Modge Podge Post

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I am, apparently, the last person to read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I really can't do it much justice. It's life in the kitchens of one particular chef, filled with sex, drugs, food, more drugs, the 80's (i.e. even more drugs) , and swearing up such a storm that you might as well replace every comma in the book with the word "fuck". Go get yourself a copy if you haven't already and read it. All the kids are doing it.

Sorry for the short sporadic post, but I just finished watching the last episode of Six Feet Under, and am an emotional wreck, so bite me. Seriously, crying up a storm which is unlike me but ah, whatever. Also wondering how I'm gonna die. I hope my last words are something funny like, "Hey guys, watch this!" I also think I want to be cremated, then secretly put into the food during the wake. That way, I'll really be with everyone. Or maybe let loose to blow over the sea or something.

Also doing a lot of planning and getting ready for this weekend. Why you ask? Well, we are having the first Sac Area Food Blogger's Potluck. YAY! I was inspired after being so cordially invited to the Bay Area Blogger's Picnic. I also feel insane guilt for not being able to invite them, but as I have no spacious back yard and only an apartment complex club house to host in, space was the major factor here. (Please forgive me Sam, Amy, Joy, Shuna and everyone else. I will shave my head in penance and/or bring you all cupcakes.)

This also leaves me with the question, "What does one make for a potluck filled with food addicts?" No worries to those coming though, there will be no people in the food.

Expect some more cupcakes in the future too. I just need the time to actually make them.

One last note; don't eat Carl's Jr.'s Six Dollar burgers for a quick dinner after a long day. I can still feel my heart struggling to scream hours later. Ugh.

Unencumbered French Onion Soup

Monday, October 30, 2006

After the last horrid onion soup I had, I had been hankering for one of divine quality. The sweet buttery taste of onions, the savory heady perfume of thyme, and the bite of sherry vinegar just seemed to call out my name this week. I rarely have the booze on hand so it never makes it into my soup, but it tastes fantastic anyways. I also don't often bother with the bread and melted cheese in the bowl. Personally, I feel it gets in the way of good soup, and can be a bit of a nuisance. I cannot count how often I have burnt or scalded myself due to french onion soup bread. I'll take my bread and cheese on the side.

The wonderful soup is filling and accompanied with some crusty bread, salami, coarse mustard, and cheese, it's a wonderful cold weather meal.

French Onion Soup
Adapted from The New Soup Bible
(Serves 6)

What You'll Need...

1/4 cup butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 1/2 lbs yellow onions

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon shery vinegar

6 cups of beef/chicken/veggie stock

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

2/3 cup dry white wine (optional)

3 tablespoons brandy (optional)

What You'll Do...

1) Melt the butter with the oil in a large pot. Add onions and stir. Cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring now and again. Add thyme.

2) Reduce heat to very low and cover for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Don't burn your stupid hand from the stupid steam like I did.

3) Uncover the pan and increase the heat a bit. Stir in sugar and cook for 5-10 minutes, and
onions start to brown a tad. Add sherry vinegar and up the heat a bit more. Stir frequently and let them cook for about 20-30 minutes.

4) Bring the stock to a boil in another pan. Stir the flour into the onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Pour in the hot stock and then the brandy and wine. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

5) Eat it and love the buttery goodness of the onions and thyme.

New Restaurant Inspection System for Sacramento

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sacramento will soon be the first city in California to enforce a new health and safety rating system for. Basically, the program will be revamped so that restaurants will be inspected more frequently, and will have much more rigorous standards to meet. Bathrooms will have to sparkle, the kitchens must be brilliant, food storage and equipment must be fully functional, and safety conditions must be met.

Restaurants will then be issued a Green, Yellow, or Red placard which has to be visible from the outside of the restaurant. Green of course is a pass. A Yellow means that certain conditions must be met before as violations were observed and must be corrected before the next inspection, but the place in question can still remain open. Red means the place is closed until everything meets requirements.

