Cafe Maddalena – Dunsmuir

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Thank goodness for Google Maps.  Driving up the 5 Freeway, we ask it where to eat, and it shows us this delightful place in a charming town of 1650 people at the foot of Mt. Shasta (the picture on your Crystal Geyser water bottle).
We even could look at the Cafe Maddalena menu on line.  They had me at “Gruyere Beignets”, Exit 730 took us to this rare find, with a top rate ex-SF chef. We enjoyed the pillowy beignets with roasted marcona almonds and olives, as starters.  Then we enjoyed wild salmon with belgian endive in a lemon caper herb dressing, and Moroccan Chicken with vegetables and couscous and a vibrant harisa, which we were told to blend right in the sauce.
We dined under a gorgeous grape arbor, and one of the locals came over to chat and take our picture.
Given the high quality of everything thus far, we couldn’t resist baked peaches in an almond paste crust, served warm with creme fraiche.
I wish this place was around the corner!

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19 Restaurant at Harvey’s South Lake Tahoe

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I go into rooftop hotel restaurants with low expectations, and 19 (for being on the 19th floor) did a good job.  Incredible views of the sun just setting over the lake.  I had a 3 wine premium flight that included a decent Chard, Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir and Rodney Strong Meritage, and Susan had a half bottle of 2009 Cakebread Chard which was wondeful.
We had 4 appetizers served as two courses.  I had tuna sashimi and Calif roll, followed by great short rib sliders with caramelized onions and horseradish sauce.  Susan had a mesclun salad with heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella and tempura asparagus, drizzled with pesto, followed by scallop risotto. 

Too full for dessert, but they serve a complimentary bowl of freshly spun cotton candy.  Fun!


Cafe Jardin – Sherman Gardens

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The BOB crew enjoyed another wonderful lunch at this great Newport Beach landmark.  French Burgundy, great salads, trout almondine, crab cakes on risotto, all great, then apple tarts, chocolate cakes, and a nice walk around the flowers and plants.
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Le Pain Quotidien – Coming to Fashion Island

My friend Yves the chef (Andrei’s – Irvine) was telling me about Le Pain Quotidien (The Daily Bread), which I’ve never experienced (have any of you? – tell me what you think of it), and that a new store is coming this fall to Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach near me.  Looking forward to this.

They use very high quality (mostly organic) ingredients, and have a very interesting menu and philosophy!


Naan Pizza

I wanted to make an unusual yet easy pizza, and this was delish.

Ingredients for 2:

2 oval naan (I use Whole Foods 365 brand – they come in regular and whole wheat – your choice)

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

6 oz shredded rotisserie chicken

1/4 cup caramelized onions (I make these ahead and freeze in large batches – break off a chunk, zap for 1 min)

1 cup shredded smoked gouda (this really is the right cheese with the BBQ sauce and onions!)

2 tbsp. Chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 425.  Spread BBQ sauce on Naan.  Top with shredded chicken, onions, 1/2 of the chopped cilantro and the shredded cheese.  Bake directly on oven rack about 6-8 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Check the bottom of the Naan, in case your oven runs extra hot, to avoid burning.  Garnish with extra fresh cilantro.


Fries, Waffles or Beer?

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Happy Belgian Independence Day.  Whew!  Coming right on the heels of Bastille Day, I am beside myself.  The best way to celebrate is with Waffle Sandwiches (at Bruxie in Orange) or Vlaamse Friet (Flemish Fries, which were really not invented in France), or Belgian Beer, which is among the best in the world.  Enjoy!


Ruby’s For Adults!?

Now isn’t this interesting.   Ruby’s for Adults.   If you live in the OC, then you have shooby-doobied down to Ruby’s for great burgers, shakes, and that old fashioned diner atmosphere.

Now, Ruby’s has opened a place just for adults, with cocktails and grown-up gastropub type food.  It is called the Streamliner Lounge, and it is side by side with a traditional Ruby’s, both in the old Cask N’ Cleaver in Orange.  I will try it after vacation and let you know what I think.  Meanwhile read all about it in this Food Frenzy article.