Tis the Season of Squash


And I've been missing out on it mostly. So I dove into it with the carnival squash. A beautiful specimen isn't it? It would have continued to make a beautiful center piece, not that a delicious pasta isn't a good enough home for it.


While I roasted the squash I sauteed some onion and garlic with a few pieces of leftover parmigiano rind. God, frying cheese rind smells so good! And looks good too! After the squash was cooked I peeled and chopped it into bite-sized pieces and added it to the pan. Add al dente penne and a sprinkling of rosemary, lemon zest, TJ pasta seasoning, and red pepper flakes. On top I sprinkled some leftover Cypress Grove Humboldt Fod goat cheese that I've had for an eternity. I had to trash most of it but I salvaged the untainted creamy white middle. The carnival squash was delicious with its mild sweet potato-like flavors. And with the penne made a humble but satisfying (and beautiful) dinner.

I Heart Sausage - Boudin Blanc


The fridge at Surfas is stocked with so many different sausages. That's dangerous for someone like me. I was good though only getting one pack, the Boudin Blanc with Cognac from Fabrique Delices. I would have liked to eat it with super smooth mashed potato and apple thyme risotto but instead I went for something already available from my pantry, farro, and put aside my boudin blanc fantasy meal for another day.

Boudin blanc is a delicate French white sausage made of pork, chicken or veal, cream, and breadcrumbs. It was indeed delicate and light with a velvety feel. The browned casing crisped up beautifully while the sausage stayed moist inside. The farro was a nice bed of texture and nutty flavors for the sausage and made a perfect lunch.

Being the Surfas and sausage whore that I am I went back and got the Portuguese Hawaiian Sausage. Also frickin delicious! Nice spiciness to it accented even more so by my generous shaking of Congo hot sauce. I think next on the list is the boar sausage. Yumms.


Behind Every Great Sandwich...


...is a great bread. No doubt. Making a great sandwich takes more of a managerial approach rather than a cooking one because it only requires that you assemble a group of ingredients rather than "cooking" the sandwich. This means keeping an critical eye for the best ingredients and controlling the quality of the end product, the great sandwich.

Of course pressing a sandwich in a panini grill is cooking but most of the work is still in assembling. If you take a pile of crappy ingredients and put it between two slices of crappy bread and then press that into a panini it's still gonna be a crappy sandwich, although one with a great texture.

There is one bread in LA that is one of the best candidates for a great sandwich. There are others I'm sure, from the great artisanal La Brea Bakery to hole in the walls to haute boulangeries... but this one has always won my heart over. Even taking it home from the store without practically putting my face into the long paper bag that cradles it for a deep whiff of a fresh bread high is difficult.

This is the Bay Cities loaf. Everytime I've stopped by there, mostly between mid-morning and noon, there are fresh loaves of bread still warm from the oven, intoxicating passerbys with its delicious scent. Everyone knows how difficult it is to get a sandwich at Bay Cities. It takes about 45 minutes or more to get a sandwich during the weekend lunch time. It's a great feat if you can wait it out with the hunger pains and constant checking of time elapsed. But if you get a small container of their ultra creamy tender bococcinis, a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, and a loaf of their still warm bread that will be excellent pocket for the cheese, tomato and the tomato infused olive oil, you will be able to hold out til your sandwich is ready.

This time I thought why go through the trouble of standing and waiting for eternity when I can make a similar sandwich at home with their excellent bread, which is one of the biggest reasons their sandwiches are such a huge success. I stacked up dry salami, red onion, arugula, Bay Cities bococcini into the super fluffy beautifully thin crusted bread. With a pile of pepperoncinis on the side I was pretty happy with the substitute.

1517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401-2776


Another Edition of Curry Powder


I can't believe how many spices are in my life now. When I was young it was just black pepper and korean red chili flakes. Now it's cumin, coriander seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, spicy paprika, and one of my favorites, a blend, curry. There has been delicious ventures in curried sweet potato & sausage hash, curried chickpea and eggplant, roasted cauliflower with curry & paprika, curry-flavored potato croquettes, and now curried chicken salad.


I used yogurt, lemon juice, red onion, green onion, and curry powder to taste. I added it by spoonfuls until the salad reached that spicy savoriness that the chicken is a great canvas for. I simply baked the chicken until it was cooked through but very very moist. There are a few things I hate more than a dry chicken. Just tear this with your fingers and make sure to taste a few strands or more, for quality control that is. :) Then mix together with the curry dressing. I used beautiful butter lettuce as a base for this salad. Such beautiful smooth ridges and valleys on a leaf of a butter lettuce. Delicious.

