La Fable, Berkeley

La Fable, Berkeley

December 9, 2013  |  featured, food & drink, san francisco  |  No Comments

I love the name of this charming and unpretentious French bistro in the heart of the gourmet ghetto in Berkeley. It is located on Walnut Street, one block from Shattuck, in the crossroads of counter-culture (how can you escape it really in Berkeley?) and Alice Waters food aficionados. I met a friend there on a Sunday, and I enjoyed the French flair and the casual feel of the place. The servers spoke French, and the owners are French as well.

The food is simple and authentic. The breakfast menu looks impressive with all sorts of omelets. The dinner menu lists simple and hearty dishes like boeuf bourguignon (French beef stew served on top of mashed potatoes), filet mignon and an interesting choice of assiettes (plates of cheese, ham, sausages). I found the prices moderate – under $20 for a meat dish (plat principal) – not bad at all. I love that they offer 6 seafood dishes, from crabe sauce blanche (crab gratin with sautéed leeks in a creamy béchamel sauce) to Saint Jacques au caviar de choux fleur (seared scallops with garlic, coriander and tomato sauce served with cauliflower caviar). All seafood lovers would find these French recipes intriguing enough to try. Doesn’t it smell like La Bretagne to you?

La Fable is open all day from breakfast to dinner (closed tuesday) and even sells croissants, pains au chocolat, and macarons for desert. As you guessed from the picture, that is exactly what I had!

La Fable | 1508 Walnut Street, Berkeley | (510) 849-9995

 

 

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The Krama phenomenon arrives in the US

The Krama phenomenon arrives in the US

October 27, 2013  |  featured, inspiration  |  No Comments

 

Recently I’ve been in awe and wonder about all the creations in the world and all the ideas that make it a more beautiful world, and I came across the story of Krama Heritage. This young company from France is bringing to the US the Krama phenomenon. It is sweeping Paris as I am writing this article, and I’ll tell you why.

Krama Héritage HéritiersDo you know what a Krama is? I sure didn’t. The Krama is the traditional garment of the Khmer people. It is used as a scarf or a bandana to cover the face or carry infants. The Krama is also so beautiful and elegant that Raphael and Alexandru decided to make it a part of Parisian chic with a social twist.

When traveling in Cambodia, the two founders felt a deep empathy and connection to the country and their people. They also saw the aesthetic value of the Krama and thought that it could easily become a Parisian fashion accessory as well as making the people wearing it proud to contribute to a better world. Today while wondering in Paris, Raphael told me you can see people from all ages and walks of life wearing the stylish Krama and embracing the spirit of the company. “Wearing it is transmitting of the hope of the Khmer people.”

The company gives 10 percent of its revenue to a non-profit called “Pour un sourire d’enfant” (For a child’s smile), specializing in schooling and training kids in Phnom Penh. Or, as Raphael explained to me in a communication, Krama Heritage’s raison d’être is the support of social causes in Cambodia with the goal of helping people rebuild their country after a dark past. More social projects will be added as the company expands.

The Kramas are woven in Phnom Penh in small workshops. They come in beautiful colors. I love all the colors, but my favorite is rose. Soon they will be available in the US through retailers, but you can order yours now through the company’s website. It looks like they will arrive in the US within two weeks.

Through the symbolic thread of a scarf, cultures are woven together and the world is better off for it. Let’s support this company’s making an impact while staying Always in French Style.

Krama Heritage - Meatpacking - Photograph by Erfu Wang

Krama Heritage - Times Square - Photograph by Erfu Wang

 

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Pâtisserie B., SF

Pâtisserie B., SF

September 23, 2013  |  featured, food & drink, san francisco  |  No Comments

Even the fluffiness of the croissants makes you happy!

Wow, wow, wow – what a creation! A Parisian style patisserie has finally arrived in San Francisco. Going to this place is an amazing experience. I felt like a child finding a treasure. Everything from the design to the display is exquisite and elegant and has been carried out in grand style. The deserts are magnifiques! You will have difficulty deciding which one to taste… this is the time to surrender to temptation and culinary discovery. Les viennoiseries (pastries) are fresh, crisp, locally inspired and flavorful – even the fluffiness of the croissants makes you happy.

Croissants

B. Patisserie is the inspiration of Belinda Leong and Michel Suas. Belinda was a pastry chef at Gary Danko for 8 years before embarking on an international staging in Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen. While in Paris, she loved les tartines – open-faced sandwiches – and she included them in the menu of her San Francisco’s store. Michel Suas himself created the special levain bread used for them. I overheard from their clients that the cheese and ham tartine, served with a small salad on the side, is awesome.

Michel Suas is a French pastry chef who has worked at a three-star Michelin restaurant in Paris, the Barrier. He moved to San Francisco in 1996 and created the San Francisco Baking Institute where Belinda took some classes. Michel has written a well respected book in the field of modern French baking. At B. Patisserie, Michel and Belinda offer the people of San Francisco a gorgeous Salon de thé, which could make you feel for a moment that you might be in Paris. (Just don’t look through the window). But I promise, this is a place that will enchant you!

GateauxB. Patisserie | 2821 California St. (at Divisadero)

 

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