Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED's Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED's Emmy-award winning show "Check, Please! Bay Area." Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater's Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called "hilarious" and "the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn't think he or she wants to read a popular science book." Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

Coffee, Tea, or Blood?: Vamp Up Your Drink

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley's book The Complete Vampire Companion, there is some guy named Damien Vanian who is living la vida muerte in London. Damien Vanian, aside from having a name that's the undead equivalent of Amelia Bedelia, is supposedly "London's most famous living vampire." I didn't learn a whole lot about the guy, but I did learn that he came up with a blood substitute recipe.

‘Burb Burps: Evvia Estiatorio

Evvia -- sister to Kokkari in San Francisco -- is one of our favorite of the favorites down here. Evvia serves wonderfully classic Greek fare along with dishes they describe as "local interpretations of many traditional Hellenic favorites." Because of a minor kitchen fire, Evvia had to close for a few weeks this fall and my husband and I were clutching our stomachs in fear that they would never reopen. Lucky for us and for Palo Alto, they did.

‘Burb Burps: Shokolaat

The first thing you see when you walk into this self-described modern bistro are the sparkling cases stuffed with rich piles of handmade chocolates and pastries. That decadent display alone would be enough to draw one back to Shokolaat, but I was after quite another attraction: a meatloaf sandwich.

Minestrone and Memories

This month, I had a reason to make minestrone for the first time. A few days before my mother-in-law flew out for Thanksgiving, I recited the contents of our Mariquita Mystery Box to her over the phone. As soon as she heard we were getting butternut squash, baby leeks, and chard, she told me I should think about making Alice Waters' fall minestrone from The Art of Simple Food. She even brought me a Ziplock bag of the necessary sage, rosemary, and bay leaf fresh from her Virginia garden.

‘Burb Burps: Howie’s Artisan Pizza

For the past year, it has been my fondest desire to find pizza on the Peninsula that made up for the loss of my favorites in the city. Piccino, Pizzetta 211, and Pizzeria Delfina set the curve for me in terms of crust and inventive toppings, and it was going to be really hard to, uh, top them.