Posted tagged ‘dinner’

Tigelleria Organic Restaurant

August 22, 2013

Wow, I’ve been gone a long time.  I always seem to be apologizing for not writing more often.  I should just write more so I don’t need to apologize.   I don’t have a real excuse for not writing.  I haven’t mentioned it here but I’m going to be a Mom in a few months!  I’ve been incredibly fortunate and haven’t had any morning sickness or weird cravings at all… so I can’t even blame it on that.  Do you remember my crazy pizza obsession a few years ago?  I think TM was worried that I would get like that while pregnant.  Not obsessed about pizza but weird stuff like dill pickles dipped in peanut butter or beef jerky slathered in cottage cheese.  (BTW, I’ve never tried either of those combinations and I don’t plan on it.)

We ate a lot of good food in July.  TM’s birthday is at the beginning of the month and we celebrated at Tigelleria Organic Restaurant.  It’s close to where we live which was a huge plus since we were leaving on vacation to Canada the next morning.  We booked an early  reservation so we could pack after we got home from dinner and we were the first ones in the restaurant that evening.

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I actually enjoy eating dinner on the early side and beating the crowds.

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We started out with the burrata appetizer.  Whenever I see burrata on the menu, I’m immediately drawn to it and feel compelled to order it.  This one certainly did not disappoint.  It was a silky pugliese burrata; served on broiled organic white bread with organic arugula and tomatoes.  (We did ask if it was made with pasteurized cheese to make sure I would be able to eat it.  There are so many food restrictions when pregnant!)

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I’ve been on board the kale train for a few years ever since I read how good it is for you.  We buy organic kale at the farmer’s market whenever we can and make kale chips multiple times a week to go with dinner.   We don’t usually eat it raw in salads just because we love the taste of kale chips so much but we were both intrigued by the black kale salad.  This black kale was tossed in lemon juice, honey & olive oil with mango, pine nuts & homemade goat & walnut cheese.  It was light and refreshing and I loved sweetness of the mango in the salad.

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TM chose the filetto di maiale as his main dish.  He often gravitates towards duck or pork dishes when we go out to eat and this time he chose pork.  It was a pan-seared pork fillet with pancetta, sage and onions in a red wine sauce.   It came with potatoes and an apple puree’ and roasted chestnuts.   He definitely loved this dish as it was cooked to perfection.  I unfortunately, was not able to taste much of the meat since it was not cooked well done.  (another one of those pregnancy food precautions)

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I ordered the spighe al cinghiale: homemade organic ravioli, stuffed with wild boar slowly braised with organic veggies, herbs and
montepulciano wine.   It was tossed in a white porcini mushroom sauce with a hint of cream and white wine.  The picture makes this dish look small but it was quite filling.  It had an ever so slight “gamey” taste which truly accentuated the fact that I had ordered wild boar.

It was a lovely dinner and I could see us going back again, especially since it’s so close to where we live!

76 E Campbell Ave.   Campbell, CA

Casanova

April 11, 2013

There is something sweet and calming about the seaside town of Carmel.  It was the first little road trip that Boyfriend (now TM) and I took together when we were living in LA.  We made s’mores using the fireplace in our hotel room, checked out the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Carmel Beach and drove back home on PCH through Big Sur and took a gazillion pictures of the view.  There was something so lovely about that weekend getaway, Carmel has always been a place dear to my heart.  Since then, we’ve moved up to the Bay Area, gotten married and have had many trips to Carmel in between.

Randall invited us to Carmel this past weekend because his sister and BIL were in town visiting from SoCal.  It was supposed to be our “chore weekend” so I had to convince TM that we’re allowed to have a little fun on the weekends and that we could go.  We checked and the restaurants Randall had planned on going to were dog friendly so it worked out perfectly!

Randall chose Casanova for dinner which was labeled as French Italian on Yelp.  The front of the restaurant looked so quaint and cute and I wondered how we would be able to sit eight people and a dog together on their little front patio.  I was shocked when we were led around the corner to the back entrance.  Their restaurant extended all the way and was quite big!  They had a lovely back patio with plenty of heaters for all the tables.

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We all ordered a large order of Gnocchi Casanova to share.  Our server had mentioned that it is one of their signature dishes and it sounded really good.  I had been eyeing it before our server even mentioned it.  Instead of being made with potatoes as traditional gnocchi are, these were made from spinach.  They were incredibly light and had a parmesan au gratin over it that we all dipped our bread in because it was oh-so-delicious.  We even joked about drinking the rest with the spoon because it was that good!  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it.

TM ordered the Filet Duo as his main.  It was a pan-seared filet, short rib crepinette with polenta.  It had a Provencal topping and beef jus.  I only tried the short rib but it was incredibly soft and flavorful.  TM said it was better than the filet.

