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Monday, March 31, 2014

Thursday Night Dinner

Last Thursday's dinner at Flavor Bistro--still $24.95 for 4 courses with wine pairing.
Tortino Di Granchio--Sautéed Dungeness Crab Cake Garnished with Basil Aioli & Crispy Shoestring Garnet Yams, paired with 2012 Isabel Mondavi (I'M) Wines Chardonnay, Carneros

Ravioli D'Anatra--Homemade Duck Ravioli with Crispy Herb Butter, Pancetta-Braised Escarole, Balsamic Glaze & Parmigiano-Reggiano, paired with 2009 Vavasour Pinot Noir, Awatere Valey, Marlborough, New Zealand
Bistecca Alla Griglia--Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak Garnished with Sweet Carrots Ragu, Wine-Poached Lentils, Slow Cooked Onions & Garlic Candy Served in Red Wine Jus, paired with 2012 Easton Zinfandel, Amador County
Limone-Mirtillo Vol-Au-Vent--Filled with Lemon Curd & Fresh Blueberries Served with Ruby Peach Syrup, paired with 2011 Bonterra Vineyards, Bartolucci Vineyard, Late Harvest Muscat (Organic), Lake County

2014 03 27

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fundraising Event At Flavor Bistro

Flavor Bistro hosted a fundraiser for the Sutter Breast Cancer Research Program last Monday.

Antipasti & Charcuterie
Bruschettini with Pear & Salmone Affumicato
Involtini Di Pollo
Fondue Vol-Au-Vent

Guazzetto Di Mare--Day Boat Scallops, Jumbo Prawns, Local Calamari, Mussels & Clams Served in Brodetto Di Vino Bianco, Flavored with Aromatic Herbs & Organic Heirloom Tomatoes Served with Saffron Aioli & Homemade Flatbreads

Risotto Ruspante--Arborio Rice Cooked with Homemade Country Style Chicken Sausage, Sweet Leeks, Organic Escarole & Parmigiano Reggiano

Grigliata Mista--Medley of Assorted Grilled Meats & Vegetables Garnished with Cannellini Bean Ragu, Garlic Candy & Citrus Gremolata
I was so full that I didn't stay for the dessert--Crostate Di Frutta--Warm Assorted Fruit Galettes Served with Mascarpone Cream
2014 03 24

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I had heard that Terun in Palo Alto had a nice Neapolitan pizza and decided to give it a try. It's located at 448 South California Avenue. It was a disappointing trip.

We started with Burrata Cheese, Grilled Eggplant, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Olive Oil--$10. Not sure why they had 6 wafer thin eggplant and 1 cherry tomato that had been cut in half. It really wasn't enough to offer any additional flavor to the cheese. Thank goodness the cheese was creamy and delicious. It was good that we asked for bread because we used the bread to spread the cheese and added the balsamic vinegar/olive oil that came with the bread to add an extra dimension of flavor to the cheese.
Brussels Sprouts, Italian Pancetta, Gorgonzola--$12. The brussel sprouts were well prepared but there wasn't much gorgonzola flavor. This was an expensive dish for $12.

Tricolore Pizza--San Marzano Tomato, Burrata Mozzarella, Cherry Tomato, Arugula--$17. The pizza had a nice thin crust and there was a generous serving of arugula with nice peppery flavor. There was a nice mound of burrata cheese--about the same size as on our appetizer.

Porcini--Fresh Porcini Mushrooms, Gorgonzola, Fior di Latte Mozzarella, Truffle Oil--$20. This was an expensive pizza. There was just a sprinkling of mushrooms and not much Gorgonzola. It needed a little more substance--I kept thinking sausage would have been nice. There was a nice fragrance of truffle oil though.

Ravioli--Homemade Veal Spinach Ravioli, Parmigiano, Tomato--$19. This was also an expensive dish. There were a total of 7 ravioli. I knew labor was expensive in Silicon Valley but this was ridiculous.

Gnocchi--Homemade Beet Gnocchi, Parmigiano, Taleggio, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella--$17. Another expensive dish with just a handful of gnocchi. The gnocchi were light but the beets added nothing but color. If I was blindfolded, I wouldn't have been able to guess these were beet gnocchi.
We also ordered Scialatielli--Homemade Pasta, Porcini, Parmigiano, Rosemary, Olive Oil--$17. This was perhaps the best entrée of the evening. It was a decent portion and quite tasty.
2014 03 22

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thursday Night Dinner at Flavor

I'm a little late in posting this dinner from a week ago.

Bruschetta Con Asparagi--Topped with Grilled Organic Asparagus, Jumbo Prawns & Saffron Aioli, served in Warm Shallot-Herb Salsa, paired with 2012 Tilia Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina. The prawns were huge and the aioli nicely garlicky. Delicious! The Chardonnay was slightly salty. A little watery but still tasty.

