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Friday, August 31, 2012

Enoteca La Storia

We met some old friends at Enoteca La Storia in Los Gatos. Enoteca is located at 416 N. Santa Cruz Ave. It's not in the downtown area but across the street from Walgreen's.

There is a long counter and several tables for 4. You can order wine by the glass (3 oz tasting or full glass) or by the bottle.

This was the Piccolo Meat and Cheese Platter for $17. We added an order of Burrata cheese for $9 and bread for $1. There was a side of muffaletta and olive tapenade with reduced balsamic vinegar in the center. The meat selection included San Daniele Salame Calabrese, Bresaola and Coppa. The cheese selection included Fontina, Fiore Sardo and Testun al Barolo. We had to ask for extra bread but there was plenty for a snack for 4 people.

This was the daily special--home-grown tomato with sliced onion and basil. The tomato was so sweet.

2012 08 25

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Night Dinner

Bruschetta Con Salmone Affumicato Topped with Formaggio Bianco, Erbe Fini, Organic Frisee, Thin Slices of Smoked Salmon, Red Onions and Capers served with 2011 King Estate Pinot Gris, Signature Collection from the Willamette Valley, Oregon

Pasta Alla Norma--Homemade Fresh Pasta, Ratatouille, Sweet Basil, Garlic, Fresh Mozzarella & Pecorino served with 2009 Montevina Barbera from Amador County

Bistecca Alla Montalcino--Grilled Garlic-Herb Flat Iron Garished with a Ragout of Organic Fingerling Potatoes, Slow Cooked Onions & Local Mushrooms Served in a Brodo Di Montalcino Rosso served with 2008 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County

Mousse Di Cioccolato--Puff Pastry Filled with Chocolate Mousse Served in a Creme Anglaise Sauce served with Taylor Fladgate 10 year old Tawny Port from the Douro Valley, Portugal

2012 08 30

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chopped Dessert

My husband chose to make a dessert with beets, goat cheese, quick oats and crystallized ginger. He decided to make a crisp and followed the crisp recipe from All Recipe.

The dish looked nasty (the goat cheese had coagulated and you just got a pink mess). Luckily, we were dining outdoors and no one could see what it looked like. It actually tasted pretty good but then again I love beets.

It's easiest to use these pre-cooked baby beets from Trader Joe's--no mess, no fuss and much less expensive at $1.99 than buying fresh beets and roasting them yourself.

Beet Crisp

1 pkg baby beets, diced
2 Tbs honey
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup crystallized ginger cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add honey to baby beets and then sprinkle goat cheese on top.

In separate bowl, blend oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda until mixed. Add melted butter. Chop crystallized ginger and mix with oat mixture.  Crumble over beet mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

2012 08 25

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Chopped" Supper Club

Our South Bay Supper Club met this weekend and the theme was "Chopped." We each chose a set of predetermined ingredients and had to concoct a dish from it. I chose an appetizer with asparagus, button mushrooms, chorizo and canned peaches. I decided to make a bruschetta layered with goat cheese, chorizo, sauteed mushrooms, grilled asparagus with a drizzle of pureed canned peaches. It actually was edible.

I found this Silva Chorizo at Whole Foods. I sliced at an angle and sauteed until heated through. I then used the oil from the chorizo to saute button mushroom that I had diced.

The baguette slices were toasted then I added a thin layer of goat cheese. On top of that, I layered the chorizo, mushrooms, grilled asparagus and then the pureed canned peaches (I drained the liquid and saved 2 Tbs which I added to the peaches and pureed in a blender).

2012 08 25

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vik's Chaat

I had heard a lot about Vik's Chaat for a long time. We finally got a chance to try it this weekend. Some of the dishes we had were fabulous while other's were just so-so.

Vik's is located at 2390 4th Street in Berkeley. You walk through a small Indian grocery store and the restaurant is located in back.

There is also a display with lots of sweets.

I had yelped Vik's and read some of the reviews. I chose Bhatura Cholle ($6.00), a puffy bread that deflates when you break into it. This was amazing. First of all, it's huge (I estimated 12" diameter). Break off a piece, dip the bread into the pickles (located under the bread) and then into the garbanzo bean sauce. So tasty!

Keema Samosa--$5.75 for 2. It's filled with well-spiced ground lamb and was juicy and delicious.

Lamb Baida Roti--$6.50. This was a bread filled with lamb. It was okay but I preferred the flavors of the Keema Samosa.

Shami Kebab--$6.50. Three lamb & lentil patties served over rice. I didn't care for this one. The texture was too mushy and not enough flavor. Plus, I don't like peas and carrots in my rice. Actually, I don't like peas and carrots in general but I ate it in the lamb samosa because it was so flavorful.

