Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mission 5k - San Juan Bautista, CA

Melissa Good Taste (and her Mom!) completed the Mission 5k today. We rock! Great for the body and spirit! :)
Enjoy your weekend!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Left Bank Brasserie - San Jose, CA

With cloudy skies above, my girlfriends and I ventured to San Jose, brunch and facials were what we had in mind. We decided to go to Left Bank, since we all had not been there before. Located in San Jose’s Santana Row, Left Bank Brasserie transports guests to a quaint brasserie in Paris, where diners feast upon classic French cuisine in a charming brasserie setting along the boulevard, where people-watching has been elevated to a sport.

The three of us - excited for a relaxing day.

I really liked this picture, so colorful and the elephant looked so happy!

The Ultimate Indulgence -Fondue aux Fromages. Brie, Blue and Goat’s Cheese Fondue. Holy Moly! The three of us shared this and still could not even come close to finishing it.

Of course I ordered the soup. It was Cream of Butternut Squash, very tasty - just needed a pinch of salt.

My order was the Quiche et Salade. Quiche of crab meat, mushrooms, spinach & Emmental cheese; frisée salad. Very tasty. I love Quiche's they can have almost any filling and still be wonderful.

Elena's order was the Brouillè de Provence. Which was Scrambled Eggs with oven-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, basil & potato hash with Artisan goat’s cheese. I think the photo did not do the dish justice. She said it tasted amazing.

Last but not least, Amanda's order of Eufs Bénédictes.
Which basically was Eggs Benedict - Poached Eggs with Parisian ham, English muffin, hollandaise and potato hash. I am a big fan of anything hollandaise.

At this point we were pretty relaxed, and full from our delicious meal. We strolled on out of the restaurant just in time to take advantage of the full spa - steam room, sauna, jacuzzi before our appointments. I would recommend the Left Bank to those who have not tried it, French food is fun because everything sounds so fancy! It gave us a good laugh. There is a lot to try on their menu - the dinner read amazing! Santana Row is fun - thank you Amanda and Elena for a lovely day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ginger Cafe - Gilroy, CA

Dim Sum in Gilroy? Yes! I actually found a place that served it. I read about it all the time of my favorite food blogs, but now have the opportunity to try it. The Ginger Cafe is located in an awkward location - at the Gilroy Premium Outlets. Close enough to Hollister to give it a whirl, so my sister, her boyfriend - John and I did.

The inside of the restaurant was very pretty, and clean! The ambiance was nice, maybe a touch dark for lunch but still stylish all the same.

Thai Iced Teas - one mixed, the other not.

Our appeitizer was the Soft Shell Crab Fresh Rolls. Fried soft shell crab, green leaves, bean sprouts, mint and rice noodles wrapped in rice paper with a tasty peanut dipping sauce. The rolls were very light and great start to our meal.

Coconut Black Cod was one of our entrees and the sauce was delicious! Braised black cod in cocunut milk with garlic and black pepper in a caramelized sauce. The sauce was so good we reserved it for dipping our other dishes in! What a winner!

Salty Fish Fried Rice was our carb loving entry. Don't be scared by the name - it was fantastic! Stirfried anchovies, chicken, asparagus, egg, basil, and scallions with rice made for a lovely addition to our meal.

Last and least favored, the Basil Chicken. Stir fried chicken with garlic, bamboo shoots, shitake mushrooms, basil, and scallions. It is not that is was terrible it just had two firm competitors to stand up to. Probably won't order this one again - might venture to a new item on the menu, just for fun!

Yes! I guess I will start to sing and rejoice now!

Now, I know we did not order any Dim Sum will visiting the Ginger Cafe this afternoon but the menu did read very well for a future visit. I did notice it was a tad pricey for lunch but, we did recieve some pretty fantastic dishes. The restaurant was beautiful, waitress friendly and helpful - all in all a nice experience. I would defiently like to return to explore the menu a bit more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ojai Certified Farmers' Market

On my many travels to Ojai I have always wanted to check out the Farmers' Market. I finally got an opportunity to go and I was really excited. I took in the sights and smells just long enough to beat the rain out of there!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Familia Diaz Cafe - Santa Paula, CA

Santa Paula, the Citrus Capital of the World - also home to Familia Diaz Cafe. A family institution that has been around since 1936, that is 74 years of business - what an acomplishment! I have driven by and had Mexican food from here to go but have never actually ate inside. So I was pretty excited to stop in with Scott on the way up to the Ranch.

This is what the inside of the Cafe looks like. The parrots are a nice touch, kind of funks up the place. Did I mention that they have won the Best Food Award in 2006, 2007, 2008 by the LA Times. I am just sayin'... I missed the 5 type of salsa bar, I didn't even know they had one until I read about the restaurant afterwards, but it is the picture - see the little red wagon. We just had one type of salsa and it was pretty good. We ate through one basket of chips and decided to stop. Such control!

This was my order - just a shredded beef enchilada. It was pretty tasty. The meat was flavorful and the sauce was very rich. Tasted like they had it slow roasting on the oven all day long. I mean that like it is a good thing. What I also liked that it wasn't overwhelmed with too much cheese. I was pretty impressed when I asked for extra sauce and it actually came! With it's own serving bowl and spoon even!

Scott ordered the Carnita's Tacos - however his were in the soft shell rather than the hard. The photos Familia Diaz had to offer me online were pretty slim! He seems to really enjoy the Carnitas Tacos here, I didn't try a bite but I am sure it was delish. Now let me tell you a story about pork. I tried to use the Crock pot and make my own version of Chile Verde, it all seemed to be coming out perfectly until I decided to hurry up the process. Start it early in the morning, don't try to blast it on high for 5 hours. What a disapointment! I know what I did wrong, I may try it again - I don't want the Crock pot to get the best of me!

