The New Parisian: Pink Drink to serve on Valentine’s Day

The Parisian Cocktail: Valentine’s Day is coming up, and Esquire Magazine has updated the recipe for a classic drink from the 20’s, made in Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.  Men: If you want to shake up something for your lady on 2/14, try this instead of a Cosmo – be classy!

1 oz. Gin (Esquire recommends Tanqueray)

1 oz. Dry vermouth (Esquire recommends Noily Prat)

1/2 oz. Fresh Squeezed lemon juice

1/2 oz. Creme de Cassis (a Sweet liqueur – turns the drink pink)

Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into Martini or “cocktail” glasses (the old style shallow rounded stemmed glass) 

Have another.  Celebrate!


Food Truck Event at Hyatt

 Singapore S’more NO MORE

My work buddies and I went to the Food Truck event at the Hyatt Regency Irvine yesterday, and enjoyed Singapore, Greek, Argentinian and other delights.  One of my favorites was Chomp Chomp Nation, which featured the Singapore Satay Skewers shown above, with Wagyu beef and chicken breast, accompanied by slaw, rice cakes and spicy peanut sauce.  Really tasty!  While I was waiting for this, I saw someone get a dessert that just looked great, so I also enjoyed the Singapore S’mores.

These are made with fresh buttery brioche sandwich of Nutella, Kaya coconut jam chocolate drizzle, condensed milk, coconut whip cream, mint chiffonade, sprinkled with chomp chomp dust.  As good as it sounds! 

I am now going to be on the lookout for more Food Truck events!

What’s Hot and What’s Not for 2011

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I love this article What’s Hot and What’s Not  at  about food trends for 2011, and agree with 90% of it (not sous vide cooking!).  Hooray for great spices, more heirloom;  I can stand fewer “new” berries!  Less truffle oil, more tiny, satisfying bites of great charcuterie, and really great tasting chicken! 

Take a look and see if you agree with what’s HOT and NOT in foodie trends.


After Holiday indulgences, we decided to become reacquainted with VEGETABLES, and had this healthy lunch on Sunday while watching football.  All the veggies were roasted at 425.

Carrots and Yam were roasted about 30 min. with just EVOO, salt & pepper.   Zucchini was roasted 20 min. with sliced sweet onion and several cloves of garlic.  Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top for last 2 minutes of cooking.

The neat little beige pile is bulgur wheat.  I cooked this 15 minutes in low-sodium chicken stock.  You could use water or veggie stock instead. Use 1-2 ratio – 1 cup of wheat / 2 cups of liquid. (I made twice as much so we could have leftovers)

Carrots and wheat are topped with a bit of dry roasted almond slivers (from TJ).

It felt good to do something healthy.  Our New Year’s resolutions only took 2 weeks to implement.  Not too bad.

A. R. Valentien – La Jolla – December 2010 – 2 Great Dinners!

I’ve written about this great restaurant before and it continues to live up to prior visits.  Located at the Five Diamond Lodge at Torrey Pines, and named after a Craftsman artist, they epitomize the Locavore Farm-To-Table ideal, with very high quality food, prepared simply but magically to dazzle the palate.  The best word is “Intense” for the flavor.  The flavor of each key ingredient jumps out. 

FIRST DINNER:  One of us was hungry, the other not so much, so we ordered one Farm-To-Table tasting menu, which included:

 Roasted Oysters with Caviar –  Wilted Lettuce, Preserved Lemon, Crème Fraiche Sauce, served with Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs, California, 2006 (we just love this stuff)

Roasted Quail with Winter Panzanella, chanterelle mushrooms, arugula, scarlet turnip, parmesan, served with Patz & Hall Chardonnay (Dutton Ranch – Russian River) 2006

Hanger Steak and Braised Short Rib Croquette (you wouldn’t believe a croquette could be this good) with beans, nettles, celeriac puree, served with Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cab 2007

Apple Tasting:  Tart, Caramel Apple, Brown Butter Cake with Apple Compote, served with Beringer, “Nightingale,” Napa, 2005

We shared the wine pairing, and the not so hungry person had Porcini Mushroom Soup and Roasted Vegetables with Potato Pierogi.  All really delicious.  Not too shabby for a starter and side!

After dessert, they provide a second complimentary dessert, with mini donuts, and other wonderful treats. 


We tried Dry Cured Mangalitsa Ham, with grilled endive and pear, plus smoked trout with sunchoke puree, turnip, dill, chrysanthemum greens and kumquat.  We shared a Dry Aged Niman Ranch NY Strip, with Bloomsdale Spinach, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Ozette Potatoes and Pearl Onions.  We’d had a cocktail, so we shared a half bottle of Opus One – really great wine!  All of this was perfectly cooked and beautiful on the plate.

