Summer season has begun, and with it the promise of warm days, vacations, and long weekends. If you are planning any summer road trips, we have put together a list of product and recipes to help fill your cooler and pass the time in the car.
We are focusing on choices that pack a little more power. You want to feel as good a possible when you arrive. So, perhaps leave that bag of pretzels behind and reach for these yummy foods that are both energizing and satisfying.
Keep it fresh
We love to make certain to include fresh fruits and veggies. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sliced celery and cucumber, and sugar snap or snow peas will keep you crunching happily between meals without weighing you down. Green and red seedless grapes and a variety of berries are easy to pop in your mouth--no peels or seeds to deal with while driving.
Something a little more substantial
Our deli has a delicious variety of H
ouse-Made Deli Sandwiches
for you to choose from so that everyone gets exactly what they want. Grab a few extra for the cooler!
Les Trois Petits Cochons
Sous-Vide Egg Bites
are ready-to eat and come in three flavors: Spinach & Feta, Bacon & Swiss, and Ham & Espelette Pepper. They are delicious on a crusty bread with some soft cheese and maybe some greens.
Or peruse our deli cases for delicious entrees like
La Cascada Asian Noodle Salad.
All you need is a fork (or chopsticks)!
And pick up a bag of mini Babybel Cheese in their original flavor. They stay fresh for so long and kids (of all ages) love them.
More for snacking
A few of our favorite snacks that are packed with both nutrition and flavor are handy for travel.
Red Raspberry Razzy Pops are tangy, chewy supersnacks with organic fruit and nuts.
Tosi Almond Super Bites make both a great snack and breakfast on the go.
Rhythm Superfoods Organic Carrot Sticks with sea salt are nutrient-packed, dehydrated, organic carrot sticks and a delicious alternative to chips.
Annie Chun's Organic Seaweed Snacks in both Sea Salt and Wasabi deliver a satisfyingly savory crunch and are pretty irresistible.
There are so many options of what to pack in the car. Certainly, bring lots of water. And, it doesn't hurt to have a few special drinks in the cooler.
We are all about
Honest Tea Organic Tea
blends. They have just the right amount of sweetness. We carry them in a variety of flavors. and three of our favorites are Peach Oo-La-Long, Moroccan Mint Green Tea, and Lori's Lemon Tea.
Then there is
New Wave Soda for those who need a gentle boost of caffeine. With their light fruit essence and not a single gram of added sugar, it will help gett you where you want to go. We carry it in Grapefruit, Cucumber, Tangerine, and Mango.
A Staff Favorite
The best Italian desserts are crafted in California.
Tiramisú is the dessert most associated with Italy. The parfait-like creation is made with mascarpone cheese, coffee, chocolate, and ladyfinger cookies. It is creamy, chocolaty, and has just the right amount of sweetness. And, Sweetaly's individual-serving Tiramisú comes in a quaint, reusable glass jar.
To get their Tiramisú recipe as authentic as possible, Sweetaly's chefs studied pastry techniques at an Italian culinary school. Sweetaly is fully committed to making rather delicious desserts with simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar, always. They also support the local community by sourcing ingredients close to home.
At Piedmont Grocery, we also carry their Dark Chocolate Mousse and Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake. You can find Sweetaly Dolceria’s desserts in our refrigerator section.
A Cookbook Recommendation
and cookbook author and Road Foodie blogger Brigit Binns team up to take readers on a mouthwatering tour along scenic highways and picturesque back roads of the Pacific coast.
Brigit and her trusty canine companion, Stella, make their way up the region in four bites--Southern California, Northern California, Oregon, and Washington--discovering local eateries, dives, and cafes that showcase the true flavors of each region.
More than 125 delicious and authentic recipes fill the pages of this part cookbook, part delicious journey, along with tales from owners, patrons, and employees that bring each restaurant's and region's personality to light.
Impeccable full color photography also graces the pages, taking readers both inside these landmark gems and outside to the surrounding scenery. Sunset's Eating Up the West Coast is a discovery guide for anyone who loves to eat great local food and venture off the beaten path.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Best Laid Plans
This weekend, Memorial Weekend, is the unofficial start to the summer season. With the kids almost out of school, the beginning of the Road Trip season is also upon us.
