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Thursday, April 30, 2015


One of my favorite cookies is snickerdoodles. I just wish you didn't need to use shortening.

This recipe is from the Food Network:

2 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup shortening
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

3 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat together the shortening and butter.  Add 1 ½ cups sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.

Mix the 3 Tbs sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl.  Roll the dough, by hand, into balls.  Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar.  Flatten the balls into ½-inch thick disks, spacing them evenly on unlined cookie sheets.  Bake until light brown, but still moist in the center, about 12 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

Makes 36 large or 55 small cookies.

2015 04 02

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cheese Tarts

This is such an easy appetizer yet impressive to serve.

Cheese Tarts

1/2 small onion, diced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 package Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese
Phyllo cups

Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions are caramelized. Let cool then mix in Boursin cheese.

Fill phyllo cups with the cheese mixture and heat according to the phyllo cup instructions.

Serve while still warm.

2015 04 10

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Boonville General Store

After the Goat Festival, we stopped by the Boonville General Store to have lunch.

It's located on Hwy 128 in Boonville, right next door to the Seabass Tasting Room.

Grilled Organic Chicken Salad on Mixed Greens--$10.95. This was a huge portion and filling. The chicken was well grilled and the strawberries and pickled onions added a nice sweet taste.

Williebird Smoked Turkey and Swiss with Pickled Red Onions, Mayo and Stone Ground Mustard--$10.95. The turkey was nicely smoked and I liked the mustard taste. My husband wished there was more turkey to cover the entire sandwich.

2015 04 25

Monday, April 27, 2015

Anderson Valley Goat Festival

This was the inaugural Anderson Valley Goat Festival. My husband is into all things goat so we went.    
Admission is a suggested $5 donation.

There was a goat parade, demonstrations on how to make goat yoghurt & goat cheese, a birria (goat stew) cook-off and vendors selling things made with goat products. 

Angora goats--producer of mohair.

The Goat Festival was part of the Wildflower Show. The Wildflower Show was free.

2015 04 25

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria

Diavola in Geyserville has always gotten high ratings on Yelp and we finally got a chance to try it. It's located at 21021 Geyserville Avenue.

Breadsticks served to each table. Rosemary-flavored crispy thin pizza dough--I could eat these all day.

Rigatoni Pork Cheek Ragu--Slow Braised Pork & Beef, Basil & Pecorino for $18. This had a nice flavor but it was floating in a layer of grease.

Braised Beef Tripe alla Florentina--Basil, Crostini, Parmigiano & Fried Egg for $14. I love tripe and this was well prepared but I like the tripe at Ciccio in Yountville better. This dish had a lot of carrots and I'm not a carrot fan.

2015 04 24

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Jeffrey's Hillside Cafe

After one of our 7 mile Sunday morning hikes, we went to Jeffrey's Hillside Cafe for breakfast. It's located at 2901 4th Street in Santa Rosa.

Joe's Special--$12.50. Scrambled eggs, sautéed ground beef, spinach, mushrooms, green onions and tomato, topped with asiago cheese, served with country potatoes and choice of toast. I asked for mine without green onions and I don't know if it made a difference but it was bland. I chose a biscuit, which I didn't like. It was too soft, fell apart and was too greasy.

Biscuits & Gravy--$11.50. Buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy, two eggs and hash browns or country potatoes. There wasn't much gravy and the sausage was skimpy. The biscuits were too soft to hold up to the gravy. The hash browns were crispy and good though--the only saving grace of the dish.

2015 04 12

Friday, April 24, 2015

Thursday Night Dinner

Another great Thursday dinner at Flavor Bistro:

Sogliola Con Peperonata--Local Sole Served in Slow Cooked Peperonata Topped with Spicy Saffron Aioli, paired with 2013 Calera Wine Company Viognier, Central Coast

Quaglia Arrosto--Pan Roasted Quail Served in Cannellini Bean Ragù Flavored with Tomato Confit, Organic Escarole, Garlic Candy & Gratin Di Pane, paired with 2013 Manifesto Wines Zinfandel, Lodi

Bistecca Ai Ferri--Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak Garnished with Organic Fingerling Potatoes, Ragoût of Green Garlic, Spring Mushrooms, Sweet Peas & Carrots Served in Mustard Brown Sauce, paired with 2012 Chappellet Winery Mountain Cuvée, Cabernet Blend, Napa Valley

Dolci--Puff Pastry Filled with Lemon Curd & Blueberries Served in Strawberry Coulis, paired with 2014 Vietti Moscato d'Asti, Cascinetta D.O.C.G., Italy

2015 04 23

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Third Street Aleworks

Third Street Aleworks, located at 610 3rd Street in Santa Rosa has a Happy Hour from 3-6 pm. On Tuesdays, they have $2.50 pints and $9 pitchers all day and night.

