Category Archives: Cupcakes

SusieCakes Opens First Peninsula Location, Porchetta Time & More

Get ready for cupcakes galore at SusieCakes in Menlo Park. (Photo courtesy of the bakery)

SusieCakes Comes to Menlo Park

SusieCakes, which started in Southern California but has spread to these northern parts, is opening its newest location at 642 Santa Cruz Ave. in downtown Menlo Park.

The bakery, know in particular for its old-fashioned cakes and cupcakes, already has two other Bay Area locations: San Francisco and Marin County.

Join in the grand opening ceremony at the Menlo Park bakery, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 24. Dust off your favorite poodle skirt for an old-fashioned sock hop with 50’s tunes. Best costume wins a prize. There will be plenty of cupcakes, cookies and bars to sample, too.

Get a gander at this porchetta at Brassica. (Photo by Sean Knight)

Porchetta Sundays at Brassica in the Napa Valley

After a weekend of wine tasting, there’s nothing better than a big hunk of  juicy, slow-cooked pork to go along with it.

Every Sunday night now at Chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s Brassica in St. Helena, they’re serving up porchetta — a whole loin of pork stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel fronds and fennel pollen, then roasted in a Caja China charcoal oven for 3 1/2 hours.

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Cabernet Wine — In Flour

Cupcakes made with flour milled from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes skins.

You can find flour milled from most any grain these days.

Now, you also can find flour with red wine in it. Cabernet Sauvignon, to be exact.

Earlier this year, when I was strolling through the Tyler Florence Shop in Napa, I spied bags of Cabernet Wine Flour and Cabernet Cocoa Powder, both of which I just had to buy. After all, it’s pretty hard to resist their striking reddish-brown hues.

They’re made by Marche Noir Foods of Irvine, CA. The wine flour is made from the pomace (skins) of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes after they are crushed. The skins are dried, then milled into a powder, which apparently is high in iron, fiber and Resveratrol (a natural anti-oxidant). The Cabernet Cocoa Powder is just dark cocoa powder mixed with the Cabernet Wine Flour.

The beautiful color of the wine flour.

A 10-ounce bag of the Cabernet Wine Flour was $14.95 at the store; a 10-ounce bag of the Cabernet Cocoa Powder was $9.95.

I couldn’t wait to try baking with them. The Marche Noir Web site is a good place to start for recipes. I zeroed in on the one for “Cabernet Velvet Cupcakes with Ganache Glaze,” which incorporates both the wine flour and cocoa powder. The recipe also calls for red food coloring, but I left that out.

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Anzu Gets A Fresh Look, New Campbell Eateries, Half-Off Wines & More

Anzu's new glam look. (Photo by Matthew Millman)

Restaurant Anzu Gets Glam

The Hotel Nikko’s Restaurant Anzu in San Francisco has debuted a chic new look with its bold citrine, black and white decor.

Jewel-like chandeliers, beaded pendant lighting, a black wall treatment, heavy, damask curtains and oversized white banquettes add an even more luxurious feeling.

You can still enjoy an array of sushi there, but the restaurant also has added a new emphasis on prime meat with  Kurobota double pork chop ($33), local rack of lamb ($34) and Wagyu beef that’s cooked tableside on a sizzling hot Japanese river stone ($34).

Campbell Welcomes Tasty, New Businesses

Downtown Campbell is hopping lately with new foodie places, including an intriguing Austrian-California restaurant, Naschmarkt (pronounced “nash-marked”), which just opened.

Long-time South Bay foodies may fondly remember the now-shuttered Cafe Marcella in Los Gatos. Those owners, Alain and Martine Staebler, have partnered with their son-in-law, Austrian chef, Matthias Froeschl, to open this restaurant that is named for Vienna’s largest open-air market.

Look for classic wiener schnitzel with lingonberry sauce, Hungarian beef goulash, steamed Scottish salmon with baby artichokes, and apple strude — but of course.

Soda pop buffs will get a kick out of Rocket Fizz, which also just opened downtown. Owners Chris Dunn and Lisa Pelgrim sell more than 500 varieties of soda, including more than 50 root beers. They’re all sold in glass bottles, which can be purchased individually, by the pack or by the case.

