Decided to splurge and take my husband to Seattle for his birthday. We have never traveled there before, so planning an impromptu trip was just what we needed.
Seattle didn’t dissapoint. After renting a car we drove to Cedarbrook Lodge. Our accommodations were outstanding. Their location is only 10 minutes from the airport. We showered and drove to the city where we saw the Space Needle, and walked along the waterfront. The weather was perfect coming from an extreme heat wave in the SanFrancisco Bay Area.
Aqua Restaurant brought us a delicious hot platter of fresh calamari never frozen according to our waitress 0ak. She offered a somlier to assist me in my wine selection, but there was no need. I was delighted by a glass of their Pinot gris from New Zealand. A piano guy named Ben played old TV theme songs which made the entertainment extra exciting.
We couldn’t decide between the seaweed crab salad and the Caesar so we enjoyed a half serving of each. The birthday boy ordered the clam chowder his favorite and the bread was warm and perfect w the butter sprinkled w Himalayan sea salt.
Ken also had the raw tuna w chips for his main dish. I tried the pancetta prawns and the roasted romesco and broccoli w Parmesan.
The water glasses were never empty and the vanilla icecream sunday with cherry and dk chocolate chunks was the best ending to a lovely evening on the patio. At one point a sailboat scooted right past our table a few feet away from us. Incredible! Highly recommended this place and not just because the food was awesome. They also gave us a free shuttle back to our car at 9:30 at night. This was greatly appreciated since we were several blocks away. Aqua was moderately priced and we walked away spending @ $150.00, with full bellies and a safe drop off at our car.
Our last night we ate and drank at a pub/bar called Elliot’s in West Seattle. The people in Seattle we found to be extra friendly and we chatted with a newly married couple who were sitting beside us. We got to know them immediately finding out that the guy was a police officer and his wife was a long time employee of Macy’s. They spoke highly of their neighborhood which seemed a lot like College Ave in Berkeley. See my previous blog
Our bartender Mikey gave me a flight that I would love and ww settled in for good conversation, great beer and delicious food. We shared the sumptuous Phillycheese steak w caramelized onions, veggies and the ever so salty chili cheese nachos w black beans, olives and crunchy red onions.
All throughout the dinner the wife kept reminding us that we must go across the street for icecream at Husky’s which she worked at on weekends for 4 years while supporting her 4 children. Sadly they were closed, but after our talkative friend banged on the door, the owner Jack opened and let the four of us in. We were greeted with the biggest hug and kiss on the cheek. This guy has been running the business for 42 years and his father since 1932.
I had to try the highly regarded scoop of Swiss dk chocolate with orange and the salted caramel ice cream. This cold sweet cream just melted in my mouth leaving me craving more. I can see why one client cried when John couldn’t provide her with the orangey chocolatey delight. She said “you don’t understand!” Sobbing extensively. I laughed at this story but understood how addictive this treat could be.
Aah. On our way home now from our four day adventure of hiking, exploring Washington and eating our way around Seattle. Maybe your husband needs a little TLC too. Life is way too short to not take advantage of vacations like this one in Seattle. Now rested and relaxed we can smile knowing we have another birthday celebrated to the fullest.
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Oriental Crunchy Salad
Oriental Chicken Salad
1 Roasted Chicken Shredded
¾ C Sugar
½ C White Wine Vinegar
½ C canola oil
½ C Peanut Oil
1 T Toasted Sesame Oil
2 teas Soy Sauce
½ C Melted Butter
½ C Sesame Seeds
½ C. Sliced Almonds
1 Pkg Oriental Top Ramen
1 head of Napa Cabbage chopped thinly
3 Green Onions chopped
2 stalks celery Chopped
1 Green Apple Chopped in small cubes
2 Carrots peeled and shredded
1 Jicama chopped in small cubes
½ red or yellow bell pepper sliced thinly
½ C Cilantro Chopped finely
Either Bake or buy a roasted chicken and shred into small bite size pieces into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a microwave safe large glass bowl, combine, sugar, all three oils, vinegar, and soy sauce. Microwave for @ 45 seconds. Stir.
Melt butter in a large frying pan and add, sesame seeds, almonds and Top Ramen. Saute on Med heat until brown for about 7 minutes taking care not to burn. Set aside.
