There’s no denying that those in the food industry are struggling mightily during the pandemic. The new book, “Food People Are The Best People” (Acorn Press) spotlights how 129 renowned California food and beverage professionals are coping and what inspires them during this unprecedented time.
After the avalanche of sweets this holiday season, it’s time for savory and salty instead, don’t you think?
Admittedly, I am always a sucker for Japanese rice crackers, so Woodridge Snacks’ Sticky Rice Chips are right up my alley. I had a chance to try some Woodridge Snacks samples, including the Sticky Rice Chips in Sriracha flavor ($2.99 for a 2.8-ounce bag).
Made with rice harvested from Thailand, these chips are light, airy, crisp and ever so chewy. The Sriracha flavor definitely has a hit of chili spice that starts out mellow and builds at the end. There’s 140 calories per 23 chips with 220mg sodium.
Healdsburg’s J Vineyards has long made one of my favorite go-to sparkling wines.
Its new J Vineyards Cuvee 20 Brut NV ($38), of which I received a sample, is a total pleaser with yeasty, apple, and spice notes. Medium-bodied, it has a slight creaminess yet plenty of crisp acidity.
It would make magic alongside a cold seafood platter, a goat cheese salad with bitter greens, or even an egg salad croissant sandwich.
Cheers: This bubbly will ring in the New Year in style. Given the year we’ve had, you deserve to uncork a special bottle to mark the end of a supremely challenging 2020, and to toast to a hopefully much brighter and lighter 2021.
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier 2019
You don’t often see a Chenin Blanc and Viognier blend on the market. In fact, Pine Ridge Vineyards founder Gary Andrus first created this as an experiment in the 1990s.
He may be small, but he’s big on heart. He sure knows his way around a kitchen, too. He’s even eaten at Alinea before I have! So jelly.
Yes, I’ve joined the cult of The Tiny Chef. If you’re not yet acquainted with this little culinary cutie who just loves to cook at his teeny stove with button-burners and quench his thirst from a sewing-thimble cup, then you are missing out. Press his tummy, and he even talks. How could I resist? I call him an early Christmas present to myself. Given this crazy year, I’m pretty sure I deserve him, too.
Chef has a sweet tooth just like me. So, of course, the first thing we had to make together were cookies.
He started leafing through a copy of the new “Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy. He took his time pouring over the more than 100 recipes for treats such as “Chocolate Mint Wafers,” “Pumpkin Snickerdoodles,” “Iranian Rice Cookies,” and “Pink Lemonade Thumbprints.”
In the end, he settled on “Brown-Butter Crinkle Cookies.” I think it’s because he loves butter. I also think it’s because these cookies get especially pretty crinkly surfaces because the dough balls are first rolled in granulated sugar, then in confectioners’ sugar.
Imagine a goodie box stuffed with 15 delightfuly pampering products all made by Bay Area artisans. Who wouldn’t want to get spoiled with that?
Farm Box, a local company started during this ever-challenging year to help promote products from small family farms, has created the perfect holiday gift box — for your family, friends or even yourself — that can be delivered anywhere in the United States. Best yet, it helps support small local producers at a time when they could use a hand.
Farm Box co-founder Andreas Winsberg, whose father founded East Palo Alto’s Happy Quail Farms, sent me a sample box gratis to check out. Each box includes an extra special touch: a pretty painted card designed by his grandmother. Mine depicted the Golden Gate Bridge.