Nine-Ten La Jolla – Put Yourself at the “Mercy of the Chef”

The week between Christmas and New Year’s we were in La Jolla, and had an incredible dinner at Nine-Ten in downtown La Jolla.  The “Mercy of the Chef” dinner is 5 courses that are each a surprise.  When two people order this, each gets a different course, so you have 10 different items for dinner!  We ordered one wine pairing (to share) and they gave us half-glasses of different wines, so we tasted 10 wines too!  It was all great.  We would rate it a “10” – we found no flaws!

We started with a drink at the bar they call a “Fraggle on the Rocks”.  Grey Goose Citron, St. Germaine liqueur, Kiwi, Passion Fruit and Lemon.  Yum and powerful.

First courses: Oops – forgot the Amuse Bouche – Cucumber and crab with ponzu sauce and watermelon relish.  Then the real first courses: Tuna Tartare with carrot, radish, chervil, chives, and green goddess dressing, plus House Cured smoked salmon with potato salad, celery, apples, and salmon roe.  Wines were Proseco Clara C Florio and Bouvet Sparkling Rose (Loire Valley).

Second Course: Local Swordfish, with fennel, fingerling potatoes, olives, romesco sauce, served with Hess Suskol Vineyard Late Harvest Chardonnay (Napa – fabulous!), and Scottish Loch Duart Salmon, with celery root, apples, maitake mushrooms, parsnip puree, pomegranate and pepper froth, served with Talbot Logan Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands).


Third Course:  Grilled Prime “Cap” Ribeye Steak, arugula and sunchoke salad, leek bread pudding (incredible), red wine emulsion, served with Epiphany Gypsy Red Blend AND Jamaican Jerk Pork Belly (a house specialty of the Jamaican chef), with baby carrots, Swiss chard, plantains, black-eyed peas , spicy jellies and sweet potato puree (eye-roll good), served with Curtis Central Coast Mourvedre (best wine of the night, IMHO).

Fourth Course: Cheeses: Manchego (Spain) and Beemster Goats Milk (Netherlands) with Royal Tokaji (Hungary) and Taylor Flatgate Port.

Fifth Course: Spiced Crumb Cake with caramelized bacon, quince, and butternut ice cream, served with Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red Wine; and Chocolate Cream (72% chocolate) with banana gelato, butterscotch and ginger mousse, served with Chateau Graves Sauternes.

What an incredible meal.  I think a bargain, at $70 each, plus $30 for one wine tasting that got us 10 half glasses of wine!

We met a nice couple from Redondo Beach, who make a special trip to the Grande Colonial Hotel (which houses the restaurant) and stay overnight just to eat in this restaurant.  We would come back to La Jolla (oh, we would anyway) just for a dinner here too.  Our server Danielle, was terrific.  She’s been there 6 years, loves her work, and it shows!

Sunday Omelet with Vegetables

 My wife says she won’t order omelets in restaurants, because she likes mine better.  Here are some of the things I typically put in omelets, and how I cook them (for 2 people):

 1 tbsp light olive oil (to avoid smoking oil)

1 tbsp butter

2 Scallions – whites and green part separate

1 cup sliced mushrooms

8 grape tomatoes – sliced in half lengthwise

1 avocado – diced (if ripe, slice and add with the cheese, in the middle of the omelet when you fold over; if not ripe, dice, and cook slightly with other veggies to soften)

Handful of cilantro  -chopped

½ cup shredded smoked gouda (or other cheese of your choice)

3 organic eggs

4-5 egg whites

1-2 tbsp milk

Melt butter in olive oil, and sauté the mushrooms and chopped white part of scallions until turning tender, then add the tomatoes and avocado (see note above).  Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix 3 eggs and 4-5 egg whites with a splash of milk, then whisk until frothy.  Add the chopped cilantro and green parts of scallions and quickly toss with other veggies, then immediately add the egg mixture. 

Watch carefully and when eggs begin to set on bottom, start lifting the omelet with a silicone spatula, and let the liquid part go under the cooked part.  Do this repeatedly, allowing each “run” of eggs to set a bit, then let more liquid run under, until the bottom moves easily in the pan, and the top isn’t too runny.  Slide the half-cooked omelet onto a large plate, and flip over into the pan (I dare you to try to flip in the pan – it won’t work on an omelet this big).  Add the shredded cheese, and if using ripe avocado, those slices.  Fold omelet in half.  When bottom seems done, turn over (ok to use the plate again).  If your omelet is really thick, try to stand it on edge for a moment to make sure the fold is cooked, as you turn it.  Add a bit more shredded cheese on top surface.  If you’ve done this right, with the layering technique to get the liquid under, the omelet will be an inch thick.

 Serve with your favorite side.  One of our favorites is brown rice mixed with cilantro, avocado and a bit of shredded cheese.  This is shown with a whole wheat English muffin.