Giveaway: Blaze Pizza!

29 09 2014

Earlier this year, Blaze Pizza caught fire in the Bay Area, just one of many places where the flames are spreading around the nation. The concept is simple: home-made, thin crust dough; artisanal choose-your-own toppings; 180 seconds in their open-flame oven for “fast fire’d” perfection. Sounds good to me.

blaze pizza2

From the Blaze Pizza facebook page

If it sounds good to you too, and you’re ever around the Fremont area, they’ve kindly given me some gift cards for one free pizza each. Leave a comment below or email me at and you can try your own pizza for free. Yeay!

blaze coupon

blaze pizza3

Stay tuned as they make their way ever closer to our fair city… rumor is that new locations are opening all the time and SF is on the short list.

Additional note: their short dessert menu includes a “S’more Pie”. Me want one!

blaze smores

Short Review: Padrecito

23 09 2014

I had dinner at Padrecito last weekend — a newer, stylish Mexican restaurant in Cole Valley. My experience was so-so. While the decor, atmosphere, and menu are well done, I simply wasn’t terribly impressed with what I ordered, nor with the service. As this was my first time in the restaurant, I’ll give the latter the benefit of the doubt, but my lack of enthusiasm probably won’t have me returning terribly soon.


The menu is contemporary Mexican, with a focus on local and organic (welcome to San Francisco), which is great. There are a variety of interesting tacos, enchiladas, salads, and ceviches. We ordered the fish ceviche ($14), kale salad ($12), and salmon tacos ($13) with chips and salsa/guac for the table. While it was a bit pricey, at least the portions were reasonably sized, as compared to La Urbana, for example. The food was decent, but nothing extraordinary.

As for the service: our waitress was kind though unenthusiastic, but our order came out totally backward (entrees first, then chips and salsa, then appetizer), which was disappointing. The drink menu is cool, showing a little icon of each drink indicating the type of glass it comes in and the proportions of the drink. The drinks are pretty stellar, actually, and they have an attached unit with a bar, which might be the more desirable spot for me in this particular case.


Upcoming Event: The PopUp Dinner SF

7 09 2014

Have you heard of pop up restaurants? This is usually where a small gathering of people share a meal cooked by a well-known or amateur chef in a temporary location. They are often relatively impromptu, and generally focus on community and hospitality. The PopUp Dinner hosted by Handmade Events takes this concept to a whole new level by gathering thousands of people together to share in a picnic dinner for one evening of the year. The catch? The location is not disclosed until 3pm on the day of the event.


I was cordially invited to attend this year as a VIP guest and will be waiting patiently to hear where I’m supposed to go this Friday September 12, 2014. All tables and chairs are provided, but guests bring all the rest including food, drinks, and table decor. Everyone is required to wear all white attire to symbolize the simplicity of the event and a the blank slate of new opportunities. In addition to this massive picnic-party, there will also be a live performance by Ben Folds!!

The event is sold out this year, so unless you know someone with tickets (they’re transferable — ahem — Craigslist — ahem), you may have to wait until next year to attend. I’m not entirely sure what to expect, but it certainly looks like a good time!



Photos courtesy of Handmade Events

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Event

1 09 2014

Last week I was invited to a Scharffen Berger chocolate and wine pairing event at a local waterfront restaurant, Waterbar. As you might imagine, I accepted this invitation immediately. As is the norm, I wasn’t sure the actual format for this event (dinner? snacks? sit down or mingling? small gathering or large? bloggers only or others?), but it did not disappoint. And they told us about their new advertising campaign, which is actually really creative and engaging.


