Last updateTue, 17 Jan 2017 4pm

Blend luscious berries with autumn's apples

Courtesy of Rita Held
Brown sugar and apples’ natural sweetness balance the bite of berries and balsamic in the recipe for Berry Balsamic-Baked Apples, a relatively virtuous seasonal dessert.

The blending of berries and balsamic vinegar is a culinary superstar. Berries and balsamic with apples? Luscious.

Autumn apple varieties are deliciously plentiful. My go-to choices for apple crisp or apple pie are usually tart, firm apples, yet my recipe for Berry Balsamic Baked Apples uses sweeter apples to balance the tart balsamic vinegar.

Give thanks for delicious beer pairings fit for a turkey feast

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Medal-winning St. Florian’s California Common Lager is flavorful enough to pair with roast turkey and stuffing but light enough to avoid filling you up.

With the variety, richness and sheer volume of a Thanksgiving meal, craft beer lovers have a panoply of choices for beer pairings. Whether you’re seeking light and crisp brews or big, intense flavors, you’re sure to find the perfect pairing for your Thanksgiving feast.

For your consideration, I’m suggesting four very different California craft brews you might enjoy this holiday season.

Better biscuits with bitters

courtesy of Rita Held
Whether they’re dropped or rolled, homemade biscuits welcome fall with a savory/sweet blast of warmth from the oven.

Hardly anything is more satisfying than homemade biscuits warm out of the oven – except perhaps those made with the addition of Angostura bitters.

Angostura adds a subtle yet striking flavor nuance similar to what molasses might add. It’s not the same taste as molasses, but an enticing flavor boost that makes the biscuits stand out from the routine.

From Firestone Walker to Lost Abbey, a personal list of California's best beers

Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
The Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale gets custom-blended in a new form each year.

In honor of my 25th column for the Town Crier, I thought it would be fun to share my top 25 California-brewed beers.

As with any such list, it’s quite personal, and I will likely leave off many readers’ favorites. For one, my tastes skew more toward dark, barrel-aged beers and sour brews than toward IPAs. There are a few hoppy beers on the list, but world-famous Pliny the Elder does not make my top 25, though other Russian River brews do. Most of these beers are released at least once per year.

Autumn visits the seaside at Cetrella

Courtesy of Eric Wolfinger
Cetrella’s seafood emphasis includes grilled marinated Spanish octopus with avocado purée, fingerling potatoes, romesco sauce, charred lemon and micro cilantro.

As summer markets close and autumn’s hard squashes and root vegetables begin to arrive, braises and comfort foods are starting to appear on executive chef Mike Ellis’ menu at Cetrella.

Ellis – known from Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Kitchen – arrived at Cetrella’s Half Moon Bay location in January, where he redid the menu at the Mediterranean-inflected restaurant from top to bottom. He brought the same seasonal, seafood-rich theme to Los Altos when Cetrella opened this summer.

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The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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