Solano County legalized home food popups. But 6 months later, chefs still can’t sell

When Solano County approved a new California law that would legalize home-based kitchen operations in April, it seemed like Cheska Kistner’s plans to open a restaurant in her Benicia home would finally come to fruition. The measure, California’s AB 626, allows for what are known as microenterprise food businesses, which Alameda County also made inroads toward legalizing yesterday. But no Bay Area county has yet fully implemented the 2018 law, leaving entrepreneurs like Kistner in limbo.

Under AB 626, cooks can legally sell up to 30 meals a day or 60 per week from their homes when their counties opt in and they have received a permit; their annual gross sales are capped at $50,000. The law has only been implemented in one county so far, Riverside. In Alameda County, many home kitchen operations have proliferated during the pandemic without the option to get proper permitting, leading to the health department cracking down on some.

Solano County is one of the furthest along in the Bay Area, even though the coronavirus pandemic caused officials to delay in-home inspections and permitting until shelter-at-home orders are lifted. What many people thought would be a short delay has lasted six months – and counting.

For Kistner, a personal chef and caterer on and off for nearly 30 years, that means waiting to expand her business beyond the current small number of carry-out orders she makes for family, friends and clients. She would like to recreate the model of her Philippines restaurant, Bale Ku Café, which means “my house” in her local dialect and is operated out of a home. Her Asian fusion dishes — including japchae, with sweet potato noodles and ribeye steak, and ningnang manuk, a grilled chicken and rice dish — generally cost $25 and feed two to three people.


It’s time to use up everything in the garden so we asked Toronto chefs about their ‘desert island’ herb

With little but brassicas still thriving in the garden and frost warnings putting gardeners across Toronto on edge, it’s time to haul in all the tender herbs. Soon, it will be pesto-city, and that’s the basil taken care of, but what about all the other flavourful greens too good to waste?

Executive Chef Jason Bangerter, is mad about herbs, and he is blessed with a culinary garden of delights. Just outside his kitchen at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa, near Cambridge, Ontario, the chef can stroll through his gardens picking and plucking any number of tasty, super fresh things. “I have fallen in love with, not only herbs, but their beautiful, delicious flowers as well,” says Bangerter. “Three of my absolute favourite and reoccurring obsessions have been with bronze fennel, chive blossom, and gem marigold.”

Langdon Hall’s gardening team use marigolds as natural pest control in the garden. “It’s citrusy sweet and reminds me of candy, think: orange or tangerine, flavoured gummy bears! I use the vibrant yellow and orange flowers as well as the plant’s leafy greens in many ways: in sugar and salt cures and marinades for vegetable, fish and seafood dishes; to flavour teas, cakes, cookies, creams, vinaigrettes and stocks; in both savoury and sweet recipes; or simply tossed fresh from the garden into salads or as garnish for a dish that benefits from the fresh citrus flavour of the plant.”

“At the end of the season we transplant some of our marigolds to the greenhouse to keep them going through the winter and any remaining plants I often make preserves with – marigold jam; infused sugar and oil, cures, and syrups – so that none of the plants go to waste and to give us some of that summer fresh citrus flavour throughout the

Dauphin County hideaway home on wooded lot boasts chef’s kitchen, 3 levels of decks: Cool Spaces

Situated on almost four acres of wooded land, this home sits tucked away on a quiet cul-de-sac in the Derry Woods development.

a large kitchen with stainless steel appliances and wooden cabinets: The kitchen area

© A Cool Spaces home at 479 English Ivy Court in Derry Township.rSeptember 25, 2020.rDan Gleiter | d…
The kitchen area

Every view is one of natural beauty thanks to large windows and three levels of decks and balconies. Natural plantings in the front and back attract wildlife.


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Inside, wooden floors can be found throughout the home. A dining room flows into a chef’s kitchen with two ovens, two microwaves, two sinks, a large island and plenty of storage space.

Counter seating is available in the kitchen as well as in an adjoining great room with vaulted ceilings, skylights and fireplace.

The master suite has its own balcony, large windows overlooking the backyard and a walk-in closet and a master bath.

The finished lower level offers a huge amount of living space with a TV and game areas and large bonus space with a wet bar, bedroom with a full bath and an office.

Located at 479 English Ivy Court in Derry Township, the home is listed at $769,000 by The Judy Stover Team, with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty.

Want more Cool Spaces? See all of our stories showcasing the neatest homes, businesses and museums in Pennsylvania by clicking here. Know of any Cool Spaces? Submit ideas to [email protected]


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Chef’s kitchen in Stock’s Newport model in Quail West a popular highlight

Stock Custom Homes, one of Southwest Florida’s most highly respected luxury home builders, has a furnished model available to tour and purchase in the beautiful, upscale community of Quail West. 

a kitchen with a sink and a window: Stock Custom Homes’ Newport model in Quail West features two island counters in the kitchen.

© Blaine Johnathan Photography
Stock Custom Homes’ Newport model in Quail West features two island counters in the kitchen.

The Newport is a four-bedroom plus study/four full-bath/two half-bath home with 5,837 square feet under air and 9,038 total square feet, including two two-car garages.


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Since its completion, many prospective buyers have toured the model and commented on several outstanding features of the home. One of the most mentioned features is its kitchen, which can only be described as a Chef’s dream.

The kitchen has two island counters, a large walk-in pantry and an abundance of cabinetry and countertop space. Nearby is the breakfast area, a wine room and an open bar, easily accessible to the Grand Reception area.

“One of the main highlights of the kitchen, which impresses many of our visitors, is the double island counters,” stated Claudine Leger-Wetzel, vice president of sales and marketing for Stock Development, the developer of Quail West.

Leger-Wetzel added there were several reasons for designing the double islands into the floor plan.

“First, it affords more storage space, something you can never have enough of in the kitchen,” she said. “Secondly, kitchens are often the gathering place when guests come over. Having the second island creates more room for entertaining without guests being too close to the sink as food is being prepared.”

The other eye-catching feature in the kitchen is its incredibly large butler’s pantry.

“Again, it comes down to storage space. The butler’s pantry has tons of cabinetry throughout and plenty of shelves to stock up on food items. There’s even space for the kitchen’s double-drawer dishwasher.”

The kitchen

Chilaquiles Straight from a Chef’s Home Kitchen

In December, Juan Sánchez, who was then a chef at Made Nice, Eleven Madison Park’s casual sister restaurant, started an Instagram account: @citlali_cocina. After five years in New York, Sánchez had noticed that the city’s Mexican food was mostly confined to the styles of a few regions, including Puebla, in central Mexico, and Oaxaca, in the south. Citlali Cocina would be a small way to highlight the cuisine of his home town, Guadalajara, and a place to collect ideas for the restaurant that he hoped to open someday.

Sánchez gets his corn tortillas from the Bronx and cuts them into postage-stamp-size squares before frying them. His salsa is made with tomatillos and two kinds of chilis.Photograph by Caroline Tompkins for The New Yorker

The first photo he posted was a glamour shot of a quesadilla, a pale corn tortilla topped with thick, melty strands of quesillo, a stretchy cheese, and a leaf of epazote, an aromatic herb, sprinkled with tequesquite, a mineral salt used since the pre-Hispanic era. A video followed: glistening chunks of birria de res, beef marinated in chilis, spices, and herbs, covered in banana leaves, and cooked for four hours.

On Christmas Eve, there appeared a tantalizing image of a bowl piled with a poached egg, coarsely crumbled white cheese, and wispy greens, under which peeked the corners of tortilla chips coated in red salsa. Beside it was a mug containing a dark, glossy beverage. “There’s nothing like waking up to a warm hug of chilaquiles and café de olla,” the caption read. How could Sánchez have known that he was describing his future business model?

Sánchez, who was furloughed from his job as a chef in March, hopes to own his own restaurant someday but, in the meantime, has turned his Greenpoint apartment