Aug 302012
 

As of July 1, 2012 the production and sale of Foie Gras has been banned in California.  While I don’t eat Foie Gras often, I do enjoy it’s decadency on occasion (most recently on my anniversary in August).

After watching the below video though, I probably won’t be seeking out any Foie Gras tastings.  Watch and decide for yourself.

US Foie Gras – A gourmet but troubling treat

 

Jun 282012
 

I am taking a course through Sonoma State University and this link was on my syllabus as useful information.

It shows just what an old-world art form barrel making still is.  It was fun to see this video was from “Goosecross Cellars” as this is who I did my latest project on for this course!

Feb 292012
 

It’s been about 2 months since I moved away from Coronado – just enough time to realize what I really miss about this magical little oasis across the bridge from San Diego.

I’ve always described Coronado as the “Martha’s Vineyard” of Southern California (with the bonus of great weather) and occasionally would refer to it as “Pleasantville.”  Any description you choose there is no denying Coronado is a special place with a dynamic not found anywhere else.

So what is it that lingers in my mind as great memories.  Let me take you down my memory lane:

1.  The obvious…the innocence of Pleasantville with the art and culture of San Diego just a beautiful bridge drive away.

2.  Schools…loved that for the first time I didn’t have to budget for private school.

3.  My parked Car…I only had to fill it with gas maybe once a month.

4.  Town…I could walk to town – in fact, I had two routes to choose depending on which part of town I wanted to end up in.

5.  Errands…I walked or rode my bike to the dentist, doctor, dry cleaner, grocery store, school, beach, etc.

6.  Restaurants…so many new ones!  It is becoming a haven for gourmands.

7.  SEALS!  Let’s be honest, I loved that I could go for a beach run and get swallowed like a swarm of bees by Navy SEALS…..who all quickly passed me by.

8.  Military…while we’re on it, I loved living in a military proud town.  Thank you especially for that!

9.  Entertainment…I loved “Concert in the Park” on warm summer evenings.

10. Hotel Del…I love the beauty and amenities of the world famous Hotel Del at my beck and call (even if it cost $70 for 3 hamburgers and a kids meal at the Sun Deck).

So I’ve decided not to say goodbye but just until we meet again…

Jan 052012
 

I’ve eaten at Saiko Sushi several times and think “I should really write about this place in my blog.”  Well the time is now – this place deserves some kudos!  Both the food and service are fantastic!  The wait-staff and owners are friendly and appreciative of their customers.  Something I find very refreshing!

My first visit to Saiko Sushi was when the place was merely a couple days old and my last visit was just a couple of weeks ago.  It has consistently served fabulous, fresh food.  Another plus (because I’m a wine girl) is a reasonable corkage fee if you choose to bring your own wine (they offer a decent albeit small wine selection as well as beer and misc. non-alcoholic beverages).  The sake selection is extensive if you prefer to sip on the rice wine variation.

This last visit I was dining with my lovely family.  We started with Edamame.  They offer the basic but always delicious sea salt version and a house version with celery salt and garlic.  After that we enjoyed the raw special of the day inclusive of halibut, micro cilantro (totally made the dish) and a tasty sweet sauce.

They have a few fru-fru offerings.  I appreciate the forward thinking but stick with the more traditional flavors and leave the goat cheese to someone else.  For our entree we split the Tokyo Dirty Rice – with descriptor words like shrimp, bacon and pineapple we couldn’t go wrong!

Even my daughter likes it.  She always orders the teriyaki chicken and thinks the mashed potatoes are some of the best.   Of course she’d go just for the “Godzilla” movies playing silently on the flat screen.  Yes, I even have Saiko Sushi to thank for introducing her to some of my childhood culture.

Don’t leave without trying dessert.  A sushi joint is not usually what you think of when you think of great sweet endings but they take the time to dream up such fun creations that you just have to try it.  That evening their creative minds conjured up pomegranite creme brulee and a green tea ice cream sandwich.  The ice cream sandwich was tempura battered….need I say more!


Saiko Sushi – 116 Orange Avenue, Coronado CA 92118, (619) 435-0992

Dec 092011
 

I’ve taken a few trips to Napa in the last year and just can’t get them off my mind.  I thought sharing with my lovely blog readers was a must – specifically my last trip because it stands out as one of the best.  That could be because my wonderful husband was accompanying me for the first time on this one.  We stayed 2 nights and 3 days.  We made sure to catch an early morning flight on Friday and an evening flight back home on Sunday.  We live in San Diego so can easily fly “Virgin America” which is a great experience in and of itself (think decked out disco limo in the sky / technology mecca).

