Flavor over funding: How San Mateo’s KitchenTown is remaking the food industry

By Monica Hruby What’s the vibe like when you cram 36 food startups into a warehouse off the 101 in San Mateo? A bit like the floor of the stock exchange: loud, busy, a little messy, but with a wall of ovens to add some literal heat to the shouting and crashing of dishes. This is KitchenTown, the Peninsula’s food industry incubator that in three years has grown to include a cafe ...

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Passion meets fruit: How a biologist with an MBA created Palo Alto’s Essentique

Mandana Navi likes to cook. Like many a chef she started out in her own kitchen, testing out recipes and sharing her results with friends, before taking the plunge and going into business. But her recipes are a little different than yours. Shampoo. Conditioner. Skin cream. All of it made from natural ingredients. All of it formulated by Navi herself in the lab she designed in the back of her shop. Navi ...

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From Saison to Dad’s Luncheonette: Scott Clark on leaving behind fine dining for a caboose

Half Moon Bay’s coolest new eatery operates out of a train car Written by Elena Kadvany // Photographed by Michelle Le Former Saison chef Scott Clark and Alexis Liu opened Dad’s Luncheonette together so they could spend more time together as a new family. For evidence that work-life balance is relative, look no further than Scott Clark. On a recent afternoon, the tattooed, 30-something chef was constantly moving in and out of a 100-year-old red train caboose in ...

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Not your normal nacho: Burlingame’s Nachoria elevates the game-time snack to art

Words and photos by Nicole Ruiz Hudson Sometimes life demands nachos. Whether you’re out to celebrate or in need of a kvetch-fest, there is nothing quite like sharing a giant plate of nachos with friends. Hell, let’s be honest, nachos don’t really need a reason. Nachoria in Burlingame’s small but happening downtown capitalizes on their universal appeal and puts the humble tortilla chip front and center. Al pastor nachos. The concept is simple. You choose from ...

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Fancy noodles, un-fancy style at Mountain View’s Kumino

Words and photos by Nicole Ruiz Hudson Garlic noodles and chasiu. When is a noodle more than just boiled grain? For Haochen Liu, the chef behind Mountain View’s Kumino Noodle & Rice, noodles are the common thread in a life spent eating and cooking across multiple cultures and cuisines. “Seventy percent of my whole life’s meals is about noodles,” says Liu, a northern China native who opened Kumino in late 2015. “Almost nothing is super ...

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Craft caffeine: The inspiration behind Voyager Coffee’s unusual brews

Mixing it up at Voyager Craft Coffee: @amadeu_cruz We’ve all had “third wave coffee” (trust us, you have) but how do you build on a cappuccino with grass-fed cream-top milk and heart-shaped foam art? The owners of Voyager Craft Coffee in Santa Clara, Sam Shah and Lauren Burns, think they have an answer: unusual flavor pairings and homemade ingredients on a base of top-notch beans. These are not your average cups ...

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Santa Clara’s Korean scene heats up with BOB BBQ and Paik’s Noodle shop

Noodles so long, you gotta bring out the scissors. There are already enough Korean restaurants on Santa Clara’s stretch of El Camino to please any wagyu wonk. You’d think piling two cheap eateries on top of that smorgasbord might feel a little like sprinkling Hot Cheetos on your bibimbap. You’d be wrong (but your imaginative use of snack foods impresses us). BOB Korean BBQ and Paik’s Noodle Shop couldn’t be more ...

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A kinder, gentler microbrew at Redwood City’s Freewheel Brewing

Cask lineup at Freewheel (Photo by Devin Roberts) On the border of Menlo Park and Redwood city, in a shopping center best known for its Sunday brunch spot, Squeeze In, lies a little brewery and public house made to transport you back to the English countryside, with beer that’s much smoother and slightly warmer than you’re used to drinking. Freewheel Brewery and Pub was the vision of four friends (Malcolm, Pete, Gary, ...

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A temple to Bay Area craft brews rises at Santa Clara’s Taplands

Tapland’s owner, Matt Hartenstein (photo by Dale Swanson) Taplands Bottle Shop and Neighborhood Brewery in Santa Clara, open just under a year, is quickly becoming a favorite destination for beer tasters and tinkerers across Silicon Valley. The tap room’s founder and head keg tapper, Matt Hartenstein, is a self-proclaimed “beer geek” and homebrewer since 1991 (which he describes as the “Craft Beer 1.0” days). I sat down with Matt to talk about current trends ...

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Why Sunnyvale’s WeirdStuff Warehouse May Be The Heart of Silicon Valley

Rows and rows of weird stuff. Where to begin? When Chuck Schuetz started his own business reselling corporations’ unwanted electronics in 1986 he had no idea that his Sunnyvale shop, the WeirdStuff Warehouse, would become a destination not just for tinkerers, but for visitors searching for the “real” Silicon Valley. A former engineer at floppy disk drive maker Shugart Associates, Schuetz recognized a business opportunity unfolding in front of him in the ...

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