Category Archives: Enticing Events

Dining Outside at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley’s Après Village Pop-Up

How fun is this? Making your own 
S'mores at your table in the Après Village at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley.
How fun is this? Making your own S’mores at your table in the Après Village at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley.

With festive string lights overhead, holiday trees everywhere, a sleek fire pit blazing away, and even a seemingly light dusting of snow falling, one of my best friends and I recently spent a relaxing winter getaway — without actually really trekking anywhere beyond Silicon Valley.

That’s because the second annual winter pop-up at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto is so incredibly transportive that you will feel like you’re on holiday, fresh off the slopes at Whistler or Banff in British Columbia.

The Après Village is set up on the terrace of Quattro, the hotel’s signature restaurant. It’s open from now through Feb. 26, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Mondays through Thursdays, it’s available for private bookings.

The spot is truly a sight to behold, as I found when I was invited in as a guest last week.

The very cozy pop-up on the Quattro terrace.
The very cozy pop-up on the Quattro terrace.

The Après Village is fashioned into its own separate space, complete with a Sweet Shoppe at one end that’s modeled after a European Christmas market stall, where you can purchase Pastry Chef Guillermo Soto’s truffles, macarons, signature chocolate bars, and freshly made doughnuts.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late: Santana Row Farmers Market

Behold the Roli Roti chicken and potatoes.
Behold the Roli Roti chicken and potatoes.

It’s not big, but it’s mighty — as in good.

That’s what the farmers market at San Jose’s Santana Row is — all one block of it on the main drag between Olin Avenue and Olsen Drive), with vendors on both sides plying fresh produce, flowers, and gourmet prepared foods.

The market, Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., is seasonal. So, if you want to check it out, you have until the end of this month before it’s gone until next year.

Because it’s an evening market, it’s an ideal place to pick up dinner or the fixings for it. Just follow your nose to find the Roli Roti truck parked in the center of the Row with spinning rotisseries packed with whole chickens and sides of ribs.

Just be warned that on a hot day before sunset, this truck is parked in full sun with heat radiating off the rotisseries, so bring a hat and a cool drink as you wait in line, as there almost always is one.

The Roli Roti rotisserie.
The Roli Roti rotisserie.
The farmers market on the Row.
The farmers market on the Row.

Who can blame people for flocking here when the rosemary-flecked chicken is so juicy, bronzed, and succulent that you barely need a knife. A whole chicken ($15.50) gets wrapped up hot off the rotisserie, ensuring it will still be warm by the time you dive into it at home.

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A Taste of the Second Annual Taste Tri-Valley

Five-spice duck breast with puffed farro served at the kick-off at Sabio on Main for Taste Tri-Valley.
Five-spice duck breast with puffed farro served at the kick-off at Sabio on Main for Taste Tri-Valley.

When the inaugural Taste Tri-Valley Restaurant Week debuted in February last year, the pandemic was still raging in full force and vaccinations had only begun to roll out, making for a subdued event intended to showcase the restaurants in Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton.

This year, however, with vaccination rates high and Omicron petering off, the second annual Taste Tri-Valley has kicked off with a bang, not to mention spring-has-sprung weather, as I found out last week when I was invited as a guest to the kick-off dinner at Sabio on Main in Pleasanton.

With supply chain issues and labor shortages coming on the heels of a roller-coaster list of restrictions over the past two years, local restaurants and wineries still very much need your support and business. So, there’s no better time than now through Feb. 27 to check out the special indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout promotions at dozens of these Alameda County establishments.

Among the highlights are a $35 three-course dinner menu at Danville Harvest, dinner for two for $35 at Burma! Burma!, a $50 three-course dinner at Bridges, a $50 three-course dinner at Sabio on Main, and a $15 small stuffed pizza at lunch at Zachary’s Pizza. For the full list of participating restaurants, click here.

Gotta love a chef who wears an apron like this one. Executive Chef-Owner Francis X. Hogan of Sabio on Main.
Gotta love a chef who wears an apron like this one. Executive Chef-Owner Francis X. Hogan of Sabio on Main.

A benefit for Open Heart Kitchen, the largest hot-meal program serving those in need in the Tri-Valley, Thursday’s festive kick-off dinner at Sabio on Main sold out in no time flat, and even had a 60-person wait list, an encouraging sign as any that folks are definitely excited about dining out again. Tables were filled inside and out, the latter being where my husband and I dined on the cozy patio at the side of the restaurant.

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A Visit to Gold Ridge Organic Farms

Asian pear apples grown at Gold Ridge Farms. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)
Asian pear apples grown at Gold Ridge Farms. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Farmer Brooke Hazen knows every tree planted on his 88 acres in the rolling hills of Sebastopol. Not in the “Hi! How are you?” kind of way, he jokes. But in the truest sense of nurtured familiarity, having planted each and every one of them with the help of only one assistant.

He started his Gold Ridge Organic Farms in 2001 to create an edible wonderland. He’s more than succeeded, growing 13,000 olive trees of Spanish, Italian and French cultivars; 12,000 apple trees of 75 different varieties, including rare heirlooms; and a smattering of citrus, including Blood Oranges and Mandarin-Kumquats. All are grown organically, too.

You may very well know his apples already from his branded bags of Heirloom Apple Blend that are sold at Northern California Whole Foods. These treasure bags can contain such unusual antique varieties as Pitmaster Pineapple that actually tastes like pineapple, and Strawberry Parfait that — yes — tastes like strawberry. Indeed, Gold Ridge is one of the largest heirloom apple growers in California.

Farmer Brooke Hazen. (Photo by Dawn Heumann)
Farmer Brooke Hazen. (Photo by Dawn Heumann)

This month, you can get the opportunity to visit this wonderful farm for the first time.

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Join Yours Truly At Holiday reFresh 2021

Mark your calendar for 4 p.m. Nov. 7, when I’ll be one of the moderators for this year’s virtual Holiday reFresh, which brings together a stellar roster of Bay Area chefs for conversations and cooking demos centered on plant-based celebratory dishes for the upcoming holidays.

This free event, which is open to the public, is brought to you by Acterra, a Palo Alto non-profit dedicated to supporting a healthy planet.

Sharing moderating duties with me will be the Bay Area’s Liren Baker of the popular Kitchen Confidante blog and podcast.

Join us as we host an incredible line-up of chefs, including:

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