Culinary Staycations: World travel at home

MANY PEOPLE DREAM OF a culinary vacation to France, Italy, China or Thailand. But it’s also possible to explore the world from home, in a cooking class or a night out with ethnic cuisine.

Our region offers a growing number of experiences to explore the cuisines of the world—from hands-on cooking classes, underground and “pop up” dinners and prix-fixe menus.

A “Dim Sum” class is offered this fall at Tess’ Kitchen Store and Cooking School in downtown Grass Valley: “Learn how to make the pork filling and paper-thin dough for Siu Mai dumplings. Then raise the bar with Har Gow, shrimp and seasonings inside a ‘see through’ wrapper. We finish with a sweet egg custard in flaky pastry.”

A French Bistro class also is planned this fall at Tess. “Turn your kitchen into a French Bistro. Learn to expertly prepare the famous and elegant Croque Monsieur, a crisp garden salad with mustard vinaigrette, and poached pear tart.”

Another class at Tess’ this fall featured the cuisine of Catalonia, the far northeastern part of Spain surrounding Barcelona. For more information, visit

This fall BriarPatch Co-op features a class on Thai cooking, with a teacher who lived in Thailand. “Kayla spent her time discovering traditional Thai dishes. On the menu: Chicken Satay skewers with peanut sauce, coconut mushroom soup and fresh spring rolls.” Visit

In Auburn, Carpe Vino offers themed, prix-fixe dinners. The four-course meals have imaginative titles such as “Homage du Fromage”; “At the Crossroads of Culture” (Middle Eastern cuisine such as saffron-roasted chicken or charred eggplant soup); and “My Big Fat, Greek Island Tour”.

Cooking Classes

Korean Short Rib Tacos Oct. 9
Muffin Magic Oct. 10
Thai Class Oct. 13
Greening Your Diet Oct. 14
Lacto-Fermented Vegetables Oct. 15
Eggplant Dishes Oct. 16
Fall Grilling Oct. 17
Falafel Oct. 20
Kayla’s Favorites Oct. 21
Homemade Sausages Oct. 22
Homemade Tamales Oct. 23
Cooking with Eggs Oct. 24
Knife Skills Oct. 27
Plant Based Nutrition Oct. 28
Stuffed Vegetables Oct. 29
Sourdough Bread Oct. 30
Soap-Making Nov. 5
Ancient Grains Nov. 6
Filo Dough Nov. 7
Soups Nov. 10
Ravioli Nov. 12
Plant Based Nutrition Nov. 13
Pies Nov. 17
Eating Acorns Nov. 18
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Nov. 19
Winter Squash Nov. 20
Thanksgiving Desserts Nov. 21
Winter Elixirs Nov. 24
Nourishing Food Dec. 3
Pot Pies Dec. 4
Edible Gifts Dec. 5

For more information, visit

French Bistro Oct. 20
Autumn Soups Oct. 27
Fresh Pasta Nov. 3
Winter Classics Nov. 10
Advanced Roasting Nov. 14
San Francisco’s Little Italy Nov. 17
Dim Sum Nov. 21
Thai, Dec. 1

Tess’ also offers Chef’s Table demonstration dinners. Guests are served a themed menu prepared by in-house Chef Alan Tangren, who has worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

An All-Seafood Menu Nov. 7
Beet and arugula salad with walnut vinaigrette
Dungeness crab pudding soufflé with herb salad
Bay scallops and roasted peppers with house-made tagliatelle pasta
Pan roasted black sea bass with Cabernet sauce and leeks and shoestring potatoes
Calvados custard apple tart with cinnamon ice cream
Candied Satsuma tangerine peel
Julia Child’s amaretti chocolate truffles

For more information, visit

Tess’ Wine Program

Tess’ Kitchen Store has applied for a license to sell wine and beer. If approved, Tess’ plans to begin selling wine in December or January and craft beer later. “We want to present our wine to help customers match the best bottle for their personal palate, as well as what they will be serving it with,” says owner Steve Rosenthal. Tess’ will have a wine club offering. Dawn Empson will manage the wine program. She worked in Napa Valley for 10 years, including at Cakebread Cellars and Crocker & Starr winery.

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