Saturday, July 30, 2011

Silent Saturday: Food, Glorious Food

Brunch at 15 Romolo. Heather and Deb took me for my birthday.

As you can see, it was really good!

Salad topped with onion rings is the way to go.

Roasted goose at the Tasty Awards launch party

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review on the Fly: Tamarindo's Crispy Shrimp Tacos

 Tamarindo has a shiny silver ceiling and a bright, open space leaves you feeling you are hanging out with the family. An air of femininity adds an extra bit of charm to the decor.

Drawn in by the crispy prawn taco on the menu, I got a seat in the sunlit dining room.  It may seem odd that at that exact moment one might be struck with the urge to have a taco, however, these aren't any ordinary tacos. 

Prawns, creamy avocado, chopped lettuce & sprinkling of cheese make for a more elegant eat. This is not a taco to be wolfed down in haste. Washed down with a pineapple aqua fresca on a less than beautiful day served to brighten it.

This would be a perfect spot to lunch or happy hour with friends and I look forward to doing so.

+ great food, lovely atmospshere
- service friendly but distant

Friday, July 1, 2011

Perfect Ice Cream Pairings!

I've got some good news and some better news. The good news is.. it's national Ice Cream Month! And I'm here to share Chef Tim Nugent's perfect ice cream pairings, courtesy of the good folks over at Real California Milk. They hosted a group of us over at the beautiful Ketchum Kitchen where we could talk about some great California ice creams and the magic of the sundae.

Per Merriam-Webster, a sundae is ice cream served with topping (as crushed fruit, syrup, nuts, or whipped cream) and the first known use of the word was 1897. We've come a long way from ancient Rome when snow was mixed with honey, and from Victorian England when flavored ices were a regular part of the Upper Crust's dessert array. Today the variety of flavors available would blow old Nero's mind and the Victorians would no doubt tremble in horror at the idea of partaking in Foie Gras, bacon, licorice or Whale. No, I'm not making that last one up.

Lucky for us, we got some delicious flavor combinations and none that were too scary!

Chef Tim Nugent is a real treat all in himself and a real charmer. I love that he is exactly what you saw if you watched Just Desserts, an honest representation of a hardworking Pastry chef and all around great guy! The first sundae we tried (the second and third picture) was a vanilla ice cream with caramel, cherries, almond brittle, whipped creme fraiche and a hit of black salt. This sundae was great and that black salt elevated it to fantastic in my book. That extra layer of flavor was perfect in the balance.

The last photo is Humboldt Organic Chocolate ice cream with bitter chocolate syrup, smoked salt and pink peppercorns. Since pink peppercorns are not true members of the pepper family they add an interesting flavor to desserts.

From top left: Thrifty Coconut Pineapple with lemongrass syrup, grilled pineapple and toasted coconut. It's a little on the sweet side, so I think this would also be great with some lime for a citrusy break.

Loard's has been an East Bay staple my whole life, oh & way beyond. We would go for Sundaes because the ice cream is good (try the chocolate mint!!) and you had your choice of dreamy sundae options! The one above is Loard's Lemon Chiffon drizzled with limoncello and topped with whipped cream & marcona almonds. This creamy goodness will make anyone smile and you won't need a lot of it to be satisfied!

Strawberry Crystal ice cream with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and deep fried basil leaves, refreshing and simple. This would be an elegant end to an Italian based meal to carry through the flavors.

I had no idea that Fresno State made ice cream, which just proves that you learn something new everyday. The fresh peach was light and paired nicely with a thyme meringue & a roasted strawberry sauce.

Like waffle cones but want your ice cream in a bowl? Edible waffle cone bowls! Shirts proclaim ice cream love and we scope out the ice cream sundae bar.

 My concoction: Bourbon Vanilla ice cream from Silver Moon with condensed milk, Marcona almonds, black sesame candy and a hit of sea salt. So ready to create your own sundae bar for a party? Try this:

*Have at least one flavor of ice cream per person invited.

*If you plan to make ice cream, keep in mind how much time it will take to make your base, freeze and set. Don't wait until the last minute unless you really like to be frazzled.

*Vary your sauce options beyond chocolate and strawberry. Make a caramel with lemon verbena or cardamom for some great flavors addition. Remember that condensed milk also makes a quick easy caramel substitute and that you can easily make your own flavored simple syrup for an extra shot of taste.

*What goes on top? Nuts? Sure. Fruit? Why not? Want some other options? Toasted coconut, caramelized coffee beans, shortbread, ladyfingers, crushed graham crackers, sesame candy, marshmallow, chocolate or other flavored chips, whipped cream or creme fraiche, salt....if you can think of it and it will go with sweets, add it to your list!

*Have enough containers, spoons etc for both the items on the sundae bar and for your guests to eat. I know that might sound silly, but trust me, that one is not as no brainer as it seems.

Have fun! Summer is just beginning and there are many days to enjoyed with your friends and family having a great time and eating well. But if you get your hands on some sauerkraut ice cream? Please don't invite me.