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Three of us at our table chose the seared jumbo scallops as our entree.  It came with mascarpone and black truffle risotto, spring pea & carrot ragu and a beef jus.  The scallops were cooked perfectly and honestly, almost anything with mascarpone and black truffle has got to taste amazing.  The risotto was no exception.

I loved the food and ambiance at Casanova.  We go to Carmel so often, I can definitely see us going to Casanova again.  It was a huge plus that they allow dogs on their patio and even bring out a water bowl for your pup!

between 5th Avenue and San Carlos Street  Carmel, CA

Island Eats: Fresh Catch

February 22, 2013

I know I’ve written about poke before but this was our first time to Fresh Catch.  I used to think all poke was good poke.  I wasn’t picky since I couldn’t eat it any time I wanted to.  Beggars can’t be choosers!  But I have now found a favorite place to get poke and I don’t know if I can ever love it as much as I do at Fresh Catch.

We had heard about Fresh Catch from friends so it was on our growing list of places to eat when we were back in Hawaii.  Luckily, there is a location in Kaneohe really close to where my in-laws live.  As we walked up to the door, we noticed signs pointing out that this restaurant was going to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.

There were so many different kinds of poke to choose from, I was in heaven.

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I ordered a small poke bowl which is your choice of poke with steamed rice.  I kept it nice and simple with spicy ahi poke.  The fish was so fresh and tasted so good, I was sad that I had ordered such a small bit of it!

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Fresh Catch has an extensive menu with a ton of different plate lunches with lau lau, beef stew, fried rice and more.  I will keep going back for the poke though.

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We went here for lunch on our second to last day in Hawaii.  We loved it so much that we actually went back a few hours later to eat more poke again as a snack!  We were headed to a friend’s wedding so we went back in our wedding attire before we went to the ceremony.

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Poke Paradise indeed!

We left Hawaii the next day to come back to the mainland.  Before we left, we made a stop at Fresh Catch for our last meal.  We learned our lesson and this time we got a bigger poke bowl.  Mine is on the left.  I got spicy ahi and spicy salmon.  TM got shoyu salmon and smoked tako poke.  The owner, Reno Henriques, dives for his own octopus and the smoked tako poke is one of the most popular flavors.  I have decided this place is a “must go” any time we are back on the islands!

two locations, we went to: 45-1118 Kamehameha Hwy  Kaneohe, HI

Dining in the City: Beretta

October 4, 2012

Most MLB teams have a dog day at least once during the season where they allow you to bring your favorite canine to the game.  I can’t think of a better combination than being at a Giants game with TM and my pup!  Since we were in the city, we decided to find a restaurant with outdoor seating so we could all dine together after the game.  Enter Beretta.

Everything we ordered was pretty impressive but our starter was amazing.  Every element of this dish had something I love: burrata cheese, walnuts, mushrooms, truffles and honey.  Put it all together on some fresh bread and it’s heaven.  If we go again, I would definitely order the burrata bruschetta on walnut bread with mushroom truffle honey.  I would even consider ordering two!

We had heard the portions are on the smaller side so we also ordered gnocchi with porcini & smoked pancetta as another starter.  The gnocchi were light and airy and had great flavors from the mushrooms and pancetta.

I chose the saffron with osso buco risotto as my main dish.  The osso buco was tender and flavorful and the risotto was cooked to luscious, creamy perfection.

TM chose the hanger steak alla siciliana.  It come with onions and broccoli rabe on the side.  His meat was cooked nicely and was very peppery, which I liked.

I loved the ambiance of this restaurant – it looked very trendy inside.  The pizzas I saw other people order looked amazing so I would definitely want to go back and try one.

1199 Valencia St.  San Francisco, CA

Back in the 808: Alan Wong’s

August 31, 2012

We had heard so many wonderful things about the food at Alan Wong’s that we decided to check it out for ourselves.  The restaurant itself is located on the third floor of an office building with not much of a view.  Once inside, we were brought an iPad that had the drink and food menus on it.  Some of the dishes had pictures we could look at to get an idea of what we were ordering.

The restaurant is quite small and dark so my pictures do not do our meal any justice.  Everything we ate was amazing, from the warm bread with a dijon chili aioli to our cocktails to our entrees and dessert.  In fact, the complimentary bread was so good with the aoili that I ate too much of it and made myself sick.  Lesson learned.

 

I will leave you with one of our favorites of the night.  TM had ordered the prix fixe menu and while everything that came out as part of his meal was great, this whole tomato salad was surprisingly divine.  The tomato itself is skinned, sliced and placed back together onto the plate.  It was beautifully ripe and the li hing mui ume vinaigrette around it brought it up a notch.

We are headed back to Hawaii tomorrow for a wedding!  While Alan Wong’s isn’t on our itinerary this time around, we do have many other places we plan on trying!

