Thursday, June 22, 2017

dinner at maybeck's in san francisco

I had a wonderful dinner last night with my dear girlfriends to celebrate my birthday.  My friends really pulled out all the stops--starting with, it was a surprise!  I was to meet Judy downtown at 5:00 and then, see what would happen. We began with a nice glass of wine at the Four Seasons. We then took an Uber and arrived at Maybeck's on Scott Street in the Marina. Inside, my friends had set up the private room with flowers and place cards and candles--it was beautiful!

Wednesday night Maybeck's features Beef Wellington and if that is not fantastic enough, at 7 pm promptly, you are invited into the kitchen where chef Eric Lowe talks about the preparation and makes the first cut into the Wellingtons---they were a thing of beauty!  Back at the table, we started with grilled/smoked artichokes with remoulade and halibut crudo with chili/lemon olive oil.  The Beef Wellington was served with black truffle au jus---creamed spinach was served on the side.  The beef was so tender you could cut it with your fork.  My dear friends continued the surprise with a cake made by SusieCakes on Chestnut Street, with a sweet butter cream frosting just like you remember from childhood and the perfect birthday cake!  Truly a wonderful evening I will never forget!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

hash brown and sausage breakfast frittata

Happy Easter everyone!  I wanted to start the morning with a lovely breakfast frittata that is really an easy one pan meal! Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Layer a 10" cast iron skillet with defrosted shredded or cubed hash browns, saute 1/2 lb reg or hot sausage with 6 sliced baby zucchini and a quarter of a yellow onion, diced. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk 6 eggs with a dash of salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Place the sausage mixture on the hash browns, top with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.  Pour the egg mixture in and top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake 26 minutes--rest 5 minutes and enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

mod pizza makes it simple and delicious!

I was coming home from Crescent City back to San Francisco on Monday and the new route to SF includes a stopover in Portland.  The lovely woman in the seat next to me lived in Portland, but as we were exiting the plane, instead of heading right to baggage, she said she can't leave the airport till she had pizza---I said "what pizza?' and she said "Mod Pizza!"  Well, I was going to have to try it and am I glad I did--or maybe not, because the closest Mod Pizza to me is in Alameda or Daly City---tough for a quick fix.  Mod Pizza  was started in Seattle in 2008 and now has over 200 locations---what a story, read all about it on their website, The concept is a simple, small menu done well. Choose from either a 6" or 11" ultra thin crust---add from an array of dozens of toppings all for the same price---baked in minutes in a super hot pizza oven till those lovely crispy bubbles form on the crust, taste, die and go to heaven!  Want sauce like buffalo, barbecue or balsamic drizzled on or on the side--no problem, no extra charge.  Want a breakfast pizza--they have that too!  My choice, the Mad Dog, with pesto base instead of red sauce, pepperoni, sausage and ground beef.  Choice number 2 (yes, I had to test 2) red sauce with pepperoni, hot sausage, mushrooms, bell pepper, red onion and pesto drizzle---amazing.  Oh, and IF you need it, they have salads and shakes as well!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

new year's eve at e & o kitchen and the shelton theater

Brendan came into town for New Year's Eve and as always we had a wonderful time.  We didn't have to go far to have a lovely evening right on Union Square.  We started with dinner at E and O Kitchen and Bar on Sutter Street and if you haven't been, make a plan to go--the atmoshere is casual chic, the food is divine Asian fusion with great cocktails--even housemade ginger ale and they have a great happy hour from 3-6, Mon-Sat.  Really nice, you could order directly off the regular menu on NYE--dinner included ahi tuna tartar, pad thai noodles with gulf white prawns, wood roasted black cod on water spinach and of course a very tender shaking beef with tomatoes, chilis and watercress.  We only had to travel a block to the Shelton Theater for a super hilarious, well priced comedy show called "Cheaper Than Therapy".  This long standing club in the heart of downtown SF has a cool downstairs bar and will definitely remind you of a below street New York bar.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

