or kitchen. With Honeybear Honeycrisp, there’s never a worry with that. Whether eaten out of hand or baked into a sweet treat, these apples live up to their name. They are delightfully crisp through and through, hold their shape well when cooked, and have a subtle honey note.

Now's the time to enjoy Honeybear Honeycrisp apples.
Now’s the time to enjoy Honeybear Honeycrisp apples.

Grown in Northern Washington alongside the Columbia River, and in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, these large, dappled apples are at peak season now through December. Load up on them at Safeway and Albertsons stores.

Then, turn up your oven and get ready to bake.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 37

Butter & Crumble's lavishly layered Cinnamon Brown Sugar Almond cake.
Butter & Crumble’s lavishly layered Cinnamon Brown Sugar Almond cake.

Butter & Crumble, San Francisco

After being furloughed during the early days of shelter-in-place, Chef Sophie Smith thought she would pass the time by baking cakes for fun.

Little did she know that it would turn into a sweet new business that set her on an entirely new career path.

As she started baking cakes for her nascent Butter & Crumble, she wondered if anyone in the world would want an entire cake while stuck at home.

Turns out loads of people did.

She now runs her baking business out of bar in the Marina District of San Francisco that has a full-fledged kitchen. That’s where customers can pick up their pre-ordered cakes, too.

On an outing to San Francisco recently, I decided to to try one, myself.

The lofty, 4-inch-tall, 6-inch-diameter, three-layer cakes can serve 8 easily. They are priced at $45 on up, depending upon the flavor. There are usually at least nine different ones available, including Lemon Ricotta Pistachio, Chocolate Ganache Toffee, and Chai Creme Brulee.

I went with the Cinnamon Brown Butter Almond ($48). Styled after the “naked cakes” made famous by Milk Bar, Smith’s creations also sport unfrosted sides that reveal every layer clearly.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 35

Fresh bucatini and beef ragu from Etto that I cooked in a flash for dinner at home.
Fresh bucatini and beef ragu from Etto that I cooked in a flash for dinner at home.

Etto, Paso Robles

Yes, this might be a stretch for takeout, but since I actually did get everything to-go to enjoy later at home, I say it qualifies.

Plus, if you are ever in the Paso Robles area, you owe it to yourself to drop by Etto, a three-year-old boutique pasta shop started by third-generation Italian American Brian Terrizzi.

After reading an SFGate article about this charming store that makes and sells both dried and fresh pastas, I knew I had to stop in when I was in the vicinity last month to attend an outdoor wedding.

The small shop carries olive oils, salumi, cheeses, cookies, wines (including from Terrizzi’s Giornata Winery, and a slim selection of locally-grown produce. Basically, it’s everything you need to put together a simple yet satisfying Italiano meal at home.

The containers of bucatini and sauce.
The containers of bucatini and sauce.

Terrizzi learned how to make pasta from his grandmother, and from regular trips to Naples and Tuscany. He is a purist, making pasta with only organic durum semolina flour and water, which gets extruded through traditional bronze dies.

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