Category Archives: Chocolate

Win A Signed Copy of My New “East Bay Cooks” Cookbook

Flourless chocolate cake from Old Towne Danville Bakery. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)
Flourless chocolate cake from Old Towne Danville Bakery. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)

Remember when you were a kid, and beamed with pride and happiness the first time you donned a snazzy new pair of red cowboy boots?

That’s how I feel about my newest cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1), which debuts this week. Thanks to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, it turned out more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Just get a load of the images here from the book, all of them shot by the incredibly talented Bay Area photographer Eva Kolenko.

Chorizo sourdough toast from Sabio on Main in Pleasanton. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)
Chorizo sourdough toast from Sabio on Main in Pleasanton. (Photo by Eva Kolenko)

Whether you’re a Bay Area native or not, this book will have you enthralled with the East Bay, the most populous region in the Bay Area. It spotlights 41 restaurants and bakeries, some brand new, and others that have endured for decades — no easy feat in this challenging and competitive market.

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Theo Chocolate’s Big Daddy Is Big Yum

Theo Chocolate's take on S'Mores.
Theo Chocolate’s take on S’Mores.

I admit this Food Gal is more of a B&B Gal or Resort Gal than a Camping Gal.

I’ve been camping once, and while it was a blast, I readily acknowledge I am not one for roughing it regularly. What can I say?

Thankfully, one of the best things about camping, well, doesn’t really require sleeping outdoors in a tiny tent. And that is S’Mores.

Theo Chocolate’s version may not be melty from a campfire, but it is every bit as blissful to eat.

The Seattle bean-to-bar chocolate company, the first organic and fair-trade chocolate factory in North America, has created the Big Daddy ($9.99), a three-piece collection of S’More confections that I recently had a chance to sample, along with some of its other new products.

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Dandelion Chocolate’s Bloom Is A Beaut

The makings of an artisan root beer float at Bloom cafe inside Dandelion Chocolate factory in San Francisco.

The makings of an artisan root beer float at Bloom cafe inside Dandelion Chocolate factory in San Francisco.

 

There are ladies who lunch.

And then there are ladies who chocolate.

Count me in the latter category. And from the looks of a recent weekday afternoon at Bloom Chocolate Salon, I am hardly alone.

The spectacular chocolate salon by San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate certainly provides plenty of eye candy. Melding industrial with a chic European aesthetic, it is a chocoholic’s Shangri-la come to sweet life.

Established in 2010 by techies Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring co-founded Plaxo, San Francisco’s only bean-to-bar chocolate factory expanded big-time in April — spending five years on construction to turn a 107-year-old mattress and printing factory into a chocolate factory, retail store, and chic dessert salon.

The historic warehouse.

The historic warehouse.

Customers filing in for coffee and pastries.

Customers filing in for coffee and pastries.

Enter the brick building, as I did recently when I was invited in as a guest of the cafe, and on your right is a store with shelves loaded with pottery, books, and Dandelion chocolate bars (with sample cups holding broken bar bits to try).

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Win Free Tickets to “Taste of Potrero”

Feed Your Soul

Ready to enjoy sips and noshes from Soulva, Hawker Fare, Trick Dog, Dandelion Chocolate, Humphry Slocombe, Nopa, August 1 Five, and so many more, all in one spot for one night only?

You can at the ninth annual “Taste of Potrero,” 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. May 2 at The Midway, 900 Marin St. in San Francisco. Yes, it’s on a Thursday night. But Thursday is the new Friday, isn’t it?

More than 60 of the Bay Area’s best restaurants, bars, breweries and winemakers will come together for this annual fund-raiser for Daniel Webster Elementary School in San Francisco. All proceeds from the event go to the school, providing more than 75 percent of the Home and School Club budget, as well as arts enrichment programs, classroom supplies, computer instruction and literacy professionals. Since 2011, this event has raised more than $760,000 for the school.

Tickets are $150 each for general admission; $250 each for VIP access that allows you early access starting at 6 p.m.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a pair of free tickets (valued at a total of $300) to the event, which will feature The Morris, Gibson, Dumpling Time, Oren’s Hummus, The Slanted Door, and more.

The contest, open to those who can make it to the event that date, will run through midnight PST April 27. Winner will be announced April 29.

How to win?

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Indulge in Sweets — Three Ways

Take a taste of the three new flavors of Sante Nuts. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Take a taste of the three new flavors of Sante Nuts. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Santé Nuts New Candied Flavors

The South Bay’s maker of gourmet nuts, Santé Nuts, has debuted three new flavors: Chocolate Almonds, Pumpkin Spice Pecans, and Bourbon Pecans.

The family-owned company was started by single mom Sara Tidhar, who parlayed her home-made recipes for candied and spiced nuts into a booming business. Her son and daughter now both work in the company, too.

I had a chance to try samples recently. What I especially love about all these nuts is that they maintain a pronounced crunchiness even with their coatings.

The Chocolate Almonds are a nice change of pace from the usual hard-shelled, candy-coated chocolate almonds. Rather than a shell of chocolate, these almonds get a coating of sugared crackling cocoa powder. That means the flavor of the almonds still sings through loud and clear without getting overtaken by the cocoa that adds a nice deep dark chocolate accent. There’s also a touch of salt that adds perfect balance.

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