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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

breakfast

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.

restaurant

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…):

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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.

pancake

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

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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.”

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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 (brocandchoc@gmail.com) 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.)





Coffee-Con 2014 is Coming to SF July 26, with Ticket Giveaway!

17 07 2014

Do you love coffee? So many of us do nowadays. SF has been one of many special places for coffee culture incubation over the last many years, and is now hosting its third annual Coffee-Con on July 26, 2014 at Terra Gallery (511 Harrison, at First). Come one, come all — coffee-lovers unite for Coffee-Con 2014!

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Experience hands-on training classes (because you thought you knew the best practices of coffee creation…), learn about international varieties of coffee and methods of brewing, and, of course, get your caffeine fix with loads of free samples. There will be speakers, live music, and even giveaways for a variety of coffee-related prizes.

And speaking of giveaways… broccoli and chocolate has been graciously given two pairs of tickets to give away to two lucky readers! Please either leave a comment below or email me directly (brocandchoc@gmail.com) for a pair of free tickets ($20 value) to this fun event!

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Haight Ashbury Food Tour — Avital Tours

14 07 2014

Avital Tours is a name I had heard before — but not until she contacted me about a media tour of The Haight had I considered actually joining a tour. But, since I know surprisingly little about the food scene in The Haight, and I wanted to experience one of these famed food tours, I happily accepted.

The tour took place on a bright, sunny day with eight or so other bloggers. Avital herself was there, but another local foodie and food writer, Virginia Miller, was the guide. The tour was three hours long and took us walking in a relatively small area while providing information about a variety of non-food-related historical facts as we made our way to five food and drink establishments.

Avital Tours Haight Ashbury Culinary Map

Avital Tours Haight Ashbury Culinary Map

A fun little map of the Haight provided by Avital is shown above (click to enlarge); the five stops we experienced are described below.

 

Stop 1: Bacon Bacon

This shop is actually really cool, even though I’m not a meat-eater. We got a bit of info from the owner, who was really laid back and knowledgeable, and tried a taco and a bit of Mexican hot chocolate, both graced with pork products. I had informed Avital beforehand that I don’t eat the piggies, and they seamlessly accommodated me without me having to ask again. Smooth.

hot chocolate

bacon Mexican hot chocolate

taco

piggy taco

taco

veggie taco

 

Stop 2: Alembic

Finally, I got to go to Alembic. This is always on the top SF lists for craft cocktails, and I just had not made it there yet. They have a small food menu, really intricate cocktails, and they’re expanding (maybe open now?) into the adjacent space to make a bit more room for tables (the bar essentially fills up the whole space right now). The Southern Exposure (a spin on the classic Southside cocktail) was extremely refreshing and expertly made. The tiny pickled quail eggs were my very very favorite (you know how much I love pickled things…) and were as yummy as they were adorable.

 

cocktail

southern exposure cocktail

eggs

pickled quail eggs

bar

Alembic

 

Stop 3: Anda Piroshki at Second Act Marketplace

This space used to be the old Red Vic Movie House, and now is working as a community space housing five retail shops and an event space. One of the five shops is Anda Piroshki, where we were able to watch as these traditional Russian treats are made (and then eat them, of course).

piroshkis being made

piroshkis being made

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piroshki

finished piroshki

 

[Stop 3 1/2: The Gardens Behind The Alembic/Second Act Marketplace]

In a small space behind these joint buildings, a garden exists that houses a surprising amount of veggies and herbs used in the creation of the food and beverages served in both establishments. This isn’t open to the public, so we felt pretty special getting a sneak peek at this area along with some information from the building’s owner, Betsy. (I believe this stop isn’t on the regular tour, but thought I’d share.)

garden

 

Stop 4: The Fizzery

Even for The Haight, this place is kooky. Offering hundreds of varieties of small-batch bottled sodas in all flavors and colors, along with enough candy and toffee to make a schoolkid’s head spin, the Fizzery sells a few of its own bottled creations from their facility in The Mission District. They even have a contraption to flash-cool a soda you just bought to be enjoyed on the spot. This place is a trip.

