Category Archives: Enticing Events

Chef Demos, Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Plus More

Chef Brandon Jew of Bar Agricole will cook up a storm at the Flower & Garden Show. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chefs Star at the 2012 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

It’s time for the largest garden festival around, the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, March 21-25, where you’ll not only get to gawk at gorgeous garden exhibits, but enjoy a host of cooking demos, too.

Some of the Bay Area’s finest will be showcasing garden-to-table cooking. Among those taking the stage are: Executive Chef Brandon Jew of Bar Agricole in San Francisco (March 21); Melanie Eisemann and David Budworth of Avedano’s Meats in San Francisco; Chef Greg Dunmore of Nojo in San Francisco (March 22); Pastry Chef James Ormsby of Bluestem Brasserie (March 22); Chef Annie Somerville of Greens in San Francisco (March 23); the creative team behind Bi-Rite Market and Creamery (March 24); and TV cooking personality Martin Yan.

And for those in the South Bay and Peninsula loathe to drive to San Francisco, remember the garden show actually is held in San Mateo at the San Mateo County Event Center. So, there’s no excuse not to go now.

Tickets to the garden show are $20 for a single day, $25 for the all-show pass good on all days of the event, and $65 for the gala, which includes food, wine and music.

"Bacon and eggs'' at last year's Pebble Beach Food & Wine. (Photo by Barnaby Draper Studios)

Fifth Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Join more than 75 of the world’s best chefs and 250 acclaimed vintners at the Pebble Beach Resorts, April 12-15, for a slew of gala dinners, cooking demos and one-of-a-kind wine tastings.

Among the highlights at this year’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine will be a celebrity chef golf tournament, a special father-daughter presentation by Jacques Pepin and Claudine Pepin, a cooking demo by Michael Chiarello of Bottega in Yountville, and a dinner in tribute to Thomas Keller of the French Laundry.

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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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Nutty Goodness and A Food Gal Giveaway

Cashews roasted and flavored with the sweet warmth of cardamom.

The Bay Area’s Sara Tidhar took hard times and turned them nutty — in a wonderful way.

Six years ago after a divorce, she found herself a single mom trying to take care of her kids and still make a living. It was her son who proved the inspiration for her predicament. He suggested she sell the roasted nuts she had always made for her kids as a snack.

That’s just what Tidhar did, roasting the nuts in small batches with organic canola oil in what she calls a “secret” method that she learned from her grandmother.

Santé nuts are now sold online, and at retailers such as Lunardi’s, Gene’s Fine Foods in Saratoga, DeMartini’s Orchard in Los Altos, Piazza’s Fine Foods in Palo Alto and Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood.

Candied pistachios.

The roasted, seasoned nuts come in nine varieties, including Garlic Almonds, Cinnamon Pecans, Chipotle Almonds, Candied Pistachios and my favorite, Cardamom Cashews, which brings to mind chai tea. They’re addicting to eat just out of hand. But also would be great in your favorite baked goods, tossed into salads or in stir-fry dishes.

The nuts come in 5-ounce bags ($4.99) and new 1-ounce pouches ($1.99). Each individual pouch is one serving with 180 to 220 calories, depending upon the type of nut.

Individual bags to tote in your purse, backpack or briefcase.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a sampler of the nine different nut varieties — four of the resealable bags and eight of the single-serve bags. Entries, open to those only in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight March 17. The winner will be announced March 19.

How to win?

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Taste of the Nation, Love Apple Farms Tomato Seedling Sale & More

Chef Michael Tusk will lead the culinary team for "Taste of the Nation.'' (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Time for “Taste of the Nation”

James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Tusk of Quince and Cotogna, both in San Francisco, will be the lead chef overseeing the culinary gala, “Taste of the Nation,” March 29 at the Bentley Reserve in San Francisco.

The event benefits Share Our Strength, a national organization dedicated to making sure no child grows up hungry.

Guests will enjoy tastes and sips from 45 of the Bay Area’s best chefs, wineries and mixologists. Among the restaurants participating are A16, Cafe des Amis, Frances and Park Tavern. For a complete list, click here.

Tickets are $95 in advance or $120 at the door. VIP tickets (which include access to the event an hour earlier and free valet parking) are $165 in advance or $190 at the door. For big spenders there’s “executive admission” at $500 in advance or $550 at the door. That top ticket gets you complimentary car service to the event, a champagne toast, access to a private lounge with more food and drink, and admittance to the after-party.

Love Apple Farms Famous Tomato Seedling Sale

Get ready for it — the largest tomato seedling sale in California.

Love Apple Farms of Santa Cruz, which grows produce exclusively for Michelin two-star restaurant, Manresa in Los Gatos, hosts a seedling sale every year that even entices folks from as far away as Los Angeles to drive to and fro in the same day.

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Lend Support to Introducing Ethiopian Crops to the United States

Highland kale, a staple in Ethiopia, now grown by Baia Nicchia Farm of Sunol.

You may know Baia Nicchia Farm of Sunol for its glorious array of heirloom and one-of-a-kind tomatoes it sells at the Menlo Park farmers market in the summers.

Now, geneticist-turned-farmer Fred Hempel wants you to know his small farm also for its efforts to introduce Ethiopian specialty crops to this country.

As such, he’s asking for your support for his Ethiopian seeds project that he’s hoping to launch through the funding platform, KickStarter. He has until March 10 to get $22,000 pledged for the project, which aims to introduce five Ethiopian vegetable varieties nationally this year.

Hempel got interested in the project when he met Ethiopian native, Menkir Tamrat, a former Silicon Valley tech worker who started growing the peppers of his homeland that he missed after he got laid off. Hempel offered Tamrat some space at his 9.5-acre farm to grow peppers that Hempel then sold at farmers markets.

The result is a partnership set to blossom even more. Hempel hopes to release Ethiopian varieties through his new seed company, Artisan Seeds, which also will sell some of his tomato seeds.

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