Where to Taste the Finest Olive Oils

fresh-olivesOlives turned into luscious oil is not only healthful but this oil can be tasted in the Bay Area.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in October, 2016.)

It may often be called “liquid gold” but olive oil actually comes in a range of luscious hues from pale yellow to deep green, with an exquisite range of aromas and flavors that vary from oil to oil — grassy, acidic, buttery, bitter, floral, fruity, nutty, spicy and more.  This agricultural crop is booming in Northern California, where some have said it’s starting to  parallel our state’s thriving wine-grape sector while being heralded by foodies and health professionals as a beneficial, delicious substance. And like wine, it can be challenging to select an olive oil due to the abundant choices available as well as controversies that have muddled the minds of many consumers regarding what should be an essential culinary staple. Fortunately, it’s easy to get savvy about olive oil in the South Bay and beyond, including tasting this wondrous product right where it’s made. Continue reading

Black Sheep Brasserie Zips Up French Classics

black_sheep-1This handsome new spot in Willow Glen is the brainchild of four successful restaurateurs.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in October, 2016.)

Black sheep might be considered outcasts but there’s nothing disgraceful about the buzzy new dining spot of that name in the heart of Willow Glen. Opening late last year, Black Sheep Brasserie brings some classic Frenchness to town, but wrapped in modern sensibilities, from the chic food preparations to the decor. For example, snails here aren’t just the longtime Parisian iteration featuring garlic butter and herbs but rather are basil-fed crawlers steeped in Pernod butter. Meanwhile, the high-ceiled space is modern and handsome with a muted gray-neutral color scheme enlivened with occasional pops of bright red. Continue reading

Where to Find the Most Delectable Strawberries

fraises-blog

Strawberries may have moved up into the most popular category of fruit but that doesn’t mean all strawberries are equal in the taste — and health — department. We present the most delicious, good-for-you varieties  along with some unforgettable strawberry cousins to grow at home. Read all about it on KQED’s food blog here.

Fresh Pasta Guide – Peninsula and South Bay

rav closeupWhere can you find the yummiest fresh pasta locally to cook at home?

In the running for most addictive carb has to be pasta, whether formed in toothy noodle strands or in fat ravioli pillows.  Although it’s abundantly available in markets everywhere — typically dried or mass produced — pasta purists often seek out the fresh, local variety.   Some better groceries and farmers markets are now fresh pasta destinations but our guide identifies local producers on the Peninsula and South Bay where purveyors are offering the tastiest pasta around. Read about in KQED’s Bay Area Bites here.

Sipping & Supping at Local Wine Bars

wine bar-1Local wine bars are flourishing — and are a great place to try varied wines and compatible eats.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in August, 2016.)

Having been discovered 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, wine has long since seeped into human history and culture while being the optimal escort for food. Thus it’s no surprise that dining establishments where wine plays the major role — wine bars — have been around long before Copernicus realigned astronomy to a correct axis in the 16th century. In fact, he reportedly favored an Italian wine bar that was built in 1435.  Rudyard Kipling wrote his first novel in the London building housing Gordon’s — a famous wine bar launched in 1890 — while the oldest Parisian wine bar, Réserve de Quasimodo, sits quietly in the shadows of gothic Notre Dame cathedral and was a hangout of famous criminal Cartouche in 1715. Continue reading

Silicon Valley’s Posture Guru

Gokhale-slumpThe high-paying, white-collar jobs in our region are killing our backs.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in June, 2016.)

Most of us pay little attention to the topic of back pain. That is, until inevitably joining the unhappy eight out of 10 Americans who will suffer from some sort of back episode during their lives. Ask any of the millions of sufferers and the picture is grim, with spinal trouble turning everyday activities like sitting, standing, moving or sleeping into agonizing or impossible acts.  Even just bending over to brush your teeth can become a painful challenge. Continue reading

Home “Wine Countries” Dotting the Bay Area

home vineyards

The image of strolling through lush vineyards while sipping a glass of wine made from the grapes isn’t just something seen in winery marketing materials. A growing number of one-percenters in the Bay Area are replacing their lawns with grapevines and shooting for more-than-just-drinkable vintages.  While these homeowners soon learn that lots of things can go wrong in farming, the siren song of Wine Country is hard to extinguish. Read all about it on KQED’s food and wine blog here.