Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tiger Shrimp with mushrooms and noodles

While watching Nigella Lawson today, I got inspired to try a variation of what she was making.

ginger, garlic, dried chilis, soy sauce, meyer lemon and rice vingear to marinate the shrimp

Rather than cook the arugula, I mixed it with the hot pasta to wilt it
bubble,bubble you tasty shellfish!
Nigella served hers over black rice, but the noodles were a great foil for this spicy dish

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chez Papa's for late lunch

Chez Papa Resto on Urbanspoon

It's raining. I've been coughing and cooped up all week, which has been super annoying. The remedy as it turns out was Chez Papa. It was quiet, meaning I hit at the right time. The music was lovely, my server was welcoming and the host was singing in a baritone to the French songs playing. It was, just what I needed.

I'd love to have some black chandeliers. Much cooler than the ones at my grandmother's when I was growing up.

The bread was still warm when my lovely server brought it me. Butter on warm, crusty bread? Heaven.

caramelized onion soup with cheese was perfect for the weather and perfectly seasoned

When I asked if she would choose the nicoise or the chicken, there was no hesitation. The chicken and polenta were homey and worth savoring. So I did.

This plate belies the looks so innocent yet it was sublime. The rich creamy chocolate followed by the green tea ice cream was quite an experience for the mouth.

 I thanked my server when I left, and I spoke to her about the food as I was trying each course. I put myself in her hands and I am so glad I did, because her choices were dead on. 

I also hugged the host and told him he should sing with every song. This is one of those times when I didn't want to use a lot of words, yet wanted to share such a wonderful dining moment with you.
I will most certainly be visiting again!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tea with Friends: in pictures

When Biggie said she wanted to have us over for tea, I immediately requested that Maki make strawberry cream cake like you see in animes. I know how dorky that sounds, but whatever! And Heather makes brilliant scones! We came together as sister friends (oh and the Justin, who doesn't mind with the ladies, I love it!) and had a marvelous Saturday!

these babies are filled with kabocha squash. yuuuuuuuuum.

I got one fresh & hot right after they were fried. the scent was intoxicating.

scones, clotted cream and Meyer Lemon Blood Orange Marmalade

Strawberry Cream cake good!

the table looks edible. oh wait, it is!

sconey goodness
the kitten would leave Heather or the yarn alone. She's so cute, it hardly matters.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Choclatique: the Sweet delights of chocolate

If you are looking for something wonderful to share with loved ones in time for Valentine's Day, look no further. I have had the pleasure of trying treats from Choclatique many times and I must say that this company puts out an amazingly enjoyable product. You can't go wrong with them for Valentine's Day, or any other holiday. Is your true love in need of sugar free sweets? They got your Sweet Deceit!

They, by far, make the best brittle I have ever had, the best balance of salty, sweet, crunchy and nutty, which frankly, I could eat all day! It has 60% Spanish peanuts and also comes in a chocolate covered version (seriously though, the original is brilliant!) If you don't find this brittle addictive, you must be cracked. Really good brittle is hard to find, so if you really love the stuff, make this your go to.

White Chocolate, peach and pistachio gemstone
 When we get a box, the first thing I look for is always the Chocolate caramel in dark chocolate with the signature logo dusted in gold. I want to get this creamy bite of heaven before my other half does! Choclatique also has gifts for the gluten free, the baking impaired, Gemstones for your birthday (like the beauty pictured above) and very soon will be releasing a cookbook by co-founder Ed Engoron!

One of the greatest things about Choclatique is their support of those in need: four times a year they donate to help save injured and endangered elephants and support this marvelous film "The Eyes of Thailand". So four times a year you can buy yummy treats and support a great cause. Or you can donate directly to help save endangered elephants!

 The Elephant is my favorite treat created by Ed and Joan, a glorious mouth of chocolate in a small brick with a beautifully detailed elephant on top. The flavor profile changes as you bite it, allowing you to fully experience the terroir of the cocoa, which is frankly astounding. Each bite is slightly different than the last, allowing you to experience chocolate as you may never have before. 

If you are in the Bay Area this April, be sure and catch up with Ed and Joan at the world famous Chocolate Salon, where they and many other chocolatiers will be present to share their magical sweet treats the moment you come through the door!

All photos courtesy

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Congac Tasting with and Cafe Des Amis

Sascha and I were lucky enough to attend last night's tasting hosted by We started off with French 75's, had a little foie & cognac mousse, noshed on duck prosciutto, enjoyed sidecars and....well, I just guess you had to be there! Here is a guest post from Sascha on this fantastic event!

Nothing touches complexity and perfection in a glass like cognac.A well aged and well made cognac is complex, deep and thought provoking. It evolves over time in the glass and produces maximum enjoyment to the drinker who ultimately shows off their good taste by simply sipping the beverage. Last night’s event at Cafe Des Amis proved this to be true.

10 different cognacs from three producers with appetizers Remy Martin, Pierre Ferrand and Courvoisier brought samples and talked up their products as guests mingled, my girlfriend took pictures and trays of appetizers and cocktails were passed around.

Now we’ll break down the tasting notes:

From Remy: The Louis XIII – starts off with golden orange hues and a nose that begins with spice but under a refined character of cognac. Then the first sip is liquid honey, heating the tongue slightly. Floral notes are detected. A second sip reveals honeysuckle, peach-like flavors and vanilla from French oak.The third and final sip reveals more pronounced oak and caramel flavors with a nice, long finish.

*1738 – A more medium bodied offering with significant oak and caramel on the palate.
*1989 – A charming offering from Remy with more floral notes. Smooth and long finish, the heat blends into a nice bit of spice.
*Remy XO – The Standard nightcap for many. Full flavored with just enough weight in the mouth to accompany the evening pipe or last cigar of the day, or finish out a nice meal. The balance of this cognac is astounding at the price point.

 Next up: Pierre Ferrand offerings

Pierre Ferrand is 1er Cru Grand Champagne and are an exceptional offering. Four blends tried.

*The 10 year – a well rounded offering with nuances of oak and floral notes that developed into spices over the course of the glass. Slight heat from the alcohol marries with refined smoothness for a unique taste.
*The 20 year – A little more rustic as though the cognac blend needed something. Yet it was spicy, nutmeg or clove complimented the finish.
*The 30 year – A more mature blend with heavier notes of vanilla and terroir. Particular impressions included limestone and chalk, to speak of the land in which the grapes were harvested. A smooth finish and medium to full mouthfeel end this blend well.
*The 45 year – an exceptional offering with much more pronounced chalk and limestone though the French oak shines through with ease. Burnt Orange scents tickle the nose and palate. A pleasing, long lasting finish.

Lastly, we come to Courvoisier:

*XO – not nearly as refined as the Remy XO but more rustic. Dirt and land come across form this blend.
*12 year – A good bargain cognac with less refined heat and a sharp bite at the end.
*21 year – Candied fruits stand out amongst the developing flavors of this blend. I’d buy a bottle and let it rest, honestly

So there you have it! This was a wonderful event and I am so happy I had the chance to try these cognacs and really get an opportunity to learn more and compare. Afterwards we had burgers at Roam and I have got to say, the burgers were good enough to follow up such gorgeous tastes!

also these French Fries? REALLY good
  all photos courtesy S.M. Raven