Tag Archives: sustainable

New from Peko-Peko: Green Pea and Black Cod Bento


peko peko new bento

As you all know I’m huge fans of Peko-Peko.  I’ve enjoyed both of their earlier bento creations and can’t wait to try their most recent concoction–especially since it includes fava beans, a new favorite since my recent trip to Ad Hoc.  I’m thinking of serving these for family dinner this Friday night.

PS: I also love the design of the flyers and wrapping (see pics of “Early Spring Bento” here) who is behind this genius?

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A San Francisco Afternoon

Very uncharacteristically, I was in San Francisco for the afternoon yesterday.  I don’t love San Francisco very much, but I found a few spots that really hit the nail on the head.

1.  If you find yourself in, or are willing to travel to, an undesirable neighborhood (the Marina) you can rely on an oasis of soothing at Blue Barn Gourmet on Chestnut.  I love Blue Barn because of the truly amazing produce in their salads and sandwiches.  Romaine lettuce isn’t something I usually want to write home about, but Blue Barn changed all that for me.  Who knew romaine actually had flavor?!  In addition to composing tasty lunches, Blue Barn serves as a point of contact for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) exchange.  


2.  Happy hour was spent at Nihon, a Japanese whisky bar.  At 5:45, the rays of the sunset were streaming in and I was sitting with two lovely companions-one had the French 75 and the other the Negroni.  Both were delicious.  There were beats playing, but soft enough, and the bar was full but not crowded.  I told the lovely waitress that I wasn’t in the mood for whisky (she was understanding), and was looking for something not too sweet (I detest sugary cocktails served up).  She recommended the “21 Hayes,” with gin, cucumber and lemon.  It was perfect: not too much alcohol, not too much saturated fruit or vegetable flavor, not too much simple syrup.  Apparently, Jeff Hollinger of Absinthe Bar made this drink famous, but the Nihon version was good enough for me.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to stay for snacks or a second drink because it just got too crowded and loud in there for 6:30 (with everyone from college kids to yuppies to a baby carriage (?!)…people in the Bay are so crazy).  But aren’t we glad someone is making money these days?  

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Another Reason I Love Sunset Magazine

I really must get around to writing that post dedicated to my love of Sunset Magazine.  Tonight might not be the night.  But I can never resist the urge to impulsively share exciting information so here it goes.

First, Sunset Magazine has not one, but several excellent blogs available through their website.  The one I’m inspired by is the uber-locavore challenge, the “One block diet” and blog.  Sunset editors and contributors have dedicated themselves to eating what is grown and available within one block of Sunset’s property.  

oneblockdiet_gardenThe Sunset test garden

When reading the “about” section, I found that a former Saveur editor, Margo True, is currently behind Sunset’s excellent food writing!  Naturally.  My first internship ever was at Saveur magazine in the summer of 1999–while the magazine still had its original sense of elegance and culinary veritas intact under the leadership of Dorothy Kalins, Christopher Hirsheimer, and Colman Andrews–and True herself of course.  These days Saveur seems to be suffering along with the economy, crisis of print journalism, and weight (or lack thereof) of their glossy pages.  But Sunset with its niche market seems to be thriving.  Here’s to Sunset!  Here’s to the West!

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Follow up: Peko Peko Early Spring Bento


Peko Peko’s Early Spring Bento arrived today in this unbelievably soothing printed paper and red string.  Perfect since it was an early birthday gift from me to Rimpletide!  I love the Golden Gate graphic+little cars!


The pork cutlet and rolled omelette were amazing, but my Oprah a-ha moment was the crab and rice.  Ah-ma-zing.  Steamed Dungeness crab, Tamaki Gold rice, hand-made ginger pickle (ginger, sugar, umeboshi vinegar), sancho, and salt.  The hand-made ginger pickle really took things to the next level.  

We sat, ate, and smiled.  

Thanks Peko Peko!


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Announcement: What\’s Hot in Local Eating~Peko Peko!

I recently attended this fabulous event at 826 Valencia, moderated by the talented and beguiling Chris Ying.  How can you resist someone who dug up a mid-50\’s copy of James Beard\’s Cooking Fish and used it as his sole prop during a panel on the politics and science of food?

Each of the panelists talked about why we\’re interested in food and what about it interests us now.  If you, like these esteemed food journalists, are passionate about delicious morsels that meet Bonnie Azab Powell\’s critera for SOLE food (Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical) you\’ll LOVE Peko-Peko.  The mastermind behind the affair, Sylvan Mishima Brackett, cut his teeth as assistant to Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and editing The Slow Food Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area.

This month, Peko-Peko  has created a Spring bento box available for delivery in the Bay Area.  

The bottom level of this two tier bento is filled with kanimeshi: fresh steamed Dungeness crab, seasoned California-grown Japanese rice, pickled ginger, and sansho pepper. The top layer includes three menchikatsu: Marin Sun pastured pork and onion cutlets and dashi maki tamago: rolled farm egg with fresh dashi. Made primarily with ingredients from around the Bay Area, it’s a taste of Tokyo by way of San Francisco. This bento serves 2-3 people and is $65.