bluff cove olive oil and vinegars in la

I was recently in LA and my dear friend Brendan turned me on to the most exceptional olive oil and vinegars in the area--Bluff Cove Olive Oil Company.  I am obsessed with the Black Mission Fig balsamic and the Spanish Picual extra virgin olive oil--perfect to dress delicate arugula or marinate chicken--black cherry balsamic is my next puchase--your bottles are filled on site from a huge selection of organic imported oils and vinegars.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

la, food and the pageant of the masters

Just got back from a wonderful visit to LA with my dear friend, Brendan Eisan.  It was a belated birthday celebration for me and an early birthday celebration for him.  One of our adventures included going to the amazing living art show, The Pageant of the Masters, in Laguna Beach.  Laguna Beach is a artsy beach town 2 hours south of LA--yes the traffic was awful getting down there--but worth it.  Part of the world-renowned annual Festival of the Arts, the festival's highlight is The Pageant of the Masters.  The festival was started after the end of the depression as a means to draw business back to the art colony at Laguna Beach.  The Art Association struck on the idea of a summer art festival, to be held the week following the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics in hopes that visitors would travel south to Laguna Beach before journeying home.  A smash hit at the festival was the Living Pictures show created by artist and vaudevillian Lolita Perine. She dressed local residents in costume and seated them behind a makeshift frame.  In 1935 Roy Ropp, a local construction worker, realtor and amateur artist, expanded Perine’s concept and developed the performance into its present-day format---A ninety-minute stage show of “living pictures” – incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. An outdoor amphitheater and professional orchestra complete the amazing performance. 

Food wise, we did well!  We had a delicious dinner in Laguna at Tortilla Republic, with salsa verde chicken enchiladas, pork fajitas and great guacamole. Saturday night, birthday dinner at Pace on Laurel Canyon--cedar grilled salmon and molten chocolate cake.  In LA, Sunday brunch at the Little Next Door, featured a wild mushroom/gruyere omelette and creamy potato gratin with coconut cheesecake to finish. For casual lunch in Sherman Oaks--- 8oz Poke. Build your own poke bowl with a variety of fresh fish, sides, sauces and toppings.  My poke bowl was a ridiculous amount of fresh ahi tuna poke and spicy tuna on baby greens with rice, wonton chips, avocado, cucumber and seaweed salad for $10.95??  I dream of a repeat every day!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

waffler pizza recipe

I have been intrigued with pizza made in a waffle iron ever since I saw Ree Drummond make one on the Pioneer Woman.  Something about using your waffle iron more than twice a year and not having to turn on the oven were strong motivations to make this idea work!  I have practiced a couple of times and it really is quite easy.  I use fresh store bought pizza dough--I use about a 1 1/2 cup size portion, let it rise and roll it out on a floured board to the approx size of my waffle iron. My iron is a square Cuisinart waffler that I LOVE.  I also love my JK Adams French rolling pin---gets the dough as thin as you like with no effort! I linked Ree Drummond's recipe but I made a few variations and you can too. Spray your waffler with non stick spray and let the waffle iron heat up as normal.  Lay your rolled out dough on the iron and close the lid and cook dough till the green ready light comes on. I then brushed the dough with olive oil, layered on pepperoni slices, grated mozzarella and Mexican blend cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, more cheese, dash salt and pepper and closed the lid---for about 1 minute till cheese melts. Open lid, brush down any bits that might have stuck to the top (actually much less than you would think for all that cheese) and lift out with a large spatula to your cutting board. For clean up, let the waffle iron cool, and brush away any bits with a pastry brush and layer paper towel on the grates and close lid to absorb any excess oil.  The BEST way to clean it just to make a batch of savory waffles the next morning---spotless!!  Other combinations I have tried are cooked sausage with thinly sliced baby zucchini and onions and sliced black olives. Overly wet/heavy toppings don't work.  You can use pizza sauce, but use a light hand.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

book club dinner at iThai in san francisco

Just had another great meal at iThai in San Francisco!  iThai is one of our Book Club destinations when we don't feel like cooking--but want delicious dishes with super fresh ingredients.  Some of our favorites are the panfried chive dumplings, the crispy calamari (pictured above), larb salad,  BBQ chicken with cashews in a Thai country style glaze and wok-fried filet mignon with basil and peppers, all served with jasmine rice. Make a visit to the Post Street restaurant for many more great dishes.