Monday, February 8, 2016

Bob's Red Mill

Bob Moore was at the Fancy Food Show again this year, posing for photos and chatting with attendees while signing his new, Breakfasts cookbook. Tea Time really enjoys Bob's products! There is such a huge variety and they're all top quality.

Angela got to see the Big Red Mill while visiting a friend in Oregon over Christmas. She saw their entire line of products as well as a few stone mills used for grinding. Of course she picked up some breakfast cereal for J.K. while getting a few hard to find grains (kamut?) and crockpot meal builders like their Whole Grains and Beans Soup Mix (she made the mistake of overcooking the beans, they were so fresh-no need to soak).

Bob's is your place to grab gluten-free mixes and pantry staples. We tried the brownies and they were delicious. If you can't find Bob's in a store near you, or they aren't selling the product you need, just check out the online store. You'll find it there!

The Fancy Food Show is great place to spot new trends or simply enjoy the news from old favorites. Everyone walking past the Bob's booth would stop and say, "Is that Bob? Oh! Let's get in line!" The line grew quite long while we waited the short time for J.K. to get her photo and recipe book. Bob is a popular guy.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tu Lan and Raise The Macallan With Beth

The Macallan, one of our favorite scotch whiskys,  invited us to a tasting of several of their vintages at Bespoke in the Westfield Centre. We wanted to be able to appreciate the whisky without getting too much of a buzz, so we stopped at Tu Lan on 6th Street for dinner before the tasting event.

Tu Lan seems more "American" than Chinatown Vietnamese restaurants. The beef in the Lemon Beef Salad was cooked, not raw, although the menu warns that the dish contains raw beef. Maybe it just had to do with who was in the kitchen that night. We were a bit disappointed but the salad was tasty and we finished it with no complaints.
 To balance our meal, we had Sauteed Mixed Vegetables with Mushroom.
All entrees are served with a generous bowl of steamed rice.
Thus fortified, we headed off to the Macallan event. There was a long line, but we were entertained by images flashing on the outside screens.
When there isn't an event at Bespoke, the screens are different.

 If you move around in the circles in front of the screens, as this young man is doing, the image changes along with the movement.
The restrooms are very interesting. This is the entrance, with the Ladies' on the right and the Gents' on the left, after you get inside.
There was a very intriguing presentation by Kieron Elliott, who is quite entertaining and has a charming Scottish accent. The tastings are all small, and well spaced, so it was easy to concentrate on  each one. The vintages we tasted were all excellent, but the highlight of the evening was the final pour, a taste of their Rare Cask, which has a definite chocolate flavor. The only thing preventing me from buying a bottle is the $300 price tag!
Corn, Barley and Wheat
There was a large video display as well,
to underscore the presentation

Friday, January 29, 2016

Restaurant Week At M.Y. China

Teatime likes to participate in San Francisco's Restaurant Week 2016, and we were excited to see that M.Y. China was participating this year with a special lunch.
We were greeted by a dragon at the entrance to the Westfield Centre.

For starters, there was a choice of Dan Dan Noodle Bite (a salad, really, with seasoned pork, peanuts, and chili garlic sauce, served chilled) or Crispy Veggie Spring Rolls (toasted taro, wild seasonal mushrooms).
Dan Dan Noodle Bite

Crispy Veggie Spring Rolls
 The next course had three choices:
Wok Seared Beef Filet
sichuan peppercorns, arugula
Kung Pao Shrimp
huang fei chilies, jalapeño, peanuts
There was also a vegetarian option, Mushrooms with Spicy Sesame Soy (king oyster mushroom, jalapeño, carrots, onion, garlic, gluten-free soy sauce).

Dessert was a Sugar Puff Ice Cream Sandwich.

Restaurant week is still happening through the weekend, but if you're ready to celebrate Chinese New Year instead, M.Y. China is ready with special menu items. They include lobster recipes inspired by several provinces in China and dumplings. Ask at the restaurant for more details.  Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cypress Grove Chevre at the 2016 Fancy Food Show

J.K. met one of the Cypress Grove ladies in the press room, setting out the party goats, and was promised a surprise if she brought the little goat to Cypress Grove's booth. We finally got there on Tuesday and were we ever surprised! 
The party goats came in several colors. J.K. chose blue.
We were EACH gifted with a canvas tote bag.
AND a one-pound round of their yummy Truffle Tremor.
They claimed that they had to shrink the goats to make the mini cheese, but we have our doubts about that...where did the glitter come from?
Their display was really a smorgasboard of cheese. We were also very impressed by their "cheese cakes."

cheese cake designed by Patisserie Angelica
We received the round on the right. It lives up to its hype, an Award Winner for sure.
Cypress Grove has beautiful packaging and thoughtful staging. The ladies at the booth were very nice and genuinely excited when Angela showed them her little glitter mini-goat. Next time we head up north to Humboldt County (maybe for their Oyster Fest??!) we'll stop in and see the goats that helped produce our cheese.

