Category Archives: New Products

Tea Time If There Ever Was One

Bai Hao Yin Zhen -- young, fuzzy tea leaves just harvested in April in Fujian, China.
Bai Hao Yin Zhen — young, fuzzy tea leaves just harvested in April in Fujian, China.

Some meditate. Others do yoga. I find tranquility in a great cup of tea.

And some of the best are now available, harvested just this spring by Adagio Teas. Its selection of Masters Teas by Adagio offers up the freshest specialty teas of the season.

If you’re used to sipping tea from bags that have sat on supermarket shelves for months, these will be eye and palate awakeners, as I found when I recently was sent samples to try.

If all you’re accustomed to is shriveled black tea leaves, you’ll be amazed at the appearance of these, which were just harvested in April. For instance, Bai Hao Yin Zhen from Fujian, China, are slender, pale green leaves that almost look like dried tarragon. When steeped, they create a tea with a gentle grassy taste.

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Good Things Come In — Farm Box

Some of the impeccable produce from small farms in this past Saturday's Farm Box.
Some of the impeccable produce from small farms in this past Saturday’s Farm Box.

Andreas Winsberg is used to growing things. The son of a farmer — David Winsberg of East Palo Alto’s Happy Quail Farms that started the craze for pimentos de Padron in California — he’s been helping his dad plant those prized Spanish peppers and sell them at the San Francisco Ferry Building farmers market since he can remember.

Now, it’s this 25-year-old’s turn to germinate something special of his own.

In late-March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit full bore in the Bay Area and shelter-in-place restrictions took hold, he created Farm Box, a weekly curated farmers market box that customers can get delivered to their door or pick up at the Ferry Plaza farmers market on Saturdays or the Menlo Park farmers market on Sundays.

Farm Box was developed by 409 + Co, a design agency that Andreas founded with fellow 20-something alums of Pennsylvania’s Haverford College, Stephen Davis and Jessie Lamworth.

They didn’t set out to do this. But realizing just how complicated buying groceries and food was about to become for people, they rose to the challenge to build out a new web-delivery business to help small-scale, local farmers, whose goods are so perishable, reach more customers.

Contactless delivery to my porch.
Contactless delivery to my porch.
The reveal of what's inside.
The reveal of what’s inside.

“Seeing what my dad was going through, and fearing that the farmers market might shut down, was the impetus,’’ Andreas says. “We’re not in it to get rich, but to help farmers and others who need the boost now.’’

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Paella, Anyone?

My chicken, broccolini and spring garlic paella that I made with the help of Teleferic Barcelona's paella kit. With it, the restaurant's to-go red sangria.
My chicken, broccolini and spring garlic paella that I made with the help of Teleferic Barcelona’s paella kit. With it, the restaurant’s to-go red sangria.

If you’re craving some saffron-scented paella — and want to put your cooking skills to the test — Teleferic Barcelona makes it easy to do so now.

The Spanish restaurant, with locations in Walnut Creek and Palo Alto, is now selling paella kits that you can pick up or get delivered.

Choose from kits that serve 2 or 4, and are designed to make traditional paella, squid ink paella or fideua. The kits are priced from $43 to $72.

The Palo Alto restaurant in the Town & Country Village, which has its own little merkat or market attached, invited me last week to test drive a kit on the house.

Teleferic Barcelona's kit that I used.
Teleferic Barcelona’s kit that I used.

The $48 basic paella kit comes with a paella pan, bomba rice, olive oil, Spanish crushed peppers, paella seasoning mix, and the restaurant’s own jarred sofrito. Just add your own stock or broth, as well as vegetables and protein.

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Keep Calm & Eat Cheese

Loads of spicy, smoky flavor -- that's why Cypress Grove's Chipotle Cocoa delivers big-time.
Loads of spicy, smoky flavor — that’s why Cypress Grove’s Chipotle Cacao delivers big-time.

When it comes to cooking, it’s the little things in life that make such a difference now — crunchy sea salt, olive oil with a real personality, and an exceptional cheese with flavor to spare that elevates anything it touches.

That’s why I felt like I had truly hit the culinary jackpot when Humboldt County’s Cypress Grove sent me samples during this just-the-basics-ma’am, hunker-down-and-make-do kind of time.

Because it’s soft-ripened goat cheeses are anything but banal. Since 1983, this Arcata, CA-based cheesemaker has been turning out award-winning wheels. Since 2017, it’s taken a fancy turn each year to its classic Humboldt Fog by making limited-edition remixes that feature herbs and spices added.

This year, Cypress Grove ups the equation by not only adding the familiar ripple of flavoring at the center of the cheese, but also mixing it into the cheese paste through and through. The result is wallop of flavor.

This year’s line-up includes the Dill Remix, which was released in April; the Chipotle Cacao that will debut in summer; and the Haze Remix due in the fall.

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Enjoy A Warm Chocolate Lava Cake — In 40 Seconds

Would you believe it only takes 40 seconds from fridge to microwave to dig into this perfect, warm chocolate lava cake?
Would you believe it only takes 40 seconds from fridge to microwave to dig into this perfect, warm chocolate lava cake?

I’ve made the original chocolate lava cake many times. The warm little cake with the contrasting gooey, molten chocolate center that became a sensation was purportedly invented by Michelin-starred New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten when he accidentally removed a cake from the oven too soon.

It’s not a difficult cake to make, but it does take a little practice to know when exactly to pull it from the oven so that the center is not overdone, rendering it merely a uniform chocolate cake through and through.

Pots & Co. not only takes the guesswork out of that, it but alleviates all the work — period.

The London-based company makes Chocolate Fudge Lava Cakes that come ready made. All you need do is pop one into the oven for 12 minutes or into the microwave for 40 seconds to get perfect results.

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