The Green, Yellow or Red placards will be issued to food facilities during their inspection beginning January 1, 2007. It will take a long time to check EVERY restaurant in the designated areas, but they expect to be done in July. I think that's bull, but okay. Who wants to be it will take over a year?

The placard posting requirements will apply to all Sacramento County retail food facilities, including the cities of Sacramento, Folsom, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove, Isleton and Galt, as well as in unincorporated areas of the County. Yolo, Stockton, and Modesto sorry 'bout it, but you're still on the old system of being checked only every few years or much more slack standards.

Now all this sounds like a great idea. However, some of the requirements are difficult to meet requiring sorts of equipment regulations that even the most prestigous of restaurants. Low budget eateries, and mom-n-pop places may not be able to afford what is required. Restaurants that also meet a Red or Yellow requirement, then meet requirements to meet a higher degree will be stated so. Meaning, if you were once a Red, but are now a Green, your placard will say the dates you were a Red. A lot of restaurants feel this isn't quite fair, as if they currently have no violations then that's all that matters.

Is this all good and bad? Yes and no. The city will be offering classes on "How to Get a Green." It's like those S.A.T. prep classes back in high school. I'm going to guess that they will only be taught in English, which I can see being a problem for many restaurants run by people with limited English skills, or immigrant run restaurants.

For more info or to see the placards, go here.

5 Ick Foods

Monday, October 23, 2006

After reading the posts on the attitudes of picky eaters at Cooking with Amy, and Tigers & Strawberries, I got to thinking. I myself am not a picky eater and don't have a picky eater attitude, though my mom is sure to have a story or two that might state otherwise from way back when. Now it's more like "Ox tail? Pile 'em on!" "Fried scorpions? SURE!" "It might kill me? Life's about risk, right?" It's all about experience.

When invited anywhere, I will eat whatever is served to me and be gracious about it. If I should not like it, I will eat (as much of it as I can) anyways. I'm lucky enough to be able to eat everyday, and have friends who are happy to cook for others, so why would I throw that away? I will cook around religious and health diets with no complaint, but will not cook for fad eaters, a.k.a. "I started the new South Carbo Squash and Raw Pork Diet" people. If you are gonna be like that, then I suggest you bring yourself a candy bar before you come over. I'm also irked by people unwilling to try new things based off of some "because" bullshit reason like the color or texture is "icky" or because it doesn't look like something they've had before. That's the point behind trying new things, to test the unfamiliar.

However, even the adamant food lover has limits. There are certain foods I will not touch with a 10 foot pole. Maybe someday someone will change my mind with a new presentation of them, or my tastes will further evolve or alter, but these are just some foods that will never touch my lips. They aren't linked to a child hood food trauma or anything like that, I just hate them cause they taste nasty to me.

Licorice Candy - It's just so ick. It doesn't even fall into a taste category. If cheap vodka could go bad like produce, this is what it would taste like I bet. Red is bad enough, but black? Oh sweet Jesus. Humans and animals instinctivly spit out poisonous material if it's tasted. Ever see a healthy baby eat licorice? I thought not.

Jellyfish - The texture and flavor are just so uncomfortable. I just have nothing else to say about it. You have to try it to really get a dislike for it. It's like crunchy strips of brittle jello.

Raw Tomatoes - Apparently, I am not alone on this. In the past few years I have met a lot of people who agree. They just have the pungent sweetness that's almost like rotting. I'll eat tomato suace, soup, ketchup, etc. but just chopped with a quick oil or salting? Pass.

Flan - I tried it a thousand times from a zillion different places and sources. I have yet to have a flan I enjoyed. Sorry 'bout it.

"That Greasy Mush" - I had it at a Sikh wedding. I still don't know what it was. Tasted like old coffee grains and flour mixed together with overused deep frying oil to form this nasty mush. I reverted to old 5 year old habits and I hid it in my pocket (I didn't have a big glass of milk to hide it in) so I could throw it away later because it was absolutely inedible to me. No offense to the Sikh religion, but I just could not eat it.

There are things I have eaten other I am sure would not. I have had a deep fried scorpion; something I'll grant most people will probably avoid. They taste like gourmet spicy cheetohs. Shibby indeed.

