Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taste of Hillcrest 2012

The Mr. and I found ourselves at another Taste of event. This time it was Taste of Hillcrest. We had some outstanding food and alcoholic beverages worthy of The Good Life.
I made a serious attempt to photograph everything. I even photographed signs for brunches that served bottomless mimosas. That's important information.  

Clockwise from top left: pheasant sausage and polenta from Tractor Room, tostada from Brazen BBQ, boeuf bourguignon and chocolate mousse from Au Revoir, and a miso chicken wing from Empire House.

burrito from Freebirds World Burrito
Bombay served drinks and a good size buffet in their Sapphire Room
Thank you Bread and Cie for the coconut macaroon and Pinkberry for the lychee yogurt topped with mangoes. 
Oretga's has bottomless mimosas with their brunch.
Huapango's also offers bottomless mimosas and sangria with brunch. Nice!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Taste of Shelter Island 2012

I've been tweeting about this event I went to, Taste of Shelter Island, all week. And I've been talking to other people about it and everyone's been like, "yeah, that's so great, we went to Taste of Downtown and have you heard of Taste of blah blah blah?" Jeez, how long have these things been going on and I didn't even know about them? Too long. Taste of Hillcrest celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2011. 

Since we had such a great time visiting some of our old favorites and trying some new ones on Shelter Island, I thought I would share it with my readers. FYI, if you haven't experienced one of these before it works like this, you pay one price and you get a voucher you take with you to the participating restaurants. There you present your voucher and the restaurant gives you a sample of what you can expect from them. They also offer great drink specials. Those get me every time.  

Below you'll see some of the food we enjoyed from just a handful of restaurants that we stopped at. After a while I couldn't keep up with photographing and writing down everything that we ate. We were also running out of battery on our phones. If you are friends with me or my husband on Facebook, you can see why. He checked us in everywhere. We hit up 13 places in 3 hours. Needless to say I was extremely full and was begging my husband to just split our tastings.  A couple of places that didn't get photographed were the Bali Hai and Pizza Nova. 

Enjoy the photos and consider attending one of these Taste of Events if you haven't done so already. Here's your chance, Taste of Hillcrest is tomorrow. Enjoy!!

This was from Red's. They served us to die for desserts; a red velvet cupcake and a double chocolate stout brownie with ganache and crispy cereal. Not pictured are the catfish cake and jambalaya.

We stopped at Old Venice and they served us pasta and foccacia. Delish.
Old Venice served $3 glasses of prosecco. Yes please!
These soy ginger wings were from Harbor Town Pub. We will be returning.
Here we have octopus ceviche from Gabardine. Very fresh.
Suppanee House served egg rolls and chicken mango curry.
The Elegant Truffle offered lemon ricotta cookies and a caramel truffle.
This tasty bite came from the Blue Wave Bar and Grill located in the Best Western Island Palms Hotel. It's salmon on a bed of pureed English peas. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Celebration Cake

My sweet little nephew checked out a cookbook from his school's library, chose a recipe for Celebration Cake, and asked me to make it for his school's cake walk. Ok then, I'm making Celebration Cake. After looking at the photo I decided I didn't need the recipe. It's a two layer chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream to fill and frost. The sides though are to remain unfrosted so the layers and filling can be exposed. And to top it all off, sprinkles. Got it.

Here's what you'll need.
Your favorite box of chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup of cold coffee
1 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of shortening
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups of powdered sugar

This is what you're going to do.
Preheat your oven to 325. Use a little shortening to grease your cake pans so the cakes won't stick. I used 8 inch pans but if you have 9 inch pans, just use those. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and coffee and mix until smooth. Divide the batter between two pans and bake for 25 minutes. To check doneness, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out dry, it's done. Also, when the cake is done the sides should pull away from the pan. You'll see. Let your cakes cool completely before frosting.
Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, mix the butter and shortening until smooth. Add vanilla and salt and mix. Then add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time while mixing on low until combined. Now turn up the speed to medium and mix for six minutes.
When assembling, you'll need to trim a little of the round top off so the cakes are flat. Eat those scraps! Then slather the buttercream on both layers, stack, and add your sprinkles. Celebration Cake!

Celebration Cake
I have these cute 6 inch pans so I made three tiny cakes. My son saw what I was doing and wanted to help. Yes! A little baker! This was his first time frosting a cake AND he was using a piping bag. He also loved the sprinkles. He told me he was peppering the cake. How cute is he?!?!
Here are the three tiny cakes. I used a large star tip for all of them. I like how the two look like giant cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My San Francisco Ritual

I travel to the Bay Area four or five times a year to see my family. Every time I visit, I spend one day touring The Ferry Market Building, Fisherman's Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square. I never tire of it. Thank goodness, neither does my husband. This time my cousin and sister joined us on our city adventure.
What? All bars were on sale. Buy four get one free. The fifth one was a milk chocolate bar and it didn't make the collage but I'm sure it's delicious none the less. The intense dark sea salt soiree is long gone. My husband and I ate that one the next day. The baking chocolate was a gift for Pink, the vanilla dream white chocolate was a souvenir for our nephew, the milk was for our niece, and the coconut was for me.  All mine. I can't consume it just yet though. I've had so much rich food over the past couple of weeks. I need a break. How about I make a date with that coconut rendezvous next week?
That's my crazy but exceptionally fun cousin. Yep, she's holding onto my son's legs as he splashes in the Ghirardelli Square fountain. It's not that weird though. Look at the kid behind them.
We observed Good Friday at Fisherman's Wharf. I think that's the perfect place to do so. We walked around and settled on one of the many stands lined up on the sidewalk. Crab salad sandwiches and curly fries. Luckily we found a great little table with a primo people watching view. Thank you San Francisco.

Napa Afternoon

We went to Napa for a day. Our first stop was to Dean and Deluca to pick up lunch. Then we had our first tasting at Beaulieu Vineyards, better known to me as BV Estates when I'm at Vons grabbing a bottle of their cabernet sauvignon.  Our last stop was to Napa Cellars, Menage a Trois and Foie a Deux. Yeah, three in one! The tastings here were only $5-$7 too. This vineyard had a beautiful picnic area for us to eat our Dean and Deluca loot. Such a gorgeous afternoon.
Ordered a fantastic sandwich at their deli. Then we picked up a couple of wedges of cheese and a baguette. Done.
Gorgeous food, perfect weather, delicious wine... The Good Life.