Monday, July 5, 2021

Bateel dates

Across any given year, I eat about 25 pounds of dates. I love those sweet little delights and have enjoyed them from Central California, Southern California and the Middle East. However, the dates from Bateel are on entirely different level from anything I've had before. 

When I first got the dates from Bateel as a gift, I at first thought they were little sandwiches. And, they are of sorts! Filled with nuts and, in some cases, orange peel, they make an unforgettable concoction. Overall, they're sweet, but the filling adds a personality and texture that's hard to find anywhere else.

For me, the best part of all is that the dates on their own are delicacies. So often, dates have a roughness and hardnes about them at both ends. However, the Bateel dates are soft and tender all over. 

At about $2 each in a gift box, these dates have to be the best of the best. And, indeed they are. 

Bateel gift box below: From left to right, pecan, hazelnut, pistachio, cashew and orange peel

Saturday, April 24, 2021

El Pueblo -- Cardiff, Encinitas, CA

Some thirty minutes north of San Diego you can find a delightful stand of a restaurant featuring 99-cent fish tacos. They're the real thing. I went in hungry, had five of these scruptious marvels and came away full. 

Not only do I recommend this restaurant, the Vallero gas station it shares a parking lot with is also for the frugal.

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