Sources of fancy masa

This is a partner post to the bean search. I discovered recently that fancy masa is available. It can be heirloom, direct-trade, single origin, organic, etc, all those normal fancy food options.

I was inspired to search for fancy masa after J and I went to a (vegetarian!) Oaxacan restaurant in Brooklyn that makes their own masa using fancy corn. They use the masa in their food products but they also sell it fresh (I got some). Going to Brooklyn all the time for fresh masa isn’t super convenient, though. Fortunately, the company, Masienda, that supplies the fancy also sells direct to consumers!

Somewhat sad tortillas I made with the fresh masa

While researching them, I came across a couple other fancy masa stores too. These are the options I found!

  • Masienda – dry masa in several colors, as well as several heirloom bean varieties and lots of varieties of heirloom/single origin whole corn. They have supplies for doing your own nixtamalization.
  • Alma Semillera – very similar to Masienda, but with smaller selection. Many if not all products are also organic, so overall a bit more expensive.
  • I Love Mole – even smaller selection of beans, masa harina, and whole corn. This company mostly sells mole mixes and other seasonings.

None of these companies is particularly local to me (in New York). I believe they’re all based in California, although most of the beans and corn are grown in Mexico.


These are the cookies used for making tiramisu. Sibling C is going to make it as a birthday cake!

This recipe is from Joy of Cooking (1976).


  • 1/3 cup cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (sift before measuring)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 whole egg, 2 eggs separated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. (Optional) Let ingredients warm to room temperature.
  2. Whip 2 egg whites until stiff. Sift sugar and salt together, and fold into egg whites. Beat mixture until it thickens again.
  3. Beat whole egg, 2 egg yolks, and vanilla until thick. Fold into egg white mixture.
  4. Resift flour a few times and fold into egg white mixture.
  5. With a pastry tube (or spoon), shape dough into strips 3.5-4 inches long by 1.25 inches wide on a cookie sheet. Or pour into greased molds.
  6. Bake at 375°F for 12 min.

Mooncakes for the fall equinox

Friend A who I went to grad school with (also likes cheap/free food, has been climbing with us recently) gave us some mooncakes she made! :’) They were presumably for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which happens around the autumn equinox and is coming up! The days are definitely getting shorter.

The mookcakes are actually the “snow skin” version (recipe that Friend A used), which uses a mochi-esque wrapper. Apparently snow skin mooncakes are easier to make than the traditional baked kind, so a better choice for at-home creation.

The inside is coconut milk , sugar, cheese, and salted egg yolk, the middle layer is coconut milk, sugar, butter, flour, egg, and salted egg yolk, and the outside is rice flour with milk.

Bagel shop (I see many in our future)

Over the weekend, we visited Russ & Daughters, a famous and fairly old (1920, continuously run by the original family and at the original location) Jewish “appetizing store“, meaning that they sell things that go with bagels, along with bagels. We went right before Rosh Hashanah, so the main shop was super busy — 45 min just to go into the store to order! We went around the corner to their café location instead. The café also had more meal-food selection.

The busy original location.

We got blintzes (we’ve made them at home too), latkes, and a bagel with cream cheese, lox, onion, tomato, and capers.

Y’all know I don’t love bagels. This one was about standard. Kinda expensive ($16!!).
The latkes were better than expected. I think I like the soft ones better than the crunchy ones.
Bit too sweet overall, but blueberry jam was really good and tart! Must’ve had a lot of lemon in it.

New plants

With the hotter summer weather, a lot of my pea plants died 🙁 The two that survived aren’t doing so well and are likely to die in the next week – we’re having a bit of a heat wave here.

We ate a pea! We had an additional 20 peas, but I saved them as seed to plant next year.

I’ve been looking for veggies that like hot weather. Some old sweet potatoes sprouted a bunch, so we planted those. And my mom sent some seeds to try out! We’ve got basil, shiso, and melon (from sibling C’s garden). I’m excited to see how they do!

The sweet potatoes are growing vigorously! Dead peas against the window.

HiroNori Craft Ramen

Went to HiroNori Craft Ramen in Santa Clara. It had 4.5 stars on Yelp so I was obligated to go.

Yelp reservation only. Worked out pretty well, and it was a better experience than waiting in line for 2 hours at Ramen Nagi. Although I do like waiting in lines…

The menu.

Tonkotsu ramen. It was pretty good! Would recommend. For first timers they give you the “garlic black oil” (you can see it in the picture below), a $1 value, for free. The garlic oil was quite good and I’ll probably order it next time, so I guess their advertising scheme worked.

Chicken karaage. Also quite good! It came with some sauce that was also very good. The aforementioned black garlic oil is in the upper left.

Overall I’d say it was solidly solid. I think I like the ramen and the customization options at Ramen Nagi a bit better, but HiroNori compares quite favorably (with no waiting in line). And the chicken karaage was really good, which Ramen Nagi doesn’t offer. I’ll be back.

Electric Scooters in SF

We came across these electric scooter things all around San Francisco.

I tried renting the scooter, but it didn’t work 🙁

They sure put a lot of these things around. Even though the scooter I found didn’t work, I’m sure there’s a working one somewhere out there.

SF Laundromat: Laundré

An upscale laundromat in the heart of the Mission district.

Wow so fancy.

Millennials can enjoy their avocado toast while they wait for their laundry to finish.

For only $10 a load, you too can enjoy an exquisite laundry experience.