To start — the event. They rented out a small-ish room on the second floor of the restaurant which has a balcony that overlooks the bay and the bridge. It was beautiful! They had chocolate samples, an open bar station with wine and cocktails, and a few cocktails for people to chat around. My friend, Kate, and I spent a bit of time talking with John Sharffenberger about chocolate and wine and Netflix shows as we enjoyed a delicious selection of roving appetizers (ex: tuna tartar, crab cakes, stuffed pasta bites).??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Kate and me with Scharffen Berger execs, including John Scharffenberger

Kate and me with Scharffen Berger execs, including John Scharffenberger


Mr. Sharffenberger gave a bit of a speech, as did some of the other executives and marketing people, which told us a bit about the company, and then explained their new marketing campaign: wonderfully complicated. It’s a great idea — chocolate, along with red wine, is one of the most complex foods (like, scientifically), engaging a myriad of unique taste sensors in your mouth. Weaving in the uniqueness of each of their customers, they came up with the term “wonderfully complicated” to describe both their product, and the people who consume it.

John Scharffenberger gives a speech

John Scharffenberger gives a speech

Another speech with me in the foreground

Another speech with me in the foreground

The ingenious way they’ve incorporated this into a marketing strategy is via Instagram. Take a picture of yourself and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #wonderfullycomplicated. After you do so, Scharffen Berger will re-post your selfie overlain with three random descriptors that could be used to describe chocolate or, indeed, you. They display these on their Instagram and Facebook feeds. AND, as a bonus to SF folks only, if you geotag your location, your photo will appear on the bus stop ad nearest you:

I really liked how interactive and clever this idea is. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s a win-win for the company and the customers. Good job marketing people!

The event then moved to the wine and chocolate pairing, where we all gathered around the cocktail tables and were instructed how to try a variety of different wines, and how to “pair” them with certain chocolates. It was very interesting how the flavor of the wines changed as you munched on a certain type of chocolate. It was delicious and fun!

Wine and chocolate pairing

Wine and chocolate pairing



After the tasting, a delicious buffet of food arrived, and we all enjoyed chips and guac, shrimp tacos, fish tacos, chicken skewers, lobster rolls, and more. It was quite a party! As we finally made our way to leave, the lovely hosts from the PR firm suggested we each take home a flower arrangement, complete with adhered chocolate decorations; a gift bag with a bottle of wine and TEN (yes, ten) chocolate bars of different varieties; and a poster (probably 18″x24″) that they had somehow made using a photo they took of us upon our arrival (I hadn’t thought anything of it at the time) and had printed into one of their ad campaign formats with three words overlaying our smiling faces. It was great!

The whole thing was really well done — great food, delicious chocolate, amazing location — and was just a whole lot of fun. And now I can’t wait to get one of my #wonderfullycomplicated selfies up on Instagram!


Corazonas Oatmeal Squares

18 08 2014

The nice people at Corazonas approached me recently about their heart-healthy, oatmeal-based snack bars. They sent me a few to try, and I have to say that I really liked them.


These snack bars are similar in size to a Clif Bar, which has historically been my go-to “energy” bar-type snack (though I have more recently moved to Kind Bars). Corazonas are different: they are softer and fresher-seeming, almost like an oatmeal cookie, but not so sweet. They have a variety of flavors available: banana walnut, chocolate brownie & almonds, blueberry, cranberry flax, chocolate chip, and more — and most of them I tried were really tasty.


The big claim to fame for these particular snack bars is that they are fortified with plant sterols — compounds that occur naturally in fruits, veggies, and other foods that have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol. Nutrition facts and ingredients for each flavor are also posted on the website for your viewing pleasure; in summary, each bar has about 180 to 200 calories, five grams of fiber, and six grams of protein (and 5-8 grams of fat, and around 30 grams of carbs, if you care about more things than I do).

While I’m sad that these snacks aren’t available at the small natural food store by my house, they are accessible to most Bay Area-ites via Safeway, select Costcos, and other local stores like Andronico’s and Berkeley Bowl. Anyone who likes “energy” bars, or just likes quick snacks for work, school, home, or on the go, I would definitely encourage you to try Corazonas.


