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Friday, September 30, 2016

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's this week's dinner at Flavor Bistro in downtown Santa Rosa. Four courses with wine pairing for $24.95.

Bruschetta Con Gamberoni--Topped with Grilled Marinated Jumbo Prawns, Wild Arugula, Tomato-Basil Salsa & Spicy Saffron Aioli, paired with 2014 Gainey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley

Gnocchi Di Patate Dolci--Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi Served in Gorgonzola Cream Topped with Parmesan-Walnut Gremolata, paired with 2012 Foris Vineyards Pinot Noir, Rogue Valley, Oregon

Bistecca Ai Ferri--Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak Garnished with Stone Oven Roasted Treviso, Balsamic Glaze, Garlic Candy & Sweet Corn Passata in Sage Brown Butter, paired with 2013 St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Old Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma

Limone-Mirtillo Vol-Au-Vent--Puff Pastry Filled with Lemon Curd Topped with Blackberries Served in Strawberry Coulis, paired with 2014 Colli Euganei Vignalta Moscato L.H., D.O.C., Italy

2016 09 29

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hock Farm Craft & Provisions

Part of the Farm to Fork Festival was Restaurant Week. We had dinner at Hock Farm Craft & Provisions, located at 1415 L Street in Sacramento. They featured a 3-course dinner for $35. It was difficult to find street parking because there was an event at a local auditorium. Valet was $7.

Grilled Octopus with New Potatoes, Saffron Aioli, Mohlo Cru. Our server said this was sous vide for 45 minutes then placed in an ice bath for 45 minutes. The process was repeated 5 times. The octopus was delicious. My only complaint was too much aioli.

Gazpacho--Cucumber, Tomato, Onion, Micro Cilantro and Avocado. This was not blended but it was refreshing and had a nice flavor.

Warm Nicasio Valley Cheese Raclette, served with Mission Figs, Marcona Almonds, Saba, Membrillo and Cornichon 

Chicken Leg Confit with Compressed Watermelon with Basil, Pickled Chili, Balsamic Vinegar, Braised Mustard Greens, Bacon & Habanero Jack Biscuit. The chicken was delicious--tender with crispy skin.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Jimmy Nardello Peppers, Grilled Squash, Muscatel Glazed Cippollini Onions, Romesco. The steak was very flavorful but again the only complaint was too much Romesco on the plate.

Lemon Souffle Cake with Genepy Glazed Blueberries. This was delicious. Light, tangy and the perfect amount of sweetness.

Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée with Grilled Peach Coulis--the was very creamy. It was hard to decide which was the better dessert.

Overall, we were so happy with our meal. It was a great end to a very fun day. We wished we could have stayed for the finale of the event--dinner on the Tower Bridge. 800 people were expected.

2016 09 24

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Happy Hour at Foundation

As we walked back to our hotel from the Festival, we came across Foundation Restaurant & Bar, located at 400 L Street. They advertised a Happy Hour on Saturday, beginning at 4 pm. We needed a cold drink and dropped in.

Sangria--$6.50. Nice and refreshing on a hot day.

Margarita on the rocks--$6.

2016 09 24

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Slightly Skewed

At the Farm to Fork Festival, there were also many food trucks.

This was Slightly Skewed, featuring grilled Asian street food.

Ginger Scallion Chicken--$3. Bulgogi Beef--$3. Fried Rice Balls of Chinese Sausage, Scallions, Shiitake Mushrooms--$3.50. The beef was the best--juicy, tender and flavorful. The chicken was okay but I didn't like the rice balls--too mushy and not enough flavor.

Grilled String Beans with Oyster Sauce, Sesame Oil and Black Pepper--$3.50. This was good. The string beans were cooked well and not too salty.

2016 09 24

Monday, September 26, 2016

Farm to Fork Festival, Sacramento

This last weekend was the Farm to Fork Festival in Sacramento.

The Farm to Fork Festival showcased where our food and drinks come from.

The festival was held on Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm and was free. There were over 75,000 attendees but it didn't feel crowded because the festival was spread out over several city blocks near the state capitol.

There were farmers. This was an endive farm and they gave out free endives.

Grocery stores were also represented. This was a display at the Raley's booth. They're the official sponsor of the event. At their booth, Raley's sold beautiful local fruits and vegetables that were inexpensive. There was a beautiful basket of figs for $3.

SaveMart also had a giant booth. You walked through their display which highlighted local farmers, and got 3 free tacos--this was swordfish with strawberry jalapeño salsa. They also had a lamb taco and a chicken taco. All of them were delicious.

Breweries and wineries were present. This was a truck with Crispin hard cider. You could get free tastes or buy a pint for $5.

I loved the festival. There were cooking demonstrations, free giveaways and free tastings. Although it was nearly 90 degrees, it didn't feel that hot because half the festival was in the shade of the buildings. There was free iced water at several booths. I'm already planning to attend next year's event.

2016 09 24

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Kong Tofu & BBQ Korean Cuisine

Kong Tofu & BBQ Cuisine has become my go-to place when I crave Korean food. It's located at 19626 Stevens Creek Blvd in Cupertino

I love their banchans, especially the chap chae (Korean noodles), tofu (upper left) and sea weed.