We also tried some of their Happy Hour Bites:

Spicy Asian Chicken Bites with Jasmine Rice. This was 4 pieces of breaded and fried chicken pieces with a spicy sauce for $2.50. Too much breading.

Beer Battered Onion Rings for $2. These were slightly greasy but it was a big portion.

Bratwurst with Sauerkraut for $2.50. I liked this. It was a good-sized bratwurst loaded with sauerkraut on a hotdog bun.

2015 04 21

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Of course, the other must-stop at the Ferry Building is La Porteno. I got the dulce de leche alfajor for $2. These are like shortbread cookies with a caramel center. I much prefer these than the real ones from Argentina.

2015 04 18

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Roli Roti Porchetta

Since were were in San Francisco, I couldn't resist getting a porchetta sandwich at Roli Roti at the Ferry Building.

Rolled porchetta with crispy skin.

Brussel sprouts for $5.50--in the box in back. Small Roasted Potatoes for $3. Porchetta sandwich for $9.50. The sandwich is delicious with caramelized onions, arugula and Acme bread. I love the herbs--which we found out today was rosemary, thyme, sage and dill.

2015 04 18

Monday, April 20, 2015

Who Needs the Amazing Race When There's Geocaching?

After the audition, my race partner introduced me to Geocaching. How come I had never heard of it and it's been played since 2000? Here's the link to the website:

Using a mobile app, you read clues to help you find the location of a hidden box. You can also use GPS coordinates. I prefer the clues because it's more like a game.

We were near the Ferry Building and found a geocache nearby at Mission & Steuart. It was called One to All.

Fortunately, this had a difficulty of 1 and was on easy terrain--perfect for our first geocache. We were so excited when we found it! I love treasure hunts and this was a great game.

Apparently, there are geocaches all over the world. Can't wait to find more of them.

2015 04 18

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Amazing Race Auditions

As you can probably guess, one of my favorite shows is "The Amazing Race." They held an open audition in San Francisco yesterday at the Marmot store near Union Square. Auditions started at 9 am and ended at 2 pm.

We got there at 7:30 am and the line was already down the block, around the corner and 3/4 of the way down the 3rd block. I counted approximately 160 teams in line already and wasn't sure if we would make it in. I had read some blogs about the audition and learned that 3 cameras were set up. I figured if they did an audition every 5 minutes, that would allow 36 auditions per hour. In five hours, they would be able to process 180 teams.

At 8:30 am, they started handing out numbered tickets. We were Team #157. Not too bad, since I thought we would be team #160. We were told we could leave and come back before the auditions started. They would be processing 60 teams per hour.

We returned at 11 am and found our place in line again. We waited another 30 minutes outside then were allowed inside the store. We signed a Video Release and Waiver and waited another 15 minutes before being escorted downstairs to the taping room.

We were given instructions to look at the camera and talk about ourselves. We were asked why we would make a great team then given 15 seconds to sell ourselves. The whole thing lasted 2-3 minutes.

We were excited we had tried out. Now, we'll see if we hear from them again.

2015 04 18

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cavaliere's Bakery & Cafe

Someone brought in baked goods from Cavaliere's so I went in search of the bakery. It's located at 2600 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa.

Display of baked goods. The apple dumplings in the foreground looked like they were baked in a muffin tin with a folded top.

I had a sticky bun for $2.95. It was delicious and not too sweet. It wasn't as crispy as Healdsburg's Downtown Creamery but just as good. My husband had a poppy seed muffin for $2.50. He loved the almond flavoring.

I did notice that their cakes were not perfectly decorated. They were lopsided and the frosting was not smooth. I didn't taste them but if I needed to bring a cake somewhere, I'm not sure I would show up with one of these. It would look like I made it.

2015 04 04

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's this week's dinner. Prawns with couscous, risotto and pork pot roast--all my favorites. Only thing missing was the quail.

