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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Thursday Night Dinner

Thursday was another great dinner. In addition to a great meal, it's fun to meet new people and reconnect with old friends at the communal table.

Bruschetta Con Radicchio--Topped with Formaggio Bianco, Grilled Marinated Radicchio & Walnut Gremolata paired with 2010 Librandi Ciro Bianco, Calabria, Italia

Turtei Cu La Cua--Candy Wrapper Shaped Pasta Filled with a three Cheese Spinach Mousse Baked in Sugo Di Pomodoro Aglio & Besciamella Sauces paired with 2010 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese IGT, Molise, Italia. The sugo is always so flavorful.

Petto D'Anatra Al Forno--Oven Roasted Duck Breast Served with a Cannellini Bean Ragout Flavored with Roasted Garlic & Escarole in an Herb Jus paired with 2009 Alexander Valley Vineyards "Redemption" Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

Tiramisu--Espresso Flavored Lady Fingers Layered with Mascarpone Cream Topped with Cocoa paired with 2011 N x NW Wallula Benches Vineyard Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington
2013 03 28

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fig Cafe

Saturday, we drove back to Glen Ellen and went to the Fig Café for their $19 3-course dinner for Sonoma County Restaurant Week.

The Fig Cafe is located at 13690 Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen. They don't take reservations and when we arrived 15 minutes before they opened, there was a line out the door. There is no corkage at the Fig Café.

The Soup of the day was Asparagus Soup with Asparagus Salsa Verde. It was $6.50 and we ordered one to try. This was creamy but wasn't overloaded with cream.

Café Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons. Tasty but nothing special. It was crisp but didn't have much anchovy flavor.

Prosciutto & Petit Agour Stuffed Chicken Breast served with Piquillo Pepper & Caramelized Onion Polenta & Braised Greens. The chicken skin was crisp and the chicken had nice flavor. It was tender enough but could have been a little more so. The polenta was very tasty.

Persimmon Cake, Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream--the caramel sauce had a little bit of saltiness which provided just the right accompaniment to the persimmon cake.

2013 03 23

Friday, March 29, 2013

Olive & Vine

On Friday, we tried Olive & Vine in Glen Ellen. It's located at 14301 Arnold Drive in the Jack London Village. This is an adorable little area with a watermill and numerous restaurants. Olive & Vine offered a $29 3-course dinner that was a great value.

Amuse Bouche--a bite of swiss chard, caramelized onions and fennel seeds. It was a nice little start to our delicious meal.

Alma Tierra Baby Lettuces with local Roasted Beets, Marcona Almonds, Fennel, Redwood Hill Chèvre & Citrus Vinaigrette. This was delicious. The almonds worked great with the salad and the beets were very sweet and tasty.

Roasted Forest Mushroom Soup with Spring Green Garlic Jam--this was my favorite dish of the evening. The soup was so flavorful and creamy and I don't think there was any added cream. It was amazing!

Slow Roasted Niman Ranch Pork Osso Bucco, Red & Black Rice,
& Dried Cherry Sugo. This was very flavorful. The pork could have been a tad more tender though.

Mary's Organic Meyer Lemon & Sage Roasted Chicken with Sweet Corn & Parmesan Pudding, Thyme Jus & Farmer's Market Vegetables. The chicken was moist and had a lot of flavor. The skin was perfectly crisp. The corn & parmesan pudding was light and just the right accompaniment to the chicken.

Chocolate Soufflé Cake with Coffee Ice Cream. This was just the right amount of bittersweet chocolate and the density was perfect. Loved it.
2013 03 22

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bruno's on Fourth, Santa Rosa

On Tuesday, we went to Bruno's on Fourth in Santa Rosa. It's a small restaurant. We made reservations for 6 pm and when we arrived, there were no tables available. Fifteen minutes later, they separated a table for 4 that was occupied by only 2 people and put us at the table.

I estimated the restaurant had seating for 40 but there were only 1 server and 1 busboy so needless to say, service was sketchy. They did try their best.

For Sonoma County Restaurant Week, they offered 3 courses for $29.

Bruno's is located at 1226 4th Street--not in the downtown area.
The bread was delicious--crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It's a Mezzaluna Bakery Ciabatta and it was warm.

Laura Chenel Chevre and Mushroom Bruschetta. The bread was lightly grilled and the mushrooms worked well with the goat cheese.

Creamy Tomato Soup--not much for presentation but it was rich, creamy and flavorful. My only complaint was that it was served lukewarm.

Dungeness Crab Cake Risotto with Meyer Lemon Aioli. The crab cake was actually a deep-fried crab ball but it was full of crab and didn't have much breading. The aioli was over-garlicky and the risotto was okay. It was a little overcooked and not al dente.

Willie Bird Smoked Chicken Cajun Fettuccine. The pasta was cooked 2 minutes too long--it would've been better if it was al dente. The sauce was very flavorful and very rich. I could only eat half of it--at least I have lunch for tomorrow. It did not need the deep fried bell peppers on top.

Grilled Lemon Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberries. I didn't taste a grill flavor so I'm not sure it was grilled. The pound cake was too light. I drizzled some of the chocolate sauce from the Beignet dish which made it a lot better. 

