It is not often that we get to spend Thanksgiving with my family out in the Valley. We typically opt for the bigger Christmas holiday to make that trip and plan our huge family holiday meal. This year, the missus and I will be abroad for Christmas (more on that later) and wanted to spend at least one of the holidays around my parents' dinner table.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons canola oil or unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup agave nectar (or substitute 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar and 2 tbsp. water)
2 cups whole wheat flour1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raisins or dried apricots, chopped (may use up to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional--may use up to 1/2 cup)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Here we have the Kerrigold table, with some of the richest butter and most flavorful cheeses you will ever have the chance to enjoy. I am not ashamed to say I visited this table more than once.
The crowd raved about this demure little ceviche cup, served by Fuego Restaurant from Long Beach. These little guys were amazing; two perfect bites of bright, salty freshness in a stylish shot glass.These tasty little bites came from the kitchen of Aquarius out of Santa Cruz. Little pastry cups filled with deliciousness (although I am having difficulty remembering exactly what.)
One of the major participants of the Taste Pavilions was Foodzie, a great website for producers of artisan foods, from snacks, sauces, preserves, and amazing chocolates. These beautiful little chocolates with smoked sea salt are from Neococoa, a new San Francisco chocolatier.
After nibbling on a plethora of tasty bites, sipping beer from Rogue, Magnolia, and 21st Amendment Brewery, I was stuffed and a little fuzzy from all of the beer. The kids at Foodbuzz, working their tails off all afternoon, were rockstars and could not have put on a better event. Alas, after a long day of stuffing my face with some of the tastiest delights the food world has to offer, it was time to head home for a quick nap in preparation for the evening's Outstanding In The Field dinner.
The menu for the Outstanding In The Field dinner was created by celebrated San Francisco restaurant Namu, and prepared by Chef Dennis Lee's staff in this impromptu kitchen stretched over banquet tables and mobile grills. Below you can see the prep and staging area for the mushroom soup we would be enjoying as our first course.
The concept behind Outstanding In The Field dinners is to bring people together, usually to a farm, to celebrate the bounty of sustainable, local food together along a single, artfully designed table. Our table, draped in simple white cloth, snaked through the racks and rooms of Greenleaf to stunning effect.
Keep in mind, we were dining in a working produce warehouse, stacked high with pallets and crates of fruits and vegetables ready to be loaded on a truck and shipped out the moment we had cleaned our plates. Playing the gracious hosts, Greenleaf even gave us a magnificent centerpiece piled high with fresh fruits and veggies for us bloggers to use as camera fodder.
This steaming bowl of soup with maitake, shimeji, and enoki mushrooms started the dinner, a warm and earthy first dish. Beyond this single dish, everything was served family style, and we were encouraged to help serve each other, and we certainly did not hesitate. After the required photo ops, of course.
Next up was Udon with grilled calamari in a browned butter ponzu reduction, cucumber, kaiware, frisee and yellow pear tomato with chojang and sesame vinaigrette. Quite the mouthful to say, but even better to eat.
Next on the menu was a sea trout baked with fried garlic and Japanese curry powder, served with mushroom risotto with crispy maitake mushrooms. These dishes were some of what I love best about food; fresh, quality ingredients served simply enough to be able to tell their own story. The risotto was fantastic, and the trout was cooked just enough to be tender; slightly salty and fresh.
Braving another sunny day in San Francisco after a long night of revelry, we gathered one final time Sunday morning for the farewell brunch at Lulu restaurant. Complete with a bloody mary bar, the brunch was hosted by Nature's Pride bread and featured Kerrygold cheeses and butter and pears from Frog Hollow Farm. From frittata with aged cheddar to crouque monsieurs with smoked ham and truffle mustard to just good old plain bacon, this meal was a delicious way to wrap up the weekend. Still, it had been a long weekend of perpetual indulgence, and eventually it was time to head back home for a quiet Sunday at home.
The 1st Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival was truly the start of something great; Foodbuzz didn't over look a single detail when planning the whole weekend. As many times as I have said it before, thanks Foodbuzz for a perfect foodie weekend. And thanks to all of my new foodie friends, it was great getting to know you and I can't wait to see what is in store for next year.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Alive raw restaurant served wafers topped with avocado, tomato and basil and an amazing raw cheesecake, almost just as good as the real thing.
Cupcakes are all the rage in the city right now, and one of the best in town is Mission Minis. These little guys are a perfect bite size, topped with sweet butter cream frosting, and are moist and delicious.
The hit of the night for most everyone came from Roli Roti and their porchetta sandwich, crispy skin together with perfectly rotisserie roasted pork belly and pork loin in a sourdough bun mopped in the roasting juices. (No good pictures of this one, sadly. I was too busy filling my belly with its porky goodness.) Topped with salt and chopped parsley, these sandwiches were way too good to miss.