The Worst Day...

The week had been dragging by ever so slowly and I was finally relieved to be home and happy to be cooking. I chopped a quarter of a brown onion, neatly lined up the cinnamon, bay leaf, and rosemary sprig, and crushed the chile de arbol between my fingers as I waited for the oil to heat up in the cute little red Le Creuset pot that my mom had purchased at Costco. I tilted it briefly to spread the oil over the bottom surface of the pot and turned slightly to scoop up the chopped onion with my knife and the assistance of my left hand.

Then, "crack!" The pot basically cracked/exploded on top of the electric burner and the oil caught on fire. I quickly swatted the fire with my handy red and white kitchen towel. The moment was brief but at this point my already moody mood was on a accelerated downward spiral. My mom packed up the broken pieces so that she could take it back to Costco and tell them that our Le Creuset, a pot that could handle anything and everything in the world, exploded on our stove. [But it's a good thing she just threw it away because cooking with Le Creuset stoneware on top of the stove is a no-no].

Mentally I moved on, the exploding pot was just another little speedbump in my already miserable tired week. Not wanting any stove top drama and or even any auditory excitement of sizzle and sear I broiled the leftover marinated ro-seu-gui (ribeye). *sniffle* I had been feeling under the weather and sniffles was what I was condemned with. I blew my nose and although my hands never touched my already slightly raw nose it started to burn like crazy. Arg! I ran over to my mom and she put a small dollop of lotion on my nose. Ahhh, relief - well sorta.

I had also planned to bake a chocolate cake, my first cake from scratch ever, but a nice cup of green tea was in order for a bit of relaxation before I tackled this new challenge. I got out my new white tea pot from Surfas, nothing special but a welcomed addition to my tableware at only $8. I filled the the strainer with premium loose leaf green tea that I had given my parents as a gift and waited for the water to boil.

Well things continued to go wrong as I had forgotten to warm the tea pot and filled the strainer with way too much tea. What ususally is a pleasant combination of soothing nuttiness marked by a subtle floral note came out bitter, dark, and downright unenjoyable. Sigh. And is it impossible to pour tea without spillage as you attempt to taper the flow? Sigh~

I think my decision at this point to 86 baking my first cake ever was a brilliant idea. What are the chances of that working out when all these other more simpler tasks came to a screeching failure. On the bright side at least the tea cup I used to drink the bitter out of was pretty.



Kimchi Dubu


I love tofu with a passion.
Medium firm is my favorite texture.
Dubu=Tofu in Korean
My favorite tofu dishes: Dubu Jorim w/Pork Belly and Kimchi Dubu.

Kimchi Dubu is infinitely easier and faster to make than Dubu Jorim because all you have to do is sautee the bulgogi (in this instance) and saute the kimchi with vege oil, a drizzle of sesame oil), sesame seeds, and green onion. Cut the tofu into pleasing blocks of one-biters and there you have it... Kimchi Dubu. A super easy 10 minute meal. Now if you want to make tofu from scratch that is a whole another story.


Marinated Tuna Angelini Style


I had an amazing dinner at Angelini Osteria a while back and our meal started off with a complementary plate of marinated tuna. It was so delicious and I sopped up all the olive oil with the slices of rustic bread. I had a few cans of tuna lying around so I figured why not. If the tuna was from Italy it would have been much better but the Trader Joe's tuna in olive oil worked fine. To the tuna I added some thinly sliced onion, golden raisans, toasted pinenuts, torn basil and a few parsley leaves. A few drizzles of a good olive oil and then it was ready to be scooped up by crackers. Try it and you will say yumm.


Farmer's Market Discovery


Look at this beauty! I totally freaked out when I saw it. I love the geometric repetitions. This is a romanesco, a cauliflower originating from Italy that has been commerciallly available in Europe since 1990. I roasted this with some German Butterball potatoes and spicy Spanish paprika for a simple vegetable dish. It's really great when ingredients are of quality because you don't have to do much to it.


I also got some swiss chard and kale. The chard caught my eye with its beautiful red stems and tinted leaves. I was very happy with the high quality of both greens because this was going to be my first time cooking them, which means I needed all forces on my side. I followed a simple recipe from Orangette and voila...