I'm not as big a fan of their bean sprouts, zucchini, potatoes or kim chee.

I always get the Clam Soft Tofu Stew--$11.99. I just love the flavors. Mild is plenty spicy for me.

2016 09 02

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Friday Night Dinner

I couldn't make it to Thursday night dinner at Flavor Bistro this week but was able to make it to Friday night's dinner. Friday night's dinner is a 5-course dinner with 7 wine pairings, now for only $34.95. It used to be $49.95, so this is a great deal.

 Saumon Fumé--Smoked Salmon Carpaccio Served with Sweet Onion Flatbread, paired with 2013 North by Northwest Riesling, The Benches Vineyard, Wallula Gap, Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley. The Riesling had a petroleum nose but had a nice mouth feel.

Coquilles Saint-Jacques--Pan Roasted Day Boat Scallops Served in Citrus-Sauternes Sauce Garnished with "Fennel Marmalade" & Crispy Potatoes, paired with 2014 d'Arenberg Viognier-Marsanne, The Hermit Crab, McLaren, Australia

Macaroni Au Fromage--"French Mac & Cheese"--Petite Organic Pasta, Roasted Garlic-Cheese Sauce Flavored with Shallot Confit, paired with 2014 Château Mont-Redon, Côtes Du Rhône, Provence, France & 2014 E. Guigal Côtes Du Rhône, Provence, France. The Chateau Mont-Redon was a much better pairing with the mac & cheese but the Guigal was better by itself.

Filet Au Poivre--Sliced Black Pepper Crust Filet Mignon Served in Cognac Reduction Finished with a Touch of Cream, Garnished with Glazed Vegetables & Roasted Mushrooms, paired with 2012 St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Merlot, Sonoma Valley & 2014 La Posta Angel Paulucci Malbec, Ugarteche Vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina. I liked the Merlot much better than the Malbec.

Poire Napoléon--Chardonnay Poached Pear, Chocolate Wafers & Vanilla Custard, paired with 2013 Terre Rouge Muscat-à-Petits Grains, Shenandoah Valley

2016 09 23

Friday, September 23, 2016

Koi Palace

We were celebrating a special birthday and the birthday girl wanted to have suckling pig. This was available at Koi Palace. They have several locations. We went to the one in Daly City in the Serramonte Plaza, 365 Gellert Blvd.

The suckling pig menu is $728 Mon-Fri, $888 Sat-Sun & Holidays. This is a banquet for 10 but there was enough food for 15-20 people. Not sure why such a big differential depending on day of the week.

There was a small bowl of peanuts and pickled radish for all of us to share. This wasn't enough, especially since it took 40 minutes before the first course arrived.

We had several kids with us and ordered beef chow fun for them. This was one of the better dishes of the night.

Fried rice was also pretty good.

Hand Roasted Whole Suckling Pig. This was the star of the evening. The skin was crispy and had little fat. It was paired with buns and hoisin sauce. After we finished the skin, the pig was taken away and cut up.

Crispy Fried Jumbo Prawns Glazed with Garlic Sauce. This was terrible. The shrimp came with shells and heads and they were all clumped together. There wasn't much flavor and some of the shells were missing the shrimp meat.

Stir-Fried Scallops and Tender Beef Cubes with Color Bell Pepper and XO Sauce. I was also not impressed with this dish. While the beef was indeed tender, the scallops were average size and the dish didn't have much flavor.

Double Boiled Bird's Nest with Smoked Ham, Wild Bamboo Pith and Dark Chicken. The broth was flavorful but I couldn't appreciate the bird's nest, bamboo pith or dark chicken. I don't understand what the big deal is with these ingredients.

Bailing Mushrooms over Napa Cabbage. I wasn't a fan of this either. Non-descript mushrooms in a bland sauce.

Chopped pieces of the suckling pig. I liked this. The meat was tender and the skin was crispy.

Whole Abalone and Fish Maw in Oyster Essence. The whole abalone is that tiny abalone on the right. Another bland dish with nondescript brown sauce.

Steamed Fresh Catch of the Day. This was good. The fish was well prepared and the sauce actually had flavor.

Whole Maine Lobster in Cream Sauce Over Crispy Noodles. Another unimpressive dish. Not much lobster meat.

The banquet ended with steamed buns with custard inside and mango jello, which were both quite good. There was also steamed sponge cake but we were so full by then, we couldn't even eat it.

Overall, this banquet was not worth the cost. It was so disappointing. Most of the dishes didn't have much flavor. Yes, there were expensive ingredients but they didn't showcase them well. Skip this banquet.

2016 09 16

Thursday, September 22, 2016

An Anniversary Dinner

We celebrated a special anniversary and my husband prepared dinner. He even pulled out the fancy china.

Quail in a Cranberry Sauce. He brined this first and it was so moist and tender.

Panzanella Salad with homegrown tomatoes, cucumber, green peppers and croutons.

Ribeye Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms. The ribeye was very marbled and tender but it didn't have much meat flavor. I think it needed the bone. The mushrooms were sautéed in wine and had depth of flavor.

Lemon Gelato in Lemon Shell. This was very smooth.

2011 Hartwell Cabernet Sauvignon. This still had a lot of tannins and can age a little more. 

2016 08 19