Plow: Brunch

31 07 2014

Sometimes I feel like there should be a sign as you enter San Francisco that reads: “SAN FRANCISCO: WE LIKE BRUNCH”. That would pretty much cover it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: brunch is like a sport in SF. Good places are swarmed with people every weekend, especially Sunday. There’s probably a dozen places I could name off hand that will have over a hour wait if you saunter in for brunch around 11am on a Sunday sans reservation. Plow is one of these places.


As Plow does not take reservations, we had to engage one of the many common SF brunch tactics. But this time, we had a trick up our sleeve: daylight savings time. On daylight savings day (the one in the Spring), you can get there at 10am, and it really is kinda like arriving at 9am. What does this do? Well, it doesn’t get you any more sleep than arriving at 9am, but, it does seem to get you the same wait time as if you arrived an hour earlier. Everyone else is sleeping! And you’re eating awesome brunch. Good work!

Arriving so early meant we had about a ten minute wait, and then we were seated in their long, narrow, daylight-filled dining area. The menu is sort of old-fashioned meets modern — the only coffee is the kind that is held in a bulbous glass coffee pot and poured periodically into your thick-walled ceramic coffee cup, but the food menu puts a little twist on a variety of favorites, and offers a few yummy unique items.


Despite my inclination to order absolutely everything on the menu (ex: raspberry glazed donut $4.25, chocolate banana bread $4.25, avocado toast $8.25, cold-smoked salmon toast $10, dungeness crab scramble $17), I went with my old favorite, eggs benedict with cold smoked salmon ($17). And, at the recommendation of a friend, my two lady friends and I shared two lemon ricotta pancakes ($5 each, or $13 for a meal of three), which were just as amazing as they were reported to be.

My friends ordered two very similar egg dishes (I can’t exactly remember which was which…):


And my benedict was pretty much as good as it looks. The hollandaise was homemade, and was more vinegar-y than I’m used to, but was dang good:

eggs benedict

Oy, and that little lemon ricotta pancake? So. Good.


And by the time we left, this was the line outside. Thank you daylight savings.


Plow on Urbanspoon

Eat Drink SF: An Epic Foodie Festival (+ Ticket Giveaway)

28 07 2014

Yes, it seems that every other weekend there is some amazing food or beverage festival in this grand city of ours, and next weekend is no exception. The Eat Drink SF festival (formerly SF Chefs) will be taking place at Fort Mason August 1-3, 2014, with a huge variety of events from classes to dinners to parties spanning the three-day event.

eat drink sf


As B&C loves to give away tickets to SF food events, there is one pair of tickets ($100 value) up for grabs to the event Up Close and Personal with Fabio Viviani on Saturday August 2 at 2pm! Leave a comment below or email me for deets. (Update: The tickets have been given away, thanks for all the emails!)

eat drink sf viviani


As they describe it, “Eat Drink SF is a food and wine event celebrating the unique flavor, diversity and bounty of Northern California. The Grand Tasting is at Fort Mason Center where chefs, winemakers, brewers and distillers will offer an exploration of taste. Classes, seminars, demos, dinners and parties will offer interactive opportunities for the public to participate with local farmers, ranchers, chefs, winemakers, distillers, media, authors, brewers, mixologists and culinary experts in an entertaining and delicious forum.”

eat drink sf food1


eat drink sf chefs

And, a variety of local restaurant favorites will feature sips and tastes, such as A16, Central Kitchen, CHAYA Brasserie, Commonwealth, Delfina, Frances, Flour + Water, Fog City, La Urbana, Park Tavern, and Tacolicious, not to mention the plethora of chefs including Dominique Crenn, Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence, Charles Phan, Martin Yan, and Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani.

If I weren’t out of town this weekend, you know where I’d be. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the City this weekend, leave a comment or send me an email ( to snag some free tickets to be entertained by a Top Chef star as he teaches you how to make fresh Orecchiette Pasta with Pesto Sauce. And, check out the rest of the events to see what else tickles your fancy!




eat drink sf collage

(All photos courtesy of the Eat Drink SF Facebook page.)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 81 other followers