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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

5 Foods Friday: 5 Best Things in LA to Eat with your Hands

5 Aug

On whole, I find utensils pretty overrated.  Since the foods I enjoy the most are the ones where I get to toss the spork aside and use my hands, I’ve decided to do my first 5  Foods Friday post – a weekly themed list of my top 5 fave foods/places to eat.  This week’s theme: Best things in LA to eat with your hands.  Before eating, please wash those hands first, your cell phone probably has more bacteria on it than a gas station toilet. Yummm.  So with that said…let’s eat!

1.  Umami Burger

This place is definitely an LA staple and on any given night you’ll find crowds of people waiting to get the infamous Truffle, So Cal, or Umami burgers into their hot little hands.  For blue cheese fanatics, the Port & Stilton burger is a must.  The juicy beef patty is loaded with Stilton blue cheese and caramelized onions – which serve as a perfectly sweet contrast to the sharp, full-bodied cheese. 

If the rich and amazingly flavorful burgers aren’t enough for you, Umami also has housemade, crispy cheesy tots, onion rings and they even make their own ketchup, roasted garlic aioli, jalapeno ranch and spicy diablo sauce.  Wash it all down with fresh watermelon juice or a deliciously sugary glass bottled Coke.

Umami Burger: Juicy Beef (ground in-house), Roasted Tomato, Parmasean Crisp

2.  Cielito Lindo: Taquitos

Located on the corner of Downtown’s Olvera Street Marketplace, this famous little stand sells the most incredible taquitos I’ve ever tasted.  They are freshly made to order, pan fried to a perfect crisp and topped with an amazingly flavorful  salsa verde and avocado sauce.  The true flavor of the taquitos and fresh tortillas aren’t drowning under heaps of shredded lettuce, they look simple but once you bite into one, the sauce perfectly enhances the taquito’s juicy meat and crispy yet soft texture.   At $6 for a tasty combo plate, Cielito Lindo really can’t do any wrong.

3.  Haru Sushi & Roll Cafe: Lava Stone & Albacore Onion Roll

I know you “technically” should be using chopsticks for anything sushi related, but sometimes the rolls get just a little too big and crazy, and I’m forced to view these delish pop-ems as more of a finger food.  Haru is undoubtedly one of my favorite spots in LA for a sushi feast.  The Lava Stone (crispy rice topped with spicy tuna, black caviar and avocado), Albacore Onion roll (spicy tuna roll covered with albacore, topped with lightly fried onion strips)
and the Yellowtail and Jalapeno Carpaccio are my consistent go-tos on the menu.

4.  Mendoncino Farms: Korbuta Pork Belly Banh Mi

This place has superb sandwiches and super fresh ingredients that never fail to impress.  Along with the DTLA masses, my favorite sandwich here is the Korbuta Pork Belly Banh Mi.  It’s not a completely traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi, but this version does great justice to the original.  The sandwich has tender braised and caramelized kurobuta pork belly, housemade pickled daikon and carrots (which balance the subtle sweetness of the pork), cilantro, cucumbers, jalapenos and chili aioli all on a grilled ciabatta.  The only drawback is that once you’ve experienced all these explosive flavors on your palate, you’ll crave this sandwich on the daily.

5. Fugetsu-Do Bakery: Mochi 

Even though I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, I have to give a shout out to Fugetsu-Do Bakery in Little Tokyo for their amazing Mochi (small gooey Japanese rice cake deliciousness).  This 100 yr-old Japanese bakery in Downtown LA remains family owned and makes the best Japanese desserts – no Mochi compares to the lightly sweetened treats made here.  Their specialty is the strawberry mochi with a crunchy peanut butter filling.  Even though this flavor combo may sound a little off, the amazingly chewy texture of the outside strawberry mochi perfectly compliments the soft peanut butter filling.  Plus, you get to hang out with possibly the sweetest woman in the world…

 

Now go roam the LA culinary streets and dig in!  It tastes better that way.  Stay posted for 5 Foods Friday next week!  Also feel free to leave theme suggestions if you so dare.

France and Italy continued…

13 Jun

A few more photos of my marvelous meals in the South of France and Cinque Terre, Italy!  These are all typical regional dishes that are guaranteed to make your mouth water.

Tomato Farci Provencale – stuffed tomato w/beef, parmesan, garlic, onions, sauteed veggies and provencal spices

Salade Chevre Chaud – Arugula, heirloom tomatoes, parmesan shavings, with warm goat cheese wrapped in puff pastry.

Socca –  Similar to a crepe.  Socca is made of chickpea flour, water, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  It’s perfect for a warm, savory breakfast.

Socca man hard at work!

Fresh from the woodfire oven…almost ready!

Oh wait, there’s more…socca man sells fresh pizza too.

Pissaladiere: Very popular in the south.  Pissaladiere is a light and flaky pastry type pizza that’s generally made with grilled onions (onions confit), anchovies, olives and fresh thyme.  Unfortunately, anchovies are one of the few things I don’t enjoy, so I had to remove it, but luckily my dad was there to pick up the anchovy slack.

Can’t go wrong with some serious charcuterie at the morning market in the old village of La Turbie.

Sanglier meat: Wild boar meat that tastes like a less pungent version of prosciutto.  Tasty over a bed of arugula.

Gambas w/pesto – Big ol shrimps from the Mediterranean Sea.

Panna cotta

Nutella Creme Brulee – seriously as amazing as it sounds.  Surprisingly light and not overly sweet.

Sandwiches!

Pan Bagnat: Raw veggies, green onions, hard boiled eggs, tuna and olive oil on a fresh baguette.  This sandwich is a very typical lunchtime meal in Nice.

Grilled Merguez (Spicy Lamb) Sandwich

Merguez sandwich: Served with dijon mustard and Harissa (spicy paste from North Africa)

Cinque Terre, Italy

I love Italy. I love pasta.

Penne alla arrabiata

Caprese Salad: Burrata (creamy mozzarella), tomato, basil and pesto

Ravioli with zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes 

Testaroli with pesto genovese

 

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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