Another Year, Another Birthday: Mango Passion Fruit Cake

May 8th, 2013 · 29 Comments · Cakes, Recipes, San Francisco, Sweet Spots

Mango Passion Fruit Cake

This last weekend was my birthday, and I have to say it was one of my most memorable ones, despite the fact that I practically forgot about it until it was upon me. I had a lot of other things on my plate like Isabelle’s red egg and ginger party, and getting ready to go back to work. However, my family didn’t forget, including Isabelle! She slept through the night for the first time, the night before my birthday – almost 9 hours! I woke up on my birthday morning both refreshed and very confused as to why I felt so refreshed.

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{Sonoma} A Trip Down the Wine Road

October 13th, 2012 · 4 Comments · San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Travel

wine road

A few months ago, I was invited with some other bloggers to go on a three day trip to Sonoma County by Wine Road. The Wine Road is an association of wineries in the Northern Sonoma county, near the Russian River, centered roughly around Healdsburg. Although I always love going up to wine country, I’ve really found myself leaning towards the Sonoma area in recent years: the atmosphere is more relaxed and rustic, and there’s so many little eccentric wineries tucked away in unexpected corners. I gladly accepted this invitation!

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{SF} {Palo Alto} Chantal Guillon’s New Store

August 27th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

chantal guillon boxes

While the macaron craze may have have subsided slightly in the blogosphere, they’re still popular here in the Bay Area – no self-respecting patisserie would be without a rainbow-hued selection of these little sweets. My choice for satisfying my macaron cravings is Chantal Guillon – a little shop tucked away in San Francisco that featured some of the most elegantly formed and decorated renditions of this French confection. I loved her version so much I even had ordered them for my wedding reception, a highlight I still remember fondly.

So I was thrilled to receive notice that Chantal Guillon had opened a second store down in Palo Alto, and even better, I was invited to visit the shop and chat with Mme Guillon herself! I sped down the Peninsula on a sunny Friday afternoon get a look at the brand new store.

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Olallieberries and Shortcake

July 23rd, 2012 · 9 Comments · Cakes, Fruit, Recipes, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

olallieberry shortcake

Olallieberry is just such a fun word to say. Their rarity and relatively short season also mean there are few chances to utter the word. So when it gets to around this time of year, Mike and I take great delight in saying to each other, “Do you think the olallieberries are in season yet?”

Last weekend we decided to take a trip down to our favorite berry u-pick farm and find out. Unlike other years where it was brilliantly sunny, this year found us driving down through a chilly fog. The weather didn’t matter though, as long as there were rows and rows of berry-laden bushes waiting for us!

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{SF} All The Cupcakes You Can Handle: At The SF Cupcake Challenge

January 26th, 2012 · 11 Comments · San Francisco, SF Events, Sweet Spots

kingdom cake

Is the cupcake craze over? Apparently not in the Bay Area, where new cupcakeries are still proliferating. A couple weeks ago DrinkEatPlay invited me to judge at the 2nd Annual Bay Area Cupcake Challenge, where 13 cupcake bakeries competed for Best Cupcake and Best Bakery. Two cupcakes from each competitor equaled a whole lot of cupcakes to taste!

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{Giveaway} {SF} Teacake Bake Shop – In Praise of Local Bakeries

November 30th, 2011 · 65 Comments · Giveaways, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for visiting!

teacake sampler

Hi all, hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend and are getting a good start on your holiday shopping! I’m going to be posting up my annual gift recommendations in the next week, but meanwhile I thought I’d like to start off the holidays with a little giveaway!

Teacake Bake Shop is the sort of bakery I would have loved to open – it’s cute, girly, and all the pastries are sweetly sophisticated. The first Teacake opened in Emeryville (near Berkeley) while I was still in pastry school. When I found out the owner was a young female Asian entrepeneur, I thought, hey, she’s living out my dream!

A couple years later I had the opportunity to interview Agnes, the owner, for Edible East Bay, and finally had the chance to chat with one of my inspirations. There’s practically a cupcake shop on every block in the city now, but back when Teacake opened, there were only a couple around, so it’s really one of the originals, and I’m glad it’s succeeded and continued to grow. I have immense respect for all the local food producers and artisans – it’s people like Agnes who follow their dreams and open up a shop selling unique sweets, meats, cheese, jams, etc. that make the Bay Area such a vibrant culinary culture. There are four Teacake Bake Shops now, and again one of them is close to my current home. It’s always a treat to walk by and see the bakers working in the open kitchen (customers can see their cupcakes being made in front of their eyes), and there’s also a large room where they hold tea parties and classes for kids.

In fact, Jessie of CakeSpy stopped by her on her book tour! Check out her post to see some photos of the shop and of the two of us goofing around.

I’m excited to host a giveaway for Teacake Bake Shop, so you’ll get a chance to try out her goodies – or perhaps cross a gift off your shopping list! Teacake is offering up their Mini Treats Sampler, a collection of four of their bestselling cookies, including Strawberry Jam Thumbprints, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Sugar Cookies, and Chocolate Cookies Sandwiches. There are 30 cookies in the package – enough for a party, snacking during a gift-wrapping session, or to leave out for Santa.

To enter: Please note that Teacake Bake Shop will ship the prize within the continental U.S. only (not to Alaska or Hawaii). Please make sure you have an appropriate shipping address before you enter!

Simply follow Teacake Bake Shop on Facebook or Twitter, and let me know in the comments below. If you already follow them, that’s fine too – just note it in the comment! The giveaway will run through Sunday, December 4th and I’ll announce the winner on Monday December 5th.

Good luck! And if you live in the Bay Area, be sure to stop by a Teacake Bake Shop!

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