Wash and Shred cabbage and place in the biggest bowl you can find. I use a food processor for this. Add roasted Chicken, chopped vegetables, apple, and cilantro. Toss until well mixed. Sprinkle in browned ramen, sesame seeds, and almonds and pour dressing over salad. Stir until all vegetables and cabbage is dressed.
Serve right away. Enjoy!
Recently I met with my friends Kathi and Donna at a local brewery to celebrate our birthdays. We don’t get together often since we all have busy lives, but when we do we celebrate big. Our paths first collided when I was in the dental field 30 years ago. Donna and I met at Diablo Valley College in a microbiology class. We were both trying to get into the dental hygiene program. We studied at each other’s houses while our one year old children played together. We eventually worked in the same offices which was fun.
Kathi and I worked as dental assistants in a small dental practice in Concord. Kathi taught me everything I needed to know about keeping kids happy in the dental chair. She called the light “Mr. Sunshine”, the suction “Mr. Thirsty” and showed me how to keep kids calm and happy during their visit. Our boys played on the same soccer team and my husband was their coach. All three of us ladies have stayed in touch over the years. We remember each others’ birthdays and I’m grateful for their continued friendship.I digress… Back to the BEER.
Calicraft is fairly new in the East Bay. It is located in an Industrial Park area near Kaiser Park Shadelands and most people don’t know about it. Calicraft offers a large variety of lagers. They offer various brown ales with fun and catchy names like “Oaktown” referring to the city of Oakland California that is about 20 minutes away. They have interesting flavors such as Sour Strawberry a blonde beer with 8.5% alcohol, a Sour Black Currant beer at 8.5% alcohol, a Reserve Sauvignon Peach which is a sparkling ale that is made with grapes at 12% alcohol, and their special Reserve Sparkling Rose’ that is made with raspberries, cherries and zinfandel.
I decided to try their beer flight and I was able to choose four different kinds of beer. We were disappointed that they didn’t offer more to eat. They sold bags of potato chips and beef jerky, but luckily we had nuts in our car. Kathi spoiled me and purchased my beer flight. I was interested in the summer sour strawberry, the sour black currant, the apricot haze IPA, and the Buzzerkeley sparkling ale. Each beer was full of flavor and exciting to try. The bartender was nice to share a lime with me since I love drinking beer with citrus.
Calicraft’s marketing team has gotten extremely creative. I’m crazy for the name Buzzerkeley because it makes fun of the town of Berkeley not too far, about 20 minutes from the brewery. They named a Mexican Lager “Chico Lager” which is only 5.6% alcohol, but must be a favorite since this town hosts one of the more popular colleges in California. In fact, both of my sister’s attended Chico in the 80’s.
Another variety that Calicraft offers is a beer called “Coast” which is a Kolsch-style ale and is 4.8% alcohol. Then there is a “Guava Tree” wheat served at 6.2%. Fun was had by all. It was nice to try out the new brewery and us girls had a blast chatting it up.
Speaking of beer, a few years back, I hosted a dinner party with beer pairings for some of our soccer friends. We borrowed special glasses to get the most out of each beer. Each family brought their favorite beer, Stella, Guinness, a Boston Lager and Corona. I served each beer with a small serving of protein (shrimp, pork carnitas,and steak) that went perfectly with the beer. I also made a gingerbread cake for dessert substituting a dark Guinness beer instead of water in the recipe. The cake is topped with a cream cheese frosting that is tart and sweet. It is a dessert you go back to often when thinking of what to serve your guests. The cake is moist and studded with lots of candied ginger, my favorite. You could substitute vanilla ice cream or whipped cream instead of frosting the cake if you wish.
Whether you are meeting up with good friends at the local bar or entertaining friends at home, keep those you love close. Stay in touch frequently and continue to foster those relationships near and far like Kathi, Donna and I have.
Here’s a wonderful tomato soup recipe that you will want to make. It is best with fresh heirloom tomatoes picked straight from the garden, but any ripe tomato will do.
Roasted Cipollini Onion and Heirloom Tomato Soup
8 Cipollini Onions (Can substitute 1 small white or yellow onion)
1 Pound ripe heirloom tomatoes, halved
4 Poblano Peppers (can substitute 1 jalapeno instead)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
⅓ C Olive Oil
1 tsp Thyme chopped
2 C Chicken or Vegetable stock
¾ C a dry White Wine (Pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, or unoaked chardonnay)
1 tsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper
Creme fraiche and thyme blossom for garnish
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
Place the onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic on a sheet pan. Toss with Olive Oil, sprinkle chopped thyme, and salt and pepper on veggies and roast in oven for about 20 minutes until caramelized and soft.
