Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
This is just depressing.
I will never get to visit the "best restaurant in the world".
It was on my life list.
Personally, I HEART Tony Bourdain, and I think this story/post is an excellent piece of writing. I honestly got a little teary eyed.
Was anyone reading lucky enough to eat there in the past?
What restaurant do I replace this with as a Life List item??? Suggestions welcome! :-)
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Then you pile on more of the cheese mixture with some bacon mixed in, for good measure. (This was a Southern Food cooking class, no skimping on the bacon.)
More recently (maybe 3 years ago?) we took another "grown up" class and it was about Raclette and Fondue. Super fun again! Learned something new (raclette) and fondue is actually something we do cook once in a while so it was good to get new ideas for that. We were very tempted to buy the raclette grille, but haven't yet taken the plunge. They look like this...
and you melt your cheese on the bottom in little individual trays, and cook meat/veggies up top, to later be mixed/served with the cheese. Sadly, no pics from this class. I suggest exploring raclette to anyone who enjoys fondue and the social aspect of eating fondue. Raclette is same idea, just different kinds of cheese, not as melty. :-) (yes, melty is - despite the blogger spellcheck's insistence that it is spelled wrong - a word, since I have used it twice in my post.)
Coming soon....my Top Chef Cookbook recipe attempts! haha
Friday, March 25, 2011
The 3rd event I found was inspired by a show I "marathon watched" one rainy Saturday a few months back, The Great Food Truck Race. I was reminded of it by Andrew Zimmern's recently aired visit to San Francisco, where he cooked in a truck at a "meet up" of food trucks, which moves around the city. And guess what?? San Diego is having a "Gourmet Food Truck Festival"!! Best description I have found is here, and there are a few other links to buy tickets - although I am sure you can just go to the fairgrounds and buy a ticket on the day.
Anywhoo.... hopefully these events will be fun and worth my time and give me something to write about!
UPDATE: it's these two who went to a bunch of the SD Chef Celebrations last year. :-)
UPDATE #2: Looks like 2 of these events (travel show and food truck fiesta) have been cancelled but I found more! Info to come....
Monday, March 21, 2011
One of my favorite (available in your grocery store) cheeses (right now/so far) is Dubliner cheese, from Kerrygold, an Irish dairy. It looks like they have 10 cheeses, but we have only tried 3 so far. I am going to try a different grocery store, maybe Whole Foods, to look for some of the others.
We usually have bread or crackers, an apple or some other fruit, some jam or honey, and (recently) walnuts! There are so many combinations and they are all delicious! So far we have been going with fairly mild cheeses but when I make it over to Whole Foods I'm planning to be more adventurous! I've been browsing this blog, It's Not You It's Brie, and considering buying her book when it is released. Knowledge is power. :-)
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I'm really looking forward to it!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
We LOVE this new restaurant!! OK, first...rewind - A few weeks back I got a random email (I think somehow linked to/from groupon) that was advertising 80% off restaurant.com gift certificates. Anything 80% off has to be worth looking into! The website basically sells discounted gift certificates ($25 for $10 for example) so I snatched up about $300 worth of certificates for under $40!! It has all kinds of restaurants, casual to fine dining. We got one for our local 24 hour diner, one for Cavaillon (yay! can't wait to go again!!), and 5 or 6 other (new to us) restaurants. They have these big "sales" all the time (I have since found out) but it's still a great deal.
So, back to 25 Forty Bistro, found it on the website, checked it out on Yelp and UrbanSpoon...and was very pleased with what we discovered! It's located in Old Town San Diego, on a quiet street back from the main tourist area. It's also right around the corner from the awesome Harney Sushi, which is owned by a previous neighbor of ours! Finding it was easy, parking not TOO bad, but a little difficult, which is to be expected in that area.
It was a chilly night and Oscar night, so we were only 1 of 2 parties the whole time we were there. Fine with us! The decor is all black and white, kind of "hip" modern casual... with one half of a large wall a chalkboard map with their featured wines highlighted near their country of origin. I thought that was cool. The kitchen was partially visible, allowing diners to see the chefs, and chefs to keep an eye on the pace of the meal. Chef Mark Pelliccia has worked for years in Italy and his fresh ingredients come together to make great food.
To start, I ordered a glass of sparkling Montecchia Moscato, more of a dessert wine but my experience at Nine Ten had taught me that sweet wines go well with all sorts of dishes. I REALLY liked it and am hoping the have it at BevMo. While we were checking out the menu an amuse bouche of tuna (salad) on still warm toast arrived. It was light and tasty.
We ordered the cheese plate as a starter. It was composed of 4 cheeses, apple wedges, walnuts, celery, and homemade raspberry (if I remember correctly) preserves. Excellent combinations!! We are totally loving this whole cheese thing! We have even started doing cheese plates at home a couple of times a week.
