Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cali Recap part 1

Hey Everyone!

Sorry for being MIA for the past couple of weeks but things have been super busy at home, work and school... There is so much stuff going on I barely have had time to think straight! I had planned out (in my head) a really detailed, long blog about California and all the pretty places we went and the delicious food we had....but I'm afraid it's going to have to be slightly more topline than that.... so I can try to get in all the other stuff that's been going on at some point!

So let's get started shall we!

We got up Thursday morning (at a crisp 3:30am) made some coffee, got dressed, threw some last minute things in our bag and headed out the door around 4am for our 6am flight out of Dayton. I won't get into this with too much detail but let's just say that morning involved a (torrential) downpour, poor planning by the Dayton airport parking team and a slight freakout about actually making our flight.

Fast forward to a layover, an egg mcmuffin and a couple of hours later and we are in beautiful San Francisco! As you can recall I posted some pictures of the castle on the Ocean that looked like it was floating on some kind of cloud....well these were pics from google images of the "Cliff House" apparantly from it's glory days.... It doesnt look like that anymore...apparantly it didn't just look like it might slip from that cliff at any moment into the ocean...but it actually almost did. So it was gutted and rebuilt with a more modern style.... not as glitzy...but still amazing views from the inside

Not exactly how it looked in the pics but still pretty awesome.

This was the view from our table!

After lunch we headed over the the Ferry Building which was a foodies dream. They had the freshest most delicious looking cheeses, breads, pastries, etc. They also had lots of shops with authentic foods and spices from various other countries. I wanted to eat everything in site...except I was still so full from my portobello burger and fries (with THREE kinds of aoli- Basil aoli was my favorite and I can't wait to try to recreate it) at the Cliffhouse.

Of course instead of taking pictures of the beautiful view or some of the interesting and delicious food...Rob and I snapped a picture of this jar of "baconnaise" (wtf) and this Pork Store. Good thinkin.....

Tasty Salted Pig Parts..... maybe not the way I would have worded it...

Baconnaise: The "Ultimate" Bacon Flavored Condiment...

The next day we got up early and ate breakfast for our day trip to Napa!! Which was the trip I was the most excited for. Rob's parents know so much about wine so it was fun to have people who actually knew what they were doing as our guides... we went to a few of their favorite wineries and ate lunch at a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the valley.

Here are some winerie pics...

Rob's Parents Favorite Winery (and for good reason): Chimney Rock... it was fabulous!

Self Portrait in front of the vineyard

Rob and I with his mom outside ZD Winery... (ZD= Zero defects apparantly.. oh lala)

Herbs were growing like bushes everywhere...sage, smelled so good. I need to get something like this going at my house... for sure.

After a couple glasses of wine, we had lunch at the most gorgeous place ever. The waiters/waitresses were SO nice..and the view was beautiful. When we sat down they gave us a bowl of salty delicious olives to munch on while we perused the menu... here was the view from our table:

I also decided that since this is trying to be a food blog, I should at least try to capture on film some of our delicious here are a couple of our yummy dishes. It's been a while, so I can't remember exactly what Rob had...but I do remember one thing...those French Fries were delicious!

Rob's fish sandwich and (delicious) fries

My Crisp Chicken Caesar Salad. mmmm

We hit one more winery (a boutique winery) before heading back to Danville for the night...but not without a stop to the sushi restaraunt that Rob is always telling me about. It is a little dive place that has nothing fancy about it, except for really yummy, affordable and enormous sushi... my kinda place!.. as long as the food is good.. I'm a happy girl. We stuffed our faces with sushi, went home and probably fell asleep at like 9pm. Ok, lunch time! San Fran update to come after lunch.....or maybe Monday.... we'll have to see :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Leavin on a jet plane.....

Rob and I are headed out (early) tomorrow morning to California!!
We will be spending a few days in Napa and San Francisco!!!....and I'm sure this will lead to many delicious ramblings!!

Not promising any blogging updates while I'm gone, but this is the first restaurant we will be visiting.....

Talk to everyone on Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Emanu- An East African Restaurant

Friday night Rob, Emily, Derrek and I visited Ethiopian restaurant.

I was very excited to try something completely different...and also bc it was a byo! (LOVE)

Here are some photos of us and our dining companions:

Lucky for us, we ran into an old fraternity brother of Rob's and his wife when we first walked in. They are frequent eaters at this establishment and could give us some helpful ordering tips on what they usually get, how much to get, etc etc. This info was especially helpful since the wait staff didn't speak the best english. (more authentic!)