Happy National Cheese Lovers Day Everyone!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Walker's Shortbread at the Fancy Food Show

Walkers seems to be competing with Churchill's to package their cookies in the coolest tins. These three are new this year. I bought the Santa, but would have gotten the Scotsman if I had seen him in a store. Actually I will still buy him if he appears on a shelf near me!
I like this guy a lot, too, but I already have the white dog, which Angela gave me for Christmas last year.

Unfortunately, the Outlander assortment is in a box, not a tin.

"Walkers is proud to present a shortbread assortment inspired by OUTLANDER, a series of books written by Diana Gabaldon which has sold 26 million copies worldwide and is now a successful epic television series.

OUTLANDER is set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, the home of Walkers Shortbread since 1898. A fitting tribute to the passion, beauty and drama of the OUTLANDER story, this boxed Shortbread Assortment features the OUTLANDER tartan and images of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser on the package."
The Walkers booth is always a stunner, usually on the end of an aisle with a display of one of each little tin or flavor of cookies they have for sale. This year there were a lot of gluten–free options (and you wouldn't know if they didn't tell you!) which we hadn't seen (noticed?) prior to this event. So, if you're looking for cookies for a tea party you're hosting, check out your local store for Walkers! You might even get some decor in the bargain.
  However they're packaged and shaped, Walkers cookies are the best!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chocolate Garage

Do you live in the South Bay? Are you looking for a place to get unique chocolates? Check out the Chocolate Garage! We ventured down the coast on Caltrain one day to host a Meetup event during their open tasting event. Several bars were available for try and the employees were happy to help curate the tastings. Plus guests could bring wine, turning the event into a Chocolate Happy Hour!

Light to darkest was the suggested tasting menu.

There wasn't a large group for our event, but the little garage bustled with guests making purchases and enjoying coversation. Currently the Chocolate Garage is open for general tasting on Saturday mornings, but you're welcome to call and schedule a private group tasting. A tasting event could be a lot of fun for a birthday or bridal shower. The Garage is a very easy walk from Caltrain, so no excuses from the SF contingent.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Katia's Russian Tea Room

Second Sunday Tea at 3 met at Katia's Russian Tea Room for a very different afternoon tea. J.K. was worried about having to choose her savories from a totally tempting list, but fortunately that was taken care of in advance by the group's leader. Tea Time has enjoyed several outing with the SST@3 group and this time was a great experience as well.

The food was all delicious, and there was plenty of it. We started with bread and butter on the tables.
Russian Bread and Butter with a sprig of dill
The bread was quickly followed by Eggplant Caviar to spread on it.

Next we had Salmon Roe Blini.
Blini : delicate crepes, brushed lightly with sour cream
filled with smoked salmon
The Blini were followed by Pel'meni.
Pel'meni : Tender, round, beef filled dumplings sauteed and 
served with a light curry sauce.

And of course there was tea, served in podstakanniki (silver glass holders). My Russian-born elders drank their Swee-Touch-Nee tea from glasses, without the holders. Herbal tea bags were available for those wanted a caffeine free beverage. Sugar, lemon and milk were ready to doctor up your drink as you desired. 

Our last savory was Potato Vareniki.
Potato vareniki : crescent shaped dumplings, filled with potatoes, 
steamed until they look like fat little pillows. Served with caramelized onions.
And then there was dessert! The first item was syrniki, fried cheese patties.

The Chocolate Walnut Meringue Torte was a big hit. Fresh fruit and mint were a lovely and tasty garnish on the dessert platters.

And of course Napoleons are always popular with any nationality. All the food was in perfect portions for family style sharing, and what our group didn't eat was available to be taken home! Our sweet waitress told us that Katia may consider retiring in the next year, so hurry up and make your reservations to try their tea offerings. Or if you're craving Pel'meni, stop in for dinner. Just make sure to try dessert!