As an appetizer we ordered their pork belly special which came with potato salad. The pork was covered in a sweet/spicy coffee (if i remember correctly!) based BBQ sauce. It was DEEEE-LISH! My boyfriend claims he would eat pork belly every night if we could. The creamy, mild house made potato salad was a perfect compliment to the flavor smackdown of the pork. The serving size could have easily been an entree. Luckily we were sharing everything!
For our main courses I had the pork chop (pork chops-fuji apples-sauteed spinach) and my boyfriend the duck pasta (homemade fettuccine-braised duck). The pork chops were served with the cooked apples and spinach in an excellent sweet sauce. Again, it was a great sized portion. We though the pasta would be like a bed of noodles with pieces of duck on top and some kind of sauce. But it was more like a nest of cut up noodles and duck, all sauced and mixed together. (not easy to describe but see pic!) It was a very different flavor (smoky, rich, gravy-ish) from both of the pork dishes so we weren't so sure at first, but it grew on us. In fact we ate the rest of it (leftovers) the next day and it was even better than we remembered.
On to dessert!! I read online that the pastries are great since they are a "bake house" but we decided to go with the suggestion of the waitress, and ordered vanilla custard crepe. Wow. She served it to us hot out of a pan with the custard all warm and melted and it was just amazing. I love sweets, but my boyfriend agreed that it was just as amazing as I was thinking. :-) I also ordered a hot chocolate.... and that is exactly what I got. A large cup of melted chocolate with fresh whipped cream on top. Holy cow! Even I had a little trouble finishing it at the end, it was that rich. Like drinking out of a chocolate fondue pot. But I won't complain and will probably order it again next time we go!
Overall - GREAT food, EXCELLENT service!! and the price was reasonable, even without a certificate. We shall return!! Hopefully when it is warmer and we can take advantage of their super cute porch seating with fire pits.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
It sat for a few minutes more than we would have preferred but still delicious and made GREAT steak sandwiches. Yummmmmy-yum-yum!
Friday, February 11, 2011
We also met the baker who makes all the bread and pastries for the restaurant and the cafe. We took a loaf of his fresh bread with us to make turkey sandwiches for a picnic on our drive to the volcano! It was, of course, yummmm.
Overall the trip, and the food, was EXCELLENT! I really can not wait to go again. Aloha!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I wanted to try something new and "Top Chefy", so all the standards (Ruth's Chris, Mortons, other downtown steak places) were out the window. I returned to the food/restaurant edition of The Reader from back in the fall. After debating the menus of the 3 "finalists" for two evenings, we decided to try Cavaillon Restaurant. Chef Philippe Verpiand was another of the top chefs featured in the Reader, so I was glad to see Cavaillon as an option for Restaurant Week.
The restaurant location was strange, as people mentioned on Yelp. It is in the Carmel Valley area of San Diego, a few miles inland, in a small strip mall smack in the middle of a planned community. We actually parked in front of someones house! The drive seems longer than it really was, since you come through a lot of empty space which seemed to be hiking/jogging/horse riding trails. It was actually kind of relaxing and made us feel like we had gone "somewhere".
The dining area was surprisingly small, although there is outside seating available as well. We chose to be inside. There were numerous tables for two set up, a little too close to each other for my liking, but I understand it can be crowded during Restaurant Week. The decor was sort of a European, old-world style. Rich golds and reds, and dark woods.
Even though there are only 3 options for each course, they all sounded interesting so it wasn't anything to be concerned about. (fall 2011 RW menu here, looks to be the same offerings)
Appetizers - I ordered the cheese tart. This was one of the best dishes I have eaten...well, ever! I told my boyfriend the next time we eat here I could order 5 cheese tarts and be happy. The tart itself was a little small but it combined so well with the small salad. The flavors were perfect. (fourme d'ambert blue cheese tart, poached anjou pears in red wine, wild aragula)
He had pre-chosen the pheasant when we were sifting through the menus. Neither of us knew what "terrine" meant though, so the dish was not exactly what we had expected. Luckily it was still yummy! It was sort of like a small loaf or roll of the ground up meat mixed with spices etc and then sliced and served with complimentary accompanying items. . (pheasant terrine, pickled winter vegetables, celery root salad)
Mains - I had the beef. I knew my boyfriend would have the fish and I didn't feel like going for duck. The beef was extremely tender and flavorful, and the veggies were delicious also! It was a comfort food kind of dish. (braised beef flat iron, pommes mousseline, carrots, red wine demi-glace)
He did order the fish, and it was really good, too. Personally I am not a big fish eater but the bites I stole were great. Cooked well, nice flavors, another hit. (petrale sole, almondine in brown butter, roasted cauliflower, fingerling potatoes and broccolini)
Desserts - Of the three options the chocolate actually sounded the least interesting, but after seeing other people eating it, I now know better for next time! I ordered the Floating Island. It was, beyond a doubt, DELICIOUS, but too light for my dessert needs. It was kind of like a meringue island sitting in the middle of a very light (and maybe a tiny bit too thin) vanilla custard. Still... YUM! Honestly, I can't complain about dessert! (Floating island, Tahitian vanilla custard, caramel sauce)
He had the Profiteroles. Basically 3 small cream puffs (minus the cream), with different types of ice cream spilling out! (pic below) Again, yummy, but nothing very exciting. Next time the chocolate will be on order!!
