Food Gal Goes Uptown

April 25, 2008

OK, not really, not like a new penthouse apartment or anything. But Food Gal has its own new home. Before, when you went to visit Food Gal, you most likely typed in “” and were redirected like magic to the actual address, “” Now, FoodGal is easier to reach by simply going to “” So please update your bookmarks and RSS readers to the new posh address.


Gourmet Asian Fare Fund-Raiser

April 25, 2008

Chefs from Betelnut, Three Seasons, Junnoon, Poleng Lounge, Red Lantern, Straits Cafe, and other top Bay Area Asian-cuisine restaurants will be dishing up their specialities for a good cause at 7 p.m. May 8 at San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building.

“East West Eats: An Evening with the Bay Area’s Best Chefs” is a fund-raiser organized by the Asian American Journalists Association San Francisco Bay Area Chapter to raise funds for student journalism scholarships. Each year, the organization doles out about $15,000 in scholarships to high school and college students interested in pursuing a career in journalism.

Emcees for the event will be ABC7 anchor Alan Wang; and ABC7 “View From the Bay” host Janelle Wang. Tickets are $85 for AAJA members; $100 for non-members. After today’s early-bird discount expires, prices go up to $100 for members and $115 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased, by clicking here.

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Facebook Users Can Win Free Potato Chips For A Year

April 24, 2008

All you have to do is keep an eye out for when a special Death Valley temperature gauge that monitors the desert heat reaches 120 degrees. The first five Facebook users who notify Kettle Foods when it does will win free chips for a year. Just don’t tell your cardiologist.

 It’s all part of Kettle Foods’ debut of its newest potato chip flavor, Death Valley Chipotle. Crispy, fiery, smoky, and quite tongue-tingling, the chips also will help a good cause. Kettle Foods will donate $1 to the Death Valley Natural History Association for every Facebook user who downloads the special Death Valley temperature gauge. The non-profit association brings city kids to parks so they can experience the beauty of nature. Click here to find out more about the Facebook application.

The Death Valley Chipotle chips, in 5-ounce ($2.99) and 9-ounce ($3.29) bags, are available at Cost Plus Markets, and by clicking here.

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Low Carbon Diet Day at SAP Labs in Palo Alto

April 23, 2008

The carbon footprint of the food you eat

One guy stormed out of Cafe D at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, empty-handed and half-jesting that he was going to McDonald’s instead. And one woman threw away two slices of bread on her plate and high-tailed it out of there, after realizing there was no cheese to be had at the make-your-own panini station.

But other than that, Melissa Miller, executive chef of the three cafes at the Palo Alto offices of the world’s leading business software provider, couldn’t have been happier with the reaction to Tuesday’s “Low Carbon Diet Day.” The event was held in 400 cafes in 28 states that are operated by Palo Alto’s Bon Appetit Management Company. It’s all part of the company’s initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food service operations, and to educate its employees and customers about the role food production plays in climate change.

 Because SAP’s cafes already feature sustainable seafood entrees, vegan options, and proteins mostly from North America, Miller didn’t have to alter her offerings that much to meet Tuesday’s challenge. Still, it meant no beef and no cheese that day, because cows are said to produce methane gas emissions that are more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat against the Earth.

Executive Chef Melissa Miller serves up pho made with chicken instead of beef

So there was herb-and-yogurt dressing rather than the usual blue cheese one at the salad bar; an Asian pork burger with Thai mayo instead of the regular beef one at the grill station; bowls of chicken pho rather than the typical, traditional beef rendition; marinated tempeh and tofu, and an artichoke frittata standing in for slices of roast beef at the sandwich station; and housemade potato chips in self-serve jars instead of individual mass-produced bagged ones.

 No more individual bags of chips

There also was a striking “Tower of Shame” prominently on display in the cafe — 120 take-out containers (1 per day for six months) piled up to show just how much waste we create simply by getting lunch to-go regularly.

Half a year's take-out containers accumulated from getting one lunch to go daily for six months

The three cafes serve about 950 people a day for breakfast and lunch. Employees received an email a week ago, telling them that on April 22, Earth Day, the food might be a little different.

“It didn’t bother me that there was no beef or cheese,” said Michael Zahm, vice president of business development for SAP education, who was enjoying grilled chicken. “I like it when they hold special days like this because you can’t help but learn something as you stand in line for your food.  It’s good to make the connections about food, because once you know them, you can make a difference.”

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First Taste of A New Ghirardelli Chocolate Bar

April 22, 2008

Ghirardelli’s newest flavor of chocolate bars and mini squares is just hitting the shelves: Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter Filling.

Thanks to a high-placed secret source in the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory (we’ll call him Willy Wong-ka), we got a sneak preview.  So will it give  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups a whipping ? I’ll use my patented scale of 1 to 10 lip-smackers, with 1 being the “Bleh, save your money’’ far end of the spectrum; 5 being the “I’m not sure I’d buy it, but if it was just there, I might nibble some’’ middle-of-the-road response; and 10 being the “My gawd, I could die now and never be happier, because this is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth’’ supreme ranking.

Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter Filling: What I tried was one of the mini squares. It’s a very thin milk chocolate wafer with an equally thin layer of very creamy peanut butter inside, along with a few tiny, crunchy bits of peanut. Whereas a Reese’s cup gives you a wallop of homey, satisfying, dense peanut butter, the Ghirardelli’s is more subtle, perhaps a tad more elegant in taste. It’s hard to top a Reese’s, but the Ghirardelli’s is pretty darn good. Rating: 7.

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Red Mango To Open in the Bay Area

April 21, 2008

A swirl of thick tart frozen yogurt at Red Mango
Tart fro-yo fanatics like myself are sure to rejoice that Red Mango will soon open three locations in the Bay Area: Palo Alto, San Jose, and San Carlos.

The “Coming Soon” signs are already up on the vacant storefront at 429 University Ave. at Kipling, in downtown Palo Alto. According to the company’s Web site, the other two locations will be: 3055 Olin Ave. in San Jose’s Santana Row; and 852 Laurel St. in San Carlos.

I first swooned over Red Mango when I had the chance to try it in Los Angeles last year. Choose from green tea or “original” flavors, with toppings that range from fresh strawberries to Fruity Pebbles. The original flavor — my favorite — is quite tangy, thick, and creamy. And best yet, it is nonfat, and made from real cultured yogurt.

Red Mango has been giving pioneering Pinkberry a run for its money down south in the frozen yogurt wars. See what all the fuss is about when Red Mango opens its doors. One spoonful will leave you hooked.

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Dine Out To Support A Cause

April 18, 2008

April 24, dine out at lunch or dinner at a participating Bay Area restaurant, and a portion of sales will be donated to various AIDS-related charities.

To reserve or to see a list of participating restaurants, go to OpenTable.

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