King cakes search out Epiphany

Courtesy of Yuichi Sakuraba
A traditional French galette des rois.

After the trees come down and New Year’s Eve goes out with a bang, the story of the Nativity stretches on with a galette des rois, or king cake. Bakeries around the world stock a special cake starting this week that pays tribute to the Three Kings you’ve heard of in Christmas carols.

Alpha Acid Brewing delivers intense flavors

Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
A visit to Alpha Acid’s Belmont taproom reveals that the young brewery has expanded beyond its initial speciality in India Pale Ales to craft farmhouse, stout and seasonal brews worth seeking out.

Kyle Bozicevic, co-owner of the Ale Arsenal craft beer bar in San Carlos, founded Alpha Acid Brewing Co. in late 2014.

For about a year, Alpha Acid’s beers were only available at a select group of craft beer bars in the Bay Area, but the owners opened their own taproom in early 2016 in a small space in a nondescript building in Belmont. Named after the compounds in hops that provide bitterness in beers, Alpha Acid unsurprisingly developed its initial reputation with hoppy beers, as well as some excellent stouts, but it has expanded its lineup to include a wide variety of styles.

Food Briefs

Los Altos writers share recipes

The Town Crier’s Food & Wine section only publishes once a month, but you can find recipes and inspiration from our food writers throughout the month at and on our columnists’ individual blogs.

• Food blogger Blanche Shaheen films gregarious YouTube cooking lessons in her Los Altos home. For her advice on cooking with a Middle Eastern twist, visit

Sweet potato and pumpkin make a splash on the side

Photos Rita Held/ Special to the Town Crier
Spice up the simplicity of sweet potato, above, and pumpkin, below, with splashes of Marsala and bitters for an adult take on the classics.

Fast-to-cook sweet potatoes and pumpkin straight from the can inject seasonal flavor with minimal effort with the addition of a splash of liquor.

Sweet potatoes are one of my autumn favorites, and I often bring my Marsala-Whipped Sweet Potatoes to family holiday dinners.

Dreaming of a white and red (wine) Christmas

Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
The delicious black currant and tobacco flavors in the Magnificat make the wine the ideal pairing with steak for two.

With all of the jubilee and celebration of the holiday season, the intimate moments are often the most wonderful.

Of the many happy events of the season, I will most cherish two nights in December: a family pasta dinner eaten from plates on our laps as we watch “Elf,” and an at-home steak dinner date with my husband.

Local brewers warm up with yuletide ales

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A beer-tasting flight at Eureka! enables drinkers to work their way up to a toasty holiday brew.

For many Los Altos residents, the holiday season calls for a holiday beer. While there is no standard definition of a yuletide-style ale, many local beer purveyors have a working agreement on what their customers are looking for.

Stuart Keith, assistant manager at Jane’s Beer Store in Mountain View, said most beers that are specials around the holidays begin with a style called a “Winter Warmer.”

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