We stayed at “The Cottages of Napa Valley”  (www.napacottages.com) and had our very own cute little cozy cottage.  It was like having a mini house minus all the responsibilities!  The bed was big and plush, the bathroom had a large shower, double sink (actually it was one very long sink), jacuzzi tub and heated floors.  The cottage included both regular and french press coffee options as well as tea (a treat for me since I’m a tea drinker), a lovely bottle of wine as a welcome, and a couple little “wet bar” type snacks that were on the house!  All that is amazing enough but the best feature happened every morning when a basket of delicious, fresh baked pastries, orange juice and a newspaper magically appeared on our doorstep!  LOVE that!!!

Our first night in town we ate at “Bottega” (www.botteganapavalley.com).  This is acclaimed chef Michael Chiarella’s famous restaurant in the heart of Yountville and yes, he was actually in the kitchen cooking that evening.  The food was just exquisite.  This was my second visit and I’m convinced everything on the menu is spectacular!  The first time there I drank the “Roux Old Vine Petit Sirah.”  It was what made me get on my new crusade of loving Petit Sirah!  This wine is so good that my husband and I ordered it again for our romantic dinner.

On Saturday we decided to drive up to Calistoga and work our way back down to Napa so we could visit all the AVA’s that were of interest to us.  St. Helena and Yountville came out on top as our favorites although I hesitate to say that because they all were quaint in their own right.  In St. Helena we HAD to stop in the Clif Family Winery’s “Velo Vino” tasting room (www.cliffamilywinery.com/velo_vino.cfm) because my husband is an avid bicyclist and just had to see what it was all about.  You may have already guessed it….these are the guys who make “Clif Bars.”  I have to say it was a pleasant experience for me as well.  The staff was very friendly in the  midst of them juggling shuttles for their “Members Party” and made sure we were taken care of.  In fact, they even suggested our lunch stop.  Almost across the street from “Velo Vino” is “Farmstead Restaurant” (www.longmeadowranch.com/Farmstead-Restaurant) part of Long Meadow Ranch.  The food was amazing!  I was pretty full by this point from all the great eating we had done since getting off the plane so I decided to order a couple appetizers.  Part of my sampling was the “Meatballs with caramelized root vegetables and tomato marmalade.”  There was so much flavor going on with this dish it just blew me away – even with a full tummy.  In fact I was so impressed with this dish that for the first time in my 17 years as subscriber to Bon Appetit magazine I wrote their “RSVP” section to request the recipe!  I’m still waiting to see if they are smart enough to get it for all of us to try at home! ;)  Shockingly I ordered no wine but sipped my husband’s delicious glass of Stony Hill Chardonnay.

By this point we had eaten and drank our way through the beautiful Napa Valley and couldn’t imagine having a huge dinner that evening so we came up with the great plan for our evening meal.  We went to “Oakville Grocery” (www.oakvillegrocery.com) for a simple meat and cheese board to go with wine we had waiting for us in our cute little cottage.  We saw an advertisement for “Oakville Grocery” while getting a quick bite to eat at the airport after landing.  Let me just take a quick detour to tell you about our airport eating.  We stopped at Tyler Florence’s take-out version of his “Rotisserie & Wine” restaurant – again amazing!  I had this garbanzo bean, fennel, chorizo gratin that I still crave!.  Ok back to my original point – “Oakville Grocery” sits at the corner of Oakville Crossroad and Hwy 29 and has been in business since 1881.  It is a must stop for tourists and locals alike.  We were in heaven at this little shop filled with everything yummy.  We bought meats, cheeses, quince pate, etc.  We arrived back in our cottage exhausted so put on our comfy robes, kicked on the fireplace and enjoyed our homemade “fromage & charcuterie” board and wine.

I’ve given you plenty of great reasons for your own perfect quick trip.  Everyone can find 2 nights to sneak away at some point and this is a great place to do it!  No excuses!  ENJOY!

A few other noteworthy places I visited on previous trips:
Mustards Grill – executive chef & owner Cindy Pawlcyn (www.mustardsgrill.com)
Morimoto – executive chef and owner Masaharu Morimoto of Food Networks “Iron Chef” (www.morimotonapa.com)
Boon Fly - part of the “Caneros Inn” and “Plumpjack Resorts” (www.theboonflycafe.com).  This place is off the hook for breakfast!