1857 S King St.  Honolulu, HI 96826

Back in the 808: Sushi Izakaya Gaku

May 22, 2012

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I lived in Japan for two years.  I taught English at a high school in the third largest city in Fukuoka prefecture.  I have so many great memories from those two years, much of them revolving around food.  Eating and drinking is such a huge part of Japanese culture that it’s no wonder that most of my pictures from Japan often included people, nature, food or some combination of the three.

Professionals often frequent izakayas in Japan after work.  Izakayas are usually small, casual dining establishments that serve food, sake and beer.  I often used to go with other teachers to unwind after a long day and we would eat and drink beer until we were in danger of missing the last train home.

I had asked my friend Jeff where we should eat since we hadn’t been back to the islands in awhile.  When he told me that Sushi Izakaya Gaku was his favorite place to go, I knew we had to try it.  The day we flew back from Maui, we called Gaku around 4:15 to try to get a reservation for that evening.  They had an opening at 5 PM for us if we promised to eat fast so we booked it.  Good thing we did because people were getting turned away at the door as we ate our meal.

My favorite dish of the night was the spicy negi hama tartare.  One the raw quail egg gets mixed in, wrap it in the nori (seaweed) and eat.  The hamachi was perfectly creamy and the flavors of the fish combined with the scallions and raw egg were in perfect harmony with each other.

The homemade tofu with dashi jelly was amazingly smooth and silky.  We mixed in the wasabi and ate it with our spoons.  It was a pretty great way to begin our meal.

TM does not care for crab but he let me order the king crab cake.  It came out sizzling on the plate and tasted buttery with huge chunks of crab.

One of the specials that night was the papio carpaccio.  Interestingly enough, this was one of my least favorite dishes of the evening.  I had never tried papio before and thought it didn’t compare to the hamachi.

The karaage chicken had good flavor but it did not blow me away.  I will probably pass on it next time and try something else on the menu.

The nigiri sushi we ordered was impeccable!  Hamachi for me and salmon for TM.

We weren’t planning on ordering dessert here but when we heard green tea ice cream with homemade mochi, we decided we could share.  It was the perfect end to our memorable meal.

We ate our plates clean and paid our bill before the next reservation came.  This dinner was one of my top two favorite meals of this trip because everything about Gaku was great including the atmosphere, service, and of course, the food.  It was quite different from izakayas I used to go to in Japan.  It didn’t have the usual yakitori and other skewers you would usually find in izakayas and was definitely not as smoky (smoking is allowed everywhere in Japan) but it had an intimate and casual feel once you were inside.  I would go again in a heartbeat if we have time the next time we are back!

1329 S. King St.   Honolulu, HI

Back in the 808: The Pineapple Room

February 13, 2012

I’ve been dragging my feet on writing this post about The Pineapple Room.  My pictures are dark and quite frankly, I wasn’t impressed with the food.  I had eaten there for lunch years ago and thought it was average.  It wasn’t memorable by any means (I really have no idea what I had that day and I can’t even remember who I went with!) but TM had never been so we chose to go there for a family dinner.

After all of the snacks we consumed, would you believe we headed to dinner a mere hour or so later?  We had a family dinner at The Pineapple Room (inside the Macy’s at Ala Moana Center) which is an Alan Wong restaurant.   Alan Wong is one of the twelve cofounders of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine.

I apologize for the darkness of these pictures but the flash overexposed everything.  I ordered the pan steamed onaga “Chinese Style.”  It had tofu underneath, lup cheong sausage, shiitake mushrooms with a ginger soy sauce.  To be honest, I was drawn to this dish because of the tofu included with it but it was nothing special.  I couldn’t even find it when I first started eating because it was hidden by everything else.

One of TM’s favorites is ochazuke.  It is a simple Japanese dish, usually tea over rice with other savory toppings.  TM’s Mom ordered the king salmon with ochazuke risotto.  I’m not sure what made this a risotto as opposed to regular ochazkue.  The rice must have been cooked for awhile before the tea was poured over.

TM’s Dad went with the rib steak which came with braised Maui onions, garlic mushrooms, tomatoes and herb butter.

Ryan got one of the specials that night.  For the life of me, I cannot remember what he ordered.  It was fish. The end.

TM went with the seared peppered ahi with asian slaw.  It had won bok, crispy won ton pieces, peanuts with a soy vinaigrette.

The only other dish besides my own that I tried was TM’s Mom’s plate.  I tried a bit of the ochazuke to see what it was like.  I was so full from all of our snacks that I probably didn’t fully appreciate my meal.  Now that this post is over, I can move on to the other places we ate on our trip!  They are definitely more exciting, I promise.

1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 1300  Honolulu, HI (inside the Macy’s at Ala Moana shopping center)

Mediterranean at Cyprus

October 29, 2011

My in-laws were in town and stayed with us for about a week.  In between work, house projects, yard work, shopping, quick trip to Napa,  and more housework, we managed to find time for some good meals.