Winter Greens with Chickpeas


Flick N' Hot Tater


I know the title of this event sounds like a porn party but instead it was a dinner & movie party. I think some were disappointed. :]

Wanting to get everyone together without going nuts and losing my bolts, I opted for a uber-casual gathering for a delicious devouring of a nice and hot comfort food - the baked potato. Toppings included maple smoked cheddar, romesco, roasted garlic butter, chives, applewood smoked bacon, and organic sour cream. I pre-baked the potatoes, Boy scooped them out. I mashed them around a little bit with hot milk, pepper and plenty of salt and then stuffed them back all fluffy and easy to eat.

Each person made their own creation, so vegetarians, health nuts, and meat eaters were all happy. I gotta say this was a frickin delicious baked potato. The romesco and the smoked cheddar really made it special. The roasted garlic butter was even better than I expected because I made it with plugra. More creamy and tasty. My only disappointment was that the chives I got were fucked up. Not oniony, not fresh, not very tasty. :P But I guess that's a minor failure in the scope of the other great toppings.

yumm... i heart roasted garlic butter.


For starters I made Suzanne Goin's Smashed Cannellini Bean and served it with dry salami and crackers. And a simple salad of chickory blend and baby romaine with a dressing made with an old-fashioned grainy mustard I picked up at Surfas. For dessert I made brownies out of a box added cashews and peanut brittle. All in all, everything was pretty easy and everyone had a lot of fun. I thought this event would last for a few hours but instead went all the way to 2am, rampaging through many many bottles of wine and beer. We didn't even get to our movie because we were having so much fun just kickin it.

I got to chill in my sweatpants and comfy socks. The fire place and the electric blanket (an ubiquitous item in Korean households) was on, plenty of comfy pillows strewn around, even my uglydolls joined in the fun. Everyone relaxed around the cozy warmth. I'm already looking forward to the second comfy event!


San Francisco: Day 4 - North Beach


Ack, our last day! It is quite impossible to fit all my gastronomical desires and plans into three and a half days. But determined to be productive on our last (half) day I woke up around 9 (am this time) for my morning green tea and first bites of Miette's lavender shortbread cookies. These were heavenly! Light, buttery, and with the addition of the delicate floral rush of the lavendar, perfect. I enjoyed these with immense pleasure still in my pajamas, comfy socks, and the comforting buzz of the tv.


We headed out to Dottie's for breakfast and I started mine with a tall glass of tall milk. Sometimes there is nothing better than that. I got the Lousiana Hot Link with homefries, scrambled eggs and one of the most brilliant delicious ideas - grilled cornbread. So delicious. I had an itch for some meat so this spicy salty sausage was the perfect choice. I really liked the old school diner slash charming hole in the wall cafe atmosphere of this place. And the food also lived up to its reputation.

Then we rushed off to SF MOCA to see the Chuck Close exhibit. From here on we had to keep watching the clock, as our flight was at 4pm. :[ I wanted to see if Golden Flower was open but instead we headed down to North Beach to hang out for an hour or so.


I really loved this area. Definitely an area I would love to live in, being able to walk to a bunch of restaurants and shops. Boy and I nearly flipped out when we saw the Rogue Ales Public House. But it was closed and not to open til past our departure to the airport. After a brief stop at Citylights, the coolest bookstore in the world, we got a drink at the San Francisco Brewing Company. I had their SF Pale Ale. Shrug - it was okay but not the delicious glass of beer I wanted to end my trip with. I think I misread this as an IPA. Durr.


Anyhow, this really nice gentleman saw that we were a bit lost trying to find Citylights and practically gave us a tour of the area. This guy knew so much history about San Francisco and North Beach, a wealth of information and so nice to walk us to the bookstore. Too bad we didn't meet him at the beginning of our trip. One of the places he pointed out, Molinari's, was where Jack Dempsey used to work. We decided to grab a sandwich there so we wouldn't show up late for our plane, although deep inside I wanted to miss it so we would be "stuck" for an extra day in SF.

way too much meat!

Pressed for time we grabbed sandwiches from Molinari's for a quick lunch. I got the deli sandwich with soppressata and Boy got some special with prosciutto, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato. The sandwiches were good but not as good as Bay Cities, the standard mark for any deli comparison, and also kind of expensive. Well from there it was off to the airport and that is the end of our San Francisco story. The trip went by way too quickly. I can't wait to go back for round two.


