Friday, March 5, 2021

Xiaoman RiceBurrito -- Santa Clara, CA

I don't know what the name of this rice burrito shop is, but it's either "RiceBurrito" or "Xiaoman". In any case, the website is

At $8, these savory treats aren't cheap, but they're scrumptious and filling. Though they come with pork and egg, what stands out is the yao tiao (fried breadstick), which not only takes up a lot of the volume, but provides all of the memorable crunch.

Pictured above is with white rice, though you can also get one with purple rice.

The physical store in Santa Clara is a kitchen for pick-up only. There's no place to eat, even without COVID.

Above: White wrap is with purple rice, brown is with white rice. Dollar bill for scale.

Below: The rice burrito ingredients, or "ricepe" ("rice" + "recipe")

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Craftsman and Wolves--San Francisco, CA

We got a variety of baked items from Craftsman and Wolves, who made a recent appearance at a farmers market in Palo Alto. And, I can say they do everything well. The main event, however, is "The Rebel Within". How do they do it? They're able to bake a sausage and asagio cheese muffin and prepare (what would you call it--"poach", "boil", "bake"?) egg deliciously runny inside.

Of course, like I mentioned earlier, CAW does the regular stuff, too. Look at how airy their chocolate croissant can be!

The Japanese milk bread (below) wasn't bad and I appreciate the differentiation of the crust and crumb.

Photo below: The Rebel Within before going under the knife. Know what you're getting into before taking a bite into this one!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Backhaus--San Mateo, CA

In terms of baking several different items well, Backhaus is hard to beat. Each of us had our own favorite: The kids liked the croissants most (chocolate croissant pictured above), for me it was the Country Loaf and my wife most enjoyed the apple and oat crosctock. 

Although you can order Backhaus online for pickup--and this is recommended--you can also order at their location in downtown San Mateo. If you do the latter, prepare to wait in line and items do run out. Backhaus also often appears at the San Mateo Farmers Market.

The pastries shown below range in price from $4.50 to $5.50. The Country Loaf, at $8.00, is the basis for all other breads at Backhaus, so it's a good one to start with.

Pictured below: The Country Loaf. Be careful with this one--the crust is hard and can be sharp enough to cut through live tissue, but the crumb makes it all worth it once you get to it.

Pictured below, clockwise from upper right: morning bun, apple and oat crostock, ham and cheese croissant

Pictured below, from upper left: pistachio raspberry croissant (my favorite of all the Backhaus pastries), chocolate croissant and almond croissant

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Oolong Tea Boba Ice Cream Bar by A-Chino

 "Wow", was the first word my son said after opening the plastic wrapper revealing an ice cream bar on a stick. Creating the powerful first impression was the tea aroma and, indeed, the lower (or brown) part of this bar had a pleasantly strong tea flavor.

In two of the bars, though, we didn't find any boba in the top (or white) portion. And, in two of them, we did. Either way, what you do get is great vanilla ice cream, which is the perfect way to start this dessert. 

The kids liked the boba but didn't love it. Their main complaint: The boba was slightly frozen or crystalized. While true, that didn't bother me at all.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Old Greenwood BBQ at the Gold Rush Saloon

 Although slightly charred more than I would have liked, my family of four enjoyed the ribs from Greenwood. My older son and I shared the rib pack (below) which came with three pint sides and four corn muffins (though they only gave us three) for $45. The brisket was a lean cut and a bit salty. The My younger son got the cheeseburger and found fault with the fact that the cheese wasn't melted. 

But, the ribs were delicious and they will have me coming back. Greenwood BBQ has outdoor seating and is open as of this writing. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Red bean buns from

My wife recently made red bean buns using the recipe found at . It was unusual in that this recipe did not call for an egg in the dough, but it still came out well! The dough in the photos below was made from scratch. We got the red bean paste from 99Ranch. 

We let the dough rise first before filling the dough with red bean. To do this, Jenny left the ball of dough outside in a bowl in the summer heat with a towel on top. 

Jenny let the dough rise a second time after making the buns (below) before putting them in the toaster oven at 400F.

Jenny finished with some egg wash to give the buns some color and a thin, crisp shell.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Blueberry pancakes by Stonewall Kitchen

I make pancakes for my family just about every weekend. And, when it comes to breakfast I can tell you they're a tough crowd to please. The blueberry pancakes from Stonewall Kitchen accompanied by the brand's blueberry maple syrup, however, won them over this morning. So much so, in fact, that today we even ordered some for relatives.

First of all, as soon as you open the can of mix you're hit with the delightful smell of blueberries. This takes slightly more work than the usual instant mix--it requires melted butter, milk, an egg and 15 minutes for the batter to sit--but it's worth it. My wife enjoyed the natural texture of the pancakes and my kids loved the syrup. Indeed, all were in agreement, that to fully enjoy the pancakes, the syrup is a must.