Tuesday, September 1, 2020

enjoy dinner on the patio at le colonial in san francisco

Last week, I had my first dinner in a restaurant since March 11th! 

Le Colonial. which specializes in French-Vietnamese fusion food has opened it's beautiful built in patio for dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 5-9 pm, reservations required.  The gorgeous, partially enclosed patio has an open air roof, well spaced, white clothed tables and great service, all well away from the street---you really feel like you can finally have a fine dining experience safely!  Waiters are masked and wear gloves, no menus are touched---you simply scan your phone over a bar code and voila! the menu appears!  Some of the delicious dishes included caramelized pork belly, duck spring rolls, shaken beef and lemon grass chicken.  Cocktails and wine are also available. Bon Appetit!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

some of my favorite meals while sheltering at home

It has been a long year so far.... 2020 started out with great hope for a new decade and hopefully that may still be the case, but for most of us (for me) the stay at home order to stop the spread of Covid-19 began on Tuesday, March 17th.  At first, the days seemed like a mini vacation, just three weeks.  That soon expanded, and right now, we are in our 5th month.  I return to work soon, and hope for the best. One of the things that made us sane during this time was cooking fun and delicious meals... here are a few of  my favorite dishes.
Simple, clean out the fridge ingredients:  fried rice with sugar snap peas, chicken , celery and egg.
Chilled orzo salad is a snap when tossing the Orzo with one 7 oz container of Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade (in the salad case), a few capers and extra virgin olive oil.
Nothing says comfort food like a great grilled cheese.  This sandwich took it to another level with a mix of creamy herb goat cheese, Monterey jack, sliced smoked turkey on buttered Acme sourdough bread.
Don't forget an awesome pickle--I am obsessed with Safeway's Baby Kosher Dills!
I had an awesome breakfast ever morning.... it is one of my favorite meals!  Here is an omelette with chili, cheese and green onion with Acme Country Pain.
Red bell pepper and potato hash with poached egg---another amazing breakfast!  Served with Acme whole wheat pain.  As you can see I was a frequent customer of Acme at the Ferry Building. The Ferry Building was open for take out food and grocery shopping and made a pleasant place to get fresh air by the water.
And to wind down the many days into the next, a glass of bubbly is always welcome!

Friday, July 10, 2020

silver palate classic chicken marbella

One of the most delicious recipes I have made for book club is the the Silver Palate's famous Chicken Marbella.  The contrasting flavors of  briny, salty and sweet are exceptional.  It was the first main course to be offered at their Manhattan store and I can't thank Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, with their passion for good simple food, for creating such an amazing dish and the iconic cookbook to match.  Enjoy this dish served over pureed mashed potatoes (better for the pan juices to run into) and sauteed spinach! 

Original recipe--- 16 pieces.
I used 12 bone in/skin on chicken thighs to make 6-8 portions depending on appetite.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 chickens quartered  (or approx 12 bone in/skin on thighs)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley finely chopped
1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. 2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them. 4. Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour. 5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat. Note: To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in the cooking juices before transferring the pieces to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerated, reheat it in the juices, then allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

fun food, music, and new puppy on crescent city visit!

I had a wonderful visit to Crescent City a few weeks ago and look forward to another trip this month! One of the highlights---my mother's new puppy, Ben-G!  We also had an amazing lunch at Sea Quake with Debbie Wakefield,  Mike Zingg and family, topping the day off with listening to Mike's band, 'Scott William Perry Band' at Back Street Bar in Brookings, OR.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

rocky road candy recipe from mom's mid-century cookbook

I was home recently visiting with my family in Crescent City, and I love to go through mom's cookbooks.  A couple of the books are so retro-fun, one is the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, a ring binder style book that mom received at her wedding shower in 1955!  The other cookbook belonged to my grandmother, Clarice Havemann, The Woman's Home Companion Cookbook---mom said it was her most prized cookbook which she never parted with.  I took a few snaps of cool recipes---one was the Original Caesar Salad which is so similar to the recipe I have used for years (love the retro photography as well!).  Another recipe was for rocky road candy, which happens to be my favorite and could not be easier and perfect for Easter weekend snacking!  I made one modern addition, I sprinkled a few flakes of Maldon sea salt on the top of my rocky road and it was delicious.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

enjoying the thanksgiving and christmas holidays 2018

I have been getting into the spirit of the holidays more so this year than usual.  There have been alot of changes this year, with Gump's filing bankruptcy--and me taking a new job at Bloomingdale's as a result.  Change is always challenging, but I have been very blessed with having lots of friend get togethers, birthday dinners, lunches and my great book club gang to name a few to make me feel more settled and vowed to myself that I would make every effort to enjoy the time.  I had a lovely, simple Thanksgiving, visiting friends and family all day by phone and text.  I cooked a cute little 9 lb bird that made great lunches for the next 5 days.  I also made an old favorite recipe of mine that I had published in a Neiman Marcus cookbook many years ago, spinach souffle casserole. This is a decadent recipe of cheesy goodness that tastes as good cold as it does right out of the oven.  I topped off the day by starting the all red holiday decorations with a new little tree that I got this year for the entrance way--it sits just right on the chest and has a nice reflection in the mirror.  One more tree to go!
spinach souffle casserole recipe:
4  10oz frozen boxes/bags of chopped spinach
1 1/2 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
(3 cups total)
2 green onions thinly sliced
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ tsp salt (scant)
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4 eggs, separated
Defrost spinach and place in a colander and drain well---press down with paper towels, till very dry.  Spray a 9x12 glass casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly beat egg yolks till frothy.   Beat egg whites till light peaks form.
In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except the egg whites.  Fold the egg whites lightly into the mixture---turn into the baking dish and bake approx. 35 minutes till lightly puffed and golden.  Rest before cutting.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

great birthday trip to la

I never fail to have a wonderful time when I visit Brendan in LA, as you know from former posts of our adventures in food and more!  Brendan had some great things planned . . .we went to The Broad museum in downtown LA, a private collection of modern art not to be missed.  The Broad is a beautiful building right next door to another gorgeous piece of architecture, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the LA Philharmonic---designed by Frank Gehry.  After your museum tour, take the tram down the hill to the Grand Central Market for a food court extravaganza!  We opted for old school Chinese--egg foo young!

The adventure continued with a great dinner at Lares Mexican in Santa Monica.  We saw Ocean's Eight while we were there, and it is a fun must see, especially for all the clothes and jewels!  Try breakfast and a sidewalk table at Sweet Butter, stop at Nespresso in BH for a fabulous salmon platter and visit the incredible mall at Westfield Century City, which features 3 stories of Eataly, an all Italian emporium filled with every Italian food and beverage delight you could possibly imagine---try the Roman pizza, known for its distinctive chewy, bubbly crust---we selected the prosciutto with green olives . . . words can't describe.  Brendan is a great griller and we enjoyed ribeyes and filets on grill the last night!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

delicious homestyle mexican food at casa vallarta in oakland


One of my favorite go to places for lunch is Casa Vallarta at 1910 Park Blvd in Oakland.  This casual family run restaurant delivers homestyle Mexican favorites with delicious salsas, well developed sauces and homemade corn tortillas all at great prices.  Some of my favorites include the pork tamales with beans and rice, the wet burrito smothered in melted jack cheese and served on red and green sauces, chicken tostada salad in a tortilla bowl and the crispy beef tacos to name a few! Stop in and create some favorites for yourself!