Let Me Wine about Sake and Whiskey

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've got to be honest with you, and please don't hate me for what I'm about to say. I'm not a big wine fan. Nor am I a big sake fan, brandy fan, whiskey fan, gin fan, or vermouth fan. Vodka, Midori, Bailey's and other mixer liquors are a different matter, but that's another post all together. I learned to love those in college. Refined drinks were just too expensive and not cool enough for my parties and get-tipsy-quick attitude. Plus, I'm just not a big drinker anymore. I might have a drink once a month, if that. Catch me a year ago and you would see that was a bit different.

Often you might have found me on any given Friday or Saturday night very wet boned, wrapping my arm around a friend to keep myself up, a drink in that hand and the other prolly holding a cig (it's literally the only time I smoke and how to tell I'm pretty close to drunk if not already) or someone's tush.

My parties were off the hook. I was known for my Fear Factor-esque spicy lime grasshopper jell-o shots (with real grasshoppers), and my SUPERSHOT. A shot glass that was about 5 times taller than a normal shot glass. I later found out that it was just a really tall and slim flower vase that I mistook for a highball shot glass when I bought it. Still, I have good memories, even more bad ones, and I think a blackout tied to that thing. My liquor bookshelf was better stocked than most bars.

Nowadays I just keep a few choice alcohols around for cooking purposes. I keep a thing of vodka in the freezer and a bottle of rum in the pantry just in case, but they rarely get used.

I find my lack of wine knowledge is sad. As a foodie, and as a graduate of UCD where I took more than a few wine classes, I know little about wine. I mean I know how the grapes are grown, barely is malted, rice washed, processed, labeled, cared for, etc. But the flavors and tasting of wine and the appreciation of it is so foreign to me.

Wine primarily serves only as an ingredient in this kitchen, but I'm slowly changing that. I'm not just buying it only when the recipe ordains it. I am trying to be adventurous and learn more about wine, reviewing old books and reading any articles I come across. Many friends and fellow bloggers are giving me great advice. I'm even finding a few I like and keeping them on-hand now for those times Rob and I find a quiet evening by ourselves or with friends. Or boredom. Whichever.

I think it's about time to break out of my wine shell, my brandy box, my anti-sake sanctuary and brave this spirited new world.

What Evil was Wrought Here Tonight (Bistro 33 - Davis, CA)

Monday, October 16, 2006

The first time I went to Bistro 33, it was for a buisness lunch and it had only opened about two weeks ago. I had this amazing sandwich with turkey, herb mayo, pears, smoked cheese; oh it was heaven between two slices of bread. I had been meaning to head back ever since, and with my friend in town, finally we had the chance, 18 months later.

I have a friend who is a chef there. He had been slowly telling me of his desire to leave. That the kitchen wasn't always stocked, the other chefs were shady and untrustworty, that the quality was screaming downhill. Yet, I did not listen. That sandwich still controlled my appetite, and drove my desire.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Let me begin by saying that the decor of this place is out of sight. I love it. It's contemporary, whimsical, and edgy. Shimmering tile work, and wrought iron fire place and live music outside, strung white lights, and pillars of flames at the bar. Genius.

Speaking of the bar, the bartenders are talented, and made a classy combo of blueberry stoli, pom, and sprite for me. Shibby indeed. However, after about 10 minutes of trying to pay, I thought I was gonna have to club him over the damn head with a glass for him to take my bill. I mean Jesus, a bartender not going for the bill and tip? Isn't that a sign of the apocalypse or something?

But why were we trying to leave the bar and get outside so we could wait for our table? The inside was loud. As in you can't hear shit, and I wish I had advil on me at the time. It was louder and more obnoxious than your nephew's 5th grade performance of a John Phillip Sousa march. After going outside to enjoy our drinks, we were paged, and seated. Next to the bar. Perfect. The waitress even had to, literally, yell so we could hear her.

