Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Expresso Airport Parking, OAK

We left our car at Expresso Airport Parking, located at 880 Doolittle Drive. Cost is $9/day if you self-park outside and print out the coupon. There is also a coupon for $48/week but it only applies to the first week and you can't use 2 coupons. Calculate wisely before printing your coupon. They do not accept coupons on smart phones.

The shuttle service was convenient and it was less than 10 minutes to the airport. They drop you off at 4E and pick up there as well. They claim a shuttle comes by every 8-10 minutes but I can't confirm since the shuttle was already there when we returned from our trip.

2016 05 14

Monday, May 30, 2016


We just returned from 2 weeks in Norway. We had wanted to go for a while but always put it off because it's such an expensive country. With the exchange rate in a much more favorable range ($1 = 8.2-8.4 NOK instead of a low of 5 NOK in 2008), we bit the bullet and went.

Prior to leaving, we had lunch at Kong Tofu in Cupertino. Probably wasn't going to see cheap, good Asian food for a while so we wanted to fill up before leaving.

Banchans that came with the lunch. I love the tofu and chap chae (noodle dish).

Bean sprouts and seaweed were also good.

I always order the #10--Soft Tofu Stew with Clam, served with purple rice--$11.99. I get it mild, which is spicy enough for me.

2016 05 14

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mussels with Spicy Sausage

This was a delicious mussels dish. It tasted almost like chowder.

Mussels with Spicy Sausage

1 potato, peeled and diced
1 shallot, chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup cream
2 lbs mussels, cleaned
Italian parsley

Cook the potatoes in the microwave until tender but not mushy.

Saute shallots in olive oil and add Italian sausage. Brown and add white wine and cream. Add mussels and cover. When mussels have opened, add potatoes and Italian parsley.

Serve with crusty bread.

2016 05 06

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Sapphire Hill Winery

Sapphire Hill in Healdsburg has a 5-course food & wine pairing for $45/person. You can find a better deal on Travelzoo or Living Social.

Havarti grilled cheese with spicy tomato bisque, paired with 2014 Dry Gewurtztraminer ($24) & 2015 Cinque Blanca ($25). This was a great pairing. The grilled cheese was delicious as was the tomato bisque. The tomato bisque is easy to make: 4 cup fresh tomato or 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes, 3 cup tomato juice, 2 cups chicken broth (or Better than Bouillon). Bring to boil then add handful of fresh basil. Puree with hand blender then add 1/2 cup cream and a little butter.

The Cinque Blanca is a blend of Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay

Salad with brown sugar vinaigrette, dried cherries, candied walnuts and Laura Chenel goat cheese. The vinaigrette with made with 2:1 olive oil to balsamic vinaigrette This was paired with 2012 Pinot Noir, RVV ($42).

Brown butter sage orecchiette with peas and spicy sausage paired with 2012 Merlaux Merlot Blend ($25). The wine was merlot mixed with petite syrah.

Baked cheesy polenta with meatballs paired with 2013 Cinque Gemma ($40). The wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Nero D'Avola, Barbera, and Nebbiolo.

Raspberry jalapeño brownie with salted caramel paired with 2013 Zafira Zinfandel ($40) and 2013 Porky's 2.0 ($29). The dessert was absolutely delicious and paired well with the wines.

2016 05 07

Friday, May 13, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's this week's Thursday Night Dinner at Flavor Bistro in downtown Santa Rosa. Hard to believe it's still $24.95 for 4 courses with 4 wine pairings.

Guazzetto--Day Boat Scallops, Jumbo Prawns, Mussels & Calamari Served in Heirloom Tomato Brodetto Di Vino Bianco, Sweet Basil, Garnished with Petite Flatbreads & Saffron Aioli, paired with Korbel Winery Sparkling Brut Rosé, Méthode Champenoise, California

Risotto Con Funghi--Arborio Rice Cooked with Mushroom Pesto, Treviso & Fontina Cheese, paired with 2014 De Loach Vineyards Pinot Noir, California

Agnello Alla Griglia--Grilled Lavender-Marinated Lamb Loin Chop Garnished with Slow Cooked Sweet Red Pepper Ragù & Creamy Black Olive Polenta Topped with Garlic-Herb Pesto, paired with 2013 St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Old Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma

Crostata Di Pera--Organic Pear Galette Served with Mascarpone Custard, paired with 
2012 Bonneau Wines Nectar de Carneros, Late Harvest Chardonnay, Estate Grown

2016 05 12

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cafe Maddalena

We had dinner at Cafe Maddalena in Dunsmuir. It's located at 5801 Sacramento Ave.

