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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chili Verde

Here's an easy recipe for chile verde. The meat is so tender!]

Chile Verde:

4 lbs pork, cut in ½ inch cubes
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced
2 Poblano pepper, seeded and diced
2 cans Green Enchilada Sauce
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground oregano
1 bunch Cilantro

Brown onion and peppers in olive oil.  Salt & pepper pork chunks and sprinkle with cumin.  Add to onion/pepper mixture and brown.  Add enchilada sauce, cumin and ground oregano.  Heat over low until tender, approximately 1 hour.  Add cilantro.

2015 01 04

Friday, January 30, 2015

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's last night's dinner at Flavor Bistro:

Calamari E Fagioli--Local Calamari & Cannellini Beans Served in Brodetto Di Vino Bianco Flavored with Garlic, Sweet Basil, Toy Box Tomatoes & Extra Virgin Olive Oil, paired with 2012 Sean Minor Chardonnay, Central Coast. I didn't get a picture.

Spiedini Di Tortelli--Homemade Hat Shaped Pasta Filled with Vegetali-Ricotta Mousse, Spicy Sugo Di Pomodoro & Balsamic-Rosemary Brown Butter, paired with 2012 La Follette Pinot Noir, North Coast. The sauce is just amazing--so delicious!

 Agnello Alla Griglia--
Grilled Lavender-Marinated Lamb Loin Chop Garnished with Slow Cooked Sweet Red Pepper Ragù & Creamy Black Olive Polenta Topped with Herb Gremolata, paired with 2012 Navarro Vineyards & Winery Zinfandel, Mendocino

 Crostata Ai Frutti Di Bosco--
Mixed Berry Galette Served with Toasted Almond Mascarpone Custard, paired with 2013 Paolo Saracco Moscato d'Asti D.O.C.G., Italy 

2015 01 29

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kale Salad

I tried to replicate the Kale salad at Vignette in the Barlow in Santa Rosa and found this lemon yogurt dressing that was delicious.

Kale Salad:
1 bunch kale
1/2 cup pine nuts

Lemon Yogurt Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 cup plain yogurt 

Mix all ingredients for Lemon Yogurt Dressing until smooth. Wash & dry kale. Strip leaves from stem and chop. Add dressing and hand massage so that kale is all coated. Add pine nuts and serve.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Best Mashed Potatoes

I discovered a great and easy way to make mashed potatoes. Peel & cut the potatoes in 1-inch pieces. Add to cold water and bring to boil. Add enough salt to make the potatoes salty. When the potatoes are tender, drain. Add Boursin Garlic & Herb cheese and enough hot milk to make it creamy. Delicious!

2014 12 25

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bun Bo Hue An Nam

We were watching Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods and he actually talked about Bun Bo Hue An Nam in San Jose. It's located in Little Saigon at 740 Story Road. Bun Bo Hue is a spicy beef Vietnamese Soup. You can add bull "pizzle," otherwise known as penis to the soup. Pizzle tastes just like tendon.

Bun Bo Hue--small $8.95. Add pizzle for $0.30 more. Add the bean sprouts, banana blossom and Vietnamese greens on top.

2015 01 10

Monday, January 26, 2015

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's last Thursday's dinner at Flavor Bistro. Still $24.95 for 4 courses and 4 wine pairings.

Sogliola Con Peperonata--Local Sole Served in Slow Cooked Peperonata Topped with Spicy Aioli, paired with 2013 St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Chardonnay, Sonoma. I love Flavor's aioli--garlicky and delicious. This is one of my favorite first courses.

Risotto Con Funghi--Arborio Rice Cooked with Mushroom Pesto Flavored with Preserved Winter Truffles Topped with Roasted Organic Alba Mushrooms & Parmigiano-Reggiano, paired with 2012 La Merika Vineyards Pinot Noir, Central Coast. This had a slightly red peppery kick.