(full dinner menu here)
It sits here with tons of unfinished projects and no money tree in the back yard.
Mocking us. Punk.
Three things I truly, madly, deeply love are books, travel, and food! So I'm going to focus on what I love. :-) yay!
I came across this world traveling lady a few years ago when I was browsing travel blogs. Based in London, she travels (and EATS fabulous food) all over the world! Also these girls have some pretty amazing experiences. (their food blog is here)
Who - me? Green with envy? 100% yes
So, inspired by these (and a few other) blogs, their wonderful photos and posts, I thought I would take a shot at some food blogging, myself. I may also stumble into travel (when/if i can ever afford to go anywhere again!) and BOOKS!! Are there book blogs for rabid readers? I'm gonna check that out.
I can't claim to be very knowledgeable about food. In fact, I never (really, never) cook. Once every couple months we make a big batch of salsa. (actual evidence seen here!)
My only qualifications are that we (my boyfriend and I) LOVE to go out to eat and I also love to watch shows like Top Chef to try to expand my knowledge. I have been a picky eater for a lot of my life but I have tried to keep an open mind lately, and it is paying off! New posts to follow with details of the last 2 great meals we have had!
Or right here...since, apparently, there is no cutting and pasting on Blogger and I don't know how else to keep the stuff I already typed before deciding it needed it's own post!
ughh...learning curve! I guess there is no question I am still new to this blogging thing!
After poring over the "restaurant and chef" edition of The Reader back in the fall, and then perusing Yelp for a few days, I settled on a restaurant in La Jolla for my birthday dinner back in October. (yes, it was that good, we still talk about it)
The chef, Jason Knibb, was touted as one of the new stars of San Diego cuisine. The restaurant, Nine Ten (named for it's street address) was located at The Grande Colonial Hotel in the old village area of La Jolla. Honestly, I don't remember a whole lot about the restaurant, except that it is small and seemed busy. We had a FABULOUS server, whose name I don't recall. Her husband is a chef (did not think to ask if he was THE chef at Nine Ten) and she was very helpful in making recommendations and answering our questions. We both ordered the Three-Course Market Dinner Special, and I got mine with wine pairings. (pics stolen from NineTen website, I didn't know then that I wanted to blog about it!)
I ordered the foie gras (one of the specials). It was my boyfriend's first time having it and we both LOVED IT! (seared foie gras w/fennel salad, cocoa nibb syrup, tangerine froth, coffee oil powder, crostini) It was paired with a sweet wine (which are my favorite), Sauterns from Chateau Graves. I loved the combo.
He ordered the Jamaican jerk pork belly. It was amazing! This was our first time having pork belly, after seeing it on Top Chef quite often. We were not disappointed. (jamaican jerk pork belly, sweet potato puree, baby carrots, swiss chard, plantains, black eyed peas, spicy jellies). W-O-N-nderful!
I ordered the beef short ribs. With a creamy and rich mushroom puree, it was melt-in-your mouth deliciousness. (port wine braised beef short ribs, roasted baby veggies, smoked shiitake mushroom puree) It came with La Cartuja Spanish Red blend. My boyfriend enjoyed it, I am not a huge red drinker.
He ordered the prime "cap" ribeye. Another hit, though not what we were expecting. We thought "steak" would be...well..a steak! It was closer to the ribs in that it was extremely tender and falling apart. We learn every time we go out! The figs were awesome with the meat. (grilled prime "cap" ribeye steak, grilled figs, brocolli, blue cheese potato foam, soubise, red wine reduction)
I, of course, ordered the "half baked" chocolate cake. Wow...yum! Similar to the volcano style cakes at some chain restaurants, but lighter. He ordered the cheese plate, which we shared, and loved! Our waitress gave us some other cheese recommendations to take home since we enjoyed it so much. Dessert was accompanied by a 10yr Tawny Port. Rich and sweet and just right.
We are looking forward to visiting this restaurant again. Maybe get the "Mercy of the Chef" dinner special! That would actually be quite brave of me!
(menus can be seen here)