Sushi 85 Express is now open in downtown San Mateo, featuring some unique items like tacos with sashimi and salsa on a crispy seaweed tortilla, and popcorn shrimp rolls. It's the first outpost from the Mountain View original, replacing Kitcho. Sushi is a key component of the menu, ranging from traditional nigiri to elaborate rolls, such as the 49er Roll stuffed with salmon and cream cheese, then covered with avocado and salmon slices. But raw fish is by no means the only option. Curry platters and teriyaki can be ordered as part of set meals. There are four types of ramen, a number of classic izakaya small bites, bargain bento box combinations at lunch and dinner and some main dishes that are less commonly seen, like miso-yaki seabass. 204A Second Ave., San Mateo; (650) 348-6388. Sushi85.com
Part kitchenware store, part communal kitchen space for small-scale food artisans to rent out and part cafe, KitchenTown in San Mateo might not quite be a full-sized town but the 11,000-square foot warehouse certainly seems close to a miniature eating and cooking village. It's the idea of a Peninsula entrepreneur and his friend, a Spanish food importer, after taking over the old Anna's Cookies facility. Cookies, pastries and loaves of bread are still baked fresh daily, served at the daytime caeé with Sightglass coffee and a small lunch menu that might include a squash, red peppers, leeks and goat cheese tart. Lunch options will expand over the next few weeks. The rest of the facility is a general store for home kitchens and 18 taste-makers who rent space to produce anything from energy bars to salsa. 1001 Howard Ave., San Mateo; (650) 458-8080. Kitchentowncentral.com
One of the constant requests heard on the Peninsula these days is for the Third Wave artisan coffee movement to arrive like how it's swept through San Francisco. Now, Bliss Coffee has arrived in Redwood City, serving espresso drinks and coffee roasted by one of those pioneers in San Francisco, Four Barrel. Decor inside is minimal, dominated by the espresso machine and latte art decorating the walls. Coffee drinks from macchiato to Americano are on the menu, with local producers used, such as Tin Pot Creamery's ice cream for the affogato and Tcho chocolate for the mocha. San Francisco's Panorama Bakery provides the pastries. 2400 Broadway, Suite 110, Redwood City; No phone or website.
Life will soon be sweeter in Palo Alto's Town & Country Village thanks to the arrival of Tout Sweet Patisserie from San Francisco in November. “Top Chef: Just Desserts” winner Yigit Pura's signature macarons, tarts and cookies with a modern “alchemy” bent will make the trip south to Palo Alto. Unlike in San Francisco, frozen cookie dough and pie crusts will also be available for cooking sweets at home. 855 El Camino Real #160, Palo Alto; ToutSweetSF.com