There's a new vegan restaurant South of San Francisco and West of Berkeley...and that's big news for veg*ns from my neck of the woods. Last week, this vegan visited Loving Hut at 165 University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.
Now, I'm still waiting (and wishing) for a veg*n restaurant that's more along the lines of Greens or Millennium...more gourmet, more than vegan Chinese food...and I can keep hoping that someone will open that kind of restaurant South of, say, San Mateo.
But in the meantime, restaurants like Loving Hut (think Garden Fresh in Mt. View or Happy Bamboo in San Jose) are also really welcome.
At Loving Hut you order at the counter from a still-small selection of menu choices. Don't be fooled by the menu on their web site [PDF]...it is way more extensive than the choices offered in Palo Alto.
Menu For Hope is an annual fundraising campaign, spearheaded by a food blogger named, Chez Pim, and many food bloggers from around the world. This effort originally started five years ago after the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia by which Chez Pim was inspired to start the first Menu For Hope. Since then it has become a yearly campaign to raise funds for worthy causes around the world.
Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu For Hope raffle. Anyone can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes and for every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. At the end of the two week campaign, tickets are drawn and the results are announced on Chez Pim.
The Bay Area has been in a cold snap. Other than bundling in cashmere,
and wearing socks, what can a Bay Area girl do to deal with this cold
weather? Eat soup! I love soup, but cannot cook. On a recent trip, Icame across the San Francisco Soup Company
in the S.F. airport. I am not a fan of fast food, and was shocked at
the quality of the soup. I soon learned that the SF Soup Company has
locations throughout the city, and one, right next to the Four Seasons
in East Palo Alto on the Peninsula. There is always a choice of around
twelve of their handcrafted, gourmet soups. In addition to just
tasting great, the soups all are labeled. If you have allergies, or
are vegetarian, soups are labeled as follows - Vegetarian, Lowfat,
Dairy Free or Gluten Free. This is literally a life saver for those of
us with allergies. My personal favorite is the "Grandma Mary's Chicken
Noodle ", perfect for these cold wintry days. Many of the locations
close after the lunch rush, so be sure to check hours before you rush
over to get your soup.
Have you ever met a cookie you didn't like? (We're talking the edible kind.) How about one you liked so much you couldn't eat it? That's the dilemma one faces with Barbara Felix's super chic sugar cookies. Her baking company called Felix the Cook creates specialty shapes for the seasons, the holidays and special occasions. Some of her popular designs are autumn leaves, pumpkins, easter eggs, and snowflakes. All of them are like little pieces of art and there's the quandary - to eat or not to eat?
Felix uses quality ingredients in a basic butter cookie recipe and icing she fashions into vibrant colors. Each cookie is nice and thick, providing an initial crunch and then a soft buttery chew with a slight under layer of orange zest. In addition to her collection of seasonal and holiday shapes, Felix also creates custom orders including corporate logos. Recently she designed a police star, a red dress, and even an apartment building. It's not too late for Christmas orders if mailed in San Francisco. Consider thinking ahead in 2009 for weddings, baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, or just because you like a good lookin' cookie!
I always love a good story about a high-tech girl who has escaped the sticky web of Silicon Valley. So when I met June Sablan at her Santana Row trunk show, not only did she impress me with her beautiful hand crafted jewelry pieces but her story made me smile also.
San Francisco Bay Area artist June Sablan designs timeless handcrafted StoneWear Jewelry. June creates her entire collection by using natural semi-precious stones, Swarovski Crystals, freshwater pearls, and precious metals.
If you are like me, you are still running around trying to find the perfect gifts. Not only do I like to give original, luxurious products, I try to shop locally. Thanks to Elizabeth W, I can do both. My sister bought me a Vetiver candle, and soap for my birthday last year from a small boutique in Noe Valley. I fell in love with the clean, simple scent, and became an Elizabeth W fan. The company was inspired by the founde'rs grandmother, Elizabeth Wightman. Started in 1995, the line is available at select boutiques.
It's no secret that the restaurants have seen a real slump in business lately, but really who isn't? Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of people in San Francisco who are suffering even worse circumstances that are at risk of going hungry this holiday season. Most of these people are from poor working households whose incomes do not stretch far enough to put food on their families tables every day. The San Francisco Food Bank supplies food for over 600 programs operated by community service agencies and food pantries throughout the City.
So Scott Youkilis and Michael Pierce of Maverick restaurant in the Mission District created Dine Out Against Hunger, and brought together some of San Francisco's most notable restaurants to donate up to 10% of their dinner sales from this Thursday, December 18th to the SF Food Bank. Maverick is also offering to take an additional 10% off of diner's tabs who are making an additional donation to the SF Food Bank.
Pictured left to right: Darren Moore, Elliott Yamin, Nadine Weil, Zem Joaquin, Kate Bosworth, Daphne Zuniga, Sebastian Siegel, Matt Petersen
On December 2nd Global Green USA hosted its 4th annual San Francisco benefit party, called Gorgeous & Green. Held in the LEED certified Bently Reserve building, the event featured appearances by Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Sibel Newsom, and American Idol finalist Elliot Yamin.
Kate Bosworth wore a zippy LBD. Designed by 3.1 Philip Lim, the dress was made from an all natural fabric blend of hemp and silk, which was hand-dyed with eco-friendly coloring. The zippers were recycled from surplus remnants.
One of my favorite holiday activities is to volunteer for The San Francisco SPCA Holiday Windows at Macy's. At least one Sunday during the season you will find me in front of Macy's Union Square informing passersby about the adorable cats and dogs playing and lounging in their festive window scenes.
As an official volunteer, I stand in front of Macy's, usually sporting a red SPCA jacket or apron, and talk to people about the cats and dogs in the windows available for adoption. Holding a SPCA donation box, I announce to onlookers the names and ages of the available pets as well as the number of animals that have been adopted from the windows this holiday season. People (especially kids) share with me stories about their own pets while generously stuffing the donation box. Volunteers inside the store check on the animals periodically, but I also keep an eye on the little ones to make sure all is well. I report anything amiss to the SPCA staff inside the store.
At the end of my two hour shift, I feel like I have done a little something good for homeless pets. Volunteers are needed now through January 1st. Make it a family affair! Sign up online at www.sfspca.org.
Fashionable friends of SFluxe editor Damion Matthews gathered on December 2nd to celebrate the popular wesbite's two year anniversary. Co-hosted by real estate agent Joel Goodrich from Tri Coldwell Banker and Mireille Schwartz from Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board, the festive luncheon was held at Orson restaurant in San Francisco.
What started out as a real estate website has blossomed into THE site for all the latest news in San Francisco high society. With a balance of charm and intelligence, Matthews covers local openings, parties, and events.
Regular readers might recall our profile of San Francisco entrepreneur and man-about-town, Gurbaksh Chahal. Now you can get the full scoop on Chahal's 26 years with the arrival of his published memoir, The Dream: How I Learned the Risks and Rewards of Entrepreneurship and Made Millions.
Published by Palgrave Macmillan, The Dream recounts Chahal's journey, from his childhood struggles as a recent immigrant to his remarkable success as a young Internet tycoon and the lessons he has learned along the way. Interspersed are family stories, business insights, and tips on for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Meet Chahal in person at two upcoming author readings: