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April, 2018 |

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SF’s best furniture and home design shops

In a perfect world, people would wait in line for Heath Ceramics salad bowls or handmade quilts at March rather than the latest cloying food trend. While everyone comes equipped with tastebuds, too few are born with taste. Which is why we’ve come up with a list of the best design and furniture stores in San Francisco.

Other than Jonathan Adler (who has a store on Fillmore Street, plus 25 elsewhere in the United States), all the stores on this list are small, independently-curated boutiques. At each one, peruse or window shop everything from light fixtures and sofas to taxidermied mice and carnivorous plants.

Put these stores on your radar, stat. After all, minimalism is on its way out; now is the time unleash your inner maximalist crying out for more, more, more.

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Jazz Fest’s Contemporary Crafts: 5 more finds, from cast iron pots to cypress furniture

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4 Collier-based restaurants opening in new retail center near Estero


The new retail center is adjacent to the FGCU campus on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway.
Tim Aten


Four restaurant concepts that launched in Collier County are part of a retail center that opens this week in south Lee County.

KC American Bistro, Skillets, Tacos Tequila Cantina and Thai Udon Café have new locations coming to the first phase of University Village Shops, a Miromar Development property bordering Florida Gulf Coast University on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway near Estero.

The new center will host the second location of KC American Bistro, the third location of Tacos Tequila and Thai Udon, and the seventh location of Skillets. On Tuesday, Skillets and Thai Udon are among the first businesses set to open there.

“It’s a good group of restaurants looking to expand and grow,” said Doug Olson, a principal and senior director of Trinity Commercial Group in Southwest Florida.

The walkable center created to serve the college and surrounding gated communities is 70 percent leased, Olson said, with a third of the tenants planning to move in within a month and a third coming in the next few months. The debut of businesses in the initial 70,000 square feet of University Village Shops will be staggered as unit interiors are built out. The goal is to open most of the retail spaces before fall classes begin at FGCU.

Other restaurant tenants coming soon include Mellow Mushroom pizzeria, Blue Bistro coffee shop, Poke Fusion, The Shaved Ice Bar and Smoothie King. Additional retailers include F45 Training fitness center, Vanti Nails Spa and Yoga Lab.

“There are still a handful of opportunities there available,” Olson said.

The shops are part of University Village, a 100-acre mixed-use development that will include off-campus housing and an amenity center connected to FGCU via South Village Boulevard. University Village Shops and The Residences at University Village are the first phase of University Village, which eventually will have a smaller second phase of stores and apartments immediately south of the initial project. An organic grocer is planned to anchor phase two, Olson said.


Skillets CEO and co-founder Ross Edlund said he is excited about partnering with FGCU. The local breakfast-lunch venture is set to open this week on the same day as Thai Udon and The Shaved Ice Bar.

“That will be a new experience for us to see how well we do with the college,” he said. “We’d like to be the official breakfast place for the university. We want to be more than just a business there.”

With five locations in Collier County, Skillets opened its first Lee County store in Bonita Springs in 1999. “It’s our busiest store,” Edlund said.

The Skillets team had been looking for another site in that area. Its 3,856-square-foot restaurant is in the southwestern part of the new center, which delayed its opening a few months because of Hurricane Irma last fall.

“We are away from the maddening crowd. We sort of feel like we have a nice zone,” Edlund said. “We’ve never been in a pedestrian mall before, so we’re excited about it. I think they’ve done a really good job to make it a friendly place.”

The new location for Skillets, a restaurant group realizing that bacon and eggs are its bread and butter, will feature the same menu as its original locations as well as the same hours, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The interior’s homespun décor and knotty pine paneling will be comparable in size to other Skillets and include a breakfast bar, patio, open tables, banquette and booth seating, and even the trademark Pioneer Room for more private dining or meetings.

“We hope it is really utilized,” Edlund said. “When you walk in the place you definitely know you’re in a Skillets. We are sticking with our décor. We are sticking with what we do, what we know. You’ll know it’s a Skillets.”

A veteran crew will open the restaurant because many had already been commuting south to other Skillets. “I’d say two-thirds of our staff were already working for us,” Edlund said.

Continuing its Florida expansion, the next Skillets is targeted to open in August or September in Cypress Trace, an L-shaped plaza with Stein Mart, Bealls, Ross and even Lucky’s Market coming soon at U.S. 41 and Cypress Lake Drive in Fort Myers, Edlund said. “We will have one of the only eating establishments in that plaza,” he said. 

Thai Udon Cafe

A walkway in University Village Shops separates the outdoor seating of Skillets from Thai Udon Café.

Thai Udon’s new location follows its debut in 2013 in Magnolia Square at Goodlette-Frank and Pine Ridge roads in North Naples and its second restaurant in 2016 on Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples.

The local concept created by Adam Satinsky and Khwan Sawai will offer Thai and hot Japanese dishes, but not sushi. The husband-and-wife team has a partner to help them open and operate the third location, which has been in the works for nearly two years.

“I just want to thank the customers that support us. That’s why we have the third one,” said Chef Khwan, a native of Thailand who grew up in a small town near Bangkok.

The chef shares her native inspiration and passion for traditional Thai cuisine as well as some of her own Asian fusion creations with some trendy, easy-to-eat and affordable dishes targeted toward college students. The new Thai Udon will expand on the menu of the first location and offer lunch and dinner 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

One of the selling points for the new center is that it is not predicted to be as seasonal as Naples’ venues, so it may be more consistent year-round, said Satinsky, a cellist for the Naples Philharmonic for more than 20 years.

“I’m very curious to see what the vibe is like there,” he said. “I can’t really tell yet because nothing’s open.”

Tacos Tequila Cantina

The third Tacos Tequila is targeted to open the week of May 11 on the center’s eastern edge between the shops and the student apartments.

“We’re hoping. Fingers crossed,” said Kelly Musico, who co-owns the growing business with her husband, Aldo Musico, who also owns and operates Aldos Ristorante Italiano Bar in East Naples.

At about 4,300 square feet, the third location is larger than the original location at Kings Lake Square in East Naples, but smaller than the second one at The Pavilion in North Naples because it won’t have a large retail clothing component. TT will join the neighboring KC American Bistro and Skillets from The Pavilion retail center at U.S. 41 and Vanderbilt Beach Road.

“It’s fun to see neighbors up there that are neighbors down here. It’s very refreshing,” Kelly Musico said. “We are so excited to be up there because it is so different for us. We were always in big, anchored plazas. This is more of a community feel, which will be different for us.”

Similar to the other locations, the new Tacos Tequila has garage doors that open to connect the interior dining space to an abundance of outdoor seating.

“We are planning a pergola out there with a lot of foliage and greenery,” Musico said. “It’s so pretty up there. We sit around this huge fountain overlooking the residential part of the campus.”

Despite some differences, expect the same menu, the same interior design and the same rustic furniture. “All done by all the same people. We haven’t changed much,” Musico said.

That includes the top-selling Americanized offerings such as the Baja fried mahi-mahi taco, the TT signature taco with crispy fried chicken and the retro Mom’s Taco featuring a hard shell stuffed with Ortega-style seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese.

“We are not trying to compete with the traditional Mexican cuisine,” Musico said. “We are putting a fun twist on it and having fun doing it.”

KC American Bistro

Keith Casey, chef and owner of KC American Bistro, is shooting for a late October or early November opening of his new restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining on the northeastern edge of University Village Shops.

Continuing to operate his popular dinner-only restaurant in The Pavilion of North Naples as he has since June 2009, Casey plans to add lunch and Sundays to his new venture in Lee County. “I’ll start with dinner, then add lunch after only about a week,” he said.

Although not all of his selections of American regional cuisine change every day, Casey prints KC’s menu daily to take advantage of seasonal and local ingredients available. His new restaurant will build upon what he has been able to do in Collier County during the last decade.

“We’ll have some more selections because it will be a larger kitchen, so we’ll be able to do more of a variety,” he said.

After looking for a second location for a couple of years, Casey was impressed with the size and scope of the University Village project and the fact that Miromar Development, which also developed the nearby Miromar Outlets, was behind it.

“When I heard they were building this boutique property there, it attracted me immediately,” he said. “One of the things that attracted me, too, is that I believe that area will be less seasonal.”

Despite its proximity to FGCU, KC American Bistro is expected to appeal to the residents of nearby gated communities such as Grandezza, Miromar Lakes and Stoneybrook.

“Our focus will continue to be folks who are looking to have a special night out,” Casey said.

Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to Tim Aten’s “In the Know” is published every Monday and Wednesday. Like In the Know on Facebook now at

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Kitchen is King: Data Shows Top Seasonal Remodeling Priorities

“At Delta Faucet, we understand the kitchen is the heart of the home. We continuously strive to innovate our products and technologies to make life easier and meet consumers where they are in terms of design and functionality,” said Susan Fisher, vice president of marketing, Delta Faucet. “This survey sheds light on how homeowners feel about their homes during a pivotal time for home improvement, just before summer entertaining begins.”

Eighty-nine percent of Americans noted they will host summer parties centered in the kitchen; with summer break in the near future, parents replied they are even more likely than non-parents to host at least one summer gathering at home (96% versus 83%).

Notable key findings the Index revealed include:

  • Summer Soirees. More than half (61%) host three or more gatherings during a typical summer season.
  • Fourth of July. Independence Day tops the list as the most kitchen-centric spring or summer holiday (34%), followed by Memorial Day (23%) and Mother’s Day (20%).
  • Roll Up Your Sleeves. Over half of all consumers (56%) would commit to doing some, if not all, of spring remodeling themselves. Millennials (48%) were more likely to take on some of the project themselves, compared to Gen Xers (40%) and Boomers (31%).
  • Tried and True. While contemporary continues to gain popularity, homeowners aren’t ready to go out on a limb when it comes to style. “Traditional” design is the preferred choice (40%), followed by contemporary (34%), which increased slightly when compared to last year’s findings (32%).

While kitchen is currently top of mind, the bathroom remains significant with a quarter of homeowners putting the master bath on their to-do list for renovations. For additional information on Delta brand product solutions, visit:

About Delta Faucet Homeowner Index
Launched in 2017, the Delta Faucet Homeowner Index tracks renovation, design and purchase habits among today’s American homeowners while investigating key seasonal insights. A resource for industry decision makers, from builders and developers to architects and designers, the Index keeps a pulse on consumer behavior as it relates to the home. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research, an independent research firm, commissioned by Delta Faucet Company. Respondents are comprised of 2,000 U.S. homeowners using an email invitation and an online survey.

About Delta® Brand Products
There is transformative power at the heart of every Delta® product. From Touch2O® Technology that turns faucets on and off with just a touch to H2Okinetic® shower technology that provides the feeling of more water without using more water, Delta® products incorporate smart thinking that anticipates people’s needs. Paired with beautiful and inspirational design, the Delta® brand is more than just afaucet. A WaterSense® partner of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Delta Faucet Company is a global organization offering kitchen and bath faucets, showerheads, tub and shower systems, toilets and related accessories, selling products in more than 53 countries. For more information, visit

Links to additional resources
Delta Online Press Room
About Masco Corporation


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The 25 Best Toys for Kids Right Now

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Designer Julie Casey of Scarfy Chick to Release Handmade Kitchen …

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Best Saucepans 2018: Big or small pans, for whatever you’re cooking

Here’s why you should trust our list of the best saucepans:

Our sister site, Ideal Home, has been offering expert buying advice to budding cooks and master chefs for nearly 100 years. It’s the definitive source for all cookware buying advice, and has tested all the big and small saucepans on the market to find the best available. That’s why we asked the experts at Ideal Home for advice and recommendations on the best saucepans to buy.

We aren’t paid by the manufacturers for our reviews, so you can trust in our honesty and impartiality when it comes to picking the best saucepan for you.

We may make some money if you click through and buy the saucepan we recommend below, however. For this reason, we only recommend what we believe are the very best products, so that you come back to us again the next time you need advice on what to buy.

BergHOFF Eclipse three piece saucepan set

We tested a three-piece pan set that consisted of a 16cm saucepan for everyday cooking, a 20cm stockpot for big stuff and a versatile 26cm sauté pan. Three pans doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you get the sizes right – as BergHOFF has here – it can be enough. The soft green finish on the outside of the pans looked superb (they’re also available in grey). They all had PFOA-free non-stick inners, glass lids and phenolic handles. Interestingly, the black handles gave the otherwise contemporary-looking pans a slightly old-fashioned look.

The combination of aluminium and stainless steel is practical and induction-friendly. We found it light in the hand and enjoyable to cook with (in part because we loved the green colour). Food heated up quickly and evenly and it was easy to see progress through the glass lid. The handles stayed cool to the touch but meant finishing in a hot oven or grill wasn’t an option. The Eclipse is a cute saucepan set that we enjoyed cooking with.

Tefal Ingenio 13 piece set

We tested the Ingenio ’13-piece’ Tefal saucepan set but don’t expect 13 pans. It is in fact just five pans, plus glass lids, airtight plastic covers for storing leftovers in the fridge and two removable handles. With the handles off, the pans stack ingeniously (hence the name) inside each other, so you can store five in the space usually taken up by just a couple of pans We’ve tested both the stainless steel and non-stick induction versions of the Ingenio. Both are induction-friendly.

The three saucepans (16, 18, 20cm) in the stainless steel set are built with titanium to make them even tougher and have graduations inside to indicate capacity. The two frying pans (22,26cm) in the set are non-stick inside and have a Tefal Thermo-Spot that changes colour at the optimum frying temperature. The non-stick induction set has a titanium pro non-stick coating on all pans, inside and out. We found it to be hardwearing but over the long term it does get scuffed around the rim, where the handle clips on and off.

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Both saucepan sets come with superbly built handles that clip on and off very securely. Remove them and the pans are oven-safe to 260°C. Ingenio is also available in smaller saucepan sets and in other finishes, including enamel and “essential” (a more affordable non-stick set that isn’t induction-compatible). Ingenio saucepans are pricey but beautifully made and a great space-saver.

Judge Classic five piece set

The JPC1 five-piece saucepan set costs around £100. That’s impressive for a set of five good-quality pans. You get a 14cm milk pan, 24cm frying pan and three saucepans (16, 18 and 20cm). The three saucepans come with toughened glass lids and the frying pan has a non-stick inner. There are internal graduations to indicate capacity and each pan’s base is encapsulated to combine even heat distribution with induction-friendliness. We found that the pans cooked evenly and came up to temperature quickly.

Build quality is surprisingly good for the price. The saucepans are light in the hand but the construction feels like professional cookware: aluminium handles are riveted on. The use of metal handles means you can use the saucepans in the oven too, up to 240°C. The handles can get hot to the touch though. The design is timeless but the pans are curvy and mirror-finished so they don’t look cheap or industrial, simply elegant.

Morphy Richards Special Edition three piece saucepan set

We tested the four-piece Special Edition saucepan set in the ‘sand’ colour and fell in love with the unusual contemporary design. The exterior has a matt cream finish. The three saucepans (16, 18, 20cm) have brushed stainless steel inners, while the 24cm frying pan is non-stick. All four pans are lidded in tempered glass with steam vents. The bonded encapsulated base contains a 4mm aluminium disc to aid heat distribution for even cooking.

What’s really striking, though, is the use of brown silicone on the underside of the saucepan handles and in a ring inside the handles of the glass lids. These make them more comfortable to use, even when hot. The saucepans performed well. We liked the fact that they all came with lids and that the frying pan is large and a good shape – more a sauté pan really. The combination of sizes is great to cook with. But most of all, it was the stylish design that won our hearts.

GreenPan Venice Pro four piece saucepan set

This four-piece ceramic non-stick saucepan set features a 16cm milk pan and three saucepans (16, 18 and 20cm). The saucepans range in capacity from 1.5 to 3.1 litres and come with glass lids.

The saucepan set’s big selling point is that they’re non-stick without the need for chemicals. GreenPan’s ceramic coating is made from natural materials: sand enhanced with diamonds for hardness. The result even looks good; the interior is grey and has a subtle sparkle. They are not in the least bit bling.

The exterior is anodised matt black and looks superb in a subtle, neutral kind of way. The pans are induction-friendly and oven-safe to 220°C thanks to metal handles. We liked the look and feel of the saucepans. They’re light and have curved handles that sit comfortably in the hand. We were also pleasantly surprised by how effective the ceramic non-stick coating was and how easy it was to clean.

Our only complaint: the milk pan being the same size as the smallest saucepan seems daft. Surely a frying pan or a larger saucepan would have made more sense?

Stellar 6000 five piece saucepan set

The Stellar 6000 Hard Anodised five-piece pan set comprises a 14cm milk pan, three saucepans (16, 18 and 20cm) and a 26cm frying pan. That’s a good range of sizes to suit any cook – or chef for that matter, because despite being keenly priced they have a professional feel. If you’ve ever worked in a professional kitchen, you’ll love these saucepans. The design is simple but not fanciful, the build quality is impressive, and they just feel good in the hand.

But where pro saucepans are usually stainless steel that kitchen porters can scrub to within an inch of its life, these are made from aluminium for good, efficient heat distribution, but with encapsulated bases to make them induction-friendly. The exterior of the saucepans is anodised in dark grey and they have a non-stick coating inside.

The saucepans are therefore very easy to clean, inside and out.Aluminium handles mean these saucepans are oven-safe to 240°C, but the handles will get very hot. There are aluminium lids too, but only for the three saucepans. Great quality saucepans and surprisingly affordable.