Crispy Frog Legs with Spring Onion Sauce--$13.50. The legs were huge and very tender. Tasted just like chicken.

Rabbit Braised in Tarragon Cream Sauce with Fingerling Potatoes, Carrots & Green Beans--$24.50. There were 3 boneless slices of rabbit, slightly dry but the tarragon sauce was delicious.

2016 04 30

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

McCloud, CA

McCloud is a tiny town with a population of 1100 and 1 block downtown area.

Few stores in town

Sign found in one of the stores

Mercantile building

The train station was destroyed in a fire in 1990 and only this portion remained.

You can see Mt. Shasta from the town.

McCloud Hotel

Adorable porch

2016 04 30

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Three Waterfalls

McCloud River's Three Waterfalls is an easy 3.8 mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 300 feet. You can also hike one way and have someone meet you at upper falls with a car. There's car access to Middle Falls as well if you don't think you can make it all the way.

Lower Falls. There's a picnic area nearby. Be careful with splinters from the picnic tables.

Middle Falls.

Middle Falls from the observation point near the parking lot.

Upper Falls

2016 04 30

Monday, May 9, 2016

Pho Lee Hoa Phat, Vacaville

We went to Mt. Shasta and stopped to grab a quick dinner. Yelp directed us to Pho Lee Hoa Phat, just off Highway 80 in Vacaville. Address is 88 Peabody Road.

Fresh Spring Rolls--$6.25 for 3 rolls. Typical spring rolls with peanut sauce.

Small #2--$7.50. Special combo with thin slices of steak, well done brisket & flank, tendon & tripe, meat balls. This was just the right size for me. Enough food but not too filling. The meats were good but the broth lacked depth of flavor.

2016 04 29

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

This was last night's Thursday Night Dinner at Flavor Bistro in downtown Santa Rosa. Four courses with wine pairing for $24.95.

Tortino Di Granchio--Sautéed Dungeness Crab Cake Garnished with Basil Aioli & Crispy Shoestring Sweet Potatoes, paired with 2014 Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Pasta Al Savor--Organic Pasta Served in Prosciutto Sauce Finished with Fresh Ricotta & Parmigiano Reggiano Topped with Walnut Gremolata, paired with 2013 Alexander Valley Vineyards Redemption Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

Brasato Di Maiale--Slow Cooked Pork Medallion Served in Sugo D'Arrosto Garnished with 
Creamy Polenta & Heirloom Tomato-Zucchini Ragù, paired with 2012 La Posta Angel Paulucci Malbec, Ugarteche Vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina

Crostata Di Ciliegie--Cherry Galette Served with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream, paired with 2015 Centorri Moscato di Pavia I.G.T., 

2016 05 05

Dijon Mustard Pork Loin

Another easy dish to make but it does take some advance preparation. I adapted this recipe from the Neelys and you can find it on

Dijon Mustard Pork Loin

1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless pork loin, brined
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives
1 tablespoon freshly chopped tarragon leaves
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Brine Recipe

1 gallon water
1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar

Boil 1 cup of the 1 gallon of water and dissolve salt & sugar. When cool, add pork loin. Brine for 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Dry pork loin with paper towel.

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard and herbs together. In a large ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Sear pork loin on all sides. Brush with mustard sauce and roast in the preheated oven until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer,. The recipe advised roasting for 20 minutes but I found it took closer to 50 minutes to reach 140 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

2016 04 25

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Baked Zucchini

Here's another relatively healthy dish. It's so easy to make.

Baked Zucchini

2 large zucchini, cut into coins
Olive oil
Italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub oil on zucchini and coat with bread crumbs. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until zucchini is soft.

2016 04 25

Monday, May 2, 2016

Kale Salad

After all the meat I've been eating, I needed some healthy vegetables. I love kale salad and it's so easy to make a salad with yogurt dressing.

Kale Salad

1 bunch kale, leaves stripped from spine and chopped
1/2 cup craisin
1/2 cup pine nuts
Yogurt dressing

Mix yogurt dressing and add to kale. Massage by hand. Add craisin and pine nuts.

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, grated

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Sunday, May 1, 2016


My husband used his sausage to make kefta. He added equal part sausage and ground beef and added a package of Sadaf Ground Kabab Seasoning. This was a great use of his sausage. The kefta was flavorful and the spice from the sausage was toned down.

2016 04 26