Category Archives: Great Finds

Most Excellent Sweet Potato Rolls with Miso

Sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and white miso make these rolls unforgettable.
Sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and white miso make these rolls unforgettable.

Imagine warm Parker House-like rolls, as soft and yielding as the plushest down pillow — only made anew with the additions of sweet potatoes, a touch of maple syrup, and white miso.

Yes, miso.

Slightly sweet, subtly briny-salty, sensationally savory, and brazenly buttery, they are everything you want in a roll — plus more.

“Sweet Potato Rolls with Miso” is from “Delectable” (Random House, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

It’s the latest cookbook by renowned Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming, a veteran of New York City’s Union Square Cafe, Montrachet, Tribeca Grill, and Gramercy Tavern, as well as Fauchon in Paris. It was written in collaboration with Catherine Young, a former Saveur editor, who has cooked at New York restaurants, including Tribeca Grill, where she and Fleming met.

Fleming is a pastry chef’s pastry chef, revered by those in the industry, but also beloved by home bakers for her straightforward, thoughtful, and do-able recipes.

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Sponsored Post: Pazazz Apple, Brown Rice, Cranberry & Almond Salad Perks Up Any Day

A hale and hearty salad with Pazazz apples that does a body and spirit good.
A hale and hearty salad with Pazazz apples that does a body and spirit good.

Nothing perks us up like a carefree walk through a verdant park, basking on a sun-warmed beach or pumping up the volume on a favorite tune.

Or best yet, simply biting into a gloriously crunchy and juicy apple.

Indeed, did you know that apples are full of antioxidants that fuel neurotransmitters in the brain that trigger the release of dopamine that boosts mood? All of that makes apples a veritable “happy” fruit.

This month, it especially pays to “don’t worry, be happy” by indulging in your love of apples, which not only can boost your mood, but also help protect against cancer.

After all, February is National Cancer Prevention Month. I’m proud to partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research and Pazazz Apples to help spread the word about how apples are high in fiber and antioxidants that can help reduce the risks of some cancers. To learn more about how nutritious apples are and to assess how your own lifestyle choices affect your risk of cancer, go to the informative health check here.

Crunchy-as-can-be Pazazz apples to enjoy now through June.
Crunchy-as-can-be Pazazz apples to enjoy now through June.

Then, head to Albertsons, Safeway, or Vons to pick up some Pazazz apples, now at peak flavor through June. These beautiful, large, red-skinned apples with yellow-green striations are full of snap, as well as sweet-tangy juice.

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Takeout Time: Palette Tea Garden

Iberico cha siu from Palette Tea Garden. And yes, this is the full amount.
Iberico cha siu from Palette Tea Garden. And yes, this is the full amount.

If you are seriously into quantity versus quality, then Palette Tea Garden in San Mateo’s Hillsdale Shopping Center might not be the place for you.

But if you’re craving top-notch dim sum made with premium ingredients — and don’t mind splurging a bit — then head here pronto.

That’s exactly what I did recently, intent on getting some superlative takeout dim sum in honor of the Lunar New Year.

Palette Tea Garden is owned by the same folks behind Koi Palace, which started in Daly City, and is the sister restaurant to Palette Tea House in San Francisco.

Siu mai, ha gow, and Wagyu black pepper seared buns.
Siu mai, ha gow, and Wagyu black pepper seared buns.

While I’ve enjoyed Palette’s xiao long baos before, I opted not to get them to-go, fearing they would not travel well. Instead, I opted for ha gow (four for $8) that were plump with shrimp, and siu mai (four for $7) that had a juicy filling of ground pork, shiitakes, and shrimp.

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A Visit to Stellina Pronto

Stellina Pronto is known for its puffs. One look at these beauties and it's easy to see why.
Stellina Pronto is known for its puffs. One look at these beauties and it’s easy to see why.

For months, I’d heard inklings about just how fabulous the Petaluma Italian bakery, Stellina Pronto, was. Then, when a good friend, whose pastry bar is as high as mine, raved about it, I knew I had to make a beeline a couple weeks ago when I was in Sonona Wine Country.

All you need do is look for the line out the door to find it, as there almost always is one.

It’s no wonder, because this bakery, which opened last summer, is first-rate.

That’s no surprise when you realize it was opened by Chef Christian Caiazzo and his wife, Katrina Fried, who owned the highly regarded Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station until its closure in August 2020.

Don't despair at the line. It moves fairly quickly.
Don’t despair at the line. It moves fairly quickly.
A look at part of the bakery case.
A look at part of the bakery case.

The glass cases are filled with all manner of sweet, buttery treats, most of them sweet, but with a surprisingly wide variety of savory ones, too. Look for pizza to make its debut in the future, too.

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The Return of Cyrus

A perfect cube of succulent pork belly served with a zingy ale aged with cherry blossoms at the new Cyrus in Geyserville.
A perfect cube of succulent pork belly served with a zingy ale aged with cherry blossoms at the new Cyrus in Geyserville.

After a seemingly interminable odyssey, the wait is indeed over.

Cyrus, the acclaimed fine-dining restaurant that closed in Healdsburg in 2012 after a landlord dispute, finally reopened again last September in a striking new iteration in Geyserville.

Chef-Owner Doug Keane, co-owner Nick Peyton, and their team couldn’t be more relieved and thrilled to be back at it again. Neither can their legions of fans, so many of whom considered the original Cyrus their favorite restaurant.

The original Cyrus garnered two Michelin stars. The new one already scored one star — barely two months after opening.

At the entrance.
At the entrance.

Keane spent a decade searching high and low through the Alexander Valley, which was founded by the restaurant’s namesake Cyrus Alexander. He had all but given up when this site came available. Though this sleek contemporary glass, steel and concrete building is the polar opposite of the restaurant’s original Old World provincial aesthetic, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting place in this new age and time. At least, that’s what I found when I finally had the opportunity last week to dine here.

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