Stufato Di Maiale--Slow Cooked Tuscan Style Pork Pot Roast Garnished with Creamy Polenta & Autumn Vegetables & Citrus-Sage Gremolata, paired with 2012 Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvée Claret, Sonoma. The pot roast was so tender.

Dolci--Puff Pastry Filled with Lemon Curd & Fresh Blackberries Served in Strawberry Coulis, paired with 2011 Novy Family Wines 'Oley' Late Harvest Viognier, Russian River Valley. One word--delicious!

2015 01 22

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Luigi's in Bakersfield

In Bakersfield, we stopped at Luigi's to have lunch. It's a family-run institution.

All meals come with an antipasti plate--soft roll, salami, cheese, pepperoncini and marinated carrot. I loved the soft roll.

Large minestrone zuppa for $6.95--it was thick but I thought it was overloaded with cheese.

Pickled tongue for one--$2.95. I loved the vinegary tang of the dressing.

Large Pasta Bolognese with Italian Sausage (I chose the mild)--$12.95. The small had only 1 sausage. The sausage was homemade, lean and full of flavor. The Bolognese was good but it was slightly greasy.

Large Beef Ravioli--$12.95. The ravioli was homemade and plump. After lunch, I went next door to their deli and bought some frozen ravioli to take home.

Butterfinger Pie with Biscotti Cookie Crust--$4.50. This was delicious.

2014 12 26

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Le Cirque

Our splurge meal in Las Vegas was Le Cirque in the Bellagio--$135 degustation menu.

The inside of the restaurant.

I chose the rosemay baguette & cheese roll

then the pretzel roll

Amuse Bouche—corn veloute with espelette peppers. Great corn flavor.

Fall Salad of Baby Artichokes, Avocado, Foie Gras "Snow," Jamon Iberico, Parmesan, Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette. 

"Le Cirque" Lobster & Avocado Salad, Black Truffle Vinaigrette. Not much truffle flavor but it was a nice salad.

Sauteed Foie Gras, Pate Feuilletee, Dragon Heart Plum, Lavender, Pistachio, Ginger Gastrique. I love foie gras and am glad California can serve it again.

Florida Frog Legs, Potato Gnocchi, Corn Succotash, Parmesan, Lardons, Broccolini, Micro Mizuna. The frog legs were tender.

Paupiette of Potato Crusted Mediterranean Sea-Bass, Braised Leeks, Pinot Noir Reduction. The reduction was delicious but Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa makes one just like it, at a fraction of the cost.

Atlantic Cod En Croute, Ratatouille, Kalamata Olives, Tomato Confit, Potato Pearls, Baby Octopus, Sauce Vierge.

Venison with Wild Mushrooms. I loved the venison--rare and flavorful.

Organic Roasted Chicken, Asparagus, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Roasted Baby Potatoes, Saue Vin Jaune. I was surprised to see chicken on the degustation menu and thought it was a special chicken. I was wrong. This was a big disappointment. The chicken was dry and the chanterelle mushrooms didn't have enough flavor to make the dish special. I would have liked to see morels instead.

Mojito Granita Intermezzo. This was slightly bitter and wasn't much of a palate cleanser.

Tomme de Chevre. I did like the cheese course--Epoisse, Camembert, goat cheese 

Roasted Pineapple, White Chocolate Mousse, Mango & Passion Fruit Sorbet. The pineapple worked well with the white chocolate mousse and I loved the sorbet flavors.

Mignardise--croque en bouche, financier,  lemon tart, gelee

I asked to take the mignardise home and I got this beautiful box. The ladies were given a smaller box with a treat to enjoy later. I didn't get that--I guess they thought my mignardise would be enough to enjoy later.

Overall, the meal was good except for the disappointing chicken. My husband did get sick after the 3rd course (presumably from the lunch at Diablo's) so I ended up eating the remainder of his meal in addition to my 5 courses. It was a lot of food!

In terms of value, Andre's at the Monte Carlo was a better deal.