In fact, our family was supposed to embark on our first summer road trip this weekend—through the desert to Las Vegas. That's 10+ hours of family fun and harmony… Due to circumstances beyond our control, the trip has been scratched. This may be a blessing in disguise. But, never fear! We are still going to load up the truck and head out on the road. And, it will be a more manageable 3-hour drive to spend time outdoors in Northern California.
All kidding aside, road trips can be a lot of fun. And, no matter your destination, anytime you stick people in a confined space for more than an hour or two, someone’s going to be touching someone else, or crossing over an imaginary line, or the dog is going to try to get in someone else’s lap. And, things are going to get tense. Having drinks and snacks at the ready can go a long way to preventing a migraine.
I am a big fan of nut mixes and trail mixes. I have a huge canister at home for when I just need a handful of something to get me through until dinner. I make it myself and the ingredients change depending on my mood.
My trail mix always contains multiple varieties of nuts. But, the other ingredients change each time. Sometimes I’m feeling tropical and add macadamia nuts with some dried mango, bananas and coconut chips. If I have a sweet tooth there are chocolate chunks in it. And then there is the kitchen sink mix that has a little bit of everything (usually comprised of reminders of things from past baking projects).
Any of these options is great for road trips because you can make a lot of it for sharing with everyone. And, it’s definitely portable. Beware the chocolate ones, though…It's best to keep them in the cooler with your drink supply. They don’t do so well in the hot car when you have to stop for the 50th time because someonehas to go to the bathroom…again!
This trail mix recipe is a suggestion. There is no real recipe for something like this—just your imagination and your taste buds.
This Cajun Lemonade recipe is a spiced-up version of the Pimm's Cup with a splash of hot sauce and a generous serving of white rum.
This recipe makes a pitcherful to share with friends and family over the weekend or on any of the warm, summer days ahead.
News & Events
The 2019 SF International Arts Festival will run from May 23 through June 2 performing in multiple venues at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. And, it features over 50 artists and ensembles from the Bay Area and 12 other countries.
It is a gathering that celebrates diversity, multiculturalism, curiosity and the value of otherness—a commitment that advocates for experiencing the cultural expressions of different societies and civilizations as a way to help understand and embrace them.
Artist Disciplines include Dance, Music, Theater, Performing Arts, Events, & Activities.
Since 2003, the San Francisco International Arts Festival has presented artists from across the world with innovative projects dedicated to increasing human awareness and understanding—in work not seen anywhere else in the U.S.
—Leslie Katz for the San Francisco Examiner
A Staff Favorite
Perfect for a road trip!
There's nothing like a soft cookie with cinnamon in every bite. But, these great-tasting cookies, with just the right amount of sweet, pack some protein. Great as an in-between-meals snack, in lunchboxes, and as a reward for a good workout.
Their satisfying textureis soft and chewy, and they are great if you are trying to eat clean. Bite Fuel Cookies are gluten free, low cholesterol, and have no artificial preservatives or trans fats. And, with 18 grams of grass-fed whey protein per bag, they help to keep you full until your next meal.
Dip them in milk, coffee, or make a mini peanut butter sandwich with them.
And, cherry season is short. So, enjoy them while they are delicious and fresh.
Right now we have Bing cherries in the store. They range from dark red to almost black and are sweet and juicy.
Cherries don't ripen further once they're picked. They are very delicate fruits, bruise easily, and should be treated with care.
Look at the stems of the cherries: those with plump, bendable stems have been picked recently. If the cherry stems are shriveled and brittle, the cherries are older and will be past their prime before long.
Choose cherries with stems still attached; this helps them maintain their freshness.
Select cherries with firm, smooth, unblemished skin, and buy only as many as you plan to eat in the next few days.
For best results, store them refrigerated in a plastic bag with holes in it, and don't wash your cherries until you're ready to use them.
Here are some favorite cherry recipes from our archives.
Warm goat cheese rounds are a lovely contrast to the cool salad. Halved cherries add a fresh, sweet flavor.
It’s great as a light lunch or a side for just about everything.
This over-the-top Flourless Chocolate Cake has impressive looks and moistness. Start the cherries ahead: They soak in brandy for a week and then in syrup for at least two days.
This delicious tart is great for a celebration. It takes some time to make, and we have marked where is possible to prepare some of the steps a day or so in advance for ease of assembly on the day you bake it.
Clafoutis is great for brunch or a light dessert. We like to make our Cherry Clafoutis in a blender—it is so fast!