We ended up ordering 3 meat entrees and 1 veggie entree, all served family style. We ordered a lamb dish, a beef dish, a chicken dish and a veggie dish.

The top of the menu read: Dining in Ethipia is a multi-sensory experience. Characterized by the ceremonial breaking of "injera" and sharing food on a common plate. Eating together signifies the bonds of friendship and loyalty. So basically the meat/vegetables all came on one big plate...with another plate of "injera" that you rip into small pieces and use to pick up the food with instead of silverware.

The food was yummy. The lamb was tender, the beef was spicy, and it was really fun to go somewhere so different than what I am used to. I can't wait to go back to try some other things there. Everyone at the table liked the lamb dish the best except for Derrek who preferred the carrots and peppers on the veggie dish. It was also very inexpensive...especially since you could bring in your own drinks...

Another note: reservations are good to have on weekends, and the food can take kind of a while, so if you're starving when you get there, ordering an appetizer might be a good idea. This picture can be a representation about how we felt about the food:

After gobbling up all that deliciousness, we decided to order coffee/dessert. Apparantly dessert is not something usually served at Ethiopian meals, but since they want to feature their tasty coffee on the menu, they need a few sweet treats to order with it. Since none of us at the table are huge dessert eaters (sans Rob), we ordered one piece of cheesecake and all nibbled at it. The menu described the cheesecake as: a creamy combo of goat cheese, marscapone, cream cheese and honey. yummmm. The goat cheese made it tangy, the honey made it sweet. It was the perfect compliment to our tiny cups of coffee.

Overall I would definitely visit this place again. It's different, inexpensive and just a really fun way to spend a Friday night.

Good work Emanu!

Emanu East African Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 8, 2009

BIG weekend

This is a really big weekend for some really special I can't let the weekend start without wishing the following people well....

Alison & Ralphie's (aka blog contributor: Manchester's Finest) baby shower in Columbus.. I hope you guys have a great time and get lots of cute little girlie things... I can't wait to meet baby Maura very very soon!!

Unfortunately I will not be able to share in that fun because I will be helping to celebrate the vows of:

The fabulous future Andrea and Jason Rumpler!!
I'm so excited to be able to be there for what I'm sure will be a beautiful wedding and a dance your pants off reception. They are such a wonderful couple and I'm so excited to celebrate with them!

Otta's Birthday!- It's also my grandpa's birthday on Saturday. I don't think he would have any idea how to get to my blog...even though he has been becoming quite the internet whiz lately....but nontheless...happy birthday Otta!!

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, my Oma and my Grandma down in Florida....and to all the other moms and moms to be out there!!

and last but not least....another happy wedding weekend wish to fellow blogger Emily who is also getting married this weekend! It has been so fun reading about her planning...and now it's time to look forward to the (what I'm sure will be ridiculously gorgeous) pictures! Have a great time!!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!!

Long awaited weekend update

Last weekend, Krista had a derby day/pre-cinco de mayo cookout that involved gambling on real horses, plastic horses, a pinata, cookout food, cornhole, flipcup and boom. I mean, seriously, what more could a good party really ask for?

A couple of weeks ago we tagged along with our new-hire friends Taylor and Claire as their +1s on the P&G new hire Keeneland trip:

While there, we ran into my friend Angie from work who was playing this game in the parking lot.... pre-gaming for keeneland while pre-gambling on horses... ok! we were in...

We had so much fun that for the derby party we asked how much one of those cute little wooden horse games were..... $75!! What?! Krista got creative, and this, my friends was the result.

Now the game has some tweaking to be done....for example if you bump the board even a little you are guaranteed to knock every single one of these horses down...but once that situation is remedied...this will be the most economical horse game ever....oh and I already have the picture for the cover of the box when the non $75 version goes to market!!:

Carrie also brought a festive pinata full of candy, little bottles of liquor and some noisemakers (Krista's neighbors LOVE us)

There was also some gambling on the actual derby...and as usual I won nothing:

The night ended with drinking games and a floating keg.. well, it pretty much ended like this:
Tonight I am venturing, along with Rob, Emily and Derrek to Emanu, an Ethiopian restaurant.

Look for reviews next week!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thanks for dinner, Oprah!

Oprah and KFC are buying you dinner!!