Risotto Al Savor--Arborio Rice Cooked with Homemade Pork Sausage, Organic Spinach, Ricotta & Parmigiano-Reggiano Topped with Walnut Gremolata, paired with 2012 La Follette Pinot Noir, North Coast. La Follette is always good and it paired so well with the risotto.

Petto D'Anatra--Garlic-Herb Marinated Duck Breast Garnished with Cannellini Bean Ragu Flavored with Slow Cooked Onions, Escarole & Bacon Served in Chianti Reduction Sauce, paired with 2011 St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Zinfandel "Old Vines," Sonoma County. Again, the reduction was rich and amazing.

Crostata Di Fragole--Strawberry Galette Served with Mascarpone Vanilla, paired with 2010 Oberon Moscato, Napa Valley.

2013 03 20

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Olive & Vine Neighborhood Night Wednesday

During Restaurant Week, I learned about Olive & Vine's Neighborhood Night Wednesday--$25 for 2 courses and free corkage. What a great deal!
Amuse Bouche--Olive Tapenade on Cucumber.

Salad of Grilled Ancho Shrimp, with Sonoma Greens, Pepitas, Cojita & Cumin Lime Vinaigrette. I'm not a fan of the cheese but everything else was delicious. The shrimp was nicely seasoned with ancho chiles.

Niman Ranch Pork Chile Verde (delicious and spicy), Primavera Corn Tamale (flavorful and creamy) & Grilled Skirt Steak (not sure why this was part of the dish) with Rancho Gordo Cranberry Beans, Red Rice & Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

2014 03 19

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Walter Hansel Wine & Bistro

We ended Restaurant Week with dinner at Walter Hansel, 3535 Guerneville Road. Their $39 dinner entrée was pork pot-au-feu. I wasn't in the mood for pork so we ordered off the regular menu. If you ordered an appetizer and entrée, you got the dessert that was on the Restaurant Week menu.

Amuse Bouche--white cheddar cheese soup. This was delicious.

Chilled Shigoku Oyster Cebiche--$14.50. Aji Amarillo, lime, shallot, chive, Tobiko. I didn't like this dish. The sauce overpowered the oysters.

Confit Duck Gizzard Salad--$9.50. Frisee, lardons, trumpet mushrooms, organic coddled egg, bacon vinaigrette. This was perhaps one of the best dishes I have ever had. The gizzards were so tender and worked well with the lardon, mushrooms and egg. There's nothing like warm yolk that serves as a dressing.

Branzino--$28. Branzino fillets, baby leek, tomato, olives, capers, crispy baby kale, extra virgin olive oil. The fish was delicious--tender with a crispy skin and no bones.

Organic Mary's Chicken--$23.50. Mousseline, shitake mushroom, "Fleurette" cream, pommes Gaufrette, Chicken Jus. The chicken was tender and the mousseline was flavorful. Still trying to figure out what it was.

Creusois ‘Gâteau” dessert--Hazelnut sponge cake “Financier” with candied chestnut purée. It was okay. The cake was moist but I didn't think it had much flavor.
It was a great week. Can't wait for next year!
2014 03 16

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


We had wanted to try Backyard as part of Restaurant Week but ran out of meals. We picked up wine at Kosta Browne and surprise, surprise, Backyard catered the event.

The best hamburger I have ever had--Grass fed ground chuck, aioli, pickled onions. This was juicy, flavorful & perfectly salted.

Ron’s Chocolate Budino, salted caramel, Strauss sweet cream. I love salt, caramel and chocolate in the same dish.

2014 03 16

Monday, March 24, 2014


After our stop at Downtown Bakery, we had to rush to our lunch reservation at Barndiva, located at 231 Center Street. Their restaurant week special included a $20 2-course lunch.

Beet Salad, Endive, Watercress, Avocado, Baby Radish, Warm Chevre, Citrus Vinaigrette. The beets were sweet, the chevre was smooth & creamy and the vinaigrette had just the right zing.

Wild Pacific Sea Bass, Polenta, Braised Swiss Chard, Shaved Fennel & Orange Salad. This was the same sea bass as the dish we had at Café Lucia. This was much better prepared. Juicy on the inside and seared on the outside. The polenta was creamy and the olive tapenade was a nice pairing with the fish.

2014 03 16

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Downtown Bakery, Healdsburg

Whenever we're in Healdsburg in the morning, we stop by Downtown Bakery to pick up a sticky bun. It's located at 308A Center Street.

Still my favorite. It's crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and not too sweet!

2014 03 16

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Partake by KJ, Healdsburg

On the 6th night of Restaurant Week, we went to Partake by KJ, 241 Healdsburg Ave. They offered a 5-course wine & food pairing for $39 or a vegetarian version for $29.

Amuse Bouche--can't remember what the green thing was now. This was paired with a "mystery" wine in a black glass. You had to guess the varietal. Turns out it was a Chardonnay that had not be in oak barrels so it did not taste like a Chardonnay.

Oysters, White Verjus, Pickled Cucumber, paired with Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 2012. The oysters were briny and paired so well with the sauv blanc.