The food? Barely worth mentioning really. It was just disappointing and bad. I know people are raving about Bistro 33 Midtown in Sac, but Bistro 33 needs an overhaul. My friend's French onion soup was just oily water with onions. I make way better French onion soup than this swill. No thyme, no garlic, and I am pretty sure there was no salt or vermouth in it at all. I mean, the hell?

I ordered the special of red snapper in ancho butter sauce with pear chutney, green beans, and couscous with lemon and herbs. Wow, this was just... *sigh* I didn't even want to eat it. The fish was good, but there was no pear chutney. It did not exist on my plate. The green beans were nothing special. Pan seared a bit in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Meh. The couscous was bland and tasteless. No wait, it tasted like water. Swear to God. Water.

Did we argue? No, my friend was feeling ill (it had been slowly getting worse all day, and we though maybe food would help). We had it bagged, but tossed it once we got to the street. We paid and left to get her home so she could lie down.

What is the future of Bistro 33? I don't know. The desire for something hip by the Davis residents will probably keep it open for some time to come, and the cheap beer/dance nights they have will keep the college students coming. We'll see how long that will last before the crappy food begins to deter attendance. My advice? If you want hip and trendy, make the drive to anywhere else in Sac.

On a positive note, I did get a shibby photo of my drink.

Bistro 33
226 F Street
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 756-4566

When A Friend Comes To Visit

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My friend Janelle came up for a while. She's been the BFF since we were wee little ones back in preschool. We've been having an excellent time, and I've realized that you don't really ever experience what your surroundings have to offer until you have company to entertain.

Take the Davis Farmer's Market for example. You never really sit and smell the lush, verdant bunches of basil. Their heady bite overtaking the senses.

You don't pay atttntion to the fall colors and produce around you. I lurvs me my winter squash. It's strong, explosive in color and defines the falling leaves. Each butternut, winter, acorn, and pumpkin screams, "It's fall, shouldn't you be cooking me right now!?" To which I respond, "Oh, little squashes, you are correct," and do so because it's yummy.

And screw the cold weather, organic popsicles are kick butt at all times of year. Be it Janelle's strawberry-banana, or my green tea, honey and mango (which was hardcore shibby-yumtastic orgasm on a goddamn stick), a cold treat is always welcome.

Culinary exploration in your own backyard. It's always an adventure.

To the Jerk Waiter

Friday, October 13, 2006

After a lot of thinking I finally decided to post this piece. It's probably going to upset a few people, and make a few people happy. Hope you enjoy.

I met a waiter today, a friend of a friend, who decided to vent to me since as a frequent restaurant patron, and as someone who has worked in food service before I would lend a sympathetic ear. He had a table that racked up a $300 bill. He only scored an $80 tip, and was going on about how he was so nice and perfect to this table and they only gave him a measly $80.

Now, I've had crappy tips and good tips. Here is a good tip for the said waiter: Shut up.

First, you scored more than 20%, so stop whining. You made more in one tip than most people make per hour.

Second, you are a waiter, you provide a service. That is your job. Every job provides a service, but yet not all of them get tips. I work at a non-profit that provides a service. I also work with plenty of people who work with highly special needs children. These are children who are emotionally troubled. Many came from very troubled homes and nightmarish conditions. Some were just born with troubles. They can be very cute, funny, sweet, and adorable. Yet because of their problems the counselors who work with them have to worry about physical harm. Not on just a daily basis, but an hourly one.

Staff have been sent to the hospital on occassion here. Twisted joints, bruises, cuts, and being spit on is what you should expect coming in to work here. Do they do it for they pay? No, not really. They do it for kids who need help. They do it because they are wonderful, compassionate, lionhearted people. They get paid about $11 bucks an hour. You may have tough customers, but when did one kick you in the face?

The best tip our counselors get? Try to move fast to avoid getting hurt.

If you serve a $100 bottle of wine, or a $10 bottle you did the same amount of work (oh, unless you decant it and get the fancy balloon glass; try not to strain something). The tip here is either $2 or $20. I'll be damned to tip an extra $18 between the two bottles.

