▪ The Parlor’s ice cream puff
Looking for a new way to customize your ice cream experience? Check out The Parlor, a place that aspires “to bring your wildest dessert dreams to life.” There, you can choose from eight flavors of Gunther’s ice cream (such as sea salt-caramel, coffee-Nutella, vanilla-cinnamon), then pick a pastry (plain doughnut, glazed doughnut, apple fritter) and toppings (gummy bears, almonds, Oreo bits, coffee bits, bacon bits, Nutella). After that, a staffer assembles your creation into a “sandwich” of sorts. Essentially, The Parlor’s “ice-cream puff” has updated the wardrobe of the iconic cream puff, in an entertaining and delicious way.
▪ Elegant Beans and Beyond heirloom beans
$6.99 for 16 ounces; Raley’s, Bel Air, Whole Foods and others; www.elegantbeans.com
If you’ve been making do with the canned kind, you’ve probably forgotten just how good fresh cooked beans can be – firm, flavorful and, in the case of Elegant Beans, beautiful. Grown by fifth-generation farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, these heirlooms are as pretty as they are delicious, such as the mottled tan-and-cream color of the snowcap beans or the springtime green of its flageolets.
▪ Black Jewell original black popcorn
$6.99 for 16 ounces; Sprouts, Whole Foods or Amazon; www.blackjewell.com
These small, black kernels pop pure white, with a satisfying crunchy flavor that will make them a new favorite. Grown in Illinois from non-GMO crops, they’ve been specially cleaned to remove almost all hulls – meaning just about every piece makes a perfect pop.
$59.95; 129 pages; Phaidon; www.phaidon.com
A combination coffee-table tome, food memoir and recipe guide, this sumptuous new book from San Francisco superstar chef Corey Lee (whose restaurant Benu is considered one of the best and most innovative in the city) is filled with much more than just dinner ideas. The gorgeous photos alone make it worth paging through, along with stories about spending time with people such as the Haenyo – female seafood divers on Jeju Island off South Korea. Of course, there are also recipes, such as scallop blossom with chrysanthemum. Available in April.
▪ Pure Earth juice
$3.49 for 12 ounces; available at local retailers; fruits.com/products/pureearth
Not all fruit juices are created equal. Some contain only a small percentage of juice mixed with water. Other “100 percent” juices blend expensive juices with less-costly ones such as pear, white grape or apple. So we were happy to discover Del Monte’s line of Pure Earth juices, which, the labeling says, are “not from concentrate” and have no added sugar or preservatives. They’re available four ways: pineapple, pineapple-banana-coconut, pineapple-lime and pineapple-blueberry-blackberry. We’ve tasted ice-cold pineapple (not too sweet), pineapple-lime (sweet-tart) and pineapple-banana-coconut (subtle and smooth), and found them delicious.
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