Puree the roasted veggies with ½ C chicken stock in a blender. Push through a sieve to remove seeds and skin.
Place pureed liquid with remaining stock and white wine into a large pot. Cook on simmer for about 30 minutes or up to an hour.
To serve, ladle soup in a shallow soup bowl and garnish with creme fraiche and a thyme blossom.
It’s been quite a month. I took on making a wedding cake for a good friend that reconnected with me on Facebook. I also was unusually busy because I met up with my niece at Facebook the same day that I had to bake the cakes. This is what’s so great about Facebook. You never know who you might meet up with again since they have globally 1.28 billion people active users daily and 200 billion monthly active users.
Last month I was invited to take a tour of the Facebook campus from my niece who works for an accounting firm there. Jasmine showed me around the property. It was quite expansive and the employees used bikes and busses to get from campus to campus. These busses come frequently, are air conditioned and very comfortable. But, let’s talk about the FOOD at Facebook. When I arrived, I was given a day pass and offered something to drink. I delightedly made myself my fav drink: an espresso w half and half and sugar. It was so exciting to see all the options and everything was FREE.Eventually, we made our way over to the BBQ pork, macaroni and cheese, and spicy greens and I was in heaven.
Jasmine also introduced me to several snack areas which give away, pretzels, chips, granola bars, fruit snacks, popcorn,candy, gum and pretty much whatever your heart desires. I took Altoids (my Dad’s favorite), peppermint gum and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for the ride home. Yum. They also have refrigerators near the exits that have pre made salads, etc so you don’t have to cook when you get home. That’s a huge help to many families that struggle with meal preparation. I can’t imagine anyone being hungry though. Jasmine and I walked down the main campus where there were places to eat lining the street. I saw a Noodle Bar, a BBQ place, a burger joint, a Salad Bar, a bakery and an ice cream shop. And I’m sure I’m forgetting many more.They even had a cafeteria on her campus which was closed already. I wanted EVERYTHING. I couldn’t believe that all this food was FREE.
Cameras weren’t allowed near the workstations, but I was amazed at all the different nooks and crannies all over campus that were set up to work from. Comfy couches and rooms that looked like libraries were positioned all over making it hard to choose where one would feel like hanging out. It felt more like Disneyland than a place of employment. We even walked by Mark Zuckerman’s office! So cool.
Jasmine also showed me all around Instagram which Facebook also owns. There were huge art pieces all colorful and exciting, a place one could be inventive and inspired for sure.
The wedding cake story is explained next. I don’t consider myself a professional cake baker. Yes, I have gone to pastry school and made special occasion cakes for different events, but never for a wedding. That’s a lot of pressure that I don’t need to put on myself, and no one had ever asked me before so it wasn’t an issue. Noelle and I had raised our kids together in the same neighborhood, same swim team and same schools. That is, until she and her husband separated about 10 years ago and moved out of the neighborhood. She and I lost touch and I hadn’t spoken for a very long time. Then out of the blue, she sent me a message on Facebook and asked me to give her a call. I guess she saw my many dessert posts and of course remembered how much I loved baking. About a week later, I had her and another friend from the neighborhood named Chris over for dinner to discuss her new man, anything we might have missed out on the last 10 years and of course THE CAKE.
And Noelle, is in sales and can be very assertive and overbearing, yet I like that about her. I was also excited to have this opportunity to make a wedding cake. After all, she really wanted me to bake her cake and there is something kinda cool about that.
It took some convincing, but I finally agreed. Now I had to do the research, look for recipes, find the right sized cake pans, figure out how what to put them on and learn what kind of supports I would need to serve a wedding cake in Mid July. Thank goodness for You Tube, Pinterest and good friends who suggested I make a tiered wedding cake instead of piling them on top of each other. (Best decision ever!) I spend hours watching home chefs decorate cakes, and got to see what tricks I would need to make this process a success.
