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I’m On An All Carb Diet: Tartine Bakery & Cafe

21 Jan

Tartine Bakery is nothing short of amazing.  Anyone living in the Mission or Castro areas of San Francisco, has witnessed the line of bread and pastry fiends wrapping around the outside of the bakery on any given day of the week.

Tartine’s hubby and wifey co-owners, Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, come equipped with years of culinary experience, have studied century-old baking methods in the French countryside, and even have a James Beard award for Outstanding Pastry Chefs under their culinary belts.  Since opening Tartine in 2002, these dynamic bakers have definitely proven themselves to be the rustic bread masters of the Bay Area.

Watch Chad Robertson speak in depth on his background, baking techniques and unyielding passsion for creating that perfect loaf of bread:

Evidenced by Tartine’s daily crowds, Robertson and Prueitt have been able to hone their craft and truly deliver – their skill and love for the art of baking shines through in the quality of food Tartine consistently delivers.

Assortment of open-faced croque-monsieurs on freshly-baked country rustic bread

Complete with oven roasted tomatoes, béchamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper – topped with either smoked Niman Ranch ham or seasonal vegetables

This is what Tartine does to people…Steph clearly can’t keep the sheer excitement from bursting out of her eyeballs

Excellent coffee and espresso as well

Just a sweet little post savory-meal treat

Banana Cream Tart: flaky pastry coated in dark chocolate with caramel, pastry cream, and lightly sweetened cream

1-2-3…GO!  Nobody talk for the next 15 minutes, thanks.

Enfin, Tartine is conveniently located near beautiful Dolores Park – which has rapidly become one of my favorite places to lie in the sunshine, people watch, and work off my well-earned food coma with a vengeance…
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Chakchouka à la Moncef

29 Nov

Chakchouka is a fried pepper and vegetable dish that is as commonly served in Tunisian kitchens as are hot dogs at American ball parks.  Chakchouka is an incredibly flavorful dish that emerged from a country that is a bustling crossroad of French, Italian and Arab cultures.  Since Italy is just a hop across the picturesque Mediterranean, many Tunisian dishes have been influenced by Italian culinary traditions.  Not only do both countries share the same passion for fresh ingredients and lively tomato based dishes, but both also view food as a hub that strengthens bonds between gathering friends and families.  Chakchouka is one of my favorite things to eat in Tunisia because it can be eaten at any time of the day and the spices always enhance the inherent flavors of the fresh veggies.  My father’s recipe puts a nice twist on the traditional version by adding potatoes – making this the perfect entrée for an easy Sunday brunch.

Ingredients

  •  1 red and 1 green bell pepper (cut into thin slices, about 2 inch long pieces)
  • 1 medium size yellow onion (chopped or finely sliced)
  • 1 medium size potato (skinned and diced into about 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes (seeded, diced into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 medium size zucchini (1/4 inch thick half circles)
  • 4-6 large eggs
  • 2 gloves of garlic (1 finely diced, 1 quartered)
  • 4 oz. of plain tomato sauce
  • 1 Tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp. ground caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbl. chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbl. chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 Tbl. chopped green onion
  • olive oil

Preparation

  1. In a medium size skillet over medium heat, lightly fry potatoes in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until slightly browned and almost tender. Salt lightly then set aside.
  2. Repeat step 1 with the zucchini.  Cook until they are still slightly firm but nearly edible. They will be cooked more later, so be careful to not overcook.
  3. Preferably in a cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tbl. of olive oil. Sauté the onions on medium-high heat for about 4 min or until translucent.
  4. Add the bell peppers to the onions. Salt and pepper to taste, then add the cilantro.
  5. Cook the mixture for 1-2 more minutes then add all of the garlic, coriander and caraway, mix well.
  6. Add the tomato sauce to the mixture and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cover and simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes – stir on occasion until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Once the mixture has thickened, distribute the potatoes and zucchini evenly on top and push them gently into the mixture.
  8. Simmer uncovered for 3 more minutes on medium-low heat.
  9. With the back of a large spoon, make depressions for the eggs on top of the Chakchouka (creating a “nest” for the eggs so they are contained and do not run all over the top).
  10. Carefully crack the eggs into the nests. Salt and pepper them,  then top the dish with chopped Italian parsley and green onions.
  11. Broil the entire skillet in the oven for about 3-5 minutes or until eggs are set and no longer translucent – make sure the yolk is still soft and runny.

