Saturday, August 11, 2012

La Farine Bread

I could live on really good bread. These wonderful breads are from my favorite East Bay bakery and patisserie, La Farine.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fresh Garbanzo Beans

Taste of spring. Fresh garbanzo beans in their pods, charred quickly in hot olive oil. Add salt, eat like edamame. Squeeze of citrus is good too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Hour at Kyo-ya, Palace Hotel

I work full time in the city again...which means I'm back in foodie paradise! Back in my beloved old financial district hood. A coworker informed me that Kyo-ya, the pricey (though top-notch) sushi restaurant located in the Palace hotel, has happy hour Monday through Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm. This means special prices on select drinks and appetizers, and free snacks! Here's what was on the free nibbles buffet the night I went: edamame, a chilled silken tofu dish, and grilled chicken. I ordered a small hot sake for about $7.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Umami in a Tube

British food writer Laura Santtini claims to have captured umami - that elusive "fifth taste" - and put it in tube. This ready-to-use paste contains a concentrate of olive, anchovy, porcini mushroom, Parmesan and other ingredients.It's not widely available yet, but you can pre-order on Amazon.

Read entire post on Tasting Table.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008

My current favorite white is from New Zealand. When I tasted this I experienced such an exhilarating burst of fresh flavors my tired palate was immediately awakened. There were layers of tropical fruit and crispness, but the unusual element that struck me was a vibrant, green, shiso-like quality. Adding to the complexity was a sort of umami experience: a lingering salty-sour note that reminded me very much of umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) in a really good way, and had me smacking my lips for more.

I imagine this brilliant Sauvignon Blanc would liven up any meal, but I think it would be perfect with sushi or other fish and rice combo, like an ikura donburi garnished with shiso, nori and cucumber. The evening we tasted it we had roasted pork loin with rosemary for dinner, and the wine complimented it just fine. 

Link:  Kim Crawford Wines

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grey Whale Bar at the MacCallum House Inn

Ginger Ruby Drop on the veranda. Ruby red grapefruit squeezed at the bar, muddled ginger, vodka, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, old fashioned bitters, garnish with nasturtium blossom. I loved this drink.

I requested something with cucumber and this memorable drink was recommended: a refreshing, herbal seasonal cocktail called the Spa Retreat. Chamomile tea, Square One Botanical vodka, lemon cucumber, fresh tarragon.

Tony flames orange citrus oil for a Manhattan Noir. Other ingredients include Cynar, an artichoke based bitter, and Navarro Pinot molasses.

If you're passing through the town of Mendocino, it's absolutely worth a stop at the MacCallum House Inn just to have a cocktail at their Grey Whale Bar. The last time I was this impressed by a cocktail was in Tokyo - strangely enough, at another bar with a reference to whales in its name.

The mixologist/bartenders at Grey Whale craft original, creative cocktails with fresh ingredients and unusual garnishes such as dried rosebuds and star anise. Each drink we tasted was well-balanced, a surprise on the palate, and a feast for tired senses. Some of the creations such as the Manhattan Noir are takes on classic cocktails, while others like the Spa Retreat (above) or the Wild Hare (cucumber vodka, fresh pressed carrot juice, ginger, hot pepper) were unlike anything I've encountered before.

Destination: Mendocino

I've written about Mendocino before, so we all know how much I love it. There are many reasons why Mendocino is a timeless destination for foodies, nature lovers, artists, peace-seekers and romantics. Here are a few of them.

The MacCallum House Inn has become a haven for us. Beautiful, historic, perfectly situated. With its superb restaurant/bar, complimentary breakfast and easy walks to oceanside bluffs or through town, once you arrive there is little need to drive elsewhere. This was the view from our cottage window.
Our cottage: a renovated old well. It has 3 stories, 2 bedrooms. MacCallum House has excellent internet deals, I was lucky enough to get this for $149 per night. The church-like building on the right is Corners of the Mouth, a small organic market.
Hearty breakfast on the MacCallum House veranda.
A stroll through town and down our favorite path leading to the bluffs.
Dramatic, eye-popping natural splendor. There's no such thing as a mediocre view here. During our visit mists lingered along the shore each morning, gradually clearing to bright blue afternoons and balmy evenings. We'd never seen it so beautiful.
Picnic on the bluffs: cheese, crackers, fruit, and a bottle of Navarro Pinot.
This was my picnic view.
Dinner at the MacCallum House Grey Whale Bar first night: salad with poached egg and bacon, delicious spaetzle with duck. And some of the best drinks ever. I was so impressed by the cocktails I'm writing a separate post about them (above).
We had our final dinner in the MacCallum dining room, ending with a soul-warming pumpkin souffle with chocolate sauce.
The historic Mendocino Hotel has many inviting nooks for a leisurely nibble. I brought my journal and planted myself at a sunny window seat in the Garden Room, their more casual brasserie-like restaurant.
A luscious treat at Mendocino Hotel: Meyer lemon custard cake with brown sugar caramel and crème fraiche ice cream.
From my window seat I watched a photo shoot taking place across the street on the bluffs. Like a scene from a Fellini film.
A fun hangout in town is Pattersons, a convivial pub with solid menu and good brews on tap. On the night we went they had extra-large chocolate Guinness cupcakes topped with chocolate mousse. 
Parting glimpse of the sea.