Category Archives: Great Finds

What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 22

Meaty ribs and Malbec are a pairing made in heaven.
Meaty ribs and Malbec are a pairing made in heaven.

2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec

Years ago, I remember reading an article in a wine magazine that mentioned how sommeliers could always spot an industry person dining in their restaurant: The tell was that they were the ones who were likely to order the Gruner Veltliner or Malbec on the wine list.

In a world where so many people stick to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, these two varietals definitely deserve a whole lot more love.

As someone married to a man whose nickname is Meat Boy for his carnivore leanings, Malbec has truly become a favorite in our household.

So, when I received a sample of the 2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec ($70), my husband was all too happy to fire up the smoker for a batch of beef ribs to accompany them. And it proved a perfect pairing.

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Righteous Ramen Kits — Straight to Your Door

Would you believe I made this at home in no time flat from a kit?
Would you believe I made this at home in no time flat from a kit?

Who doesn’t love a hot, heaping bowl of ramen at this chilly time of year?

Of course, you can get your fill at any number of ramen restaurants around. But Kenchan Ramen offers a novel way to get your fix — with its ramen kits to make at home.

Kenshi Kobayashi and Chef Motoki Teranishi started Kenchan Ramen kits in Los Angeles in 2020 during the pandemic. They now ship their assorted kits to Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.

And they are exceptional, as I found out when I tried samples recently.

Each kit come complete with most everything you need to make two servings of ramen, along with instructions.

The contents of the Kenchan Premium Original Miso kit that serves two.
The contents of the Kenchan Premium Original Miso kit that serves two.

The noodles are fresh, with everything shipped on ice. Keep refrigerated and cook up your ramen within 5 days of delivery or place in the freezer for longer storage.

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Give It Up For Spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls get extra delicious with the addition of pumpkin in the dough.
Cinnamon rolls get extra delicious with the addition of pumpkin in the dough.

Now’s the time for a boatload of cinnamon rolls warm from the oven.

Not just any ol’ kind, but ones made moister and more golden in color with pureed pumpkin, and even more delectable with pumpkin pie-like spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

That’s exactly what you’ll get with this recipe for “Spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls,” which makes 20 — yes! — palm-sized, swirly cinnamon rolls slathered with fluffy cream cheese icing.

Get your mixing bowls out now, and thank me later for turning you on to this recipe that’s simply made for this time of year.

It’s from the new cookbook, “The Shared Kitchen” (Smith Street Books), of which I received a review copy.

Written by Clare Scrine, an Australian food writer, it features 80 vegetarian and vegan recipes that by no means will leave you feeling deprived in any way.

Not when the selection includes the likes of “Luxe Potato, Apple & Fennel Bake,” “Spicy Capsicum & Artichoke Pesto with Hand-Rolled Pasta,” “A Big Moussaka,” and “Lemon & Rosemary Cake with Mascarpone Cream.”

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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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Noodling Around

Is it pasta? Not quite.
Is it pasta? Not quite.

Hungry for supple strands of pappardelle smothered in deep red sauce?

You’ll be forgiven if that’s exactly what you think this is.

Yet it’s not.

Peer closer to discover it’s not noodles at all, but a clever tangle of egg omelet strips instead.

“Charred Red Pepper Sauce with Omelet Noodles” is a genius recipe from the new “Mezcla” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

“Mezcla” is Spanish for “mix,” “blend,” or “fusion,” which aptly describes the food by its author, Ixta Belfrage. It’s the first solo cookbook by this disciple of Yotam Ottolenghi, who worked for five years at his Nopi restaurant in London, before moving on to work at the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

Belfrage considers this cookbook a tribute to the three countries that have most shaped her, and her style of cooking: Italy, where she lived as a child; Brazil, from which her mother hails; and Mexico, where her paternal grandfather lived.

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