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instant cooling machine!

instant soda-cooling machine!

 

Stop 5: The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain

Mimicking a soda-pop shop of yesteryear better than you could possibly imagine (seriously, some real research went into this place), this seemingly simple ice cream shop is really a haven for the funkiest “soda” creations since 1850. Creating their own “tinctures” and “lactarts”, you can not only enjoy a radical sweet treat, but you learn a whole new vocabulary of liquid libations to boot. They also have a wide variety of ice creams (people were even raving about the vegan choices), and they serve lunch as well.

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The “soda” we tried (I use quotes because these are nothing like the carbonated canned drinks we’re familiar with) was a creation invented by the leader of our tour: Dill Lactart Soda. It was milky, but bubbly, and dill-y… I drank the whole thing without being able to place where this should go into my mental rolodex of flavors. It was sweet and tart and just really interesting. This particular flavor isn’t on the menu, but the menu items certainly leave enough interesting choices to last for many visits.

dill lactart soda

dill lactart soda

And that was it! If I wrote everything I learned on this tour, I could write for days. The whole thing was really well executed, the length was perfect (if it had gone on much longer, my dogs would have started barking*), and nothing about moving a group of eight or so from place to place was strained or difficult. And, I learned a heck of a lot more about The Haight than I knew before, which is fun even for a local. Not that she needs more endorsements with all her zillions of five-star Yelp reviews, but I’d definitely give a hearty thumbs up to this tour. Thanks Avital!

*That means my feet would have started hurting.

 





New Restaurant – Jougert Bar – Burlingame

7 07 2014

I received an email from Jougert Bar and an invitation to come try it out. I’m not down in Burlingame often, but the dishes looked so yummy and interesting, I thought I’d at least share. They offer a myriad of greek yogurt concoctions with all sorts of interesting add-ins. Some are sweet, some savory, and you can even create your own. See some of the photos and descriptions below, and if you get over there to try it out, leave a comment to let me know how it is!

Black Diamond (sweet): Greek Yogurt, Blackberry, Dark Chocolate, Almond, Fresh Mint, Sea Salt, Agave Nectar.

Black Diamond (sweet): Greek Yogurt, Blackberry, Dark Chocolate, Almond, Fresh Mint, Sea Salt, Agave Nectar. photo from jougertbar.com

 

Grass Skirt (sweet): Greek Yogurt, Coconut, Pineapple, Pistachio, Agave Nectar. photo from jougertbar.com

Grass Skirt (sweet): Greek Yogurt, Coconut, Pineapple, Pistachio, Agave Nectar. photo from jougertbar.com

 

Popeye (savory): Greek Yogurt, Spinach, Garlic, Olive Oil, Sea Salt & Pepper. photo from jougertbar.com

Popeye (savory): Greek Yogurt, Spinach, Garlic, Olive Oil, Sea Salt & Pepper. photo from jougertbar.com

 

Pink Panther (savory): Greek Yogurt, Beets, Cucumber, Parsley, Balsamic Glaze, Sea Salt & Pepper. photo from jougertbar.com

Pink Panther (savory): Greek Yogurt, Beets, Cucumber, Parsley, Balsamic Glaze, Sea Salt & Pepper. photo from jougertbar.com

 





Sir and Star — Olema

30 06 2014

Last weekend we took a trip up the coast for a short weekend getaway to Point Reyes where we stayed in nearby Olema and enjoyed some great food. We made a reservation for a Saturday night dinner at Sir and Star, which my bf heard about a while back on SF Gate. If Michael Bauer thinks it’s good, I usually do too.

A very nice man at Sir and Star

A very nice man at Sir and Star

The Saturday menu is a prix fixe for $75 per person (not including drinks). The theme of the food is “hyper-local” with nearly the entire menu procured from the surrounding area in Marin. The restaurant itself dates back to the 1800s and is decorated accordingly as a sort of upscale lodge with old, creaky hardwood floors, high ceilings with intricate crown molding, candelabra, and a myriad of taxidermy birds displayed on the walls.

