All posts filed under: Taste.

wild terra.

After visiting Topo, I walked over to Wild Terra, which had caught my eye when I was looking for parking. I was drawn to the brightness of the shop – lots of natural light. I didn’t know what would be inside and I had to find out! Turns out, Wild Terra had just opened three weeks before my visit. They sell teas, spices and herbs, and lots of natural beauty and health products, plus art prints and some home goods. Wild Terra holds workshops onsite, too. (Big fan of workshops!) And they sell local honey. (Big fan of local honey, too!) The space is inspiring and the staff are very welcoming. They encouraged me to open up the jars to smell all the aromas. Mmm…I ended up getting some Earl Grey tea – the “Earl Grey Creme” – which was indeed creamy, even without adding any milk. Wishing you lots of good vibes and success, Wild Terra!

pretzels.

Guess what, guess what! I’m super happy to report that I know how to make pretzels now (at least under professional supervision!). They are a lot of work, but so worth the effort. I took a pretzel class at Firebrand Artisan Breads in Oakland. Our instructor Colleen shared pretzel making secrets and tips, including preferred equipment and ingredients. We learned the science behind the ingredients, and how to appropriately use and efficiently throw flour to prep the work surface. We learned how to make, weigh out / portion, roll, and shape the dough. We made three basic shapes: knots, the Firebrand signature twists, and balls (stuffed with cheese!). A lye bath gives the pretzel a shine and some added orangey-brown color. This was my first time using lye, and I got some extra practice time because a few classmates didn’t want to try it. After the lye bath we added the toppings – sea salt, everything bagel spice, cheese, more cheese, paprika…. Then into the oven, a little cooling on the table, and taste test! We …

nearcation’s all I ever wanted.

For our second wedding anniversary, Hubs and I planned an almost 24-hour nearcation adventure across the Bay in San Francisco. Since we thoroughly enjoyed last year’s SF nearcation, and there is so much to see, do, and eat in the City, we decided to do it again. Plus, we lazy and didn’t want to drive or fly far away. 😉 This time, we stayed at Hotel Nikko. I love the art in the rooms and throughout the hotel, and the squishy beds, and the touch pad on the nightstand that welcomes you by name. They have the most amazing line of bath products, too; the custom scent is bamboo lavender, but to me it has notes of chai spices which I love. Also, I’m into the separate stand up shower and bath options. Note to self for future home. The hotel sits between Union Square and the Tenderloin. I made sure we stopped to see some of the mural art nearby. A lot of the ones I wanted to spot were either painted over or …

sunnies and snacks.

I love planning events, trying my hand at making different foods to share, and setting up activities for friends to try. For birthmonth I threw a picnic party – great friends and yummy snacks all afternoon made for a fun and relaxing day. For snacks I made tabbouleh, a green salad with tahini lemon dressing, sunomono cucumber salad, veggie wraps, and French onion dip. I also gathered shortbread cookies, nuts, mandarins, blackberries, chips, and black sesame crackers. My new fave (accidentally made) snack: what I’m dubbing “tabbouleh nachos” topped with Green yogurt French onion dip. I can’t wait to make it again! I set up some crafty play stations – origami and photo decorating. Plus park friendly activities – bubbles, lawn bowling, dominos, and sportsballs (Hubby taught me how to properly throw a football!). My niece also brought the Bean Boozled jelly bean game. Gross fun! And party favors because that’s how I roll: everyone got a pair of sunnies. More picnics please! What are some of your go-to picnic foods and activities? Do share!

it’s pronounced CHO.

Chocolate!!! A TCHO chocolate tour has been on my list of local activities for a while now. What better time to go than for my birthday! I invited friends to play hooky with me (it was a work day, after all), and come celebrate at the chocolate factory. Inside, the waiting area is so colorful and vibrant. Their eye for design extends from their chocolate packaging to their chocolate space! We began our visit with a company history and chocolate making lesson. Chocolate rewards were given for all correct answers! Then it was off to tour the factory space. No jewelry, no false eyelashes, and no sandals allowed. I even had to cover up my nail polish with gloves. Also, no pictures so you’re stuck here with this photo of me and Hubs in our factory suits. Before stepping into the factory our shoes even got a quick cleanse. Once inside, we learned about each machine in the factory and our tour guide took us through each step in the TCHO chocolate making process. After …

foodchella.

My trip to the Palm Springs area was for business and for pleasure. I conveniently scheduled a work project meeting for the day before my cousin was to get married. Sneaky, sneaky! All the food adventures below plus links to all my reviews. THURSDAY I flew into the Palm Springs airport on Thursday evening and headed straight to food with my co-worker. Rooster and the Pig / pickled okra / green papaya salad / shrimp spring roll / panko-crusted rice ball with yellow curry Long wait, hole-in-the-wall feel in a strip mall. I’m liking my dinner choice! And once inside, a culinary experience. Dishes are easy to share; my fave was the pickled okra, but check out that rice ball on top of the yellow curry. Unique finds! If I wasn’t there during the work part of my trip, I would have tried a fancy adult bevvie. Regardless, my foodchella experience was off to a great start. FRIDAY Friday was the day of my work meeting so instead of trying a breakfast hotspot in the morning, I …

home vs. home.

Crafty friend Tally Sue and I went on a Home cafe taste/experience test adventure! Home is a San Francisco-based cafe with two locations. Since San Francisco is heavily metered, we decided we’d spend two hours at our first cafe stop and then go to the other one when our meter ran out. Adventures! Home on Noriega This location is the smaller of the two, which I think makes it more cozy. During our stay the line remained long but tables turned over quickly. I ordered a London Fog with soy milk and Tally Sue ordered a matcha with almond milk. Her’s came with a bear! Jealous! We also shared the toast special of the day which had corn, bacon, and cheese, and the ‘Egg in Basket’ toast (my preferred toast of the two we ordered) which had a sunny side up egg in the middle. ‘No laptops’ signs encouraged chatting with your company…and in our case, crafting with company. Home on Clement Parking was a little more challenging, but doable at this location. Home on Clement …