Monday, February 1

San Jose Pavilion at Superbowl 50

It's Superbowl 50 week and the Silicon Valley is abuzz with excitement, especially because our very own Levi's Stadium is hosting. I'm sharing with you a press release from Team San Jose today about the San Jose Pavilion which will showcase San Jose culture.

2013
But first, here's a throwback to a photo I took in 2013 of Levi's Stadium during my morning run. It was merely a steel shell at the time. 

2016
This is a photo from the stadium website as it was being decorated for Superbowl 50 last week. We've come such a long way!

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San Jose Opens Patent Office in Super Bowl City Presented by Verizon
City Announces Programs at Pavilion

WHAT:   Free-to-public, interactive cultural pavilion showcasing San Jose’s local treasures at Super Bowl City presented by Verizon in San Francisco. Get hands-on with the Valley’s latest technology, enjoy musical and cultural performances from our diverse population, sneak-a-peek at Silicon Valley artifacts, and drop-in for advice from patent experts.

Be sure to stick around for prize giveaways, daily raffles and navigate your way to the “Big Game” with help from San Jose’s on-site concierge staff.

San Jose’s “Big Game” performances and activities include:

•       Drop by for a consultation with patent experts from the Silicon Valley United States Patent and Trademark Office to discuss your next big idea
•       Compete in a robot challenge and design dog tag laser engraving with TechShop San Jose
•       Enjoy cultural performances by San Jose Jazz, Los Laureles Mexican Folkloric Dance, Calpulli Tonalehqueh Aztec Dance, Akoma Arts Afro-Brazilian Dance, Halau Na Wai Ola Hawaiian Dance and Silicon Valley Ballet
•       Create your own Super Hero using a 3D printer with SJMADE
•       Engage in exhibits and craft giveaways from San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.
•       Join the party as artists paint live murals daily with Empire Seven Studios
•       Celebrate a Japanese garden centennial with Kadomatsu plants from Hakone Gardens
•       Complete an “Ultimate Fan Makeover,” snap a photo at the “Selfie-Station” and enter daily raffles to win San Jose attraction and neighborhood experiences

WHEN:  Saturday, Jan. 30 through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016
•    Feb 5 - 6 (11AM - 10PM PT)
•    Feb 7 (11AM - 10PM PT)
WHERE:  On Market Street between Main Street and Spear Street, San Francisco

For more information on San Jose visit, SanJose.org

Wednesday, January 27

Yalla Mediterranean Grand Opening + Giveaway - Fremont

Fremont has a new fast casual Mediterranean restaurant called Yalla Mediterranean. The restaurant is in a bustling plaza with Whole Foods, Boudin SF, and See's Candy. I recently attended a preview opening for the location and received the following meal complimentary as part of a training day for their staff.

The concept is to choose a wrap, salad, or plate.
Then choose a protein like chicken shawarma, shalafel (half falafel & chicken shawarma, kefta (lamb and beef), salmon, steak, or chicken.
After that you choose sauces, toppings, and sides which can be a variety of Mediterranean salads.

The skewers are cooked on a patented open-flame rotisserie grill that runs for 3 minutes. Different meats are put on at different times. For example, Salmon is started later on the belt than a kefta skewer would. By the time the rest of the order is ready, the meat finishes cooking and joins the meal for final assembly before check out. It's a very quick system. Did I mention each item costs less than $10? For an extra $2.50, you can add another portion of protein and it could be the same or different than your first protein.

Here is a sampling of what we tried at their preview day. I was impressed with the freshness of all their salads. My favorites are the Moroccan carrot salad and cous cous. The salmon and kefta seasonings were particularly flavorful but the chicken shawarma is really good. I can also see it going well in wraps.

($9.95) Kefta Plate with lentils, potato salad, cous cous, and carrot salad.

($9.95 + $2.50 for extra meat) Falafel and salmon with hummus, baba ganoush, and beet salad.

($9.95 - $2.50 for extra meat) Kefta and salmon with cabbage slaw, cucumber and tomato salad, Moroccan carrot salad, and cous cous.

Yalla fries with house made sauce. This is a sample size.

