When a good friend gifts you a few late-harvest Meyer lemons from her backyard tree that have ballooned into the size of oranges, you know you need to do something special with them.
Not just halved and squirted over fish on the grill. Not just sliced to garnish glasses of iced tea. And not merely juiced to make mundane lemonade.
Nope, these babies were made for “Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes with Pomegranate Glaze.”
This easy-breezy recipe for individual cakes is from “Sweet” (Artisan, 2013) by Pastry Chef Valerie Gordon.
She owns one of my favorite bakeries in Los Angeles, Valerie’s Confections, which I always make a point of visiting whenever I’m in town just so I can snag a slice of her impeccable rendition of the iconic Blum’s coffee crunch cake.
For this recipe, Meyer lemon juice and zest are incorporated into this cake batter, along with creme fraiche (I actually used plain yogurt instead) for tang and moistness. The batter gets distributed amongst large muffin cups that are buttered but not lined.
Once they are baked and cooled, turn the cakes upside down to dunk the flat sides into a glaze flavored with Meyer lemon juice and pomegranate juice. You are left with precious little cakes simply too cute to resist.
Chefs Jeremy Cheng and Chef Randy Magpantay couldn’t have been more excited to finally open their Winner Winner Chicken after conceiving of the Nashville-style hot chicken establishment in 2018.
Only, they opened it in March 2020 in San Mateo’s Hillsdale Shopping Center. Five days later, the pandemic put the kibash on it.
Fortunately, with the Bay Area seemingly turning the corner now in this health crisis, Winner Winner Chicken has been able to sling its specialties for the past couple of months. I was invited in by the fast-casual eatery a week ago to try some menu items gratis, which I ferried home as takeout.
It’s a family operation, with Cheng and Magpantay, and their wives, behind the counter overseeing the ordering and cooking. Cheng and Magpantay are veterans of the South Bay’s Avenir Restaurant Group, which includes Nola in Palo Alto, Milagros in Redwood City, and Town in San Carlos.
At Winner Winner Chicken, you can choose how incendiary you like it, from Classic (no heat) to Medium (starting to heat up) and Spicy (That’s hot) to Extra Spicy (Hot as cluck).
I went with medium, though I think Magpantay dialed it down a bit and gave me medium-light (which you can request, by the way) that offered up a modest amount of heat on the palate.
This Berkeley-based bakery, which has amassed a huge following during the pandemic, was co-founded by local baker, Joyce Tang, who had the wholesale bakery Chinoiserie, and previously supplied pastries to Boba Guys.
Each week, Bake Sum offers one set pastry box ($35) filled with about half a dozen treats, as well as a specialty bun box, Gochujang sourdough loaves, mochi bites, and cookies.
Sign up for its newsletter ahead of time because it drops Monday morning with that week’s offerings. It pays to be quick on the draw because the baked goods, especially the pastry box, sell out quickly. Pick up your order on Fridays or Saturdays at the Bread Project in Berkeley; Fridays at Golden Goat Coffee in San Francisco; Saturdays at Grand Coffee in San Francisco; or Fridays at Red Giant Coffee Roasters in Redwood City.
Last week’s pastry box included a Croissubi, a unique riff on a traditional ham and cheese croissant that paid homage to Spam musubi. Just on its own, this was one beautiful croissant — shattering into deep golden shards upon the first bite. Add in the novelty of thin slices of Spam wrapped in nori, and get ready for your taste buds to take a French-Hawaiian ride. Crispy Parmesan cheese and flecks of togarashi dot the top to add more umami, savoriness and just a hint of spice. It is every inch like a nostalgic ABC Store musubi transformed into a perfect French croissant.
Los Gatos’ PintxoPote is a sliver of a restaurant that has managed to survive this incredibly challenging year, despite not having the ability to provide either outdoor or indoor seating.
Instead, the Spanish-Basque restaurant has persevered, largely through the support of a loyal clientele that orders takeout, along with the fact that Chef-Owner Hector Figueroa and his wife Angie Lipsett have operated the restaurant all on their own without any staff, and without taking any salaries.
If you haven’t yet discovered this charming Spanish restaurant, it’s high time that you did.
Right now, the restaurant is open only on Fridays and Saturdays. The takeout menu for the week usually posts on Thursdays.
Figueroa, whose grandparents hailed from Spain, is a former tech engineer. When you pick up your order at the doorway, you can spot him in the kitchen, as Lipsett hands you your food.
I know I’m not the only one cheering that “Stanley Tucci’s Searching For Italy” has been picked up for a second season on CNN, even if every episode has sent me binging on carbs to high heaven.
So, it’s no wonder that after last week’s episode, I found my way to Terun in Palo Alto’s California Ave. Brothers Franco and Maico Campilongo, and their friend, chef Kristyan d’Angelo, all of whom hail from Italy, opened the doors in 2012 to serve authentic Southern Italian fare.
This place takes Neopolitan pizza seriously. In fact, it’s one of the few restaurants in California that is a member of the American Delegation of the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, a non-profit that recognizes restaurants outside of Italy that meet strict standards and traditions of Neapolitan pizza making.
At Terun, the pies are cooked over wood in a blistering Marr Forni Neapolitan oven. There are 13 different pizzas available. Plus, you can add extra ingredients to any of them for an additional cost, if you like.