I had considered taking TM to Cyprus Bistro & Cafe for his birthday dinner this year but we ended up going somewhere else for some reason.  I’m glad we were able to try this place out since it’s so close to where we live.

We started out with a hummus plate to share (not pictured).  It was your run-of-the-mill restaurant hummus.  TM’s Mom ordered a salad with greens, beets, gorgonzola, apples, walnuts, and an aged balsamic vinaigrette.  I tried a non beet and gorgonzola bite of the salad and enjoyed the dressing and greens combination.

She also ordered the Aleppo chili garlic prawns.  She said they had a kick to them but they were very good.

TM and his Dad both went with the Cyprus kebab platter.  It came with beef fillet, kefta (lamb) kebab & marinated chicken breast, rosemary roasted potatoes & tzatziki.  I got to nibble everything and the beef was probably my favorite.  TM and his Dad both cleaned off their plates and seemed to enjoy it although TM did mention, “I thought it would be bigger.”

I went with the jumbo prawn with brown rice linguini.  Along with the prawns, it came with roasted tomatoes, baby spinach, fresh herbs, shaved pecorino with a creamy white wine sauce.  I was concerned about the cream sauce being too heavy but it was perfect.  I was impressed with the presentation – the baby spinach was a beautiful green and not wilted at all.  They must have blanched the spinach then shocked it in ice water immediately in order for it to look so nice.  I’m not sure I would be able to do that.  Everything in this dish went so well together, I was excited to eat my leftovers for lunch the next day.

I love eating on the outdoor patios of restaurants on Campbell Ave.  The best part is Koa being able to join us for dinner!

379 E. Campbell Ave.   Campbell, CA

Finger food in Portland

August 19, 2011

It is no secret that I often turn to “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” as a source of inspiration.  If I am traveling somewhere, I will look up which restaurants have been featured on that show and will try to plan my itinerary around those places – if it’s something I’m interested in.  If something sounds really good when I first see the episode, I will make a mental note of it and will remember it is a must the next time I am in that city.

That is exactly why it is so pleasantly surprising to see a place I visited on my own, featured on the show.  It’s even more special when something I ate there is on the show as well!

Rahm Fama chose Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings from Pok Pok in Portland as his favorite finger food.  Guy Fieri visited this place on DD and D.  The chef, Andy Ricker, creates his recipes based on his travels through Asia.  It is described as fresh natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce, garlic and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce and garlic and served with Vietnamese table salad on the menu.

Chef Andy mixes garlic, salt and water together then strains it through a cheese cloth.  If actual minced garlic is on the chicken wing, it will burn when fried.  Genius!  He then adds fine sugar and fish sauce to the garlic water and marinates the chicken overnight.  He dredges the wings in rice flour and some tempura flour and deep fries them.  They are then topped with the “wing caramel” which is fish sauce, water and sugar.  He adds some chili paste and fried garlic to it and you’ve got some spicy-sweet Vietnamese chicken wings!

We went to Pok Pok with our dear friends Elisa and Matt, who live in Portland and hosted us that trip.  Everything we tried had wonderful flavor to it and our plates were licked clean.  I’d definitely want to go back the next time we are in town!

3226 SE Division St.  Portland, OR 97202

Pike Place Chowder

June 2, 2011

TM and I tend to travel with our stomachs.  I’m pretty sure that is evident by this blog.  The problem is, our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs.  I did quite extensive research before our trip to Seattle and typed out an itinerary listing where we’d eat for each meal and our mode of transportation.  There weren’t enough meals in the day for everything I wanted to try so we ended up with some midday snacks and late night snacks – a.k.a. dinner #2.

My parents came on this trip with TM and I.  (They actually “funded” it since the free airline credit we used was theirs!)  After checking in at our Belltown condo, we walked over to Pike’s Place Chowder for an early dinner.  We  got there right before they closed at 5 PM and ordered New England clam chowder and some sandwiches.  I got a clam chowder / crab roll combo and TM got a clam chowder / bay shrimp roll combo.  Both sandwiches were quite excellent but the chowder was definitely the star of the meal here.  TM usually doesn’t eat clam chowder but he was okay with this one because it was so fresh that it didn’t taste fishy.

Mom and Dad shared a large chowder and split a full crab roll.

The dinner was great until for some unknown reason, Mom dropped all of the innards of her sandwich onto the ground!  It was quite a tragedy and all she was left with was bread and a little lettuce.

It was hard to believe it all plopped onto the asphalt to be left to the birds. <insert sad face here>

We all thought the chowder was some of the best we’ve ever had.  They have various kinds of chowder that I wouldn’t mind trying the next time we go.  I wanted to stick with traditional New England style this time around for comparison reasons.

1530 Post Alley   Seattle, WA


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