Chicken Biryani--$6.25. This was moist with large pieces of chicken but they should remove the cardamon pods. It's nasty to bite into one. I prefer the chicken biryani at Taste Buds (see posting on July 25). The flavor is better.

Mango Lassi--$2.25. This got rave reviews on Yelp but my husband didn't like it. I liked the mango flavor but I'm not a big fan of lassi and even the mango wasn't enough to make me like it.

2012 08 25

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Healthy Dinner

I've been trying to eat healthier lately. Tonight, I made sauteed fish with bok choy. It's a variation on a dish I had at China Palace (see posting on "Taste of Taiwan" on June 30).

Sauteed Fish with Bok Choy

4 bunches baby bok choy
1 lb white fish
4 slices ginger, julienned
4 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbs rice wine
2 tsp sesame oil
salt & pepper to taste

Wash and chop the baby bok choy. Wash and slice the fish into 1 inch pieces.

Saute the bok choy in 2 Tbs olive oil until wilted. Set aside. Add 2 Tbs olive oil to the pan. When hot, saute the fish until cooked through. Add ginger, chicken broth and rice wine and heat. Add sesame oil, salt & pepper. Add the bok choy and serve over rice.

2012 08 26

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My One-Year Anniversary at Thursday Night Dinner

It's been a full year since I started going to Thursday Night Dinner with Alan & Sandy at Flavor Bistro. I've gone most weeks since and met some amazing people at the communal table. The food has been amazing and I still can't believe what a great value it is. Where else can you get a four-course dinner with wine pairing for $24.95?

Bruschetta Con Fico--Topped with Local Brown Turkey Figs, Gorgonzola Dolce Mousse and Organic Summer Lettuces served with 2010 Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. The gorgonzola mousse was delicious and I love brown figs. There was also a nice drizzle of reduced Balsamic vinegar--delicious!

Pasta Al Savor--Hand Cut Fresh Pasta Served in a Prosciutto Sauce Finished with Fresh Ricotta & Parmigiano-Reggiano Topped with Walnut Gremolata served with 2010 Hook & Ladder Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce was amazing! This was a new addition to the menu.

Spiedini Di Maiale--Grilled Skewered Medallions of Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Pancetta Garnished with Creamy Herb Polenta & Grilled Endive "Modena Style" Served in a Sugo D'aglio served with 2009 Terra d'Oro, Deaver Vineyard, Zinfandel from Amador County. The pork was tender and the polenta was heavenly.

Crema Zabaione E Pesche--Muscat Sabayon Served with Cream Over Fresh Organic Peaches & Crispy Sugar Wafers served with 2010 Ceretto Moscato D'Asti from Piemonte, Italia. The peaches were so sweet and fresh!


2012 08 23

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sticky Rice with Shrimp

I made Sticky Rice with Shrimp. I got the idea after my trip to Ma Ma Chen's Kitchen (see post on 7/17/2012). I was at Lion's Market and the fresh shrimp with heads was only $3.99 a pound.

Soak sweet rice (must be sweet rice; long-grain rice will not work) in water. Let sit for 6 hours then rinse until clear.

Clean shrimp by trimming legs and antennae.
Sticky Rice with Shrimp

2 cups sweet rice
6 Shitake mushrooms
1 lb shrimp with heads
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs soy sauce

Soak sweet rice in water for 6 hours. Rinse until clear. Soak Shitake mushroom in warm water for 30 minutes. Squeeze the water, trim the stems and slice. Reserve water. Trim the shrimp.

Heat olive oil and add mushrooms, Stir fry for 1 minute. Add drained rice and stir to prevent sticking. Add 2 Tbs soy sauce--more if you are not watching your blood pressure. Add the water from the mushrooms.

Line a steamer with parchment paper and add the rice/mushroom mixture. Place shrimp on top. Steam with lid on for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked through.

2012 08 21

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fig Cafe

We went back to the Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen for dinner. It was Monday night and we arrived at 5:45 pm. I couldn't believe that it was almost full. 10 minutes later, there was a line out the door. Plat Du Jour offerings for $25 for 3 courses

There is no charge for corkage so we brought a 1995 Silver Oak. We were celebrating the day that my husband had a Revelation that he should get married--this was 18 years ago. The cork had disintegrated but the wine was amazing. It had aged so well and it was a beautiful brick color.

Fig and Arugula Salad. This was the full size at $11.95--large enough for 2 people. The figs were warm and the COPA was delicious--the COPA had a nice meat flavor with nice crunch.

Arugula, Frisee, Pickled Red Onions, Lemon Cucumber, Watermelon, French Feta and Lemon Vinaigrette--part of the Plat du Jour--a 3-course dinner special

Grilled Butcher Steak with Blue Cheese Herb Butter, Fries and Waxed Beans for $19.95. This paired perfectly with the Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pan Seared Half Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Zucchini, Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Green Olives--this was moist and delicious and I loved the green olives.