I was raised by my parents to always tip 20%, and after working at the cafe' I make sure a buck goes into the tip jar. I tip more or less accordingly to how good the service was. I also work lots of overtime and do a bit of freelance writing to cover bills and make sure I have cash to go out to restaurants, and have enough to tip. If I can't dish out your precious 35%, you still have no right to treat me like shit. I'll tip 20%, but if you pass me off because I didn't order a bottle of wine, and am thus not a big spender, thus lowering your potential tip, you can expect less.*

I feel justified making this comment. I'm sure there is plenty of dissention and disagreement on this, tipping is like politics and religion, you just stay out of it. Especially on the internet. Yet, if anyone wants to express their opinions, comments, or arguements about this feel free.

*Side note: Once a friend and I had really bad service, as in appalling and the guy was a total jerk, throwing the check at us, ignoing us, giving us dirty looks and blatantly oogling my friend. For a tip she left some change she had in her pocket and wrote on the tip line, "Don't be a dick." Freaking hilarious.

A Very Foodie Movie

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What's Cooking?
Thanksgiving. A celebration of food, tradition and relative insanity.

If you haven't seen this movie, go get up off your computer zombie butt, get to the rental store, pick up a copy, and then sit on your TV zombie butt and watch it. You can skip some of these steps if you have Netflix or Blockbuster Online.

It's a movie about four different Thanksgivings with four different families. One a multi-generational Vietnamese family trying to bridge a gay between the traditional raised parents and the American culture engrossed youth, another an African American family with a secret to hide from visiting in-laws, an open minded Latino family with an uninvited estranged husband, and a Jewish Americana family trying to cope with their daughter and her girlfriend.

The movie is a bit melodramatic at times, but all and all totally frickin hilarious. Plus, the movie doesn't focus on food alone, but uses it as a medium to convey the similarities and differences between the four families. A brilliant use of food. It's all quite entertaining and sure to be a holiday tradition alongside movie classics much like It's a Wonderful Life, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Eat Beast Update #1

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Not much to report. The title is misleading, I know. BUT, I finally bought a zester from Le Creuset (not an actual pot I know). *sigh* I can finally stop using my cheese grater to obtain zest, a total plus.

I also bought Eat Beast an electric auto feeder. Why, you ask? Well he has decided that his morning feeding time should be 4:30 am. Should I refuse he will meow, scratch the door, the walls, and knock shit over. I had to get my cell out from under the fridge this morning. There is no stopping him. Thus the electric feeder will feed him in the morning and save me stress and the daily decision of strangling him to death or showing mercy. Mercy is the usual choice since at this godforsaken time of day I am lazy and tired. Last night he got so hungry and imaptient he also a WHOLE bag of craanberries. I mean, I can't even do that.

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 jalepenos
  • 1 bag of cranberries
  • 1 bag of wheat bread
  • 1 bagel
  • unknown number of tortilla chips
  • some chopped carrot
He shows no signs of wekaness in any way. He cannot be stopped. Any attempt to do so and men will die (or just get really annoyed by his meowing).

Mace: "This bowl is empty! Where's my fucking dinner?!"

Haiku for Chicken Soup

Friday, October 6, 2006

Warm bliss chicken soup
Cold, a chilling autum day
Perfection defined
There's something magical about chicken soup made from scratch. Getting your fingers into last night's chicken carcass. Mincing bunches of parsely. Letting flavors bind and mingle, and filling your house with warm aromas, which give way to memories of being pampered in bed by mom, and long conversations with friends.

I always let celery bases, rough cuts of carrots, strong organic garlic, onion, and chicken skin soak with some boullion. Afterwards, I skim them out and add my finer cuts of veggies. Nutmeg and cayenne pepper are what really make it pop.

It's fall outside, don't you think it's chicken soup time?

What Would I Serve to a Food Blogger?

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Ros recently tagged me for a MEME. As I have stated before, I usually delete these, but this one sounded kinda fun.

So far the Tag Chain is as follows: Angelika, Lea, Ros, and now yours truly. Read on, cause I am tagging a few of my fellow food bloggers as well!