2014 12 23

Friday, January 23, 2015

Diablo's Cantina

Even after our lunch at 800 Degrees, we still had Food & Beverage credit to use. We decided to try Diablo's Cantina, the Mexican restaurant in the Monte Carlo.

Lunch special for $9.99--Cheese Enchilada, Chicken Taco, Rice & Beans. This was one of the worst meals I have had. The cheese was congealed, the rice was not fluffy and the beans had a coating on top. Plus, I think this is what made us sick 6 hours later.

2014 12 23

Thursday, January 22, 2015


My favorite restaurant in Las Vegas is Raku. I always go whenever I'm in Las Vegas. It's in the same strip mall as Monta Ramen & Snowflake, 5030 W. Spring Mountain Road. I didn't make reservations so it was an hour wait at 7 pm on a Monday night.

Raku is a Japanese grill restaurant.

Raku's Tofu--Whole for $5.50. This is the best tofu I have ever had. It's smooth, creamy and soft. Absolutely delicious, especially with the bonito flakes and crushed ginger.

Sashimi Salad--$14. Raw fish over spinach with a soy-vinegar dressing. Absolutely delicious.

You order grilled items. It's sort of like Japanese dim sum--order a variety to make your meal. Kobe Beef Tendon--$3.50. I don't know how they grill tendon so that it's tender but still holds up on a skewer.

Kurobuta Pork Cheek--$4.25. This wasn't as fatty as other pork cheek I have had. This was smoky and delicious.

Pork Ear--$3.00. Another of my favorites. I love the crunchy cartilage.

Duck with Balsamic Soy Sauce--$4.50. Tender and so delicious. The balsamic soy really makes the dish.

Enoki Mushroom Wrapped with Bacon--$3.00. This was hard to eat. It's hard to take a bite so it's best to put the whole thing in your mouth.

Direct Flamed Eggplant--$4.50. This was fabulous. I loved the smoky soft eggplant.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

800 Degrees

We had a food & beverage credit at the Monte Carlo and decided to use it on lunch at 800 Degrees. It's a Neopolitan pizza place.

Walk through the line, order the pizza and they make it in front of you. The pizza is then cooked in the 800 degree oven and takes just 1-2 minutes.

Pie of the Day--Ham & Pineapple with Fontina Cheese for $6.57--50% off. The crust was delicious. Just like in Naples--thin crust with flavorful tomatoes.

Small Gorgonzola Salad--$5. Butter lettuce, candied walnuts, dried cranberries and gorgonzola. I loved this salad and it was a large portion.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I found a voucher on Travelzoo--4-course tasting menu for two for $135 at Andre's in the Monte Carlo. It was a great deal.

We had the Amapola Creek Zinfandel with our dinner, which was delicious.

Amuse bouche--curry corn panna cotta with Retzini cracker and tomato/artichoke crostini. The retsina cracker was very mild and the curry corn panna cotta was delicious. The crostini was just okay.

Beef Carpaccio, Roasted Cauliflower Mousse, Baby Arugula, Caraway Cracker. I liked the cauliflower mousse but wasn't sure it worked with the carpaccio.

Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops, Rosemary Caviar, Chorizo, Roasted Pumpkin Puree. The scallop was perfectly cooked and overall the flavors worked well.

Sweetbread Blanquette, Vegetable Brunoise, Black Truffle, Puff Pastry. I love sweetbread and will have it whenever it's on the menu. This had a light flour coating and was perfect.

Pumpkin Risotto, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Red Wine Jus. This was creamy and delicious.

Pan Seared Duck Breast, Cherry Gastrique and Duck Jus, Spiced Duck & Butternut Squash Croquettes, Caramelized Endives. I also will order duck whenever it's on the menu. This was medium rare and tender.

Grand Marnier Souffle with Grand Marnier Sabayon. Light and fluffy--just the way a soufflé should be.

Chocolate Souffle with Chocolate Sauce. Sweeter than the Grand Marnier soufflé but I loved it.

Mignardise--chocolate truffles

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