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron three piece set

We tested the Signature Cast Iron three-piece saucepan set in Satin Black, one of Le Creuset’s new ‘taste of the city’ colours. Signature Cast Iron saucepans are available in a wide range of bright colours and neutrals. The set includes three saucepans (16, 18cm and 20cm) all with lids – the lids fit tightly and don’t have vents. They’re coated in vitreous enamel, inside and out. The ones we tested were an attractive, almost matt black on the outside and a rich, creamy coffee colour inside.

Cast iron is naturally induction-friendly. Their iron handles are integrated and the lids have stainless steel knobs, so the pans are oven-safe at all temperatures. The saucepans are also described as fridge-and freezer-safe (we’re not sure how many people would want to put their pans in a freezer).

This saucepan set is, frankly, very expensive but they have a lifetime guarantee and the idea is that they should genuinely last a lifetime, and maybe even be passed down future generations. So if you typically replace worn-out saucepans once a decade, the cost of Le Creuset is less off-putting.

Cast ironware offers certain pros and cons. It’s heavy and heats up slowly but cools down slowly too. They’re perfect for cooking up a stew or casserole and finishing them in the oven. And their heat retention makes them fantastic for serving food to the table: it keeps warm for ages. But their slow start makes them frustrating if you just want to boil an egg.

We found the weight to be more problematic than expected. For example, draining hot water from boiled spuds in the 20cm pan was a challenge because of the extra weight. We were also scared of dropping them and chipping our induction hob’s glass top.

Cooking was impressively even though, with no hotspots. The coating isn’t non-stick but it cleans well enough. These are fantastic, beautiful pans built to last a lifetime, but they’re best for slow-cooked dishes. While we love them, you’d want a couple of other pans in your arsenal, too.

Those are our picks of the best saucepans. If you’re still a little confused which to get scroll down and check out our buying guide.

How much should I spend on a saucepan set?

Budget at least £100 for a set of good-quality saucepans. Beyond that, it’s a question of how many pans and what size. More money buys quality and quantity, but if you get the sizes right then you only really need three or four saucepans and a frying pan – you’ll save money and storage space.

What size saucepans do I need?

Saucepans measuring 16, 18 and 20cm are good standard sizes to aim for. Then optionally a larger stockpot for big dishes. The other size worth considering is a 14cm milk pan; these tend to have pouring spouts but no lids, perfect for sauces, gravy, custard, hot chocolate and more.

What are the other main features of a good saucepan?

What are the pans made from?

Materials-wise, most modern pans use a combination of aluminium and stainless steel. The stainless steel is durable and low maintenance while the aluminium (usually a disc of it, encapsulated in the pan base) is light and spreads heat quickly and evenly. Meanwhile, cast iron is tough and induction friendly but takes a long time to heat up (and cool down).

Should I go for non-stick coatings?

Non-stick coatings are easy to clean and tougher than they used to be, but they do wear over time. Ceramic pans are an alternative that avoids the chemicals in traditional non-stick coatings made using Teflon and PFOA.

What style of pan handle is best?

Phenolic (black, plasticky) handles are cooler to the touch, so you can handle pans and lids without resorting to oven gloves. Metal handles and knobs get hotter but they’re oven-safe to higher temperatures. Basically, if you like to finish dishes in the oven or grill, go for metal. If not, weigh up the practicality and looks of both options. The trend is currently more for metal handles.

What other extra features are handy?

Nice extra features include graduations for measuring quantities and lid materials – metal is tough and easy to clean; glass lets you keep an eye on cooking without lifting the lid. And if you’re short of storage space, look out for pans that stack well or fit inside each other neatly.

Will my saucepans work with induction hobs?

All the pans featured here are induction-friendly. Cast iron pans and some stainless steel pans work with induction. But if you have an induction hob, do check first because some types of stainless steel don’t.If you’re buying a pan made of a different material – such as aluminium or copper – definitely check. The base needs to contain a magnetic material so the pan works with induction. If you have a saucepan in front of you and want to check, simply hold a fridge magnet to the base of the pan: if it sticks then the pan will work with induction.

Are they dishwasher safe?

Most pans (and all the ones featured here) call themselves ‘dishwasher safe’ but the care instructions usually suggest hand-washing is better for them in the long term. It’s your call, but you won’t do them major harm by using the dishwasher.

For more kitchen buying advice check out Ideal Home

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