I spend days shopping picking up ingredients like drinking straws (to use inside the cake to keep from falling), fresh lemons for lemon curd, eggs, butter (lots of butter), meringue powder, powdered sugar, raspberries, and pudding mix. Yes. I used box cake mixes because I am guaranteed a good tasting cake with the right texture. If I made them from scratch, I would worry that the weight of these cakes wouldn’t hold up to another on top. Like I said, I’m not a cake baker. I generally dislike making a decorating cakes, because it takes someone with patience to make them look just right. They have to be even and the icing needs to be the right consistency with various scrolling, etc…
Another thing most people don’t know about me is that I listen to motivational podcasts every morning. I like Deleon Motivation , Tony Robbins, and The Mulligan Brothers just to name a few. These talks push me a little out of my comfort zone and ask that you try something new. Do something that you wouldn’t normally do, they say. This cake definitely did that for me. I was waay out of my league, yet I was determined to make it happen for my friend. It was the least I could do for her, after all.
Lucky for me, my husband helped out by engineering the “tiered look” and stepped up big time at the last minute. I also was fortunate to have our cousin volunteer to make the rose cake topper, which made the cake look professional. Lynie loves flower arranging and I knew I would not have the time or energy to give this cake the finishing touch that it deserved. She only charged me $39.00 for the roses and baby’s breath and refused to let me pay her for her time. It was such a gift.
A week or so before the wedding I started baking the five cakes. I’ve taken enough baking classes to know you never refrigerate a cake or it will dry out. So I had to take my freezer food to my mom’s house so I could make room for all five cakes. The lemon curd was made next, since that can be made ahead. I waited until the day before to make the frosting. Buckets and buckets of frosting! I worried a little, no A LOT about how I would decorate each cake, but in the end they all turned out beautiful. One I topped with the flowers, one I used fresh raspberries and blueberries, and one I delicately placed meringue cookies in a huge pile on top of this enormous round cake.
I got excited when I decided to fill the cakes with whipped cream, lemon curd, raspberries, and buttercream. I used Grand Marnier, simple syrup, to moisten the layers before filling. I found pink ribbon and used mylar strips/acetate to keep the ribbon from touching the icing on the sides of the cake.To decorate the sides, I used tempered white chocolate and a piece of a huge metal form that my husband used to build a rock wall. This metal piece had a fun pattern to it that would make the cake look special. (Kind of fun to use something no one else would ever think of using!)
The tricky part was making room in the fridge and freezer for the finished cakes and also transporting them to the venue which was only 15 minutes away. The weather wasn’t cooperating with us either, since it was over 100 degrees at 2:00 in the afternoon. My little Lexus came through allowing us to crank up the air conditioning for 10 minutes before we loaded them in the car. I’m sure most cake makers have special vans or large vehicles that make it easier to get five huge cakes to a wedding.Not not me, but we made it happen.
After arriving at Il Postino in Lafayette, my husband built the structure of cake platters and we used a brand new white sheet that covered the table perfectly. I picked a few flowers and greens from my garden and was able to put together something cute to give the presentation a little color besides the rose cake topper.
In the end, everything worked out well. Noelle and Mark got married and they had a beautiful cake that make their day extra special. Who knows if there are any more wedding cakes to be made in my future. At least if there are, I will have the knowledge and expertise this time to do it.
I genuinely would like to thank my niece Jasmine for taking the time to take me to Facebook. I’m so proud of her! It’s because of Facebook that I was offered these friends like Noelle and Chris to magically pop back into my life. The wedding was beautiful, the cakes were phenomenal and I have a new trick up my sleeve when it comes to calling myself a pastry chef. And without the help of these morning motivational talks, I can ultimately say I probably wouldn’t have considered taking on this gargantuan task. To say that I am grateful for the opportunity to make a wedding cake is an understatement. Congratulations Noelle and Mark. Thank you for including me in your special day.
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Okay. I know it isn’t Thanksgiving, but I grew a huge gorgeous pumpkin and a kabocha squash in my vegetable garden and I need to make a dessert. And my husband and I celebrated 28 years of marriage last week! Whop! Whop! I’m really excited that I grew and harvested these. I mean, why is this pumpkin ripe already? I always thought they needed a few months to be sweet and ripe enough before we get to eat them, but I’ve never grown one before.
Here it is hanging on a trellis in my front yard with my panty hose!
I’m sure I could make a pumpkin soup with a toasted pumpkin seed garnish on top a dollop of creme fraiche. Maybe I’ll make that too, but first let me get back to the PIE.
