Archive for August, 2008
The founder of these fabulous brownies has an extensive career history. After years of watching her mother style food to perfection in the kitchen, Mari Tuttle pursued a career in product design and studied at New York’s Parsons School of Design. Upon graduation, she went to work for Smart Design and served as a panelist at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum’s symposium on Japanese food packaging (some of the award-winning products she has created are now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York). A stint as the Director of Operations for Balthazar Bakery in New York City taught her the art of French pastry, but she returned to product design as the Design Director for Cynthia Rowley’s home line for Target. Whew! Today, Mari creates luxuriously rich, artisanal brownies packaged in signature baton boxes. They are delights to be savored, shared or hoarded. We think she’s found her niche.
And now for something a little different. Plum balls are made from Jinenjo (wild Japanese mountain yam) and Ume Plum, which boasts balancing, strengthening and cleansing properties. Contrary to gumball-like appearances, these are not candies, but sodium-free digestive aids that are easy to pop. They are reportedly ideal for people who are under stress, tire easily, or those who tend to skip meals so you might want to do a little research and see if these will do the trick for you.
Aside from blond bombshell Christie Brinkley (hello Sports Illustrated circa 1980), nothing is as American, or as sweet, as apple pie. For many years, women living in the US have used this dessert as a weapon of mass seduction after dinner (you know what they say about the way to a man’s heart). If you don’t have time to prepare your own, snap up Petsi Pies old fashioned apple, which is lovingly made with granny smith and cortland apples, then spiced and covered with a light flaky pie crust. And then there’s the equally divine apple crumb pie, made with the same delicious mixture but covered with a buttery crumb topping. They are enough to make even a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy go weak in the knees. Add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for maximum satisfaction.
Salon Teas makes a slightly sweet, caffeine-free tea with chamomile flowers and lavender buds to promote a restful night (we suspect you deserve it). The scent is strong and fresh with plenty of body. You see, chamomile was used by the Egyptians for its power to cure a variety of ailments, to induce sleep and to aid digestion. Sip it before you slip into a hot bath and get the winks you crave.
Coco Luxe sounds like the name of a fledgling Hollywood burlesque star, but it’s actually a company that turns out sublime slow-roasted nuts that are delicately seasoned with palate-pleasing spices, rolled in choco and dusted with cocoa powder. On our epicurean radar? Block Party Almonds, which are essentially slow-roasted cinnamon-candied almonds that have been rolled in dark chocolate and dusted with the aforementioned cocoa powder. They certainly put us in the mood for a block party so that we may share them with our neighbors (we’ve been feeling mighty generous lately).
In terms of rice pudding, we tend to favor the ultra creamy and exotic. That’s why we like Rice Cream Puddings. They’re mixed with natural fruits, nuts and spices from around the world. Flavors run the gamut from dulce de leche, chocolate or cheese to pineapple, mango, strawberry, raspberry and coconut. Coming soon? Brandy-plum, tiramisu, blueberry-star anise, peach-passion fruit, tangerine-orange, pumpkin, and spices such as ginger, mint and clove. Stay tuned.
Muesli is a tricky snack. We like to consume it by the handful, but it’s rare when we find a recipe that’s just right (rock hard raisins and stale oats have no place in our mix). Luckily, we’ve discovered a way to customize the combinations online from organic nuts, slowly dried fruits, seeds, premium grains and other yummy bits. Simply pick your favorites and name your mix, and London-based Muddy Cook will send it to you in a personalized pack.
Set your alarm fifteen minutes early to partake of 7 Sister Coffee Cake Danish, named for the star cluster Pleiades and Greek mythology of the 7 Sisters of Pleiades. You see, Denmark is a peninsula in northern Europe that is surrounded by the North Sea. Back in the day, navigation by stars was the method used by sailors and explorers to find their way. You’ve got your Danish pastry dough, your creamed almond filling, your custard and your seven spiraled rolls. If that doesn’t make your day bright, who knows what will?
Ace Wasabi’s Rock n’ Roll Sushi in San Francisco’s Marina draws a neighborhood crowd (and some occasional headliners like the Giants run-out-of-luck pitcher Barry Zito). Traditional sushi is the draw. So are simple yet impeccably fresh appetizers. We like to make an entire meal of several small plates, such as the refreshing cucumbers, chicken teriyaki skewers, rice and shrimp pot stickers, not to mention oodles of hot sake. If only they had green tea ice cream to complete the experience. If only Zito would shake that slump.