Food memories travel from Town Crier column to cookbook

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Courtesy of Blanche Shaheen
Los Altos resident Blanche Shaheen recently published her “Feast in the Middle East” cookbook, which features recipes including Samak bi Tahini, above.

My “Feast in the Middle East” journey began 10 years ago when I wanted to re-create one of my favorite dishes from childhood, the dramatic Palestinian dish of Maqlouba. This Middle Eastern specialty is a massive rice “cake” flipped upside down to reveal steaming roasted chicken, fragrant rice, fried cauliflower, caramelized onions and roasted chicken inside.

Food, drinks and cozy home tweaks help celebrate the joy of staying in this winter

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Photos by Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Lighting can create tranquility and set the perfect mood for an intimate night. A candlelit dinner or conversations around a glowing fire are two cozy lighting options for Valentine’s Day.

Hygge (pronounced hue-ga) is a Nordic notion of cherishing the comfort of home and togetherness through the cold, dark months of winter. By nesting indoors and taking time to enjoy the simple things in life, the Danes use stormy weather as an opportunity to grow in closeness with loved ones and friends.

Travel the world with beers from California’s breweries

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Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Australian sparkling ale can be hard to come by in the U.S., but Beachwood and Alesmith teamed up to put their California spin on the style.

While IPAs, especially hazy New England-style brews, continue to dominate tap lists, California breweries are also seeking inspiration from various clean (and clear), light, refreshing beer styles from around the globe.

Saying a fond farewell to Santa Clara Valley Brewing Co.

Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Santa Clara Valley Brewing Co. brewmaster Steve Donohue, left, and Derek Wolfgram – with Chico Mayor Randall Stone in the background – enjoy the brewery’s Resilience event in December 2018.

Santa Clara Valley Brewing Co., one of the premier Bay Area breweries, closed its doors in December after seven years.

From the initial release of Electric Tower IPA in mid-2013 to the Saved By the Helles collaboration with Clandestine Brewing released just a week before the brewery’s closure, brewmaster Steve Donohue and his business partner Tom Clark never strayed from their commitment to well-crafted beers brewed in traditional styles. They always had a knack for pushing the boundaries, though: New Almaden Red Ale’s 10% alcohol by volume was one of the strongest – and best – imperial red ales I’ve tasted.

Crepes draw multitudes: Lady M cakeshop opens in Los Altos

Photos Courtesy of Lady M
Crepes (a few dozen, not a thousand) layered with a whipped-cream pastry cream make up the signature Mille Crepes Cake at Lady M, a pop-up shop new to Los Altos.

Los Altos is playing host to the Bay Area’s first Lady M, a 40-location cake boutique subject to international enthusiasm, particularly since its expansion in China.

Lady M hosted several pop-ups in Los Altos over the past year and opened a longer-term temporary location next to Chef Chu’s just before Christmas, taking over the site previously filled by a Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

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