Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brunch at Bar Jules

I love spending time in San Francisco. The cool air, hustle and bustle, lights and high rise buildings. And how about those bridges!? The Golden Gate is quite magical. Cypress trees, parks and museums, appreciation for forward thinking food and almost can't go wrong.

Hayes Valley is a nice little neighborhood that I wish I knew more about. I hear people raving about the shops and quaint eateries but when I'm there I always feel a bit lost. Thomas knew of a spot we thought would be open for breakfast called Bar Jules but instead we killed time until it opened for lunch. I was really craving something breakfasty and it turned out their lunch menu completely satisfied my craving! Let's forget the label of lunch, we'll call it brunch. Bar Jules serves up a tasty, well prepared brunch and I recommend you try it out if you're in the area!

Scrambled eggs w/ scallions, parmesan, wild arugula and proscuitto toasts

Fried eggs w/ white bean puree and artichoke-piquillo relish

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Welcome Home!

David and Lindsay FINALLY came home from Sierra Leone after 6 months of externship. They were ridiculously missed. I think the entire month before they got home I thought about it everyday, always hoping it would come sooner. And then it did!!

We celebrated by preparing a Pizza Feast with decadent toppings, a raw Dino Kale Caesar Salad with avocado and breadcrumbs and poached pears with mascarpone cream. Yum!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Blackjack Thanksgiving with the Williams Crew

We had a great Thanksgiving. My pumpkin pie didn't turn out as I'd hoped but I blame it mainly on the Trader Joe's brand pumpkin puree. Stick with Libby's.

I didn't shoot any good pictures of the food and only felt like taking pictures once we began Blackjack. I have LOTS of pictures of Blackjack.

I got so into the game that by the end of the night I was dead set on going to a store the next day and buying all the fixings...including the card shuffler :) Then I realized it was going to be Black Friday.

I'm thankful for so much. A special thank you to the Williams Crew for having us over to their beautiful home!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I have an internal struggle surrounding foods like donuts. I think it’s backed by the American condition of bad food versus good food, diet restrictions and over indulging.
It’s one of those foods you shouldn’t eat everyday so you need to learn to eat them in moderation, whatever the word moderation should mean to you. I’m not very good with fuzzy rules…. including the fuzziness around moderation. I suppose it’s a learned virtue that I’m still honing.

I love donuts. My childhood favorite was the cake with white frosting and rainbow sprinkles and now if I don’t opt for this one I either get a maple bar or a simple glazed. When I was young I used to eat the cakey part of my mom’s glazed donuts since she only liked the parts with frosting. Isn’t that ridiculous?

If you’re going to indulge I am a firm believer it better be a darn good donut.
Nestled in Santa Clara in a rundown shopping center lives Stan’s Donut Shop and it’s just the spot to do it. Open since 1959, they've definitely mastered the art of delicious donut making.

This little gem pumps out fresh, hand rolled donuts everyday. You’ll end up waiting in a decent line but won’t ever be disappointed with the crisp outside, creamy on the center texture. I think you deserve one and quite frankly I think I deserve one too, even if it is a few days before Thanksgiving!

Before this visit with my Dad I hadn’t been in years. I felt like I was 8 again, heading over to grab donuts down the street on an early Saturday morning and deciding on the cake one with rainbow sprinkles :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cooking with Chef Emily

I recently had the pleasure of cooking a mighty feast with my good friend Emily. She and I became close while weathering the 18 months of culinary school at the CIA up in St. Helena. In between foraging random produce around the neighborhoods and dancing at Ana's Cantina we made loads of hollandaise sauce and volunteered at countless school functions. We were partners in crime.

Emily is incredibly talented. She has a unique way of looking at food and is full of inspiration. Despite my strange label as being a "super taster," Emily holds something I strive for- a palate that can please a crowd. She knows exactly what to do to make something taste perfect...and she does it over and over again.

We began our night at the Berkeley Bowl and Trader Joe's...

Plantains are best when they're skin is almost entirely black

Her favorite apple, the Arkansas Black. "The blacker the better..they have a great crunch!"

This Italian sheep's milk cheese is incredible. I highly recommend it... if nothing else to simply snack on

We decided to build our meal around plantains since it's what we were craving. Actually, it's what Emily was craving but I love plantains so it worked out perfect. Our meal looked like this:

Roasted and Blackened Plantains
sour cream, pickled red onions, cilantro

Sauteed Chicken Breast with Cuban Spices
orange cumin reduction sauce

Sauteed Black Lentils
carrots, green onions

Arkansas Black Apple, Jicama and Arugula Salad
Toscano sheep's milk cheese, citrus vinaigrette

Mulled Wine
red wine, apple cider, mulling spices

This sauce blew my mind... and yes, that's a hair tie holding the cilantro stems together. Resourceful, right? (no, it hadn't been used)

First pan fried....

Then roasted until black and delicious

Next time you eat plantains you must try this combination

Em in a nutshell

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Hooray for tomorrow being Thursday!
Sometimes I get excited for Thursday purely on the habit (still) that it's the Farmer's Market in San Luis Obispo. I haven't lived there for a few years but it still lingers in my heart.

Here are a few shots of my quick day trip to Napa last Saturday...I think I'm going to take hints from the bears in the picture below and get some serious R&R this weekend!

colorful vines on Hwy 29 (from the car)

In the Stag's Leap Winery cute is he?

This could quite possibly be the most random blog post in the history of my blogging life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Grove on Fillmore

Have you been to The Grove on Fillmore in San Francisco? If not, you most definitely should. This trendy, way too beautifully mis-matched eating establishment is something you don't want to miss. E and I went there to have lunch and do work on our computers the other day and had a splendid time.
I ordered a Chinese Chicken Salad (completely unlike me and I regretted it right after) and E ordered the Chicken Pot Pie. Great decision on her part.

It's kind of pricey and most definitely crowded but there's something about it that makes me feel right at home. Perhaps it's the cow print couch we sat on while our legs were up on a large round foot stool made of the same material or how when I looked around at the patrons they all acted as if they were in their own living rooms lounging, laughing, surfing the web and eating delicious food.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the man with blue gloves

This morning I came over to the city to go on my favorite run of all time (North Beach to the Golden Gate it was a bit shorter but usually, if I'm super up to it and have someone with me I can make it there and when I do it's so glorious) and hang out with one of my favorite girls, E.
At the Bay Bridge toll booth there was a man with a friendly face who upon my arrival said,

"Wow, you are a beautiful lady! Are you married?"
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Yes." (I lied)
"Wow, well I would marry you in a second and buy you a great big house. Can I kiss your hand?"
Then, with his money stained blue glove he took my hand and kissed it. Then told me once again,
"You, you are beautiful, such a beautiful face."

All I could think of was my friend Lindsay living in Sierra Leone and how she is approached on the streets almost everyday with men doing this exact thing to her! She and I must be kindred spirits...the man even looked like he could have been from Sierra Leone!

Anyway, the city today is be-a-utiful.

What I Ate.

I love kale. Especially Russian Red Kale. Typically the Russian Red Kale I buy is soft and friendly but the one I got at my first visit to the Berkeley Bowl (my new favorite grocery store) was kind of rugged. Still delicious but not exactly what I was hoping for.

I made a yummy meal out of it anyway and decided to take some pics because it was so good. Sauteed kale, homemade Ranchero Sauce, crushed garlic, fried egg, greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro and cayenne. Do it.
I would love if everyone I knew had a blog and posted what they ate each night (with pictures) for a whole week. I'll keep dreaming...

I'm going to figure out the ranchero sauce recipe I make and post it soon :)