I asked my friend Cathy what her fav vegan recipe was and she shared this with me. She told me it is to die for and was happy to let me give it a try. The four of us met at Millennium Restaurant a few weeks ago and I was blown away with their Vegan menu. We had already eaten dinner and just decided to take a drive over to this new place. I loved the bar and atmosphere and loved how things were presented. We opted to share the chocolate peanut pretzel torte. It was divine! The menu described it as having a peanut mousseline, a chocolate-caramel ganache, a chocolate peanut butter bark, salted caramel sauce, and served with a Brother Thelonious Ale Ice Cream (who ever that is…) Of course we had been drinking wine all night and normally I would have had a coffee with it to cut the sweetness. Thankfully, it wasn’t too sweet, just right and couldn’t believe it was a vegan recipe. Nothing bland or blah about it.
Millennium didn’t disappoint. I only wished we had started there in the first place. The food is special and the people are adorable too. Had to take a pic of this guy the pastry chef. Waaay too Berkeley if you ask me.
Back to the pumpkin pie recipe. Well almost… My niece Keri who just recently graduated from USD and got a full time job (good for you Miss Keri) and is eating only Vegan recipes so she should appreciate it. Got to love her. She is one of a kind. Here we are picking her up from the airport a few weeks back. She’s sporting her new coral earrings and necklace we got her for graduation too.
Here’s the pic of the gorgeous peanuty chocolaty caramely vegan dessert from Millennium. It reminds me of my elevated Rice Krispie Munchie Bar dessert that has peanut butter, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, Nutella and tons of butter. Def NOT vegan. I will have to share that recipe next!
Here’s the pumpkin pie recipe as promised. I will also share more pics of it next time I make it.
3 C Cooked pumpkin or butternut squash
½ C Pure Maple Syrup or Agave Syrup
½ C Coconut Milk or use your favorite non dairy milk
4 tsp coconut oil (melted) or can use extra light olive oil
½ t Cinnamon
½ t Ground Ginger
1/4 t ground Cloves
¼ t ground Nutmeg or freshly grated
½ t Maldon Salt
2 T Arrowroot powder
1 t Agar powder
1 t good quality Vanilla
2 C Chopped Pecans or Almonds
½ C Light Brown Sugar
1 T Cornstarch or Unbleached Flour
⅛ C Honey
1/2 t Maldon salt
Directions for Making the Topping:
Chop pecans/almonds coarsely. Put into a bowl and toss w brown sugar, cornstarch/flour, honey and salt. Set aside.
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, cool enough to be solid
- 6-8 tablespoons of ice water
Directions: In a food processor add flour, salt and sugar. Cover and pulse once or twice. Add coconut oil in spoonfuls on top the flour, cover and pulse 7 or 8 times until well combined. Take cold water and pour into opening of processor while pulsing until moist.
Turn onto parchment paper or Saran Wrap, make a disc shape cover, and put in fridge to rest for at least 20 min.
After 20 min roll out pastry dough onto floured counter into a round shape a little bigger than your pie dish. Place crust into a deep dish pie dish (or whatever you have) and crimp edges with your thumb and pointer finger in a decorative manner.
Place crust into fridge while making filling.
Directions for Pumpkin Filling:
Cut Pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Cut pumpkin in large pieces and place on large baking sheet covered w foil flesh side down for 1 hour until knife inserted easily and pumpkin is cooked. Cool. Remove skin and puree cooled pumpkin in a food processor until smooth. Use left over for pumpkin soup or pumpkin bread. Previous blog recipe here Pumpkin bread
Measure out 3 Cups and place in processor. Add maple syrup, coconut milk, coconut oil, , spices, salt, arrowroot powder and agar powder. Puree until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove crust from fridge and pour pumpkin filling into pie shell. Bake for 45 to 50 min. Remove pie from oven and top with pecan/almond mixture. Bake uncovered another 15-20 min until pecan/almond topping is browned and crumbly. Cool for at least a couple of hours before slicing.
Serve with vegan ice cream or non dairy whipped cream. My husband was a happy camper eating this delicious pie on our anniversary.