Gamberoni Con Couscous--Grilled Marinated Jumbo Prawns Served with Arugula-Sweet Pepper Couscous & Olive-Herb Salsa, paired with 2013 Navarro Vineyards & Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Cuvée 128, Mendocino  

Risotto Con Salsiccia--Arborio Rice Cooked with Homemade Italian Sausage, Sweet Onions, Brodetto Di Pomodoro, Sage & Parmigiano-Reggiano, paired with 2013 Sean Minor Pinot Noir, Central Coast

Stufato Di Maiale--Slow Cooked Tuscan Style Pork Pot Roast Garnished with Creamy Polenta, Spring Vegetables & Citrus-Sage Gremolata, paired with 2013 Piancornello Campo Della Macchia Rosso, Toscana I.G.T., Tuscany, Italy

Dolci Assortiti--Point Reyes Blue Cheese & Candied Walnuts with Petite Chocolate Tart Topped with Chocolate Mousse, paired with 2009 Easton Wines Zinfandel Obscura "Late Harvest", Rinaldi Vineyard, Fiddletown, Amador. The Easton Zinfandel is so jammy and syrupy--absolutely delicious as a dessert wine.

2015 04 16

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blueberry Cobbler

I found this recipe for Blueberry Cobbler on

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour melted butter into a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and milk. Pour evenly over the butter. In a bowl combine berries, water and sugar. Spoon evenly over batter, but do not stir. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Batter rises to become buttery top crust.

This was a disappointing recipe. It was undercooked despite cooking for over 1 hour. It was also runny. I think the recipe should have been more specific in terms of the type of baking dish. Next time, I will bake it in an 9x13" baking dish and not add water to the blueberries.

2015 03 29

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mango Garden

Mango Garden is located at 6154 Bollinger Road in West San Jose. It's a Southeast Asian restaurant.!menu/c1ebj

Roti Prata--Homemade Indian bread with curry dip--$3.25. This was light and airy and the curry sauce was delicious. Best dish of the meal.

Roti Murtabak--Homemade Indian bread with beef, onion and curry dip--$8.95. This was not worth it. The beef and onion was too heavy for the roti.

Green Papaya Salad--shredded papaya pickled with cashew nuts and peanuts--6.95. I didn't like this. It had a weird taste and the papaya was limp.

Green Curry Chicken--chicken with assorted vegetables in chef's special curry sauce--$10.95. This was okay. Nothing special.

Balachan Kangkung--stir fried in chef's special shrimp paste--$10.95. My husband hated the shrimp paste and thought it was disgusting. This is from someone who has eaten mopani worms in Africa, deep fried bugs in Thailand and durian. I could tolerate it but wouldn't order it again. It was the only dish we didn't finish.

Sauteed Eggplant in Garlic Sauce--$9.95. This had no flavor.

Char Kway Teow Noodles--stir fried rice noodle with shrimp, squid, egg and bean sprouts--$9.95. This was delicious. I liked the flavors.

Mango Snow Ice--$7.95 for large. This tasted more like shaved ice. It wasn't creamy at all. I prefer Snow Zen in Mountain View:

2015 03 21

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Osteria, Palo Alto

I hadn't been to Osteria in a while and had a craving for their calamari steak. Osteria is an institution in Palo Alto--it's been in business for nearly 30 years. It's located at 247 Hamilton Ave.

Polenta alla Griglia--with wild mushrooms in a tomato sauce--$10. I liked this dish. Nice tomato & mushroom flavor with soft polenta cakes.

Cuore di Palma--heart of palm with roasted pepper--$8. Loved the garlicky, creamy dressing.

Pappardelle Osteria--large spinach noodle with prosciutto, mushrooms, tomato sauce--$14.50. This is another of my favorites. I love the sauce.

Calamari Steak Meuniere--lemon butter sauce--$20. The calamari has a light egg batter and the sauce is delicious.

Saltimbocca Romana--rolled veal with prosciutto and Teleme cheese--$22. My husband thought the veal was dry.

Spinach with Sauce--1/2 lb of spinach--$8. This is another of my favorites. I like the soft spinach and meat sauce. I wish I could make this.

2015 02 14

Monday, April 13, 2015

Satsuma Sushi, Mountain View

On Sundays from 5-9 pm, Satsuma Sushi has an all-you-can eat sushi special. It's located at 705 E. El Camino Real in Mountain View. There were 5 of us and we had all of this.

Alaska (salmon & avocado) roll & Hawaiian (tuna & avocado) roll.

Sunset (California roll topped with yellowtail), Sunrise (California roll topped with tuna), Spider (fried soft-shell crab)

Another Alaska roll & Chicken roll

Salmon Skin & Rainbow (California roll with assorted fish) 

Ebi Tempura (Fried Shrimp) & Spicy Tuna.

Spicy Sake (Salmon) Roll & Sake Roll

Golden Californian (deep fried California roll)

Sunset Roll & Ebi Tempura Roll

My favorite of the evening was the salmon skin roll!

2015 02 15