Nov 112011
 

The taunting did not last long.  I found myself back at Caffe Calabria Saturday evening trying their pizza.  I don’t know if it was because it had been over a year since I sunk my teeth into true Neapolitan pizza or if it was just because I really, really wanted the food to be sort of close to authentic but I truly enjoyed my dinner.  I wasn’t necessarily transported back to Naples but I was very satisfied.  Caffe Calabria is set up to give the feeling of alfresco dining at a cafe in Italy.  We joked that if they were trying to mimic Naples they missed adding the cigarette butts and trash (which would not go over well in San Diego).

We started with a couple antipasti.  I was excited to see they had one of my favorites…bresaola (see “A Sentimental Wine For A Sentimental Night” – Mar 26, 2010).  I’ve tasted renditions of this in Little Italy but everyone else uses filet mignon carpaccio – Caffe Calabria actually serves authentic cured bresaola.

We also tried the Salumi Misti which was a wonderful cross section of meats with a few bonus items thrown in such as olives, fresh figs and Calabrian peppers.

Of course the star of the show was the pizza (almost crazy I’ve waited this long to mention it!).  My husband ordered the “Margherita D.O.C.” (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) adorned with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala.  I ordered the “Rubino” with creme fraiche, speck, caramelized onion, gorgonzola, grana padano, and fresh thyme.  My husband’s pizza was definitely good and, as the designation states, truly authentic.  I can’t say I’ve seen the likes of the “Rubino” in Naples but oh my goodness it was incredibly tasty!  This is the pizza I will probably crave!

Besides quality ingredients the wood fire oven lends to the depth of flavor in these “as advertised” pizzas (“finest Neapolitan pizza in San Diego”). I love the divots and blackened air bubbles which created texture and kept my taste buds dancing. We washed everything down with a bottle of Chianti Superiore and when we ran out kept the momentum going with a Chianti Riserva.  I hope I will find myself back at Caffe Calabria often….possibly regularly.

Oct 222011
 

So if you’ve been following along you know I lived in Italy for 3 years which means I’ve tasted some pretty good cappuccino.  Since coming back to the states I’ve become the “tall non-fat latte” girl assuming cappuccinos like I drank in Italy were few and far between.

Well I found a place in San Diego that comes pretty close to what my Italian brethren flawlessly create.  Caffe Calabria (www.caffecalabria.com) in North Park makes high quality, creamy cappuccino.  They even put an artsy twist on it by making designs in the foam.  I mean come on…they have their own roaster on the premises!

I was excited to notice they also have a wood burning pizza oven and large pizza plates much like the ovens and plates used in Naples.  They claim their pizza is the “finest Neapolitan pizza in San Diego”.  That’s just taunting me….gonna have to go back for the pizza.

Jun 042011
 

MIHO Gastrotruck is coming to Coronado!

On Saturday, June 4 from 4pm-6pm MIHO Gastrotruck will be at Blue Jeans & Bikinis (1113 Adella Avenue Coronado, CA 92118 (619) 319-5858).  If you order from MIHO, you will get $10 off to do a little shopping at Blue Jeans & Bikinis.

MIHO Gastrotruck serves fresh, seasonal produce sourced as locally as possible….all natural, sustainable meats raised without hormones or antibiotics…..and crafted street food made from scratch every day (unless it has an * ).

I first found MIHO Gastrotruck when it parked in the back of Casa Artelexia (artsy, uber chic Mexican goods and the friendliest shop owner in San Diego).  It was the perfect combination – on Wednesday’s I’d actually go over the bridge, shop at this cute little store and eat delicious, locally grown food in a backyard setting.  This fantasy was short lived as MIHO stopped parking at Casa Artelexia and I have to say, I have missed my reason for going over the bridge on Wednesdays.

Imagine how ecstatic I was to hear MIHO was coming to Coronado!  I want to make sure they have a great turn out so they will come back.  So if you’d like to dine on really tasty, really fresh gourmet food from the trendy platform of a food truck, please come out and enjoy the opportunity.

Apr 222011
 

Jess Jackson who built a wine empire around Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay died in Sonoma County yesterday at the age of 81.  Jackson reportedly had been undergoing treatment for melanoma for several years.  He was a self-made billionaire and one of the most influential and controversial producers in the United States.

A big loss for the world-wide wine industry and a void in Sonoma County.