  1. Describe a sort of "signature menu" revealing much of your personal cooking style and culinary preferences; it's up to you how many dishes you choose or if you prefer a buffet or a different way of presentation; let your phantasy play!
  2. If you are interested in food/wine pairings you are welcome to add comlementary wine suggestions if you like.
  3. As usual please link to this post and send me a note when your menu is on.
  4. Please do not forget to tag some of your blogging buddies.
  5. I am going to list all contributions; I hope this list will get long enough to turn into a little guide to foodbloggers' signatures.

Butternut Squash and Sage Soup with Creme' Fraiche and Fried Sage Leaves
Strawberry and Spinach Salad
Quadruple Bypass Garlic Parmesan Bread
My Mom's Kick Ass Flank Steak marinated for 3 days in ginger, mustard, scallions, soy sauce, and honey, then BBQ'd. Very shibby. Totally yumtastic.
Sides of Mashed Potatoes with Smoked Mozzarella and Pancetta, and
Pan Seared Asparagus with Lime
Grilled Stone Fruit with Vanilla Bean Gelato and Balsamic Syrup

Yeah, there is no theme, rhyme, or reason to it all but I love these dishes so that's what I'm serving. I would also set the place up to be very bohemian chic, sitting on the floor, muslin draping the walls, rich color and fabric. You get the picture. Pomegranate wine all around, no grapes for this menu. NO GRAPES! I MAKE YOU SUFFER FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!

I'm tagging Karina, Jennifer Jeffery, the Sacatomato Crew: Ann Martin and Jennifer, Fernanda, and my favorite CakeGrrl! Have fun and make sure to tag someone too!

Holy Sacramento Food Events!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

To me, one of food's central utilizations is as a tool of learning and bridging cultures. It tells stories, recounts history, and builds futures. Religion and food also have a rich and intertwined history, and it's always worth learning more about how each religion teaches peace to the world through its kitchen! Find the world right here in the Sacramento area!

Armenian Food Festival
If you haven't had good Armenian food, you really don't know what you are missing! Make sure you check this out, eat some delish food, and learn something! A perfect family outing!
Saturday, October 7
11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Greek Orthodox Church
614 Alhambra Blvd.
free entrance until 5 p.m., $3 after
(916) 443-3633.

Jewish Food Fair
Jewish food rocks my socks. I have to admit though, I don't keep a kosher kitchen, nor do I know all the rules, so when I try to make kosher dishes it usually just comes out only Jew-ish. Luckilly, a few kosher kitchen friends of mine pointed me out to this local food fest and told me to make sure to spread the word! Make sure you get your fill, and absorb the rich culture!
Sunday, October 8
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Congregation Beth Shalom
4746 El Camino Ave., Carmichael
$3 general, $2 with canned food donation
free ages 12 and under
(916) 485-4478.

Sinfully Sincere. Gracefully Vainglorious. (Mason's Revisited)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

"Oh God... just... God..." said Rob breathlessly.

"That sounds about right. Damn, I've never had it that good before." I replied, a smile creeping over my face.

We had just come back from the oh-so seductive and gracefully vainglorious Mason's for Rob's birthday. After going through dozens of options of where to eat, our last experience there left a firm impression engraved upon Rob's soul that only its inner food lover's sanctum would be worthy of the special occasion.

"I know it's your birthday, but I'm leaving you for Mason's."

Rob stared ahead. "Yeah, I would leave me for Mason's too."

Once again, Mason's did a phenomenal job at molding and presenting a perfect dining experience. The service is still like nothing I've had before. Mason's helps deliver not just fantastic food, but lets you live a small fantasy life. Over classy cocktails, dressed to the nines with fabulous friends, and chatting in the tastefully retro yet cloyingly contemporary dining room makes you feel like the one of those high uppity-ups you might see on an episode of Sex and the City. Luvs it! (Pardon my alliteration in this post, but I can't help but use it when I write in such a giddy state.)