Don’t miss the candy selection, either, that boasts more than 2,000 kinds from around the world.

Finally, if that wasn’t enough sugar for you already, wander over to the new downtown Frost Cupcake Factory.

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New Cupcake Bakery, Food Truck Gathering in San Jose & Much More

A chocolate cupcake from Sinful Bliss. (Photo courtesy of the bakery)

Who’s Hungry for Cupcakes?

Downtown Pleasant Hill welcomes a sinful addition in April — Sinful Bliss Cupcakes, to be exact.

Owner Tammie Parnell believes in celebrating life’s everyday moments with something sweet. After surviving breast cancer, being laid off from her banking job and watching her husband lose his own job, she decided to bet the future on her love of baking.

Her cupcake shop offers a dozen flavors, including chocolate peanut butter cup, Nutella, raspberry and Red Velvet cheesecake. Mini ones are $2 each; regular size ones are $3.25 each. Parnell also does custom designs upon request.

Sinful Bliss Cupcakes will celebrate its grand opening at 10 a.m. April 17 with a ribbon-cutting and free tastings. The event is also a fund-raiser for the Pleasant Hill Middle School Art Department, which will receive 100 percent of that day’s cupcake profits. The students will be creating inspired artwork, which will be displayed at the bakery.

Morever, during the grand opening, children are invited to make their own cupcake design. Fifty of the winning designs will be made and sold on April 23, with profits of the sales going to Pleasant Hill Elementary School.

Custom cupcakes from Sinful Bliss. (Photo courtesy of the bakery)

A Food Truck Meet-Up in San Jose

Aren’t you tired of hearing about all those great food truck gatherings in that city to the North and that other one to the East?

Well, South Bay foodies, you don’t have to feel left out anymore. Here’s the event you’ve been waiting for –  SJEats: A Moveable Feast, noon to 8 p.m. April 2 in the Fallon House parking lot at Saint John Street and Almaden Avenue in San Jose.

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Healthful Pizza, Ruth Reichl Visit, Chef Demo & More

The Mexican pizza at ZPizza in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Organic Wheat Flour Pizzas in San Francisco

Laguna Beach, Calif.-based ZPizza, which has more than 90 locations nationwide, now has a locale in San Francisco at 833 Mission St., Suite C (at Fourth Street).

The pizza dough is made from certified organic wheat flour, the sauces are prepared fresh daily, and the cheese is part-skim, rBGH-free mozzarella from grass-fed cows. Gluten-free crust and vegan cheese also are offered. Gourmet ingredients include cremini and shiitake mushrooms, as well as truffle oil and the African hot sauce known as pili pili. For delivery, the pizzas are ferried via bicycles to reduce carbon emissions. Gourmet salads, pastas and sandwiches round out the menu.

Pizza choices include the Thai, with peanut sauce, mozzarella, spicy chicken, cilantro, bean sprouts and serranos; the Mexican with housemade salsa, mozzarella, spicy lime chicken, green onions, avocado, sour cream and cilantro; and the Casablanca, with roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and parmesan. Pizzas are $10.95 for a small, $19.95 for a large, and $24.94 for an extra-large.

The one and only Ruth Reichl. (Photo by Fiona Aboud)

Ruth Reichl at Stanford University

Join former Gourmet magazine Editor-in-Chief Ruth Reichl at a free event at the Cubberley Auditorium on the Stanford University Campus in Palo Alto at 6 p.m. March 29.

Reichl, now an editor and author at Random House, will be speaking on “The Intersection of Food, Culture and History.”

A Different Look at Vanilla, Saffron and Chocolate

Sure, they taste good. But did you know all three of those ingredients are rife with politics?

Learn all about the intrigue in getting these three ingredients from harvest to plate at “Politics of the Plate — What’s Behind the Silky Sexiness of Vanilla, Saffron and Chocolate,” 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 16 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of San Francisco (Starr King room), 1187 Franklin St. at Geary Street.

Experts Patricia Rain (vanilla), Juan San Mames (saffron) and Mark Magers (chocolate) will be on the panel with moderator Janet Fletcher, a San Francisco Chronicle food writer.

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