Category Archives: Chefs

Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 20

A dramatic and delicious sparerib-stuffed kabocha squash from China Stix.
A dramatic and delicious sparerib-stuffed kabocha squash from China Stix.

China Stix, Santa Clara

With Lunar New Year starting on Friday, all eyes — and stomachs — turn to procuring some super satisfying Chinese takeout food.

At least, that’s the case this year, when the lingering pandemic makes it impossible to celebrate as usual with friends and family at restaurants, sitting elbow to elbow at big round tables with a lazy Susan in the center, brimming with dim sum morsels or banquet-style dishes.

For my fix, I looked no further than China Stix in the Santa Clara Town Centre. It’s the type of family-owned Chinese restaurant that every neighborhood needs, cooking up rock-solid food in generous portions that provides a taste of pure comfort.

It’s the kind of place that has egg foo young on the menu, and will throw in a big handful of fortune cookies with each order. And if the kabocha squash in the dish you ordered happens to be smaller than usual at this time of season, will throw in a second order at no extra charge.

(Clockwise from top): Pork pot stickers, barbecue pork chow mein, and combination chow fun.
(Clockwise from top): Pork pot stickers, barbecue pork chow mein, and combination chow fun.

Speaking of which, those spicy pork spareribs cooked inside a whole kabocha squash ($38) are highly recommended, even if it may take 45 minutes to 1 hour extra to prepare.

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20th Century Cafe’s Sacher Torte

It's every bit as rich and wonderful as it looks -- Sacher Torte, a Viennese classic.
It’s every bit as rich and wonderful as it looks — Sacher Torte, a Viennese classic.

My introduction to this magnificent chocolate creation known as Sacher torte came not in Vienna, where it originated, but if memory serves me, in San Francisco — at Alice Medrich’s legendary Cocolat bakery.

Sitting down to a dark, dense, chocolately slice with a glass in which equally dark filtered coffee was slowly dripping into it was the epitome of elegant adulthood. I almost felt as if I had to hold my pinkies aloft to enjoy each and every bite.

One of the most famed European cakes around, it was first created in 1832 by 16-year-old Franz Sacher, then later gained an outsized following at the Hotel Sacher, established by his son Eduard.

It looks so fancy. And it tastes so fancy. But at its heart, it’s really just a double-layer chocolate cake that’s covered entirely in a dark chocolate glaze and hiding a filling of apricot preserves.

So, if you can make a chocolate cake, you can definitely make a Sacher Torte. Especially if using the recipe from Baking at the 20th Century Cafe: Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake (Artisan Books) by pastry chef extraordinaire Michelle Polzine with food writer Jessica Battilana.

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Sponsored Post: Cheese Focaccia with Pazazz

Pecorino focaccia gets even more delicious depth with fresh rosemary and Pazazz apples.
Pecorino focaccia gets even more delicious depth with fresh rosemary and Pazazz apples.

Think of this as a subtle riff on a cheddar apple pie.

Because this focaccia that’s loaded with salty-nutty tasting Pecorino also gets a pretty crowning touch of thinly sliced, sweet apple rings over the top.

This tender, airy Italian bread started out life simply as “Cheese Focaccia.”

But when life gives you a bounty of fresh, crunchy, and juicy Pazazz apples, you want to put them on simply everything.

After all, these delicious apples, a relative of the popular Honeycrisp, are a great source of fiber, too. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research has joined with Pazazz apples in the fight against cancer. February is National Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to double-down on a diet rich in healthful foods such as apples.

Red-skinned with sunshine-yellow striations, the Pazazz is a relative of the Honeycrisp.
Red-skinned with sunshine-yellow striations, the Pazazz is a relative of the Honeycrisp.

You can do your part even further by uploading your photo to the Pazazz superhero filter here, and Pazazz will donate $1 to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Or simply text PAZ to 797979 to generate the $1 donation, too.

Find Pazazz apples now through summer at local Safeway stores. Then, get ready to bake a big pan of this focaccia.

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Join Yours Truly In Conversation with Fanny Singer and Alice Waters

(Illustration courtesy of "Silicon Valley Reads'')
(Illustration courtesy of “Silicon Valley Reads”)

You’re invited to join me in conversation with Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters and her daughter Fanny Singer at 6 p.m., March 11. All virtually, of course. And all part of this year’s Silicon Valley Reads series of events.

Just what was it like to grow up the only child of the iconic chef who launched the California cuisine revolution? Singer, the founder of lifestyle brand Permanent Collection and holder of a doctorate from the University of Cambridge, answers that question and more in her memoir, “Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories” (Knopf), which debuted last year.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 19

A Friday special at the Village Bakery.
A Friday special at the Village Bakery.

The Village Bakery, Woodside

The colonel’s got nothing on The Village Bakery, when it comes to a grand bucket of fried chicken.

The Woodside restaurant and bakery’s newest offering is “Fried Chicken Fridays.” And if last Friday’s experience was any indication, it’s already a hit. When I went to go pick up my order, the entire bar was covered with takeout bags, most for the chicken.

For $34, you get an actual bucket containing eight pieces of fried chicken, as well as containers of coleslaw, mac ‘n’ cheese, and two buttermilk cheddar-chive biscuits.

Oh, yes!
Oh, yes!

It’s designed to serve 2 to 4. The chicken alone is definitely more than two people can finish in one sitting. As such, you might want to order another biscuit or two ($5 each) to go with the leftovers the next day. Crunchy on top and fluffy inside, the buttery biscuits are definitely hard to resist.

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