Our waiter this time - his name was Chris, I highly suggest you ask to be seated in his area - was thoroughly knowledgeable in all aspects of the menu and restaurant. Being so knowledgeable about this menu is no simple feat as we will go into later, so all of us at the table were quite impressed. He was able to explain to me what Haricot Vert was (a green bean that costs $5 more than a regular green bean is my summation); to be schooled in not just knowing the dishes but knowing the intricacies of some very eccentric ingredients was most impressive.

His recommendations and descriptions were clear and expressive, allowing us all to get a clear picture of what each dish was. He was even able to answer a few questions that I had about overhead and practices of the restaurant, which I had for reasons even unknown to me, had been pondering. He even sweetly chased me down a block after I left with the restaurant's credit card slip and left them with the customer copy because I'm a dingus. Snaps for the waiter.

The hostess, floor manager, and bartender were al equally fabulous. Snaps for them too. >^.^< onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="">

The main dishes were each amazing in their own respect. Kapow! Monkfish in a deep saffron sauce! Zing! Ribeye steak! Boom! Seared Black Bass! The bass itself was the equivalent to the best sex you've ever had.

Desserts were bold and daring. The chocolate lava cake with pistachio gelato was deep and sensual. It enveloped you in comforting warmth and chocolate. The bread pudding seemed a little over the top in it, more flare than was necessary, but the flavor with the vanilla bean gelato was perfect. Paired with the sage syrup, it left this heartfelt aftertaste that left images of cuddling by the fire in my mind.

A small slip or two, but another award winning night. Do yourself a favor and check it out!


The Park Downtown
1116 15th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 492-1960

See Previous Review

Fall Weather Cookies - Cinnamon Cranberry Biscotti

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Biscotti is definetly an adult cookie, and an aquired taste if I do say so myself. I don't recall how, but one day, miraculously, I suddenly enjoyed it. Maybe it's one of those unseen steps into adulthood.

Heading into most coffee shops and cafes I usually avoid biscotti. This is mainly because most biscotti is simply too... I think the word is "blah." Often processed in large quantities, and only in basic popular flavors like chocolate, anise, and almond it just gets a bit tired. Plus, while I know it should be a bit stale, I don't wanna' chip a tooth.

For these reasons, I prefer making my own. Not only does it taste better it's very easy to make. I often make it to give for Christmas gifts, and house warming presents. This version makes use of four flavors layered on top of each other to create a really full bodies cookie, perfect with coffee or tea on a crisp cold day near a fireplace or under a blanket. The cinnamon gives this just the perfect amount of spice, the cranberries stand right beside it surprising you with mouth watering bites of tartness. The vanilla and almond extracts really shine through as well, and fill your house with this wonderous aroma that fills your mind with images of warm fall and winter memories.

The whole ordeal is fun, shibby, and the end product is totally yumtastic. I have a lot of great memories attached to this biscotti, so I earnestly suggest you start some yourself.

Cinnamon Cranberry Biscotti
Makes about 24 pieces

What You'll Need...
3/4 cup of butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberries

What You Do...
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookies sheet or line it with parchment paper.

2) Let the butter and eggs come to room temperature. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Next, beat in the eggs and the extracts, combine well.

3) Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; mix into the egg mixture.

4) Fold in the cranberries. Shape the dough into two equal logs approximately 12 inches long. Place logs on baking sheet, and flatten out to about 1/2 inch thickness. This can be kind of difficult so prepare to get your hands sticky. Try to make sure they are perfect rectangles to ensure perfect pieces and even baking.

5) Bake the logs for about 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until edges are golden and the center is firm. Remove from oven to cool completely on the pans. When the loaves are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to slice the loaves into 1/2 inch thick slices.

6) Return the slices to the baking sheet. Bake for 5 more minutes. Turn over all the biscotti and bake for another 5 minutes. Let them cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Notes: You may want to let these sit in the container with the lid ajar for a day or two. These really do get better the more stale they become. Feel free to dip these in melted white or bittersweet chocolate, or use nuts in lieu of cranberries.

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