Deliveries will be made every Wednesday in March. Orders must be placed by the Monday prior to delivery.

We had their osechi bento for New Year\’s and it soothed hard.  In other words, open a bento box and say hello to Soothistan!   

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Update Your Bookmarks

Ici Ice Cream has  a new website!  Remember them? 

New soothing additions such as a forthcoming online shop (!), details on the history and founders of Ici (let us all bow down to Maria Canales), and Ici’s pioneering efforts towards sustainability (who doesn’t love it?).  


Soothing pastels abound. 

I also found out that if you call Ici (510.665.6054 ) you can select the number ‘2’ to hear the ice cream flavors of the day.  Soothe.  The efficient way to find out if they are serving Meyer lemon without making the trip to Elmwood.


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Temescal Farmers Market

We made a trip yesterday morning to the farmers market.  The harvest is upon us.  The market was truly abundant yesterday.



The Phoenix Bakery has a tent there.  They sell the most amazing things called “Pecan Chewies.”  Insane.

The ingredients are simply: egg whites, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and pecans.  They have the lightness of a meringue, yet are so chocolate-y and pecan-y.  Yum.

And as we were leaving, we found the inevitable “Oaklandish” t-shirt.  So earnest, so Oakland. 

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Best. Scent. Ever.

I’ve been wanting to write about this forever, because I love it so dearly.  You all must absolutely go out and find this scent, smell it, and become devoted followers!  It’s Wild English Clary Sage by Pacifica.


It has an edge of smokiness, but a clean finish.  It’s what I’ve converted to after a decade-long love of Dyptique’s Feu de Bois.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Dyptique.  And Dyptique is Parisian, ergo instantly superior, BUT, Dyptique majorly needs to come party with us in the 21st century–Soy candles are the only way to go!  I still love my Feu de Bois, but in comparison to the beautifully smoky-yet-clean Wild English Clary Sage, it just smells, well, smoky.  Like a fireplace.  

One is silver and the other’s gold.  The question is which is which.  You tell me.


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I’m Collecting:

Vintage Silver napkin rings.

You all have probably already switched from paper to cloth, but now take it to the next level.  If you are a genteel diner there is no need to launder your napkin after every meal.  Instead of tossing it in the hamper, save it near the table in a beautiful napkin ring.  The fun of collecting these vintage ones is that each is unique.  At my house when I was growing up we each had certain napkin rings that were known to be ours, so that when we reconvened at the table we would know which napkin belonged to us.  I recently picked these up at a vintage store:

Here’s a detail on one of them, it says “Maurice 1904:”

It’s Saddleshoos’ special napkin ring.

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Ice Cream is an incredibly important part of my life.

It has be SO HOT in Oakland recently.  Honestly, too hot.  So hot I had to buy a fan (not whir-whir, the kind the Karl Lagerfeld uses).  And then said fan broke from so much use.

Sometimes the heat gives me a headache, and sometimes when I’m having a bad day I have an irrepressible NEED to eat Ice Cream BEFORE lunch.  I had one of those days the other day.  

My mecca for all things artisinal Ice Cream is the beautiful Ici on College Avenue.


The brilliant Mary Canales, wife of my other hero Paul Canales, executive chef at Oliveto, opened the doors to Ici in 2006.  She and her staff use only organic farm-fresh ingredients and create flavors in small batches that are meant to be eaten quickly.  Aside from the ice cream, I love Ici’s decor.  The daily flavors are hung in black frames from rasberry-colored French silk ribbon, which looks incredible against the icy-light-blue-teal and white tiled walls: 

My absolute, hands-down favorite is Meyer Lemon Ice Cream.  IT IS TO DIE FOR.  Strangely I did not understand the nuance and beauty of Meyer lemons until the Ici ice cream flavor.  It’s crazy.  The herbal citrus flavor combined with the creaminess of the ice cream is unparallelled.  So refreshing!

Here’s a sneak-peak into the kitchen:

Cool signage:

And the goodies by the register: 

Menu from the date of my visit:

Treats: Hazelnut, Chocolate Chip, or Rose-Pistachio Meringues, Cardamom Semolina Cookies, Cinnamon Pecan Brittle, Coconut Macaroons, Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Almond-Cacao Nib Brittle, Pecan Mexican Wedding Cakes, Peppermint Marshmallows

Bombes (beautifully sculpted ice-cream cakes without the cake): Boysenberry and Lemon Baked Alask, Individual Strawberry-Lemon or Malted Milk Chocolate Ice Cream Bombes, Amerena Cherry and Chocolate Ice Cream Bombes

Flavors: Earl Grey, Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream, Orange Creamsicle Sherbet, Bourbon-Pecan Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, Boysenberry Ice Cream, etc.

The ice cream is served in a cup or in a cone; they came up with a brilliant idea for the cones: fill the bottom with chocolate so they don’t drip!

AND all of their packaging is compostible:

AND they always have fresh flowers on hand:

As for the ice cream, I’ll have to go back.  I ate it too quickly to get a picture!


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