San Francisco: Day 3 - Recovery

Saturday night, after a delicious dinner at Great Eastern Restaurant upon facing a dark closed Golden Flower next door, we headed out to see Danny Tenaglia spin. We had so much fun and the club was going bonkers all night. Anyhow, the story is that I didn't end up going to sleep by 6am as I had planned. Which meant that I threw myself off my meticulously planned scheduled of eatings, which meant no 1550 Hyde and other delicious eateries on my List. We actually went to sleep in the afternoon and then woke up at night. Partying sometimes turns your whole world upside down, in a good way though. ;)

After hangin out at a friend's hotel a few blocks down we came back and I was eager to eat our leftover chinese food from dinner. I asked the front desk if there is a microwave that I could use and they said no!! God, I was kind of pissed off because I know they have one, at least one, somewhere in the hotel. I just wanted to heat up my cold food! Previous to going out, attempting to heat up the chicken fried rice with the spaceheater proved pretty unsuccessful although the chill was taken off a bit.

delicious hot chicken fried rice... to become room temperature good chicken fried rice.

Poop. This sucked. So after going back to our room I called for hot water, plates and utensils (all free services), determined to somehow eat a delicious leftover dinner and give them a light finger at the same time. My brilliant plan was to heat some of the food using the spaceheater again (or more like get it to room temperature) and heat some in the coffee cup in the lidded ice bucket with the hot water. Well maybe not brilliant but that was the best way I could possibly think of. So every 5 minutes or so I would rotate the mushu pork in front of the spaceheater and then open up the ice bucket and stir up the crab noodles a bit.

mushu pork... same fated as the poor chicken fried rice.

The food got to room temperature and that was the best I was gonna get. Well at least the food was good and I did away with my hunger. But what if they just let me use their microwave? Then I wouldn't have used all their plates and utensils, wasted the time of the employee who delivered the plates, etc. and didn't get any tip because I didn't have any dollar bills, and made a pile of messy plates in the room for them to clean up. I think if I heated the food for about 30 minutes it may have gotten warm. But who has that kind of time when a full schedule awaits the next day??


San Francisco: Day 2 - The Ferry


I woke up around 10am eager to start my day exploring the city and especially the renovated Ferry Building. I successfully got Boy up to, opening up the curtains and luring him with our complementary morning coffee and tea left at our door. He had partied lightly the night before with our friends while I lay in deep sleep unable to move out of the cozy bed, exhausted from the long uphill haul with what felt like all of my life's belongings. I drank my hot complimentary tea and munched on a few Manner wafers I had gotten from Rosamunde the day before. The chocolate covered hazelnut one was good but the raspberry wafers were the right ones to start my day off with.


We hustled down to the Ferry with what had started as a nice walk and suddenly turned into sprinkles. But the rain never got that bad, thank goodness, and the sun was soon shining through the refreshing chilly air. The Ferry has a farmer's market every Saturday which was the other reason I really wanted to make it down there early.

cheese, cheese, and more cheese! a beautiful view of the internal store.

First stop was the Cowgirl Creamery's table from which we got Bellweather Farm's San Andreas cheese. This cheese went fast from my constant munching in the afternoon. My own way of having a nice appetizer before heading out for dinner. We also got naan and cilantro chutney from Sukhi's, which happens to be also available in Southern California in certain markets. These were also delicious but sorta expensive at $11.


A few tables down was Swanton's Berry Farm's Strawberry Jam. At my first taste on a itsy piece of bread I was hooked on this super fresh jam. The guy said it had to be eaten within two weeks because there are no preservatives in it. But that's why it tastes that much more delicious. Wow, this has kind of inspired me to try making jam. Sort of, maybe... next time. But if it's gonna taste this good why not?

After a few more photographs we headed in to the building. I knew that it had stores and restaurants and such but did not expect such a standout grouping of quality produce, baked goods, products, etc. The Ferry site states that "the Marketplace, organized along the central Nave, provides a distinctive space for bringing together the greater Bay Area's agricultural wealth and renowned specialty food purveyors under one roof." Yes indeed. I had a field day feeding myself, taking photographs, and shopping.


I was immediately drawn to Culinaire which specializes in antiques from nineteenth century France, England and America. There was a beautiful hundred-something piece set of French tableware. So beautiful! Lately I've been addicted to buying plates and tableware but always within my budget, scouring the shelves at discount retail stores. These were something else though. Such awesome craftsmanship. I guess I could have whipped out my credit card but I didn't even want to ask how much. Someday. Instead I got a set of vintage menu reproductions. Really cool but don't know if I'll every use it because it is too cute.


Next stop was Frog Hollow Farm. Their super cool label looked awfully familiar and then I realized that a family friend had gotten me a jar of their orange marmalade. The 120-acre organic certified Frog Hollow Farm is located in the agricultural town of Brentwood. Their freshly baked pastries smelled so warm and inviting, we could not resist getting one for a little snack. We gobbled up one of their Black Forest Ham and Gruyere Turnover. Super flaky and slight warm, it upstarted our appetites.