Crisp Beignets with Chocolate Dipping Sauce. If you're expecting New Orleans beignets, you'll be sadly disappointed. These were dense dough balls without much flavor. The chocolate sauce was good though.
2013 03 19

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar, Healdsburg

Last week was Sonoma County Restaurant Week. Various restaurants offered 3-course menus for $19, $29 or $39. We went to Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar in Healdsburg on Monday, the 1st night. They offered 3 courses for $29.

Zin is located at 344 Center Street in downtown Healdsburg. Since we were eating at Zin, we tried the flight of 3 zins for $18--2010 De La Montanya, Felta Creek Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley--smooth and peppery--my husband's favorite, 2010 Portalupi, Russian River Valley--our least favorite of the 3 and 2010 Kelly & Young "Robert Young Vineyards," Alexander Valley--very smooth and my favorite.

When we walked in, we saw a couple eating these string beans and they looked so good, we ordered the appetizer as well. The string beans were served with a mango salsa which didn't do much for the beans. I would've preferred garlic aioli or at least Ranch dressing. This was a huge portion for $8.

The soup of the day was Black Bean with Cilantro Cream. This was delicious and tasted even better after adding just a little salt. The soup was flavorful, a little spicy and just the right consistency. The beans had been smashed but not pureed.

Mixed Baby Salad Greens with Maple Pecans and Pickled Onions in Mustard Vinaigrette. This was delicious. The vinaigrette was light and worked well with the sweetness of the pecans. Loved it.

For the 3-course offering, you could choose the usual Blue Plate special, which on Monday was St. Louis Ribs. This was a huge plate--5 ribs cooked perfectly tender and smothered with a BBQ sauce. The sauce had wine in it and needed a little more vinegar zing. The accompanying fries were okay--could have been crisper but the coleslaw was delicious. It had just the right amount of vinegar and was not overloaded with mayo. The portion was so large, we took 1/2 of it home.

The other offering for the entrée was Zin "Pork & Beans"--Marinated & Grilled Pork Loin with Red Wine Fig Jam, Swiss Chard and White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes. The pork was tender and not overcooked but was too salty. The Swiss Chard was delicious though.

For dessert, one of the choices was New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. I'm not a bread pudding fan but my husband liked this.

Homemade "That's It"--The ice cream and oatmeal cookies were good but the chocolate drizzle was too bitter for the cookie. At first, I mistook it for the ink on the paper but realized it was the chocolate. Overall, I enjoyed it though.
2013 03 18

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mercado de San Miguel

I left Lanzarote and had an overnight layover in Madrid. More opportunity to eat. I went to Mercado de San Miguel--an indoor food haven.

Stalls after stalls of food for sale. This one was full of olives stuffed with different fillings.
Cones of cured meats.
Paella stall.

Tapa portion of paella--€4. This was a great paella. The rice was chewy and there was a lot of flavor. There was a nice chorizo in it as well.

I purchased a bocadillo de jamon at the Museo de Jamon and saved it for the flight home. It was a nice last taste of Spain. This was a great trip and I have to admit that I enjoyed Madrid a lot more than I did 15 years ago. Back then, we went in July and it was hot, crowded and not very enjoyable at all. Goes to show that I should always give a city another chance.

2013 01 20

Monday, March 25, 2013

Taberna del Nino

Back in Puerto del Carmen, we found Taberna del Nino off the main drag. They specialized in tapas.

Nice sangria

Mixed salad--€4.95. This was only a small portion of the salad we received. It was large and substantial enough to feed 2.

Bread with Cured Iberico Ham--€3.90. This was okay. The bread had been rubbed with tomatoes and then the Iberico ham was placed on top--nothing special.

Fried Small Padron Peppers--€3.90. We had the best Padron peppers at Cal Pep in Barcelona several years ago. They were small, crunched and popped in your mouth. These were not crispy but did have nice flavor.

Assorted Cheese. This was disappointing. There were 3 cheeses: fresh, medium and aged. Not worth €5.50.
2013 01 19

Sunday, March 24, 2013

El Chiringuit

In Teguise, we found a locals' hangout. For €8.50, you chose 2 entrees and got bread and a drink.

Pulpo. This was a cold dish--octopus marinated in vinegar sauce. Delicious!
This was a nice paella, but the rice was not as good as the one at Taberna Tirso de Molina.
Callo--tripe. This was fabulous and my favorite entree.
Conejo--rabbit. This was okay--it was on the dry side.

2013 01 19

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cesar Manrique

Today, we toured the northern part of the island and paid homage to Cesar Manrique, an artist and architect born on Lanzarote.

Monumento al Campesino (Peasant's Monument), designed by Cesar Manrique. This honors Lanzarote's labourers.

Cesar Manrique Foundation--located in the artist's studio/home in Tahiche. It was built in 1968 on top of a lava field.

Statue at the entrance to the foundation
Entry gate to the foundation.

Mobile located on the  grounds.
Five volcanic bubbles that are interconnected make up the artist's home.

 Mural and yard at the foundation
Manrique incorporated the lava fields into the home

 Just north of Tahiche is Teguise, the capital of the island until it moved to Arecife in 1852. It's an adorable pedestrian town.
Castillo de Santa Barbara on a hill visible from Teguise. Today, it's a Piracy Museum.

Windmill in Teguise

 Mirador del Rio--another Manrique design. This mirador affords views of the sea and the island of El Rio. On the day we visited, it was fogged in so there was no view.

Jameos del Agua--connecting caves and underground grottoes formed by a lava tube.

2013 01 19