A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went for a bike ride into downtown Walnut Creek for Valentines Day. I had issues with my Apple iPhone that needed to be resolved so we decided to enjoy the day by riding into “the Creek.” It was a beautiful Spring like day and we both needed some exercise. Since we are practically empty nesters we aren’t running our kids to basketball games, soccer practice or baseball tournaments anymore. Instead we can leisurely take our time on the weekends and go on a hike or bike ride together. Last weekend was no different. The photos above were taken while I worked as a preschool teacher at Tassajara Learning Center.
After our iPhone appointment, we took a chance for a quick bite to eat at True Food Kitchen. This place is usually packed, but we got lucky and landed two spots at the juice bar. I have heard great things about their restaurant from my hiking friends who frequently come here to celebrate birthdays. Excited to learn about the menu, the bartender walked us through the gluten free, naturally organic vegetarian, and vegan menu offerings explaining that they focus their food on anti inflammatory dishes. Dr Andrew Weil believes that by eating this healthy diet, people can avoid Alzheimer’s, heart disease and many cancers. I’m all for that.
What I was most excited to learn more about was their fresh juice drinks. They actually have a hangover drink that has fresh pineapple juice, orange juice, honey, and coconut water. I have no idea if that would help a hangover, but I bet it is a big seller. Of course, I saw plenty of a few Bloody Mary’s being served which looked gorgeous with watermelon radishes used as a garnish.
I ordered the “Bright Eyes” which consisted of fresh pear, ginger root, beet, pineapple, turmeric and carrot juice, and it didn’t disappoint. We also tried the Inside Out Quinoa Burger made with hummus, tzatziki, tomato, butter lettuce, cucumber, red onion, feta and avocado. It is served alongside a generous portion of roasted butternut squash which my husband loved. I tried the Toast with winter squash, brussel sprouts, caramelized onion, lemon, saba and roasted hazelnuts. It was an unexpected delight being crunchy and yet sweet from the squash that was probably roasted with honey or maple syrup. Yum. I had to order light so I could make it back up the hill to our house on my bike!
I have to say, I’m usually not a huge proponent of these restaurants since I think they are a “fad” or “trend” to for the younger generation. After all, I love a good burger. But it’s nice to eat extra healthy once in a while and my husband was thrilled with his Mediterranean dish. We found Opa Restaurant last week for a quick weeknight dinner. Ken was so happy to find this place because they serve lamb, chicken and beef sandwiches in a warm pita bread with tzatziki sauce tomatoes, onions and mint. He said it was his very favorite new place and that says a lot because he can be finicky.
While I’m at it, I may as well give a review of a fairly new restaurant located in Danville called Harvest. My friend Barbara and I met there a few weeks back after quick jont on the Iron horse trail. This place does things right. Barb and i met several years back when we our kids were at San Ramon Valley High School together in the choir. We also were both involved in the Vista Oak Chapter of the National Charity League. She volunteering with her daughter Lauren and me with my niece Jasmine. We had many good times together when our kids were young and now continue to meet up and have an occasional lunch or breakfast together. Barb recommended Harvest so we gave it a try.
First our server brought us a platter of their delicious wheat bread with a dollop of creamy butter with smoked sea salt and chives. I judge most restaurants by their bread and theirs was to die for. For lunch, I ordered Di Stefano’s Burrata Toast cause I have to have burrata whenever I’m at a restaurant. This dish was the perfect balance of sweet, salty, creamy and chewy presenting the burrata along side prosciutto, figs and well dressed arugula. Delish! Barbara and I also shared the Harvest Cobb which the chef was nice enough to divide. The chicken was brined with a lemon sweet tea before it was flawlessly grilled and served with avocado, hard boiled egg, tomato and bacon. We passed on dessert even though their warm apple cobbler sounded appetizing. Over all, I have to give all three of these restaurants a thumbs up and we will definitely make it back for future visits.
It’s a good thing my phone is repaired and I’m back to blogging and taking photos again. I’d better get myself back home now and prepare a little something for the family.
But first here’s my recipe for Cinnamon Rolls with a Boosey Twist
¾ C Sourdough starter (I made my own from 2 C pressed grapes in a tea towel, 2 C flour and 2 C water and let ferment for 1 week in a large glass bowl stirring every day) Not needed to make recipe, but adds a nice sour note to the recipe. Place in stand mixer fitted with flat beater. Mixes better than dough hook)
½ C warm water (warm to touch)
1 T yeast (Red Star Rapid Rise or regular dry yeast)
1 teas honey or 1 t granulated sugar
Mix these ingredients together in a small glass bowl with your fingers and let get bubb
3/4 C Milk (warm on stove until luke warm, not hot)
2 T soft unsalted butter (plus 1 T to smear on glass bowl)(plus 1 T for baking dish)
1 T Kosher Salt (do not forget this!)
¼ c granulated sugar (plus 1 t more for yeast)
1 ½ C All purpose flour (maybe ¼ c more for kneading and rolling out)
1 ½ C bread flour
Filling for Cinnamon Rolls
½ C unsalted softened butter
½ C granulated sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
½ t Maldon Salt
½ t ground cardamom
½ t ground espresso powder
1 T tapioca flour
3/4 C toasted pecans
¼ C Grand Marnier
½ C water
¾ C black raisins (Dried cranberries, dried strawberries or dried blueberries make for a fun new breakfast treat)
(Heat water in microwave in glass 2 c measuring cup and add grand marnier and soak raisins or dry berry fruit mix until soft) Drain and throw away liquid. This step allows the raisins stay moist and juicy in the cinnamon roll.
1 T spiced rum
1 ½ C powdered sugar
¼ t Maldon salt
After placing Sourdough starter in stand mixer, add bubbly yeast mixture.
Add milk, egg and mix. Add in 1 C flour, mix and let stand for 5 minutes.
Then add salt, sugar, softened butter and mix again.
Little by little add remaining flour and mix on low speed until combined. Keep mixing on med speed until dough is soft to touch and springs back when touched (about 6-8 minutes mix time) Or knead by hand until dough feels soft.
Place in a warm spot and let rise for a few to several hours (overnight works well) in a buttered glass bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle until about ¼ t thick. Spread softened butter onto dough.
Sprinkle with both sugars evenly, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, espresso powder, salt and tapioca flour.
Sprinkle soaked and drained raisins and pecans over dough.
Roll the dough tightly by starting at long edge and form into a long log. Cut with a pastry cutter or serrated knife into 1 Inch pieces. Place in a buttered baking dish or sheet pan with rolls touching. Let rise in a warm place, or fridge if you can possible wait.
Otherwise place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake until brown and bubbly about 17-22 minutes.
Cool slightly and spread rum glaze over rolls. (if you prefer a cream cheese frosting use 4 oz or ½ pkg cream cheese, ½ C butter, 1 ½ C powdered sugar, ¼ t Maldon Salt, and 1 t vanilla- Or Rum!)
I especially enjoy making these boosey treats for my husband and son on a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning. They love waking up to the intoxicating smell of these yummy treats and I do too.
Hope you try my recipe and leave me feedback about your results in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. It means a lot!