I love how these mushrooms, at Far West Funghi, looks so surreal.

Look at this kid working his oyster skills out.

There is no way I'm passing up $1 fresh oysters but Boy tried to resist by trying to save himself for our lunch at Canteen. But me, I was all over those oysters in no time. They were so delicious! Fresh, briny, and cold with a tiny dollop of horseradish and cocktail sauce. You can probably feel my happiness growing rapidly at this point. And Boy did end up eating more than the "one" that he requested.


And then came the shopping... I got a box of Fleur de Sel Caramel from Recchiuti Confections for $20. Yes, it was pretty expensive for very small 16 pieces but so worth it. It fleur de sel adds a delicate touch of saltiness as the caramel melts away in my mouth. When you bite down on the caramel you can feel the texture of the salt. This is my treasure that I am hoarding, hopefully to last me through the end of this month. This is something really special. Something to be savored, even in private for your own personal moment of bliss and happiness. Yeah I love those moments.


Next stop was Miette, an organic bakery. I know it seems like I've said that I loved everything, but I really liked this bakery right away. It was adorable with adorable cake stands, adorably packaged cookies, and adorable t-shirts. As soon as my eyes read "Lavender Shortbread" I knew I had to get it. I could only imagine, the beautiful floral lavendar in a delicate buttery shortbread cookie. Yumm.


We stopped for an american caviar sampler at Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Cafe with a glass of sparkling wine. Very pretty and pleasing endeavour except I really only liked our last caviar, the hackleback sturgeon. I'm not a huge caviar fan nor have a lot of experience of eating caviar but if you are going to consume any, do avoid the american ones at this cafe. Ginger, wasabi, beet & saffron, truffled? I don't know. I just wasn't down with these. Next time I will go for the premiums. But I do say sampling these beauties perched upon small and delicate blinis with a cold glass of sparkling wine during the afternoon was still pleasurable.


But even more pleasurable was our next stop, the Hog Island Oyster Company. Okay, so we had some oysters a few stores ago but why stop there? It was time for clams this time, one of my favorite seafoods. It was steamed in white wine and butter, pretty typical, but the extra little kick from the red chilis rounded out this dish nicely making the briny bread dipping broth even more sumptuous. I love spice. Then I, in complete glutton mode, ordered oysters casino. Oh my god, this was sooo good. A raw oyster is a gem in itself, but now I know an oyster casino can be too.

Somewhere between all the consumption, shopping, and browsing, we knew we couldn't make it to Canteen for lunch. Which made me sad but then leaving the Ferry without due exploration would have made me sad too. Even when we got to the other end of the Ferry to Slanted Door, we did not even have enough room for a drink. What a dilemma. Another SF trip has to be in the works soon. Just to make up for all the places I didn't get to... 1550 Hyde, Canteen, Citizen Cake, Golden Flower. :/ But at the same time the Ferry was so awesome. I can live there. Definitely.


San Francisco: Day 1 - Sausages, Beers... then Chez Panisse

I took the day off on Friday so that Boy and I could have a bit of extra time in SF to hang out. It was a great choice because I really needed the extra break from work and plus SF was awesome. Two weeks of pouring rain had ceased right before our arrival the the city was so clear and beautiful. Our hotel was in the middle of Nob Hill, and at the top of one of the hills. After getting off the BART we walked through the chilly cosmopolitan streets trying to get to our hotel. It wasn't as close as we thought and we ended up walking up a HUGE hill pulling our heavy ass luggage. I nearly died at that point. By the time we flagged down a taxi we were about two blocks away, down the hill of course. So we persevered and reached our destination which turned out to be a whole lot of great friendly service and a lot of "Mr. Smith" and "Ms. Smith." Hehe.


After collapsing on the bed and trying to get my heartrate back down to a normal, non-exercising person's pace, we hit the streets. We headed for Haight St. to grab lunch and always immensely pleasurable afternoon drinks. A SF friend had recommended a few restaurants, and included in one of them was Rosamunde, a sausage grill. Boy got the Beer Sausage, made of smoked spicy pork and beef, with chili and onions. That was delicious but mine, the Wild Boar with apple and spices and topped with onions, sweet and spicy peppers, just made me so happy! Sausage and hotdogs are one of my favorite casual foods. So when made with super quality ingredients and nestled in the best roll ever from a bakery down the block, the sausage dog such as the wild boar one takes me to another level of happiness.

how awesome is this dog?!

