Farm-to-glass cocktails respond to the season

Courtesy OF L.& K. Karmirantzos
Pickle juice creates a pungent cocktail kick reminiscent of the more traditional Bloody Mary.

I recently gathered with friends for a farm-to-table feast. We made dishes that highlight the harvest season as we celebrated friendship and the bounty of Northern California.

The farm-to-table concept encourages diners to focus as much on the source of the food as the food itself. In recent years, the idea has gained much traction in everything from wedding themes to fundraising events touting farm-to-fork freshness. Applying the general principle to a dinner party with friends is easy to do, too. We divvied up the menu and served everything family-style around a long table set in a friend’s particularly magical Los Altos back garden.

RWC's Freewheel Brewing pours British-style cask ales and more

Courtesy of Devin Roberts
Freewheel Brewing Co.’s head brewer Alisha Blue trained in Germany and worked in the United Kingdom before brewing in the Bay Area.

Founded in 2012 as the only brewery making traditional cask-conditioned British-style ales on the Peninsula or in the South Bay, Freewheel Brewing Co. has expanded its offerings beyond real ale while remaining true to its vision.

“Freewheel is a true community brewery and pub,” sales and marketing director Devin Roberts said of the operation, located at 3736 Florence St. in Redwood City. “We are unique in that we specialize in traditional real ale, but are more than that. We are part of the community, and are patterned after the traditional idea of a pub being an important part of people’s lives – the kind of place where you can meet with friends and family in a comfortable and welcoming environment.”

New breweries are thriving on the Peninsula

Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
San Carlos’s Blue Oak Brewing Co. is the newest brewery to join San Mateo County’s festival circuit.

My favorite offerings from a recent Beer Week festival all represent new, local breweries that opened taprooms within the last two years.

The San Mateo County Deputy Sheriff’s Association hosted the fourth annual San Mateo County Brewery Festival in Redwood City this summer. Among the 11 breweries and two cideries they featured, the following are my top picks for local offerings to sip for yourself.


Decoy, 47 Hills Brewing Co., South San Francisco, 5.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV)

Jalfrezi stir-fries fish with a twist

Jalfrezi is one of the most popular dishes ordered in Britain’s restaurants, but it has not yet caught up in the U.S.

A stir-fry dish made with fresh or leftover meats, jalfrezi usually includes green chiles, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and spices. A Bengali word, “jal” means “pungently spicy” and “frezi” means “stir-fry.”

Summer Harvest Pancakes get Middle Eastern savory treatment

Courtesy of Blanche Shaheen
Middle Eastern vegetable-based pancakes offer a savory, nutritious alternative to the syrup- laden tradition.

When you think of pancakes, you might conjure up an image of a mile-high buttermilk stack of fluffy cakes oozing with maple syrup. While I love pancakes as much as the next person, the resulting crash-and-burn sugar rush leaves me feeling tired rather than energized in the morning.

Adults-only ice pops tart up a childhood favorite

Courtesy of Rita Held
Make Mango Tango Ice Pops, a cool and portable summer treat, using Zipzicle ice-pop sleeves. With rum and bitters, the dessert packs a punch for the over-21 crowd.


It’s summer, which means time for a cool, refreshing treat.

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