Monday, September 27, 2010


Indian summer has hit San Francisco. The 86 degree weather made me want to eat fresh fruit, dip my toes in icy ocean water, drink a cold beer and eat mussels.
I made a quick shellfish pasta. Here is the recipe:
Chop some cloves of garlic, 4 or 5, and 2 shallots. Mince 1/2 cup of flat-leaf parsley. Boil a pot of water.
Once the water boils toss in your pasta (I used linguine). Saute the garlic and shallots in a little bit of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. After about two minutes sprinkle in about 1/2 teaspoon - 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, 2 tablespoons of parsley and a little bit of salt. Add in the shellfish (I used 1 pound of mussels and 1/2 pound of littleneck clams) and pour in 1/2- 3/4 cup dry white wine, re-salt and cover with lid. Keep at a simmer and check in 3-4 minutes, as soon as the shellfish has opened up you can turn off the heat. I tossed in 1 cup chopped fresh heirloom and cherry tomatoes with the warm sauce and served it atop the linguine with a generous sprinkling of parsley.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Roasted butternut squash with sage and mascarpone over pasta. This morning, before hustling to work I haphazardly began my cooking by cutting up the butternut squash into chunks (and miraculously emerged with all my digits intact - butternut squash: not easy to cut). Anyways, the recipe: throw the squash onto a sheet pan and toss it with a little olive oil, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and some salt and pepper. Place the squash into an oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool a bit. Cut into smallish cubes (whatever your preference really. Dice one shallot. (In the meantime, put on a pot of boiling water for the pasta). Heat up about two tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan and add in some whole sages leaves and allow to fry for a minute. Before they burn, add the shallot and saute until translucent.
Add the squash into the saute pan. Place the pasta in the boiling water. While the squash is sauteing, add 1/2 cup mascarpone, 3 tablespoons milk, salt and pepper(to taste) into a bowl and stir to combine. As the squash is cooking add a few spoonfuls (I added about 6) of pasta water from your pasta pot. When the pasta is ready remove from heat and drain. Turn the heat off the squash and add the mascarpone sauce; stir. You are ready to eat! Serve with freshly shaved parmesan.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I attended the low-key but very pleasant, stateside wedding celebration for a couple of friends this weekend (the formal affair was held in England) and here are a few quick shots of the fare. Straightforward but tasty tea-sandwiches and fabulous mini-quiches (lorraine, mmm ham-y goodness) followed by fresh fruit and a princess cake that was roughly the size of a football field. Cheers to Pete & Suze!

Thursday, September 16, 2010



Yield Wine Bar - We were going to be in Potrero Hill so we googled 'wine bar Potrero' and discovered this warm and welcoming neighborhood spot. With a happy hour special of a carafe of whatever they have deemed to be their daily special for $12 (in our case a decent sauvignon blanc from Chile). They have a list of $5 tapas-style plates jotted onto a chalkboard and in spite of our imminent plans to eat dinner we couldn't help but partake. We enjoyed their salad with fresh cucumbers, red leaf lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, and goat cheese with a meyer lemon vinaigrette. We also sampled their thai-style cod cakes with sriracha, avocado and arugula. The cakes themselves were moist and nicely seasoned. Sriracha on most anything makes me happy and this was no exception. The only failing for me was that they served the cod cakes on the uber-trendy slider buns which I thought were unnecessary and didn't really compliment the rest of the dish (I managed to choke it all down anyways of course . . .no sense wasting a perfectly good piece of bread). I must add that one of the highlights of Yield was its staff, all of whom were sweet, outgoing and made for an all around winning experience that makes me want to go back and settle in. It is worth taking a peek at Yield's "About Us" section to get a sense of the sweet neighborhood-y vibe.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I am clinging to summer. This lust for summer is manifesting itself in an obsession with melon and, when I tasted the perfect watermelon at the farmer's market, I had to have it. I bought an extra, heavy-duty canvas bag, paid $5 for my melon and started on my 40 minute walk home, melon in hand. So to celebrate my schlep I made watermelon margaritas.
Throw about 4 cups of watermelon (cut in cubes) into the blender along with a generous 1/2 cup of tequila, 2 or 3 tbsps triple sec and the juice of one lime (or two) and a tbsp of sugar. Blend and enjoy (feel free to sugar the rim of the glass, I just wasn't that industrious).

Monday, September 13, 2010


Canteen - BBE strikes again. As a food nerd, not only did I love the food at Canteen but I found it very exciting to watch chef Dennis Leary in action. Canteen is a pleasantly intimate restaurant, boasting a total of 19 seats. We sat at the counter and I happily peered over into the kitchen and watched Leary and his two sous chefs concoct our dishes. The menu changes each week and consists of 4 first courses, 4 entrees, and 4 desserts. They also have a succinct and quite reasonably priced wine list from which I enjoyed a citrus-y chenin blanc (Vinum Cellars "White Elephant").
We ate:
Sweetbreads succotash - the sweetbreads were lightly breaded and fried and served with a buttery sweet corn succotash accented by an elevated version of bacon bits. The sweetbreads were by far the best I've ever tasted, light and flavorful and perfectly complemented by the corn and bacon.

Wiener schnitzel (think breaded pork not dodgy fast food hot dogs) with horseradish and cabbage salad served with a chopped egg. This dish seemed very traditional and straightforward, executed perfectly. The schnitzel was crunchy, light and moist , while the horseradish provided a nice bite cushioned by the creaminess of the sauce.