Dexter's Shawarma Fries

Greek frozen yogurt with baklava and honey


Thanks to Yalla Medi, I am hosting a $25 raffle to try their Fremont location. You can enter with the Rafflecopter widget below. A winner will be drawn this weekend and announce on my Facebook page on Monday 2/1

Yalla Mediterranean - Fremont
3141 Mowry Avenue (The Old Fremont Corner Market)
Fremont, CA 94538


Tuesday, January 26

Whole Foods Natural Glow Makeup & Pampering Event - Los Altos

One of my favorite events to cover each year is Whole Foods' annual beauty sale. The 2014 and 2015 events in Campbell were such fun experiences. I was already very excited for this year's event when they mailed me these baby and skin care samples. There are still two more events this weekend so make sure you sign up for your makeover adventure!

A big thanks to Lauren from Pink on the Cheek for helping me film our experiences getting a make over with the brands at the Los Altos event. See my YouTube video below.



Photo by Pink on the Cheek
First I got my foundation, concealer, eye liner, and mascara done with Dr. Hauschka products. The foundation is so light weight and provides a nice even coverage. I hardly felt like I had make up on. Dr. Hauschka is also really known for their skin care products which I can vouch for from previous years' samples. I'm not concerned about having my baby kiss me with these products on since they're made with natural ingredients.

Later I went to ZuZu Luxe and Gabriel Cosmetics to touch up my brows, eye shadow, and liquid liner. I was so amazed with the pigment in their shadows and how light weight it came on. The liquid liner was also very smooth and dried quickly. They gave me gifts of the Bisque and Charcoal colors. Highly recommend these shadows as a combo.
All the goodies from the event!

This cutie Lauren got a makeover from Mineral Fusion, ZuZu, and Gabriel Cosmetics. Her skin looked flawless.

A few food vendors were at the event including these yummy healthy Coco Roons from Wonderfully Raw.

And we have a brief but refreshing cider tasting with Rambling Route from Washington. The Apricot and Yakima ciders were my favorites.

Monday, January 25

Taste of Japan - Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel - Menlo Park

Taste of Japan is an international program developed and supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan. Last week, the local committee for Taste of Japan held the Honorary Awards 2015 for Silicon Valley, honoring a local chef whose commitment and demonstration of the use of Japanese ingredients bring international awareness to the cuisine. The recipient is Chef Toshio Sakuma of Sushiya in Palo Alto, and Kaygetsu in Menlo Park. His restaurant made Zagat's Top 10 list for many years until its closing in 2011. As one of the first chefs to popularize kaiseki in the Bay Area, Chef Toshi and his wife and business partner Keiko have a strong hand in shaping the Japanese cuisine we enjoy in the Bay Area today.

I was honored to receive a press badge to cover this event at the beautiful and luxurious Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park. 

The very charming Consul General Jun Yamada introduced Chef Toshi.

From left to right:
Eric Montell - R&DE Stanford Dining
Chef Toshio Sakuma
Keiko Sakuma
Gwyneth Borden - Golden Gate Restaurant Association
Consul General Jun Yamada

Chef Peter Rudolph of the hotel's restaurant Madera, which was a former two Michelin starred restaurant, cooked the fancy buffet dinner in conjunction with Chef Toshi.

The dining room was beautifully decorated with fresh flower centerpieces.

Cocktail hour started with glasses of bubbly and fruity prosecco.

Passed Hors d'oeuvres included fried nori with hamachi collar and yuzu zest. This was a really tasty bite with a nice balance of textures and flavors. Frying the nori is a nice touch. 

My favorite bite were these fried steamboat oysters with lacto fermented okra and a cayenne sauce. The oyster batter tastes similar to chicken karaage batter.

All the special guests were mingling before the buffet dinner.

Stations were set up for each dish. Although it was buffet, each portion was served in its own plate, such as with this ceviche. It's made with Kampachi and Hokkaido scallop with yuzu, dashi broth, cucumber, persimmon, watermelon radish, cilantro, and shiso - decorated with a dried pepper slice. This was excellent. The seafood was fresh and the vegetables were a unique medley. 

This item ran out first. Fried yuba roll with smoked salmon mousse inside that was so tasty. On top is almond, trout roe, and jerusalem artichoke oil. 