Long Island Squash Panna Cotta, Cashew Cream, Trout Caviar, Nori Chip, paired with Grand Reserve Chardonnay, 2011. This was smooth and flavorful. The saltiness of the caviar and nori chip worked well with the squash.

WholeVine Tempura Maitake Mushrooms, paired with Grand Reserve Merlot, 2011. This was not my favorite. It was overbreaded so it was hard to taste the mushroom.

Smoked Loin of Lamb, Heirloom Beans, Spring Vegetables, paired with Highland Estates Trace Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007. This was delicious and paired so well with the cab. Just the right amount of smokiness and salt.

Bowl of "Oatmeal": Opalys White Chocolate Panna Cotta, Granola, Green Apple Sorbet, Shiso, Caramel Gel, paired with Grand Reserve Late Harvest Chardonnay, 2007. Loved the sweetness of the wine.

A little take-home treat--peanut brittle.

2014 03 15

Friday, March 21, 2014

Seared, Petaluma

On Saturday, we had lunch at Seared in Petaluma. It's located at 170 Petaluma Blvd. Their 3-course lunch was $20 during Restaurant Week.

They had poutine fries on their regular menu. My sister is in search of good poutine so we ordered it to try. Hand cut fries, Petaluma cheese curds, cracked pepper and duck gravy for $9. The duck gravy had chunks of confit duck and was quite good. Too bad the fries weren't crispy enough to stand up to the gravy.
One of the choices for the first course was The Wedge--Baby Iceberg, Neuske's Bacon, Cherry Tomatoes, Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese, Watermelon Radish, Crispy Shallots. How can you go wrong with a wedge salad, especially with Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese?
Dungeness Deviled Egg--Farm Egg, Dungeness Crab Salad, Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeno. I didn't like this dish. The yolk was whole instead of mashed and the crab salad didn't have enough crab flavor.

One of the choices for the entree was Akaushi Wagyu Hanger Steak, Salt & Pepper Frites, Demi-Glace, Jalapeno Chermoula, Green Garlic Aioli. I thought I would try this since we were in a steak house. The steak was very flavorful but unfortunately it was cut with the grain instead of against, making it tough. The Chermoula sauce was flavorful. I expect frites to be crispy and these were soggy. The garlic aioli was quite good though.
Another entree option was Dungeness Crab Fettuccini--Fresh Fettuccini, Dungeness Crab, Mint, Olive Oil, Calabrian Chili, Meyer Lemon. The fettuccini was homemade and there was plenty of crab chunks in the dish. I thought the mint would detract but I barely tasted it.

Dessert was a scoop of Three Twins Ice Cream, either vanilla or chocolate with caramel or chocolate sauce. Unfortunately, mine had ice crystals in it.

2014 03 17

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kenwood Restaurant

On Friday, we had dinner at The Kenwood Restaurant, 9900 Sonoma Hwy. Their 3-course dinner was $39. 
Sliced bread with butter in upper left corner and flaked salt in lower right corner. Salt always makes everything taste better.

I wanted to try their duck liver mousse, so I ordered off the regular menu. Blood orange jelly, pickled shallots, chervil, black pepper, pickled vegetables, toasts for $10. I liked the flavor of the liver mousse but my sister thought it had been blended too smooth and she didn't like the orange jelly with the duck liver. I agreed that it was too smooth but I like liver and I liked this dish. The dish is large enough for 2 to share.

Spaghetti Western off the menu--$17. House made bucatini noodles, smoked "blue foot" chicken, baby artichokes, pea tendrils, cippolini onion, Wise Acre Farms egg and Estero Gold Reserve 18 month aged cheese. The pasta was al dente, the chicken had a nice smoked flavor but the artichokes were too firm in a pasta dish and the pasta was sitting in a pool of olive oil. Not sure why they added almost 1/4 cup of olive oil to the dish.

Marshmallow cream filled chocolate cupcake, dulce de leche ice cream, toffee sauce. This was expensive at $9. The chocolate cake was okay--nothing too exciting but I liked the toffee sauce.

The first course on the Restaurant Week menu was Warm Asparagus Salad. Roasted and Raw Asparagus, Asparagus Puree, Estero Gold Cheese Custard, Soft Cooked Wise Acre Farms Egg, Pickled Green Garlic, Pea Sprouts and Fava Leaf & Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. I like anything with a poached egg on it.

The entrée on the Restaurant Week menu was Crispy Skin Trout. Pan Roasted McFarland Springs Trout, Rainbow Chard with Bacon & Shallot, Crispy Marble Potatoes, Fermented Carrot and Green Tartar Sauce. The trout was well made. There were no bones, the skin was crispy yet the flesh was moist. The tartar sauce was a nice accompaniment and provided just a slight zing.

The dessert on the Restaurant Week menu was Buterscotch Pudding, House-Made Sour Cream, Vanilla Cocoa Crumble. This was okay.
2013 03 14