Summer Beans Cassoulet with chanterelles and goat cheese - a tasty dish but not exactly what one expects when ordering a cassoulet. I expect a hearty french dish that has been simmering for approximately 3.5 weeks but this was a light salad-like dish of fresh beans sprinkled with a little goat cheese. Good but didn't really constitute a meal.

Dessert - normally I have the willpower to say no to desserts but I saw butterscotch pudding and my knees buckled. I will never be able to eat a jell-o butterscotch pudding again. Perfectly creamy accompanied by a generous dollop of thick whipped cream - the perfect dessert for a canteen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Final LA blog (for this trip) - Blue Plate Oysterette
I know I just went to Blue Plate butttttt we were in the mood for easy seafood and had never been. The newest addition to the Blue Plate family (of two) is in amazing location, right on Ocean with a view out to the palisades. They have dressed it up with a light beachy feel and put a few picnic style benches outside to enjoy the weather and the people watching.
We ate:
- shrimp cobb salad - generous portion, as Blue Plate is wont to do, and very tasty. The shrimp were cooked perfectly with no iodine-y flavor and the dressing was zesty and not too heavy.

- fish tacos with grilled mahi mahi, cabbage and a cilantro aioli, accompanied by fresh pico de gallo and guacamole - The fish tacos were surprisingly delicious. The fish was cooked to perfection, very moist and flaky, and the aioli was delicious (didn't taste at all like they had squeezed mayonnaise on the tacos) and the whole thing had a nice mild spice. The only weak part was the guacamole which tasted like they had used slightly overripe avocados but I don't want to take away - it was great. Closing thought - straightforward and easy to eat, perfect beach food. mm

Monday, September 6, 2010


Canelé, Atwater Village - great. They have a long open kitchen that is remarkable in that all the chefs look up and smile at you when you walk in, and not cheesy, mass factory smiles, but pleasant natural smiles AND it is even more remarkable in that all the chefs are focused and calm - no yelling, no visible madness, just cooking and enjoying.

We ate: farmers market salad (lush lettuce but a little lackluster as we had to have components removed due to an onion-family 'aversion' at the table :). I should also mention that they serve the most fabulous dark crusty bread that would make the French proud. For our mains: boeuf bourguignon with buttered noodles - more like what I think of as a beef short rib dish but with a nice hearty wine-y quality, roast chicken with socca (a speciality of southern France, socca is a chickpea crepe/cake, having had no former experience with socca, this was great with a nice crunch and Mediterranean flavors), French feta and harrissa, annnndddd I got a delightful arctic char with herbed couscous, baby beets, avocado and a sort of raita (yogurt, dill, & cucumber).

Dessert: we were feeling gluttonous so we got two: buena chica cheesecake, which was a generous sized individual cheesecake that tasted very traditional but not overly sweet, and fresh mulberries with creme fraiche ice cream and two gloriously buttery cookies. I am not one to order dessert out really because I have very base desires when it comes to desserts (ie oreos and costco apple pie) but the cheesecake was quite good. I felt compelled to order the mulberries because I love them and you hardly ever see them on menus because they are so fragile and don't last long at all once picked, these mulberries were nice but a little tart and had lost a little of their luster from bush to plate, but still it was fun. Canelé, I look forward to visiting you again.

Here is a little article from a Bon Appetit blogger who got to work for a day in the kitchen at Canelé and he has a picture of himself with the chef/owner Corina Weibel, who was one of the pleasant smiling faces I saw when I walked in - take a peek.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Another good home-cooked meal from LA-
We found ourselves pleasantly inundated with figs from our friends' trees, thus, an appetizer of figs with goat cheese (1/2 wrapped in prosciutto for the non-veggies).
For drinks I muddled basil, raspberry and white peach with a shot of gin, a few drops of agave nectar and topped it off with prosecco.

Dinner: Pasta sauce a la Mary - fresh garden tomatoes, lemon zest, basil, salt & pepper, and a light drizzle of olive oil. We did a big seafood bake of dungeness crab, lobster, and Alaskan king crab and tossed the seafood in with linguine and the fresh tomato sauce. The dungeness crab was sweet and moist and it always tastes that much better when you have slaved away to procure the perfect little claw morsel. mmm

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Based on my recent posts I feel like I am writing Super Size Me, unfortunately it appears I just crave burgers on a much too frequent basis. Thus, here goes another entry chronicling my burger binge.

Blue Plate -
I ordered: the burger (obviously) with sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions. I requested it medium-rare (my standard) and it arrived looking beautiful on the outside, very picturesque - I had high hopes . . . which were quickly dashed. The burger was a thin patty, a uniform drab grey on the inside. It was dry and flavorless. I normally love Blue Plate (I usually order the Turkey Club on La Brea Bakery wheat bread), it isn't haute cuisine, but it's good and consistent and this meal left me disappointed. My dining partner ordered the breakfast quesadilla which includes a hearty helping of cheese with eggs, bacon, tomato, salsa and avocado. It was perfectly tasty.

For dessert we couldn't resist a heaping slab of Susie Cake's red velvet cake. I hate to be a naysayer, but I tried SusieCakes ages ago and was disappointed. In spite of my past experience, this red velvet looked so enticing that I thought I'd give it another go. Once again, disappointment. It wasn't very cocoa-y and it was overly fluffy - almost the texture of angel food (exaggeration) as opposed to the proper dense cocoa-y confection it is meant to be. Verdict - I like Blue Plate but this was sub par.