In the 1960s, Margaret took her first trip to Paris and fell in love with the sights and sounds that filled the teeming streets. But mostly, she fell in love with the flavors. "I ate my way through that city," she says with a laugh. When she returned to the States, she could not find anything that measured up to what she'd tasted in France, so Margaret, who'd been cooking since the age of 10, began trying her hand at re-creating the flavors and textures that left her enamored with the City of Lights.
When she opened her first shop in 1983, she began crafting croissants, brioches, and tarts. Now, in her appointment-only headquarters, Margaret and her team continue to create those French confections as well as custom cakes, which serve as impressive centerpieces at weddings and natural habitats for tiny, well-dressed couples. Fondant and marzipan from Switzerland shield the towering creations, which are filled with Belgian chocolate and locally grown fresh fruit. Popular creations include a cake steeped in strawberries and Grand Marnier, a chocolate-raspberry mousse torte, and a princess cake, which layers spongy vanilla génoise, raspberry preserves, and Amaretto cream filling.
Margaret especially relishes the challenge of sculpting unusual cakes. In her kitchen, she holds her breath while putting the finishing touches on a batter-based construction sculpted into the shape of a stack of tires, which she is building for the wedding of two Jeep lovers.
The chef slices thick slabs of fresh salmon, meticulously arranging them atop beds of rice as diners peer over the traditional sushi bar to admire his work. As he forges his fish-laden creations, the rhythmic cutting of his knife accompanies the melodies coaxed forth from the piano in the dining room and the cheery chatter of the evening’s guests. So passes another dinner rush at FuruSato Sushi Japanese Restaurant.
In the kitchen, cooks whip up authentic Japanese recipes for lunch and dinner using ingredients such as fresh scallops, real crab, and fresh mango. Servers whisk the dishes into the dining room wherein sliding doors, blonde wood, and minimalistic decor evoke the feel of a traditional Japanese home. Four private tatami rooms can be rented by groups of 4 to 20 people eager to partake in a secluded meal away from the prying eyes and wandering forks of other diners.
Former high school guidance counselors and college mentors always had such high hopes for the donut, until it started hanging with the wrong crowd and descended into sweet, sweet madness. For $10, you can get a dozen of the deranged delights from Psycho Donuts in Campbell, the 2009 winner of the Best Donuts in Silicon Valley (a $21 value). Combine six regular donuts with six premium donuts for a competitive game of cruller curling in your office break room. Place your order online and have your gang of twelve ready for pick-up.
Sonoma Chicken Coop began dishing out flavorful fowl in its first restaurant in 2002, and it takes its name from the lauded California wine region and its own signature rotisserie dishes. Now with six locations and more forthcoming nationwide, the award-winning eatery still whips up each menu item from scratch while calling its culinary modus operandi "fast casual." Chefs cook new batches of rotisserie chicken every hour, hand-toss each salad, oven-fire each pizza, concoct sandwiches with homemade focaccia bread, and conclude meals with homemade desserts. A dining room and outdoor patio accommodate visitors, and Sonoma Chicken catering supplies its fire-grilled and specialty cuisine to groups of 10–200 feasters—the same range of people that might show up for a university symposium on talc.
Every day, the aroma of smoky spices wafts from the imported, wood-fired tandoor ovens at Tandoori Oven’s locations. To a soundtrack of upbeat techno, reggae, and bhangra music imported from UK clubs, servers deliver plates of lamb biryani loaded with basmati rice, bell peppers, cashews, and secret spices alongside mango lassis blended with housemade yogurt. The healthful signature wrap is stuffed with chicken or lamb that’s been marinated for 24 hours in yogurt and spices and then baked in the tandoor oven and wrapped in soft naan with mint chutney and tamarind. Local athletes dine at Tandoori Oven, a sponsor of the TRIbe Triathlon Club, after workouts for meals made to order with lean meats and served in participation trophies.
Brothers Steven and Matthew Hardin opened the first Hawgs Seafood Bar in Campbell on December 13, 1996, dishing out fresh oysters on the half shell, steamed clams and mussels, and plates of lobster, paella, and grilled salmon. The restaurant takes its name from the brothers' childhood in Los Gatos, when Matt earned the nickname "Hogs Jaws" thanks to his speedy work at the dinner table and word-for-word quotations of speeches from Animal Farm. Today, the family celebrates the proud tradition of sharing special moments with loved ones while devouring everything in sight through a spread of ocean-fresh meals such as garlic-roasted shrimp and pan-seared scallops, all accented by frosty beers and an ample selection of wines.