Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - March 21, 2014

Tidbits

by Elena Kadvany

MORE MARKET, PLEASE ... The California Avenue farmer's market is set to expand this weekend, an unexpected boon from the city's massive streetscape project for the area, which began this week.

Starting this Sunday, March 23, the weekly market will extend an extra block down California Avenue to Birch Street, space that will accommodate 25 new vendors. It will still operate at the same hours, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"The City of Palo Alto came to us and thought it would be an opportune time to expand the market because we've been busting at the seams with a long wait list," said Ron Pardini, executive director of Urban Village, the organization that runs the market. "It's also an opportunity to help promote the California Avenue downtown while the construction is going on and then continue to help draw people to those merchants that might otherwise be affected by the construction. We think it's a positive for everyone."

New vendors are bringing in a host of new food and drink options. A major newcomer is the Manresa Bread Project, a retail operation that sells bread baked at David Kinch's Michelin-starred Los Gatos restaurant, Manresa.

Manresa's bread has only previously been available for purchase at Urban Village's Campbell Farmer's Market, at Pardini's request. Palo Alto will be their first venture beyond that.

Other new vendors include Beet Generation Juice (fresh vegetable and fruit juices pressed on site), Tru Gourmet (organic dim sum) and Ladera Granola. San Francisco-based spice retailer Spice Hound and San Bonito Tea Company, which grows the teas it sells, will alternate every other week in one stall space.

New meat slingers will include Barrett Farms, a poultry-centric farm in Lake County, Calif., that will sell wild game birds like quail and pheasant. Fogline Farm from Soquel will sell its fresh-processed chicken and pork.

For pescatarians and seafood lovers, the California Avenue market's staple seafood vendor, H & H Fresh Fish Co., will be adding an oyster bar to its lineup.

The market's gluten-free baked good options will also expand with two new bakeries, Mariposa and Flour Chylde Bakery.

Any Peninsulans familiar with Far West Fungi at the San Francisco Ferry Building will be happy to know the specialty mushroom grower and distributor is also joining the Cal. Ave. ranks.

Other new farms will bring in kale chips, nut butters, olives, rice and raw milk and cheese, Pardini said.

On Sunday, Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd will do a ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m. to mark the occasion. A second musician will also be performing near the Birch Street end, Pardini said.

Also new to the Sunday market will be an information booth and map of all the vendors, old and new.

LURE + TILL OPENS ITS DOORS ... The new Epiphany Hotel opened its doors at 180 Hamilton Ave. in Palo Alto on March 10, with its trendy farm-to-table restaurant, Lure + Till, following suit last weekend. Whoever designed the restaurant couldn't have asked for better weather for the opening — much of Lure + Till's seating is al fresco along Hamilton. Even for indoor diners, sliding glass doors can be fully opened on warm days and nights, as it was this weekend.

Passerbys also have a full view of the restaurant's bar, which is serving up 10 craft cocktails to start off.

Drinks range from the "Peninsula Punch" (kappa pisco, lemon and pineapple) to the "Schmandy" (brandy, mint, angostura bitters, lemon, scrimschraw pilsner). Prices range from $8 to $12 per drink. The Peninsula Punch and "Cava Punch" can also be ordered in pitchers for a group at $40 a pop. Lure + Till's cocktail program is run by Carlos Yturria, who's already well-established in the San Francisco bar scene.

The opening food options are wide-ranging, with unique combinations and ingredients. Starters come in the form of various soups and salads: baby-beet salad with apple smoked yogurt, wheat barriers and mustard greens ($14); kale salad with ricotta salata, currants, toasted almonds, sprouting legumes and a sherry vinaigrette ($14); green garlic soup ($8); Caesar salad with roasted chicken thigh, boquerones, romaine lettuce and parmigiano reggiano ($17); chopped salad with-house made pickles, hard-boiled eggs, asparagus, fennel, carrots and quinoa dressed in a sherry vinaigrette ($14) and a baby greens salad (pear, walnuts, shallot confit and radish ($8).

Other small bites include deviled eggs with chive, shallot, mustard and aioli (three for $5) and flatbread with various spreads.

Some current entrees include tagliarini (egg noodles, narrower than tagliatelle) with braised hen jus ($14), mafalde (ribbon pasta noodles) with pancetta ($15), a burger and fries ($12), fish and chips ($17), roasted chicken breast with cucumber and kale panzanella ($16) and a hanger steak sandwich ($15).

Lure + Till also serves a Southern-style side: baked heirloom grits topped with a slow-cooked egg and house made sriracha ($6).

The kitchen is headed up by Patrick Kelly, previously executive chef at Gitane in San Francisco and Michelin-starred Angèle in Napa.

Check out more food news online at Elena Kadvany's blog, Peninsula Foodist, at paloaltoonline.com/blogs/.

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