Category Archives: Enticing Events

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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Celebrating A Rare Blue Moon

Adagio's Bella Luna Blue does indeed start out blue, but turns violet when you stir in lemon juice or other acid.
Adagio’s Bella Luna Blue does indeed start out blue, but turns violet when you stir in lemon juice or other acid.

If you’re an astronomy buff — and a tea aficionado — you’ll want to mark Aug. 22 on your calendar.

That’s when a rare Blue Moon will grace the sky.

It’s also the only day that Adagio Teas will be selling its Bella Luna Blue tea blend.

Yes, this special loose leaf tea, which commemorates this cosmic occurrence, is only available when there is a Blue Moon.

It’s a rather magical blend that brews up blue in color. But stir in a little lemon juice to increase the pH, and it will turn vivid violet-purple in a flash. How fun is that?

The herbal tea gets its blue hue from Butterfly Pea flowers. The longer the tea steeps, the deeper the color, too, as you can see from the sample I tried.

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Discover “The Well Seasoned Librarian”

(Image courtesy of Dean Jones)
(Image courtesy of Dean Jones)

Dean Jones is a long-time Bay Area librarian, who also has a deep passion for food and cooking, as well as exploring new restaurants.

Now, he’s cooked up something really irresistible — a new podcast.

In the wittily titled, “The Well Seasoned Librarian” podcast, Jones talks in-depth to cookbook authors, food writers, farmers, bakers, chocolate experts, and culinary historians.

It’s a fun, enlightening, and entertaining time, as I personally discovered when he invited me to be a guest on the show last week.

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