“The Apprentice: My Life In the Kitchen”
$18; 352 pages; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; hmhco.com
Jacques Pépin has enjoyed an extraordinary career, moving from unknown kitchen helper to internationally recognized chef. In honor of his 80th birthday, his 2003 memoir (with 40 of his favorite recipes) has been republished. It takes readers from his apprenticeship at age 13 in the kitchen of the Grand Hotel in Paris, through friendships with Julia Child, James Beard and Craig Claiborne, and to his triumphs in the food world.
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Spicy garlic shrimp in wine sauce
$18; Mandarin (4321 Arden Way); 916-488-4794; themandarinrestaurant.com.
Mandarin restaurant has been around since 1981. The menu is lengthy, the decor charmingly old-school. The potent mai-tai is its best-selling cocktail, but the “spicy garlic shrimp in wine sauce” is the reason why we’re repeat customers. Crispy shrimp arrives in a luscious not-too-sweet, not-to-hot sauce speckled with minced garlic. Whole garlic cloves sit on top. Spoon it onto steamed white rice and enjoy.
$14 for a three-snack box (each snack has between 3-5 servings); naturebox.com
NatureBox offers an online subscription service to 100-plus snacks such as Southern BBQ sunflower kernels and sourdough cheddar pretzels. You can either choose what snacks are sent to your doorstep or the company will “curate” for you. Naturebox products are free of high-fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, partially hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors and colors.
Stonewall Kitchen pulled pork simmering sauce
$7.99 for a 21-ounce jar; Taylor’s Market; stonewallkitchen.com
Keep dinner simple with this tasty simmering sauce that packs flavor but is still mild enough to be a kid pleaser. Just pour it in the slow cooker over some pork shoulder and after some slow-and-low cooking, you’ve got sweet and savory makings for a spectacular sandwich.
Dine Downtown Restaurant Week
$35 for three-course meal; various locations; godowntownsac.com
Ten days, three courses, $35 and a donation to charity to sweeten the deal. Dine Downtown is back with its prix-fixe fundraiser for the Food Literacy Center – a no-brainer reason to visit spots including Biba, Hook & Ladder, Localis and many more. The event runs through Jan. 16.
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