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Bits & Bites

Trends in Food

* Found: an outpost of bubble tea and Japanese stationery in the Mission. No more treks up to Kinokuniya in Japantown for your fix of the ultra-adorable. For the last year, Chamalyn, at 3491 19th Street (at Valencia), has been offering a totally cute selection of Pocky sticks, sushi-shaped erasers, and notebooks featuring such Japanese heroes as the super-sad bread guy, plus at least 15 kinds of flavored tea, served with tapioca pearls and double-thick straws. You can even get Malteasers, a somewhat hard-to-find British candy that our English friends freak out over. Open M-Sat 12-9pm, Sun 12-4pm. Don't try to call; proprietor May Lynn tells us they never felt a need to get a phone, so they don't have one!

* Snacktime showstopper: serve a couple of cold beers with a bowl of mixed nuts. Not ordinary nuts, though. Serve them warm, just piping enough that your fingers smart from the hot salt crystals for the first minute or two. Somehow, by heating up the nuts, you transform the snack into a continental boardroom delight fit for a captain of industry. Use a nice bowl, and careful, don't burn the nuts.

* Report from the Fancy Food Show at Moscone Center: Independent luxury food producers are really nice. Like Leslie Hall of Carol Hall's Hot Pepper Jelly Company up in Fort Bragg. Her sweet lemon buttery jam tastes like lemon curd politely shaking hands with a pot of sweet butter. And she's so friendly! Advice from an SF Station food staffer who's an old pro at hitting the Fancy Food Show: don't alternate samples of fancy savories and fancy sweets, or you'll get sick.

* You'd think we'd just discovered cheesesteaks lately, but it bears reporting that the totally vegetarian seitan teriyaki cheesesteak (with mushrooms) at Jay's is even more delicious than the meat version. This comes from the #1 fan of the Palace Steak House, so that's high props.