Use this coupon for 2 pieces of grilled chicken, 2 sides and a biscuit.

I'm still a little iffy about KFC's "grilled chicken" with the questionable "grill marks"....but I'll try anything once....especially if it's free!


Rob and I checked out a new place on Friday called Nuvo. We had mixed feelings on it. I wanted to LOVE LOVE LOVE it. The menu changes often depending on the local ingredients they can get (love), the place is small and modern (love), the owner was there and was very nice and informative along with our waitress (love). So first impressions were great.

For an appetizer I saw on the menu: Chorizo & Hedge Hog Mushroom Cupcakes with Red Pepper Goat Cheese Mousse. I had to have this. Check out how cute they were…they even came in a little cupcake wrapper. I was in love at first sight. I thought they were tasty. Rob thought they were just ok. While I agree with him that I didn’t get a ton of the chorizo or mushroom taste in the cake part of the cupcake… I didn’t care because the deliciousness that was the red pepper goat cheese mousse more than made up for it. The festive blue is apparently some salt that is only available in some random country and is sold by the ounce. They put it on savory dishes and dessert. I was a fan of both its taste and its flair.

For our entrée I had: Roasted Poultry, garbanzo beans, tomato, spiced corn and herbed feta. I loved the idea of it and thought all the flavors went together deliciously. The only thing was the chicken was a tiny bit too dry and that’s just me being picky. Otherwise the skin was crispy, the plate was pretty and I thought it was pretty tasty.

Rob had: seared scallops, green tea noodles, miso honey and carmelized lemon grass. I didn’t have any of his except for a piece of one of his scallops which was delicious. ( I am not a seafood eater…at all…except sushi which I love…which I realize is weird….and apparently scallops….and sometimes shrimp if it has a lot of other flavors on it….I digress) Rob thoroughly enjoyed his entrée.
Now for dessert. I am not a dessert lover. Sugar gives me headaches and I would ALWAYs rather have more dinner than almost any dessert. But since we offered to move our table at the beginning of the meal to accommodate another customer, the owner told us our dessert was on him…so we took him up on it.

We both ordered coffee with our dessert which came in a little French press and was tasty. I got some kind of chocolate tort with a dr pepper reduction on it that was sprinkled with some of that tasty blue salt. Rob got some kind of angel food cake shell with blueberries and pineapple (can you tell how much of a non dessert person I am with these terrible descriptions)- Rob was not a fan of his dessert or mine… I didn’t love his but thought mine was ok. It was little, dense, chocolatey and had ice cream and salt on top. As far as desserts go… I can’t really argue with that! (started eating before remembering to snap the pic. whoops!)

All in all we thought this restaurant was yummy and would go back again to try some of the other things on the menu. Our total (before tip) was $90 and that included a (delicious) bottle of malbec. However we also had a $25 gift certificate (that we paid $2 for) so that took the bill down to $65 before tip. Not bad!

Stop by soon for the recap of Saturday’s derby party!

NuVo on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Unhealthy Learnin

Sometimes I think culinary school should be referred to by something more along the lines of, “cook every food in the world as unhealthy as humanly possible school”- a little long, but I’m sure there is some snazzy way the folks in culinary school PR could shorten it?

Last night, among other things, we made eggplant Parmigiana. We took the healthy eggplant…innocent enough, breaded it, pan fried it in butter, smothered it with cheese and baked it… we then topped it with the homemade tomato sauce we had made, by first sautéing bacon in butter and then cooking the onions, carrots, garlic, etc in the bacon fat and butter… before adding the tomatoes. Now don’t get me wrong….it was pretty freakin tasty…but come on!

Rob and I visited a new (to us) restaurant on Friday night called Nuvo… look for the review (with pictures) to come hopefully later today!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Random Ramblings gets (slightly) less "random"

I'm thinking of giving my blog a (very) loose topic. Everyone who knows me knows I love food. Health food, fried food, take out food, fancy food, cook out food, expensive food, 99cent menu food... seriously I love it.

I feel like this loose topic will accomplish a number of things:
1. give me something specific to write about on a consistent basis
2. give me an excuse to make new things/eat new places (we have to! it's for the blog)
3. eat more delicious food.

Clearly I will continue to post golden girl obituaries, random personal life situations and a semi-naked pic of the Hoff every once in a while... but food will be the goal.

I asked for suggestions on facebook of somewhere to go tonight that I've never been before...
Let the "research" begin!