Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winter Fancy Food Show

 I'm just back from my first day of the Winter Fancy Food show that goes on for three days this week in San Francisco at Moscone Center.

My main goals in attending the shore are to get a sense of food trends and to find products that are sold locally or that I can request that my local Whole Foods or other stores carry.

My general observations are that GMO FREE has surpassed GLUTEN FREE as the current "desirable" feature of many foods. Of course, many vendors proudly display signs that their food is both.

Lots of snack foods are featured this year, mostly chips of all sorts and popcorns, both sweet and savory.

As always, there are many more cheeses from around the world than any human could possibly taste in a month, much less three days.

What several cheese makers are now doing are expanding their product lines with yogurts and ice creams.  
My favorite yogurt from a cheese maker was Tillamook's, coffee yogurt. I'm a big fan of coffee yogurt and have a very hard time finding any brand of this flavor. This one is delicious. Tillamook yogurts are available at Safeway.

Roth Cheeeses was making Reuben sandwiches with their Raclette cheese…what a clever and DELCIOUS idea!

Continuing on the subject of cheeses, I saw many cheeses with spices and added flavors in them. One vendor told me that they take their basic cheese and, with seasonings, wind up with several different products, for many more tastes.

Delallo Italian Foods never disappoints with it array of antipasta, all available for tasting.

I tasted bottled drinks of all sorts. Some have "healthy" additives, others just different flavors. 

Republic of Tea is even introducing a line of High Caffeine Teas!!!

A wine that intrigued me is Stack Wines. I didn't taste the wine, but was Wowed by the packaging: 4 single-serviing plastic cups of wine stacked on top of one another. One Stack is a bottle of wine in a break-proof package, great for taking to a picnic or other event.

I think the entire world is hummuses out. I saw very few hummus companies. While I do enjoy hummus, it's time to move on to some other dip.

But, I did discover several granolas and really liked Gypsy Crunch's granolas, which just so happen to be Gluten and GMO free.

A new ice cream that I'm going to be looking for in stores is Agave Dream, which is sweetened with agave syrup instead of sugar. Agave syrup has a lower glycemic index that sugar so is a better alternative for those wishing to consume less sugar.  In contrast to sugar substitutes, agave has all the desirable sweetness qualities as sugar. I use agave often instead of sugar.

There were many chocolate vendors displaying very very good chocolates from milk chocolate to wonderful dark chocolates.

Of course, Jelly Belly never fails to have a large exhibit and always a new flavor or two to introduce. It is their Draft Beer Jelly Belly that is one of the new flavors of the year…right in time for Super Bowl snacking.
And, the Jelly Belly exhibit would not be complete without a Jelly Belly work of art.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hockney at the DeYoung closes Monday, January 20!

DAVID HOCKNEY: A BIGGER EXHIBITION has been in San Francisco at the DeYoung since October 26.

I was busy with holidays and travel before Christmas and stayed away from the museum before New Years, thinking that, with kids out of school and lots of visitors to the Bay Area, the exhibit would be packed with viewers.

This exhibit is the first comprehensive survey of British artist David Hockney's 21st-century work. Just about all the works belong to the artist. Hockney has been amazingly prolific throughout his career and worked for about 25 years from Southern California. (His swimming pool paintings are what usually come to my mind.) Currently, at 76 years old, he is doing incredible works on his iPhone and iPad and using a variety of digital media to display his work…his "Cubist" videos are a bit hard to focus on, but certainly impressive. He is now back working in his native Britain and this past year went back to his beginnings, so to speak, with a series charcoal drawings…of course, he didn't just leave them as drawn; he then enlarged them on his inkjet printer!! The charcoal drawings are being shown at the DeYoung for the first time.

Today was my day to go!

At least at noon, the exhibit was not sold out, but the museum certainly was packed.  I had about a 45 minute wait until my entrance time to the exhibit (they let groups in every 15 minutes), which was perfect for me to have time to dash through a few other DeYoung galleries and the gift shop. When I left the museum a few hours later, there we still long lines for the exhibit.

Most of the people waiting in line with me were seeing it for the first time, but, I expect, as the week goes on, many will come back for a last viewing.

It's crowded, but, if you haven't seen this unique David Hockney exhibit, it's worth the visit.

Also, the DeYoung has extended it's hours through January 20, when the exhibit closes. January 17 -19 (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday) it will be open 9:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. (last exhibit entry at 6 p.m.). On Monday, January 20, when the museum is usually closed, it will be open 9:30 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online, for a given time slot. If you don't reserve in advance, I suggest arriving at the museum early in the day.