Altered from recipe Cathy gave me. She found it here recipe
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July is almost here, which means most people are trying to get out of town for their annual summer vacation. Me? Well, besides starting a new job, I have plenty to keep me busy in the kitchen. Last week I decided it was time to get my apricot jam on. I mean, get going on the dozens of jars of preserves that I make every year. Apricots are my mom’s favorite fruit. It might me mine too, but I’ve got a thing for cherries too. Vacation is definitely NOT in the plans quite yet. Staycation is where it’s at.
Every year in mid June I drive to Brentwood and purchase 3 cases of Blenheim apricots. (I planted my own Blenheim tree a few years ago, but the critters always get to them before I do!) I love to give the jars to friends and relatives as a hostess gift all year long. My sister in law Nancy thinks I should sell my jam, but I’d rather treat those I love to this special treat. It is great on toast with a little butter or my husband’s fav is to smear it on his toast that has peanut butter on it. I like to use it in my home made salad dressings.
It starts with a call to Wolfe Ranch in the beginning of June. I make an appointment to come by and get the apricots when they are first picked. They have my cases ready when I get there.
When I get home, I separate the apricots on sheet pans lined with paper towels and wait until they are good and ripe before starting my preserves.
I always use the less sugar Sure Jell fruit pectin (pink package) because it is not as sweet and somewhat healthier. I set out all the ingredients, have the jam jars and lids cleaned and sitting in a hot water bath, have the wax melted in a sauce pan on the stove, have the food processor on the counter next to my measuring cups, lemon juice freshly squeezed, and butter and sugar out ready to go.
Next, I wash the apricots and cut them in half. I pulse them in the food processor and also cut some of them up with a small knife. DO NOT puree. Then I follow the cooked jam recipe exactly from the Sure Jell package.
- I measure exactly 6 cups of apricots into an 8 quart deep sauce pan and stir in 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp unsalted butter.
- Measure 4½ C sugar into a separate bowl.
- Mix ¼ C of sugar from measured amount into a small bowl with 1 box of Sure Jell.
- Stir pectin-sugar mixture into fruit
- Bring mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat stirring constantly.
- Stir in remaining sugar quickly and return to a full rolling boil for exactly 1 1/2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and ladle into prepared jars. Fill to within 1/8 inch of the top of the jar. Ladle in paraffin wax.
- Cover with lids and screw bands on tightly. When cool, wipe off any excess jam on the outside with a warm wash cloth. Enjoy!
Have you ever made jam? Leave a comment for me below and tell me about your tradition. Maybe you like to make pickles or can vegetables. I’d love to try pickling. What are you curious to make? I’m always inspired by the people who live in the middle of nowhere and have to use these methods to keep their food preserved.
Are you getting away this summer or will you be hanging out at home like me? Either way, keep enjoying what you do. Try to give back when you can. And love the ones you’re with. We need more peace and love in the world. Listen to The Beatles “Let It Be.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ih-8K1a_SsA The Beatles “Let it Be”My all time favorite song because my mom played the clarinet to this song at a Catholic Marriage Retreat when I was a little girl.
Feel free to check out a previous blog here: https://letsmakemudpies.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/a-foodies-dream-edible-flowers-and-delicious-cocktails/
Imagine how surprised I was to stumble upon this quaint neighborhood called Elmwood when dropping off my family room rug to get cleaned. My mother has been having her rugs professionally cleaned at Tulanian Rugs for over 50 years. I was somewhat of a skeptic, never having my rugs cleaned outside of my home before. I always hired someone to come in and clean in the past, but I trusted my mom since she had a good experience there. First I called and spoke to a very pleasant woman who answered lots of questions that I had. She knew a lot about how to care and clean a rug that has been around pets, etc… I felt so comfortable bringing my rug to her that I brought two of them in!
After paying for a 3 hour parking spot and dropping off my rugs, I decided to look around. The neighborhood reminded me of Multnomah Village in Portland Oregon that I visited last November. I wrote a blog about that experience and you can read about it here: https://letsmakemudpies.wordpress.com/category/toffee/
I discovered restaurants like The Elmwood Cafe . There was a line going outside the door. Must be goooood. I decided to grab a menu and see what else I could find. I didn’t get far before I found a restaurant called Summer Kitchen. This place looked extra yummy too. I hope no one saw me drooling over the pile of fried chicken sitting right behind the counter. They also had several salad offerings, made to order sandwiches, pizza and nightly dinner specials like chicken from the oven, spicy braised pork, and Arctic char for @ $20.00. What a deal. Not ready to decide what to eat I kept on.