All in all the meal was a success. Pretty inexpensive for food made with love. The restaurant wasn't too full for a Friday evening but they were quick and efficient getting our food out to us. The chips are good, salsa tasty (could be a touch spicier) and drinks served in a cold glass. I look forward to returning because my Chile Verde cook off made the house smell like a Mexican Restaurant and that was not a good thing. Even the next day, it was smelling pretty porky. Anyhow, Familia Diaz was an excellent choice.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Clement - Monterey, CA

I went to The Clement Hotel located on Cannery Row for an IMPOWER Luncheon today. They served this amazing Squash Apple Soup with Creme Fraiche and a Cinnamon Crouton. Sounds weird on paper but believe me, it worked! Very tasty.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nights out with the girls...

Are fun and very necessary!
Thanks for the good time girls!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Monterey Fish House - Monterey, CA

I have heard so much about this place. Mostly it has been, "Great food, but the seating is limited and you will always need a reservation." What does that tell me as a food blogger? That this place must rock! I mean people return because it is delicious, that is awesome! So after a trip to the Del Monte Mall I made my 7:30pm reservation at the Monterey Fish House.

Waiting for 7:30 to roll around... We got there a bit early, so we watched the Oyster Shucker get down to business!

Jennifer going over the menu.

The bread was brought to the table immediately and it was delicious.
Nice and soft.

Oyster on the half shell with lots of Horseradish and Cocktail sauce!
Yum! It tasted like the ocean

Here we go: lots of food posts! A special, Robert's Swordfish in Lemon Butter sauce! Don't mind if I do! It was amazing! Capers are magical little things. I love the salty taste they bring to the table.

Love! The Honey Almond encrusted Mahi Mahi! The Marsala Wine sauce with mushrooms were absolutely fabulous! The sauce was so good in fact, that I dipped the rest of the bread in it - just so it wouldn't go to waste!

Jennifer influenced this order. It might as well have been hers! Ha! Dungeness Crab in a garlic, white wine, crab butter sauce served over house made linguine. The crab was ate slowly but surely ;) The broth was amazing.

Jennifer had been drooling over these Spotted Prawns all afternoon from when we looked up the restaurant online. She knew when the Specials were read that this is what she wanted. After ordering it though she came to conclusion that the dish was more work than pleasure. Having to extract the meat out of the prawns I guess was not worth it!

All in all, I was very impressed by the Monterey Fish House. The place was packed! I am shocked they stay in such a small location. If they had a bigger restaurant I am sure they would still stay busy - and everyone would be more comfortable. There was a table literally 2 inches away fro ours. We heard everything in their discussion and I am sure they heard everything in ours! The food was delicious, a tad pricey but for good seafood it is worth it. I will return.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Vegetarian Taquitos

This deep fryer stares at me every time I enter the kitchen. Like, "Use me, you know you want to..." So I do.

I made a Mex mix of rice, refried beans, Monterey jack cheese, salsa, sour cream and several large dashes of Tapatio. Mix it all together into a mish mash. Fill a corn tortilla - not too full. Roll up and secure with toothpicks. Let no more than two rest into the bubbly cauldron of hot oil for a minutes or so. Just depends on how hot your oil is. Mine was at max so it didn't take long at all from them to crisp up.

I know this isn't the most healthy post but I only ate one I promise! One did the trick and fixed my Mexican food craving. Workout will follow tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brooks - Ventura, CA

Ventura has been my hangout lately if you haven't noticed by now. I am seriously excited about all the restaurants they have for me to try! Yelp gave nice reviews of Brooks and I decided, "Hey why not give it try!"

Brooks is located on 545 East Thompson Boulevard. This strip has quite a few great restaurants, remember my review of Prime? They are right down the road from here. Hi Jennifer. Hi John.

Why hello Rockin' Roll Margarita - tasty and expensive.

My mom ordered the Blue Eyes Martini - so sweet,
almost like your not drinking alcohol - but you REALLY are! Fun!

Pretzel Roll bread - and savory dipping oil - olive of course.

When you looked up you felt like you were in a barn,
a very chic barn.

Chopped Hearts of Romaine was Scott's starter.
That was a nice crisp - Herb Garlic, to go along with it. Crispy!

John had an appetizer of the Cornmeal Fried Oysters - Fennel, Celery Slaw with "Buffalo" Aioli. He ate them. He didn't complain.

Jennifer ordered the Puree of Roasted Chestnut Soup. It even came with a slip of Maple Cream - Oooo la la!! She thought her starter was an awesome one!

Finally! My entree! Me, me, me! I had the Swordfish Fish Special. The fish was so fresh and cooked to perfection. The spinach was to die for, especially while being mopped up with the delicious sauce.

Jennifer seemed to have the order of the day - Everyone loved her 24 Hour-Marinated Boneless Shredded Shot Ribs. Under the bed of meat and Watercress Red Onion Salad there was Olive Oil Parsnip Puree. To die!! The Cider Glaze reminded me of BBQ sauce, it all worked together so nicely!

John ordered the Pan-Roasted Scottish Salmon. Polenta is served as well as Traditional Mediterranean Greek Salad. It looked beautiful. I didn't get to try it, this was one of the options I had while ordering.

Ok this one tripped us up. My Mom and Scott both ordered this special. Medallions of beef served with a spicy Penne Pasta. The bummer was the "medallions" were actually steak tips. Like they were the leftovers of many steak orders. Hmmm... It was tasty, just a little strange of how it was described.

Jennifer's order of Maytag Cheesecake - very savory!

John's Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding. Holy calories.
He ate it all, Jennifer helped out though!

My Mom and I shared the Creme Brulee. It was good.
I like the custardy goodness!

The owner himself! He is tall! I am short. :(