As for the food, everything was amazing. There were seven courses; I will go through each with the accompanying photos.

First Course: Puffs of local toma. These little puffs of bread were soft and warm and made with delicious toma cheese. Good start.

bread puffs

 

Second Course: Warren’s radishes, butter and sea salt. This course threw us off. The waiter set a dish of radishes and butter at our table and didn’t give us any clue what to do with them. Was the butter for the radishes? Do we just eat them whole? It was a bit weird. But, we did indeed eat them whole (efforts to slice them in half threatened to fling radish across the room) and we put the ridiculously light and creamy butter on them. Apparently I’m the only person on the planet that did not know that radishes were a bit spicy. I have since learned this odd fact.

radish

 

Third Course: Local smoked halibut and a brushstroke of stinging nettle encircled with a soup of coastal fennel and young garlic. Yes, this is as amazing as it sounds. This may have been my favorite course. No. Yes. I don’t know. The halibut was soft and tender and melted in your mouth, with a flavor so salty and succulent, a spoonful-size serving was almost tortuously tiny. The soup was rich and flavorful and went perfectly with the fish. Delicious.

soup

 

Fourth Course: Long leaves of arugula draped over a pudding of sweet delta corn and, thanks to Marin Sun, crisp sweetbreads. This tiny salad was very good. And, I have a secret… I ate the sweetbreads. If you don’t already know, sweetbreads are not bread, they are the throat, pancreas, and other innards of a calf or lamb, a sub-category of offal. I have seen them before served as they were at S&S: lightly spiced, breaded, and fried. The reason I ate them is because they were from Marin Sun Farms, a farm just up the road from S&S that practices sustainable, natural, and humane farming.

As my beef with, well, beef (and other meat) is generally factory farming and inhumane animal treatment, there’s no reason that I technically object to sustainable, local, humane meat production. However, it’s a bit of a slippery slope, so I think I’ll keep to those few bites of sweetbreads for now. At least until I go back and actually visit MSF. (I will say they were delicious, however.)

arugula and sweetbreads

 

Fifth Course: Choice of Tenderloin chop of lamb last seen grazing on local grasses, now amidst a medley of smoked marble potatoes, roasted onions and farmers’ market favas, or A bouillabaisse of all things green and gold gathered from local gardens with a very stirring stick of focaccia and aioli. My man friend ordered the former, I ordered the latter. He said the lamb was tender and delicious and the bouillabaisse (typically made with fish stock, but this one wasn’t) was so good. So. Good. The sauce was incredible, and that little stirring stick of bread and aioli? Amazing. I was actually pretty full already, but ate every bite of the main course. Good vegetables are just the best.

bouillabaisse

lamb chop

 

Sixth Course: A duet of the best AKA Andante Dairy cheeses, largo and tomme dolce, with figs on a mission. I love the phrasing on the menu, it’s funny and cute. And cheese! Yeay! The good-looking cheese (in the middle) was also the best-tasting cheese, and the figs (barely visible in my photo — the sun had gone down) were sweet and yummy.

cheese plate

 

Seventh Course: Vicki’s strawberries extraordinaire with almond dipping cream and chocolate. Now, typically, this does not constitute a dessert for me. I need more chocolate, or at least more sugar. But these little sad-looking strawberries were the perhaps the sweetest I’ve tasted. And the dipping creams had me wishing they had provided a spoon… I used my finger until the waiter took the plate. Yeah, I’m not from Marin.

strawberries

 

Overall, the meal was amazing. Everything was expertly executed, the flavors were rich and delicious, and we were stuffed when we left. I’d like to try their regular menu as well sometime, but, alas, it’s hard to get up to Olema during the week. I’m just glad Sir and Star is up there, waiting for us should we decide to escape the city.

Sir and Star on Urbanspoon








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