Grilled fresh cherries in a milkshake? This says it all. You have got to try this delicious twist on a classic.
If you make your own yogurt (which is incredibly easy by the way) so much the better…
Both tapioca flour and Instant ClearJel are good choices for thickening. They keep the fruit’s juice clear and the fruit flavor true. The resulting color and flavor are spectacular.
News & Events
It’s time to reserve your summer seats for some great theater under the stars. The California Shakespeare Theater’s 2019 season begins this month. If you have never experienced this unique blend of food, community, and theater…now’s your chance!
A Midsummer Night's Dream
May 22 through June 16
by William Shakespeare
directed by Tyne Rafaeli
Four lovers escape into the woods and find themselves entangled in a world turned upside-down. When it comes to love, what’s fantasy and what’s reality? Tricks abound and wires cross as we all seek escape from (or surrender to) the clutches of love.
The Good Person of Szechwan
July 3 through July 21
by Bertolt Brecht
translated by Wendy Arons
adapted by Tuny Kushner
directed by Eric Ting
In a city of “haves” and “have-nots,” can a good person stay good even as their fortunes rise? The Good Person of Szechwan is a fable for our times exploring the lengths to which one must go to keep clean in a dirty world.
House of Joy
August 14 through September 1
by Madhuri Shekar
directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
New Classics World Premiere Production
A darling of the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, House of Joy is an action-adventure romance set in a harem at the beginning of the end of the Mughal Empire. Once upon a time and place, in something like 17th century Delhi, an imperial bodyguard risks her life to fight for what's right, turning against everything she's been raised to believe.
September 18 through October 13
by William Shakespeare
directed by Victor Malana Maog
Shakespeare’s cautionary tale of unbridled ambition. Determined to fulfill a prophecy of greatness, Macbeth’s hunger for power consumes all he holds dear. How far would you go to take what you’ve been told you deserve? And who will rise up to stop you?
Recipes for Road Trip Treats from our Archives
The Kitchen Table
If you are planning a road trip, some homemade goodies can be
satisfying. Here are some of our favorite packable recipes—in varying degrees of perishable. So, find yourself a perfect picnic spot along the drive and enjoy!
Sausage and Sage Biscuits
are the perfect vehicle for ham and cheese sandwiches. Pack up the fixings in a cooler and assemble them at mealtime.
Frittata Breakfast Sandwiches
are not just for breakfast! They are easy to make in advance, and have a lot of good protein. Feel free to play around with the ingredients.
Amy’s Aram Sandwiches
What you fill your lavash with is entirely up to you—the possibilities are endless. A popular version is roast turkey, roast beef, lettuce and havarti cheese. However, smoked salmon with cream cheese, red onion and a sprinkling of fresh dill is amazing. Or try goat cheese and grilled veggies.
Vietnamese Banh Mi
The combination of meat and pickled veggies with the cilantro and chilies on fresh French bread is rhapsodic, and worthy of enthusiastic discussion.
Peach Hand Pies
'cause nothing is better than a pie that travels! And, you can skip the peeling and slicing and pick up some frozen peaches.
Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
The brightness of the raspberry jam will make you smile and I think we could all use a few more smiles these days…
Granola Bar Cookies
are delicious car (or airplane) snacks and also make a great breakfast when you don't want to stop at a restaurant.
can be wrapped as individual slices and ready to grab on the go. It is also a great breakfast food. Play around with the ingredients.
These bars are good! And, the recipe uses honey instead of corn syrup which means more floral flavor. Plus, the addition of orange zest is delicious.
Things that last
Put these in a jar or good airtight container, and they just might last your entire trip…if you make enough!
Freshly roasted and salted nuts are delicious and can hold you over till the next rest stop.
Homemade Granola simply tastes better. Plus, you can customize it to exactly the ingredients you love.
Homemade Trial Mix is not just for hiking. Again, customization. You can mix up a couple different batches for variety.
The Butcher's Block
Those of us of a certain age fondly remember the can of rendered bacon fat that your grandmother kept in the fridge (or some kept under the sink). It was used to prevent fried eggs from sticking to the pan on Saturday mornings or to slowly caramelize onions for Sunday night. (Frighteningly, some used to spread it on toast for lunch. A throwback to an era when money was tight and nothing was wasted.) But the main purpose for that can of fat was to add more flavor to everything.