Serve right away and enjoy.  The secret is to not overcook the Chakchouka, and as my grandmother, Meherzia, used to say, “You must eat it live!”

5 Foods Friday: Breakfast!

26 Aug

If I absolutely HAD to pick my favorite meal of the day it would probably have to be breakfast.  I can definitely take down a breakfast burrito or some crispy hashbrowns and bacon with over-easy eggs at anytime – day or night.  Aside from a massive breakfast being the best hangover cure in the world, I think there’s no better way to get a nice kick-start to your day (as long as you don’t eat too much and slip into a food coma…)

Based on a mix of personal experiences and restaurant recommendations by some of my trusted fellow foodies – I’ve compiled a One Delish Dish list of the 5 best places in LA to get a great breakfast:

1.  BLD

BLD = Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.  Clearly this place serves all three meals, but BLD really shines in the breakfast/brunch department.  Their blueberry ricotta pancakes are amazingly fluffy, moist and flavorful and their chorizo home fries are the best, especially when they’re cooked extra crispy!

2.  Salt’s Cure

This famous West Hollywood spot has excellent brunch that’s served out of an open kitchen so customers can get an insider’s peek into the culinary magic.  With most of the menu changing weekly, the consistent customer favorites are the Duck Hash, 2x2x2 plate, famous house-made sweet rolls and the house-cured thick-cut bacon.

3.  Blu Jam Cafe

Blu Jam on Melrose is always packed on the weekends and has an extensive menu that’s sure to please the sweet or savory palate.  From their Crispy French Toast to their famous Blu Jam and Salmon eggs benedicts, this place is definitely a breakfast must have around LA.

4.  Gjelina

For me, Gjelina lives up to its hype as the dinner spot to hit up in Venice.  But in addition to dinner, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding Gjelina’s unique and gourmet twist on a standard Sunday brunch.  Some great brunch dishes at Gjelina are the fried egg sandwich, poached egg over polenta w/bacon, smoked salmon and asparagus scramble and my personal favorite, a crispy fried egg w/prosciutto, romesco, arugula and lemon.

5.  Flake

This low-key breakfast spot in Venice has all the classic breakfast staples, a great Acai bowl for all the LA health nuts AND my fave… some tasty breakfast sandwiches that are exploding with great flavors and textures.  Their famous Super Cro-Jo sandwich is complete with soft scrambled eggs, gooey melted Gouda cheese, thick crisped bacon, fresh greens and tomatoes, all on a fluffy croissant.  Flake’s diehard customers agree that the best part of this sandwich is the spicy sauce – an irresistible Sriracha mayo concoction that you could pretty much eat with a spoon.

Now that I’ve sufficiently made myself hungry, I think I’ll either find a restaurant that serves breakfast for dinner or go make myself a nice hearty veggie, cheese and chicken apple sausage scramble with a side of hashbrowns – topped off with Tapatio of course. 

Where’s your favorite place to grab a big and tasty weekend breakfast?

One Delish Dish at “The Little Next Door”

9 May

Every time I’m at El Carmen fulfilling my incessant taco & margarita craving, I always seem to catch myself peeking over at the bustling patio next door.  Any restaurant overflowing with lively patrons always intrigues me, so needless to say, this wonderful French bistro immediately caught my eye. 

I finally had the pleasure of eating at The Little Next Door and my palate was jumping for joy.  This great restaurant not only had the adorably inviting decor of a traditional Parisian bistro or pâtisserie  (even down to the woven chairs and authentically Frenchie waiters), but it also had some amazing cuisine to support the ambiance.  

 Our Dinner:

Appetizers   Chef’s Special (cured meats, pate and yummy cheese plate)

                             Grilled Calamari Salad

                             Creole Soup (with shrimp and crisped bacon)

Entrees         Lamb Couscous (w/zucchini, carrots, garbanzo beans)

                            Steak au poivre (grilled skirt steak w/green peppercorn sauce)

                            Moules-frites (creamy white whine and shallot steamed mussels)

Dessert        Assortment of macaroons: Coconut, Lavender, Chocolate, Praline, Coffee,  Pistachio, Cookies & Cream

Outside patio area - great place for brunch or an early dinner

Amazing charcuterie and cheese plate

Gettin down on these succulent bad boys (aka Moules-frites)

Wine and moules make her pensive...

The steak screamed out "Eat Me," so we did...

Digging into the tasty treats

The Little Next Door – 8164 W 3rd Street Los Angeles – (323) 951-1010

I will most definitely be back again for dinner or a famous Little Next Door brunch!

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