I just ate one of the most delicious tuna sandwiches I’ve ever had — all thanks to Oakland’s SugarRoti.
This new, women-owned company that opened during the pandemic makes 15 different, single-use Indian spice blend packets of mostly organic ingredients.
The $8.99 packets are an especially convenient alternative to buying a host of separate spices that end up as half-filled jars gathering dust in your pantry.
The company was co-founded by Bina Motiram and Dana DuFrane, who met in the corporate world before deciding to join DuFrane’s passion for design with Motiram’s for cooking.
The spice blends, sold in compostable packets, are each designed to work with a specific ingredient, such as beef, chicken or eggs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix and match, according to your own whims. For guidance, each packet comes with a simple recipe on the back. More recipes can be found on the SugarRoti web site.
Just note that the spice blends need to be toasted or heated to fully bring out their flavors and aromas. They are not necessarily designed to be used as rubs on meats because many of the blends contain whole spices.
Maybe it’s because so many of us took to imbibing more during our cloistered time at home in the pandemic, but now in the aftermath, there’s been a definite uptick in the thirst for non-alcoholic alternatives.
Which makes Castello di Amorosa’s debut of three new non-alcoholic grape juices all the more timely and on trend now.
The winery may be better known for its wines, as well as its dramatic winery that’s modeled after a 13th century Tuscan castle. But these grape juices will surely add even more luster. That’s how good they are, as I found when I was sent samples recently to try.
Aside from their screw caps, these are nothing like the grape juices found on the shelves of your local supermarket. They come in three varieties: Muscat Canelli Grape Juice, Sparkling Grape Juice Red Blend, and Gewurztraminer Grape Juice. They are packaged in 750ml bottles and are made from the same fine varietals, meaning they each taste markedly different from one another and are not just saccharine-sweet, but boast the sophistication and complexity of actual premium wines. To be sure, these grape juices are definitely as sweet as soda or even dessert wines, so they’re made for sipping, not gulping.
The grape juices are made much like the wines, with the grapes hand-harvested, then pressed, with the resulting juice chilled to 32 degrees. The only difference is that no yeast is added to convert the grape sugars to alcohol.
Fellow U.S. Marines nicknamed Brandon Busch “The Candy Man” for this lieutenant colonel’s major sweet tooth. It was a passion he took rather seriously, too. So much so that the heavy-lift helicopter pilot spent any downtime during his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan reading textbooks from the Culinary Institute of America.
So, when he segued into civilian life to pursue a Willy Wonka-like dream, Busch couldn’t resist naming his business Lift Chocolate in a nod to his former occupation, as well as to the feeling he hopes to impart in anyone who enjoys his chocolates.
Indeed, his creations are sure to lift your day, especially on Easter.
I had a chance recently to try samples from this Boulder, CO chocolate shop, opened in 2017 by Busch, a graduate of the pastry program at Johnson & Wales.
Mel Canares doesn’t really have a name yet for his fried chicken sandwich joint — at least one that’s printable in a family blog (ahem), as evidenced by his Instagram handle. Cocina Canares, another moniker by which he sometimes refers to it, actually doesn’t even have a real bona fide structure, either.
Instead, Canares, a former corporate chef for Genentech, cooks and serves his fried chicken sandwich out of his backyard in South San Francisco.
He serves one thing, and only one thing — that sandwich.