For decades doctors have been telling us that fat is bad and because of that grocery shelves are filled with products that are fat-free. We have been told that fat will clog your arteries and raise your cholesterol levels. While it is true that the wrong fats will do this, it is also true that the body needs fat to function. What is also true? Fat is flavor. So what is a foodie to do? Finding the happy medium between healthy and yummy is what’s important when trying to lead a healthy yet tasty lifestyle. In other words, everything in moderation. Knowing when to go all out with a beautifully marbled steak and when to dial it back is key.
Fat is essential in cooking because it not only adds flavor but moisture as well. For example, you can make a burger out of lean ground chuck but it will never be as juicy or as packed with beefy meaty flavor because the fat needed to produce those results is missing. You could get away with using lean beef in a Bolognese sauce though because the meat will already be in a moist environment and it will lower the chances of your sauce tasting greasy.
BBQ aficionados know that a ribeye from the grill is one of the best things you can put in your mouth because of the extensive marbling in that particular cut of meat. You could also throw a nicely marbled New York steak on the grill and produce great results but, because New Yorks have less fat marbling, you have to be a bit more vigilant to keep them from being overcooked and dry. A filet mignon steak, while very tender, does not have as much fat marbling and therefore should not be cooked for long periods of time because it will be dry and you ruin a beautiful and expensive piece of beef.
Pork fat is a beautiful thing. Its flavor is the preferred addition for sausage makers who use their own fat to meat ratio in their recipes to create the perfect bratwurst, breakfast link or other sausages. Anyone who has had the pleasure of consuming a pork shoulder that has been slow roasted for hours should agree. The high-fat content in a pork shoulder breaks down and slowly bastes the meat as it cooks thus adding flavor and moisture to the meat that melts in your mouth. And then there’s bacon…
Pork loins have very little fat in them and because of that, they make a healthy alternative to always eating chicken breast. The lack of fat though means that they will dry out much faster when cooking. If you are cooking the full loin, it's best to add moisture with a brine—or slice the loin into 1/2 inch chops and sauté them in a pan.
The bottom line is this. If your goal is an awesome steak dinner right off the grill, you are better off going with the cut that has the higher fat content, or risk disappointment. Leaner cuts are great too but save those for the recipes with more complicated ingredients than salt and pepper.
From our recipe blog, The Kitchen Table
In a not so shocking turn of events, we had tacos for dinner last night. We have tacos in some way shape or form at least once a week. So, this is not really news. We have a taco addiction and we are powerless to resist…
Ninety-nine percent of the time our taco fillings come straight off the grill. Usually, it’s skirt steak. Although, more and more I have been going the grilled chicken route, just to be a bit less heavy-handed with the red meat. Fish tacos are always tasty especially as it gets warmer. They’re even better if you are sitting on a deck and can wash them down with a cold Cerveza. (My mouth is totally watering…)
One of my sons, (We’ll call him the middle child even though he’s a twin because he plays that role perfectly.)is a big fan of all tacos. But, if pressed, he will tell you that he is partial to what I call American tacos. These are the loose ground meat tacos usually served in crunchy taco shells. I admit I am also a fan—especially when said meat is sprinkled over Fritos will cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa. They’re a guilty pleasure. (Mom called them Mock Tacos and they’re kinda wrong but so, so good!)
For the same reason that I have been using a lot of grilled chicken lately, I went on a search for a loose meat taco with something other than ground beef. And, I was not surprised to find ground turkey as a popular option.
In the same way that turkey chili can be very good, ground turkey makes for a great taco filling. My one complaint about turkey though would be not enough flavor so I was looking for something with some
I played around with this recipe a bit and think I have found a winner. Feel free to up the spice or dial it back as per your preference and feed your inner middle child.
Vendor of the Month
Roberto's of Santa Cruz makes some extremely tasty salsa. It is about as good as it gets.
The flavors are fresh and complex, and it always tastes like it was just made at your favorite restaurant. (In fact, it outshines a lot of restaurant salsa.)
Plus, it’s local and authentic.What more could you ask for?
You can find all the varieties in the cheese department next to the dips. We carry their Mild Salsa, Medium Salsa, Hot Salsa, Chipotle Salsa, Medium Tomatillo salsa, and Guacamole.
Seven Days a Week
9 AM to 8 PM
9 AM to 7 PM
4038 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.