Next I stopped into Mrs. Dalloway’s Book Store. I enjoyed their literary selection, but I couldn’t get enough of their garden art and cooking selection gifts. I found really cool wrapping paper (I’m a sucker for colorful anything) and adored their displays of Mother’s Day gifts and Grad Cards. So fun.
I was happy to find Kerry Moriarty’s Jewelry shop 14 Karats. Just that week I lost a back to an earring and needed to replace it. I also lost a stone in a special bracelet that my husband bought me in Thailand. I happened to have them both in my purse and was able to get Kerry to help me out for a reasonable price. When I went to pick up the bracelet, he and his wife gave me their special Hot Sauce that they playfully call”Jo Boo’s” make from scratch. They have been making it for years and even brought it to “Burning Man.” It has several different chili’s in it including the famous ghost chili. Can’t wait to try it. His wife also worked as a caterer for years and generously gave me a piece of her famous dark chocolate almond crunch. Sooo good.
Just around the corner I found Nabolom Bakery & Pizzeria . I was told to try their pizza by the guy in the Sweet Dreams Candy Shop. Yes I love candy too. I’m a sucker for a piece of a good quality dark chocolate and almond bark.
To my disappointment, the bakery only serves the pizza from 11-2PM and then from 4-7PM and it was already 2:45PM! I opted instead for a chunk of focaccia bread with caramelized onions. I gobbled it ALL up on the drive home in the car. It was warm, and chewy and salty and perfectly baked. I was a happy girl. The pics below were taken the following week when I went back for the pizza.
Don’t forget to check out Casa De Chocolates in case you want to satisfy your sweet tooth with a nice cup of hot cocoa with a hint of chili in it. This tasty treat was very chocolaty and the perfect pick me up after a long afternoon of shopping. In addition to their hand made boxed chocolates, this company specializes in making Latin American chocolate bars and desserts like flan, tres leches cake and Mexican wedding cookies.
Lastly, but not least I happened upon a small women’s clothing shop called Rue Atelier I met the owner Barbara who was adorable and she told me a little more about the history of the area. The Elmwood neighborhood was hit hard when the popular Lululemon moved out of the corner property recently. I felt so bad for her that I had to buy a really cute blue jean jacket that i found on her sale rack for only $35.00- just my size. Barbara even posed for a pic with her dog for me!
I couldn’t help myself, but walk into The Ashby Marketplace. In this store you could find local produce, plenty of artisan gluten free varieties of rice flours, coconut flour, ground corn meal, wheat germ, baking powders, baking sodas and many more extra ordinary options for the baker enthusiast.
I could go on and on about the fun businesses that this end of Berkeley has to offer. But, why don’t you go see it for yourself? You will be glad you did. Go hungry. Be ready to shop for cute chic clothing and go there for great new books or gifts. Goodness knows I will be heading back to the Elmwood neighborhood in Berkeley again real soon. My husband will love it too and he will be happy to know we have clean rugs again.
Just in case you would like a new chicken/pheasant recipe, here it is. My husband’s coworker was looking for a good recipe and I promised her I would add it to my next blog and share it with her. I had this delicious meal at a neighbors home one night after her husband came home from pheasant hunting. There is nothing low calorie about this dish, but you will be glad you tried it.
Pheasant (Or Chicken) en Creme
1 Pheasant or Organic Chicken cleaned and quartered
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T Unsalted Butter
⅓ C Diced Yellow Onion
2 Cloves minced Garlic
½ C Fresh sauteed sliced Cremini Mushrooms
1 Can of Cream Of Chicken Soup
½ C Apple Cider
1 T plus 1 teas Worcestershire Sauce
¾ t Kosher Salt
½ t Black Pepper
2 t Smoked Paprika divided
Preheat oven t 350 degrees
Directions: Saute Onions, Mushrooms in Olive Oil and Butter until Onions are translucent about 7 minutes adding the minced garlic at the end so garlic doesn’t burn.
Place Pheasant in ungreased 9X9X2 baking dish. Mix Soup, Cider, Worcestershire Sauce, Salt, Pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add cooked onions, mushrooms and garlic and stir. Pour mixture over pheasant and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake uncovered in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 ½ -2 hrs or until fork tender basting occasionally. After 1 hr, sprinkle the pheasant with more paprika.
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Smiles and happy cooking,
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