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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Palo Alto: Pastry pop-up returns to Zola

Uploaded: Aug 19, 2016
Local pastry chef John Shelsta is hosting another one of his popular pop-ups at Zola in downtown Palo Alto tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 20.

The pastries will be available from 10 a.m. until they're sold out (which happens quickly, so arrive on time!).

Shelsta has teamed up with Mimi Mendoza, the pastry chef at Chez TJ in Mountain View (and also Shelsta's girlfriend) to host several pop-ups at Zola in the past.


A post from John Shelsta's Instagram of his most recent pastry pop-up in July.

Shelsta said they're hoping to start doing them bi-weekly, perhaps starting in September.

Shelsta has been working as chef at Howie's Artisan Pizza in Redwood City, but the restaurant recently closed temporarily due to major, disruptive construction that will soon start across the street at 2075 Broadway, where a developer plans to build a four-story, 93,515 square-foot mixed-use building, according to a message posted on the restaurant's website.

This weekend's final pop-up offerings are subject to change, but expect to see some of the below (descriptions courtesy of Shelsta):

Croissants
- Butter croissant: traditional flaky, layered, all-butter croissant
- Double-chocolate morning bun: chocolate ganache filling and chocolate chunks, finished with sea salt
- Morning bun: croissant dough rolled with cinnamon and sugar, baked then tossed in more cinnamon and sugar
- Almond croissant: croissant with vanilla syrup, seasonal fruit jam and almond frangipane

Croissant tarts (croissant dough, topped with sweet and savory items)
- Ham and cheese: bechamel, Fra’ Mani smoked ham and gruyere; finished with fresh cracked black pepper and parmesan
- Summer squash and ricotta: ricotta with lemon and herbs, shaved summer squash, Calabrian chili oil, basil-parmesan
- Strawberries and cream: vanilla cream-cheese custard, strawberry-rhubarb jam, vanilla streusel, fresh strawberries with lime zest
- Peach and cardamom: cardamom vanilla custard, shaved peach and brown-butter almond streusel.

Kouign amann
- Plain: caramelized, laminated dough layered with butter and sugar
- Chocolate: filled with Valrhona chocolate ganache
- Fruit: housemade seasonal jam - flavor grenade pluots

Brioche tarts (brioche dough, shaped and baked in rings with sweet and savory fillings)
- Bacon cheddar: bacon-onion marmalade, cheddar cheese, finished with parmesan and chive
- Cherry tomato and feta: touch of herb ricotta, black olives, basil
- Pluot and cream: shaved pluots, vanilla custard, pluot jam, vanilla streusel
- Pineapple/coconut: coconut custard, pineapple compote, passionfruit cream

Assorted pastries
- Raspbery lime bostock: brioche soaked in vanilla-lime syrup, topped with raspberry jam, almond frangipane and sliced almonds
- Gougere: Giant cheese puff, gruyere cheese, green onion, black pepper

In case that's not enough, there will also be doughnuts, choux/cream puffs, tarts "and more!" Shelsta wrote in an email.


John Shelsta in the kitchen at Howie's Artisan Pizza in Redwood City, where he has made special pastries for weekend brunch. Photo by Michelle Le/Palo Alto Weekly.

French restaurant Zola is located at 565 Bryant St. Shelsta and Zola owner Guillame Bienamé know each other from Marché, a now-closed French restaurant in Menlo Park. (Shelsta worked there while he was going to culinary school, and Bienamé was the restaurant’s executive chef. The owner of Howie's, Howard Bulka, is the former co-owner and chef of Marché.)

Read more about Shelsta here: For the love of butter

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