The kabura mushi had steamed Japanese turnip sauce on juicy sea bream filet in dashi broth, with wood ear mushroom and shrimp and uni on top.

A broth of matsutake tea, oak-grilled rugosa squash and pumpkin seeds was ladled on to mushroom and Miyazaki prefecture wagyu cubes. The wagyu was rich and soft. So good.

Madera is known for their signature dessert buffet. For this event, the items had a Japanese twist to them. Here are a few items.

Red Bean Matcha Parfait - the sponge cake is a matcha flavor


Starwberry short cake

Peach sake domes

Tea Forte set up

Twas a great event! I look forward to seeing what other Japanese ingredients will be showcased next year.

Wednesday, January 20

Whole Foods Natural Glow Makeup and Pampering Event - Bay Area

 Around this time of year, I look forward to the Whole Body by Whole Foods annual pampering events. In 2014, there was an event promoting a 10 Days of Beauty sale at the Campbell location. I had a blast getting my nails done and noshing on good wholesome food. For 2015, I enjoyed getting my nails painted with chemical free Zoya polish at the Makeup Breakup event.

Last week, Whole Foods sent me a personally curated package of goodies. Here's my little man modeling the products. 


Weleda Baby Diaper Rash Cream - We already started using it and I'm impressed with the fast acting cream. It works as well as the Aquaphor one I use except Weleda's has natural ingredients. As you recall, we have lots of baby skin issues.

DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer with SPF 30 - This one's all for mommy! I wear moisturizer with SPF everyday even if I only expect to be outside for as long as it takes to walk from the car to the office. Sun protection is a big deal for me.

Some other brands I look forward to seeing at this year's event is Giovanni's line of hair products. I was really impressed with their 2Chic shampoo and conditioner the other year. All the Mineral Fusion products I've tried from nail polish to face wash have been great. I also really look forward to seeing more from Dr. Hauschka skincare.

The event is open to the public, you can sign up for the event with the information below. I hope to see you at the Los Altos event!

Tuesday, January 19

Winter Fancy Food Show 2016 - San Francisco

The Fancy Food Show put on by the Specialty Food Association is a trade event that happens twice a year, once in summer and again in winter. It's a place to showcase new items and for vendors and merchants to connect. For media, such as myself, it's a great place to get exposed to up and coming trends. Of all the conferences I've been to, the WFFS16 is huge. Moscone Center in San Francisco is a large expo center consisting of multiple halls. WFFS occupied North and South Halls. 

Thanks to the Consulate of Japan, I was able to get a press pass to cover the Japan Pavilion. That alone could occupy me for half a day. Here are a few highlights.

Chef Sho Kamio of Berkeley's Iyasare Restaurant ran several demos that day including Kagoshima wagyu beef rolls and Japanese style poke.


Kagoshima wagyu beef costs $90-$100 per pound and is not available in the US yet. It is higher grade than kobe beef. Chef Kamio sliced open a cut to show the marbling inside. Then he used it to make the semi-shabu style rolls which were buttery soft and delicious.

Goma sauce (sesame sauce) to dip the rolls in

I recorded his demonstration of the Japanese style poke which included pickled gobo root (burdock), ginger flower, seaweed, tobiko, and ponzu sauce. 
Pickled burdock root

Here are some other highlights from the Japan Pavilion.
Real wasabi root, the biggest ones I've ever seen. I think this was from Banjo Foods.

Kewpie Mayo

Yugeta's organic shoyu made from traditional methods of fermentation, no additives. They told me to come back later to try their soy sauce ice cream but I was too busy eating poke! Ah I missed out.

A freezer full of premium Hanatsuru wagyu cuts

fun kids cakes that can be molded into any shape and decorated

Imported mountain yam

Organic furikake

Below are some other vendors throughout the rest of the show
Pecorino Romano from Italy

Sadaf Saffron spray on jasmine rice

Sadaf black garlic

Republic of Tea: teas made from wine grapes (does not taste like alcohol)

Alo juice in different flavors

Rick's award winning pickles. They were good!

The Jelly Belly Company's Batman artwork made of jelly beans.

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