• Posted by Califia Suntree on September 12th, 2014, 9:21 AM

    Alma Handmade Chocolates is my favorite sweets shop in Portland, and not just because they make these adorbs hazelnut hedgehogs. Alma’s confections (like their pistachio-filled bon bons, Thai peanut butter cups, and epic barks) foreground flavor, not just sweetness. The sugar is ratcheted down, and the inspired fillings and toppings–and, of course, the ethically sourced pure dark chocolate–amped up. I love popping in on a winter’s day for a demitasse of pudding-thick hot chocolate, looking out their big windows at the rainy streets…They are, to me, pure Portland, and now Alma is doubling down on its Oregon-ness by teaming up with Pendleton Woolen Mills, a true local institution. A select line of Alma chocolates featuring Oregon-produced ingredients like sea salt, cherries, and hazelnuts, will be available in gorgeous Pendleton-designed packaging now through the holidays at all Pendleton stores (including outlet locations). Go here to find the location nearest you, and stock up. The holidays are closer than you think, and I can think of no better way to share a taste of Oregon.

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on March 21st, 2013, 10:35 AM

    It’s not very fashionable to admit, but I like Jell-O, tomato aspic, panna cotta, and marshmallows. That is, I like food made with gelatin. (I even once jelled gazpacho; it looked like rubies.) I bought the Jellymongers book by Bompas & Parr, the British duo who make what can only be called jelly art, and really want to make their black cherry and prosecco jelly come June. And homemade minted marshmallows are one of my favorite things in hot chocolate (follow the lovely recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream cookbook, and add mint extract).

    However, gelatin, as you must know, comes from boiled pig bones. It’s a terrific source of collagen if you want to improve your hair, skin and nails or if you have joint problems. But, again, pig bones. So, since I only buy organic meat these days, it’s been no more jellies for me, alas.

    UNTIL NOW! (Cue infomercial graphics.)

    The Canadians are no longer just your source for affordable prescription drugs, they now also offer us suffering Americans 100% organic gelatin. The Canadian company GoBIO! offers 100% organic gelatin in powder and sheets, and it doesn’t cost a fortune (about $2 for six gelatin sheets). They also sell marshmallows, which you might as well throw in your cart too.

    Limoncello Jell-O shot anyone?

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on August 6th, 2012, 3:23 PM

    Should you find yourself en route to Mammoth, Yosemite or the eastern Sierras for a long weekend of healthy, outdoorsy activities, might I suggest that, instead, you stop in Bishop, book a motel room, and stuff your face morning til night with croissants, baguettes, and flourless chocolate Sierra Mud cookies from the Great Basin Bakery. You may come home butter-soaked and chubby, instead of tanned and fit, but you will have reveled in the best croissants this side of Paris (must try: spinach and cheese, warmed up, with a mug of strong coffee), dense, perfectly chewy sourdough, and oh those dark, gooey Sierra Muds! Our Yosemite camping trip was markedly more deluxe thanks to our Great Basin treats–their mini-baguettes made for delightful cheese sandwiches, enlivened with red pepper charred over the campfire–and now, back in pastry-deficient Santa Monica, we long mournfully for those croissants. Is 267 miles too far to drive for breakfast?

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on June 1st, 2012, 10:08 AM

    In her recent appearance on Rachel Ray’s show, Michelle Obama revealed that she, and not Mr. President, does the grilling in her family. I hope this inspires young girls across the nation to pick up that long pokey thing, crank up the gas, grab a beer, and stay chained to that BBQ until everyone’s fed! In the meantime, though, anecdotal evidence suggests that the task of grilling is still usually allocated to the most dad-like attendee of any given cook-out. Even in the most gender-enlightened crowd, the menfolk seem to step in to handle the raw meat and fire. (This regression is totally fine by me–I find grilling sweaty work, and I’m always paranoid about undercooking meat and sending everyone to the ER.) That is all to say–why not buy your dad this awesome mid-century grill set from the Spooning Shop? It includes these ingenious salt and pepper shakers on long handles, and is in its original box! The hip grillmaster in your life will love it. And maybe cook you a steak.

    Mr Bartender 4Piece Barbecue Set in Original Box by SpooningShop.

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