We took this next door to Toronado, a beer bar, which Boy insisted was a necessity to visit on our trip. The bar was awesome, with about fifty beers on draft, with some that are not even available in Southern California. A real casual comfortable feel with regulars including a dog who liked drinking beer! We started off with Russian River's Pliny the Elder, a double IPA full of delicious floral hoppiness, and Moonlight's Bombay by Boat IPA. But the one that really stood out for me was New Belgium's La Folie, a Flanders red. This will probably go in my top 10 beers ever, along with other sour and fruity beers such as Lambics. "Wow" is my best description for the beer. I found a bit more appetite for another sausage so I went back next door and got a Merguez with onions and spicy peppers. So delicious. Yeah, I am such a glutton sometimes. :) But a good one at that.

After a little bit of shopping we started to head back so we could get ready for our dinner at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. For some reason we could not see a bus nor a taxi coming our way. What weird bad luck considering it was around 4 when we would expect to see a lot more traffic and transportation activity. We finally got a bus for a short ride to the Union Square area. There was no way we would be able to go back to our hotel to change and make it back to BART for a ride to Berkeley. I called Chez Panisse to see what their dress code was -- "casual." So with a sigh of relief we ran to the station, got a ticket, caught our breath during our ride, and was spit out onto Berkeley square right on time.


When I landed my eyes on Chez Panisse the beauty of the place blew me away. My first words were "wow" as I took in its woody cabin-like presence between two building, shining warm light through its windows. I fell in love with the place right away, eating up its rustic elegance highlighted by a certain gentle atmosphere. I was extremely excited for our dinner, having been on their waiting list for a few weeks but determined to make it in for my SF trip. When we walked in were a little bit self-conscious because we were dressed so casually but soon got over it as our host seated us made us feel right at home.


The menu for Friday, January 06, 2006 reads:

An aperitif

Maine lobster and beet salad
with orange vinaigrette

Wild mushroom and green garlic risotto
with Parmesan

Grilled Paine Farm squab with Banyuls vinegar sauce, roasted turnips
and Brussel sprouts with pancetta

Poire belle Helene


We started off with lillet, a French Aperitif made from a blend of wine, brandy and herbs. It was served in small skinny glasses garnished with a peel of lemon. Delicious. With this delicious drink we munched on small roasted almonds and awesome bread from Acme Bakery. We got a half bottle of Billecart-Salmon Brut and very happily ate the wonderfully fresh lobster and beet salad, minus the fennel. I absolutely hate licorice flavor and could not get my self to continue eating the thin slices that lay within the salad. :( But the rest of it was beautiful.


For our second course and the main we got a half bottle of Navarro Pinot Noir 2003. It was a bit light but still good a good match with the risotto and the squab. The risotto was so perfect, making me realize right away that I had been over-cooking my risotto. With each bite the arborio rice grains presented its individual textures, making the consumption that much more interesting and engaging. The mushrooms used in the risotto were black trumpet, hedgehog, and chanterelle, adding a good earthiness to the dish but never overpowering the taste buds.


Then we experienced our first taste of squab. It was cooked so perfectly tender and carved beautifully. Served with delicious vegetables, including cabbage, turnips and brussel sprouts, which I went crazy for, the dish had a good balance of flavors. I nibbled on the remaining wings with my fingers. Sometimes eating food with fingers makes it so much more delicious. Boy was a bit apprehensive about using his fingers in the restaurant but my rationale was why would they give us the wing and the bony parts if they didn't expect us to eat all its delicious meat. And indeed when our server came by she asked us if we wanted to continue to nibble on the meat or if we were done. :)


The Poire belle Helene consisted of poached pears on top of creme anglaise drizzled with chocolate syrup, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and a long sugar cookie dotted with sliced almonds. The pear was delicious but I thought the chocolate ice cream could be replaced with something more interesting. Maybe rosewater or even creme fraiche ice cream. And pinot noir reduction instead of the chocolate syrup. But don't get me wrong, it was delicious and beautiful.


And then they served us some membrillo and thumbprint cookies with lemon curd. Wow, the pleasure just never stopped coming. I ended this wonderful dinner with a Pearl Jasmine green tea. We initially entered Chez Panisse quite impressed with its beautiful restaurant, professional service, and reputable reputation, and left just so satisfied and happy with all the delicious food and great service. What an awesome dining experience. Definitely one of my tops.

the hardworking staff at chez panisse