Instead of the dessert in the Plat du Jour, I chose the cheese course. This was a sheep cheese and was delicious.

2012 08 20

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kong Tofu

I went back to Kong Tofu this weekend while in the South Bay. I wanted to try my friend Lynda's Tofu House recommendation but I was taking my mom and didn't feel like driving too far.

Side Dishes--look back at my entry on July 2 and you can see the gelatinous, flavorless cake has been replaced with zucchini. The zucchini was so much better.

Chap chae--still my favorite. We had a plate each.

Tofu Soup with Mushrooms, medium spicy. There were 3 kinds of mushrooms: enoki, button and oyster. Too spicy for my taste.

Tofu Soup with Seafood, white. There were 3 shrimp and several clams. No spice added and it was too bland for me.

Tofu Soup with Clams, mild. There's a cloud on the picture from the steam. This is still my favorite tofu soup and the spice was just right for me! At $9.99 per bowl of tofu soup plus rice plus side dishes, it's a great bargain.

2012 08 18

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cilantro Hummus

Trader Joe's has the best hummus. They have several varieties but the Cilantro and Jalapeno hummus is my favorite. I love the cilantro flavor and it has just the right amount of spiciness.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Travelzoo Special at John Ash

A few months ago, Travelzoo offered a 3-course dinner for 2 with wine pairing at John Ash & Co. for $75. It thought it was a pretty good deal and purchased a voucher.

The dining room is beautiful and overlooks the vineyards.

Amuse bouche--pears with goat cheese and rosemary. The pears with goat cheese were nice and smooth but the rough rosemary leaves detracted. 

Delicious corn muffin with a hint of jalapeno and whole grain bread.

Alma Tierra Farms organic baby lettuces with strawberries, Redwood Hill chevre and lemon poppy seed vinaigrette.

Dungeness crab fritters with Waldorf salad and jalapeno aioli. This was actually quite good and the Waldorf salad was delicious. The first course was served with Ferrari-Carano Bella Luce from Sonoma County 2011.

Wild Pacific king salmon with fennel pollen and puree, crispy fennel, pan-seared herbed polenta and vanilla creme fraiche. This was served with Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay from Sonoma County 2010. I'm not a Chardonnay fan but this was quite delicious. It was not buttery and didn't have an oak flavor.

Grilled Devil's Gulch Ranch pork chop with Sonoma succotash, whipped sweet potatoes, grilled Dry Creek peach and pork sherry reduction served with Ferrari-Carano Siena from sonoma County 2009. The pork chop was very tender and moist.

There was only 1 option for dessert--orange scented fromage blanc cheesecake with oatmeal cookie crust, orange sorbet and blackberry compote served with  Ferrari-Carano El Dorado Gold from Dry Creek Valley 2007. The orange sorbet was like frozen orange juice, as my sister-in-law described it. It was light and delicious. The tuile was buttery. The cheesecake was actually fairly light and had a nice orange flavor.

For $75 for 2, this was a decent meal. If we didn't have the vouchers, the dinner value was $169 for 2. It definitely was not a $169 meal. I still prefer Thursday night dinner at Flavors--much better tasting and for a lot less money.

2012 08 15

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday Night Dinner 8/16/2012

Another fabulous dinner at Flavor for $24.95, including wine pairing with each course.

Bruschetta Con Pesca--Grilled Homemade Brioche  Topped with Organic Peaches, Formaggio Blanco, Chiffonade of Mint and Extra Virgin Olive Oil served with Villa Sandi Prosecco Treviso Brut from Veneto, Italy. This dish did not work well. The peach was not flavorful enough to stand up to the cheese. I ended up eating the peach and then the brioche and cheese. That allowed me to enjoy the cheese and brioche without the peach detracting.

Tortelli Di Verdure--Fresh Pasta Filled with a Summer Vegetali-Ricotta Mousse served in a Spicy Sugo di Pomodoro topped with Blasamic Glaze and Parmigiano-Reggiano served with 2007 St. Francis Merlot from Sonoma County. The Sugo was absolutely delicious and I sopped it all up with the bread. I could have had a whole bowl of the sugo alone.

Agnello Alla Griglia--Grilled Marinated Lamb Chop Garnished with a Parmesan-Polenta Cake served in a Garlic-Herb Jus Flavored with Olive Pesto and an Oven Roasted Tomato served with 2008 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County.

Tiramisu--Lady Fingers soaked in Espresso Layered with Rum Flavored Mascarpone Cream and Topped with Bittersweet Cocoa served with 2010 Ceretto Moscato d'Asti from Piemonte, Italia. I just love the tiramisu. So light but flavorful.

2012 08 16