Category Archives: Bakeries

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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Republique’s Fig-Tahini Cookies

These fig-tahini cookies are not only pretty to look at, but have a wondrous chewy texture.
These fig-tahini cookies are not only pretty to look at, but have a wondrous chewy texture.

Mochi, gummi bears, springy noodles, and ideal chocolate chip cookies.

What do they have in common?

A certain chewiness that I can’t resist.

And “Fig-Tahini Cookies” possess that ideal attribute in abundance.

It’s evident not only in the consistency of the cookie, itself, but also in the chopped dried figs hidden throughout.

The recipe is from “Baking at République: Masterful Techniques and Recipes” (Lorena Jones Books, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook is by Margarita Manzke, co-owner of Republique restaurant and bakery in Los Angeles. The book, written with former Los Angeles Times food writer Betty Hallock, features all the favorite pastries, cookies, cakes and pies from this fabulous bakery that’s a must-stop whenever my husband and I drive to Los Angeles.

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Craft Chocolate Experience, La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, and More

Inaugural Craft Chocolate Experience

Attention all chocoholics, don’t miss the first ever Craft Chocolate Experience at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, March 6 to 8.

This sweet extravaganza will bring bean-to-bar makers, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and cacao bean farmers from around the world for panel discussions, cooking demos, and a chocolate marketplace with more than 85 artisans sampling and selling their creations.

There’s also an opening night party on March 6, featuring a dazzling array of chocolates, pastries and cocktails.

The renowned participants include: Jordi Roca from El Celler de Can Roca in Spain; Francisco Migoya, head chef at Modernist Cuisine; John Scharffenberger, founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate; Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief culinary consultant for Serious Eats and author of “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science” (W.W. Norton); and founder Todd Masonis of San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate.

Tickets for the opening night party are $95 each; a weekend pass to the event is $145 per person.

Celebrate A Milestone For La Cocina

La Cocina, San Francisco’s pioneering kitchen incubator for women, people of color, and immigrants wanting to start food ventures, expects to open its much-anticipated food hall this spring.

Momos at Bini's Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)
Momos at Bini’s Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)

To celebrate the impending debut of La Cocina Marketplace, a landmark all-women operated food hall, the organization is hosting a Week of Women in Food, March 2 to 8. It’s a series of prix fixe dinners spotlighting the seven La Cocina chefs who will make the new food hall their home. For these special dinners, each La Cocina chef will cook alongside a well-known, established Bay Area chef.

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The Aptly Named Aphrodisiac Biscuit

Resistance is futile.
Resistance is futile.

If Valentine’s Day is all about showering the ones you love with an overload chocolate, then this biscuit is sure to do the trick — and then some.

“Aphrodisiac Biscuit” is aptly named because it not only has chopped chocolate inside a tender interior but glossy melted chocolate spread lavishly all over its top.

This decadent treat is from “The Big Bottom Biscuit: Specialty Biscuits and Spreads from Sonoma’s Big Bottom Market” (Running Press, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by Michael Volpatt, who opened the Big Bottom Market in Guerneville in 2011, a combo retail store and cafe that serves sandwiches, salads, and of course, biscuits.

It includes more than 50 recipes for biscuits, biscuit dishes and things that go with biscuits. In short, it will expand your horizon on just what biscuits can be.

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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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