Thursday, September 3, 2015


MY LAST TASTE-OFF feature for the San Jose Mercury News on the topic of the best hamburger buns was a carb feast. I tasted fat buns, skinny buns, all white buns, seedy buns and even some glute-free buns. Some of the buns were good. Some were great.
One bun that didn't make the print story -- mainly because it's a dinner-roll size -- came from the L.A.-based La Brea Bakery. The buns, called Telera Sandwich Rolls, are flat-out delicious -- and would work perfect as slider buns. They're basically French bread that's partially baked. It's not too sour, nor too chewy. Look for them at most grocery stores.
Just in case you missed the bun feature, here's the upshot:
Dave's Killer Bread makes a bun called Million Dollar Bun. It's terrific, but kind of expensive. A cheaper and also stellar bun comes from Angelic Bakehouse. Others to look for are Safeway's Open Nature brand and Trader Joe's buns.
Buns to avoid include the basic white buns at Whole Foods, Milton's white burger buns and the Whole Foods Gluten-Free buns that come in the freezer case. Not good at all.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


LOVE MY NEW Contigo water bottle. If you're suffering from a leaky bottle (like I was), or living with a bottle that's all scratched up and ugly, it's time for an upgrade! What I love about the newest Contigo is that you can completely remove the straw and mechanism for easy washing, and it has a clip right on the top handle. It also has a lock so you can stow it in your purse or briefcase without fear of leaking. Love it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Photo courtesy Corbin Vodka
AS ODD AS IT sounds, vodka made from sweet potatoes really works. Corbin Sweet Potato Vodka, a new vodka being distilled in Northern California, is likely the most unusual -- and sweetest vodka you'll taste. The vodka looks exactly like any other vodka: ie, like water.
But when you put a sip of it on just the right part of your tongue, it has a slightly sweet, caramel taste that's really fun -- and a great flavor for so many cocktails. Find it at BevMo.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rose Season

SUMMER DAYS ARE the perfect time to relax with a glass of something bright, crisp and fun. This gorgeous Lula Rosato ($20) from Mendocino is my new favorite. Made with both pinot noir and tempranillo grapes, it has great tannins, a touch of sweetness and a beautiful strawberry and vanilla bouquet.
The aromas and flavors of the wine, by the way, are even more intense when sipped from a Vinum Extreme Rosé Provence Glass. The glass, engineered specifically to showcase the aromas and flavors in Rose wines, is delicate in size and has that inimitable heaviness of top-notch glassware. They are $59 for a set of two.
If you do invest in some of these glasses, here's a few more Rose recommendations from other parts of the world:
Santa Cristina Cipresseto Toscana, $14
Those who love Italian wines should grab a bottle of this wine made with sangiovese and canaiolo from Antinori Estates, located in Tuscany. It has a definite tang and a hint of cherry.
Magic Maker Rose, $16
This Rose is perfect for red wine drinkers as it's bold, crisp and super dry. It's a blend of pinot noir, grenache, cabernet franc and sangiovese grapes. As a side-note, this wine comes in a really pretty bottle decorated with a creamy white tattoo.
Chateau du Donjon Minervois Rose, $12
While most French roses come from Provence, this one comes from the hotter Languedoc region, which makes for a slightly more fruity, floral wine. Find the wine at K & L Wine Merchants stores.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

MOST OF THE tea I drink is fresh-brewed. I might drink it hot or throw it on ice, but it's generally fresh made, primarily because that means I can avoid the sugars that so many boxed and bottled teas have. This teapigs. matcha, however, trumps my efforts, hands-down.
The drink has minimal sugar, big flavor and it's SO EASY to grab a box and tucke it into my purse when I'm on the go. Even though the teas contain matcha, concentrated green tea powder, they're entirely drinkable for those who are a little lukewarm on the bitter, grassy matcha flavor. These boxes are new to the lineup, so look for them in coming weeks anywhere teapigs is sold.

Friday, August 14, 2015


TWO FEATURE STORIES on the topic of one-cup coffee cups turned up a handful of great coffees that are nearly as good as a cup made from fresh ground coffee. The problem with so many of the cups that I tried, however, was the lack of freshness and the inferior caliber of the coffee itself.
Peet's and Starbucks make a few standout cups, but this week I brewed up two new favorites; Marley Coffee and San Francisco Bay's new super-premium Kona Blend and Jamaican Blue. Both of these companies hit the top of the category.
Marley Coffee brews a bright, citrusy cup that's great for those days when you want a lighter cup. San Francisco Bay's two new offerings are ultra bold, rich, chocolate-y style coffees that are exactly what I need to wake me up on my way to work. The new SF Bay coffees are $8.99 for a box of 10. The Marley Coffee cups are $9.99 for a box of 12. Both companies also sell the same varieties in whole bean bags, and both companies feature biodegradable or recyclable cups.