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September 1-8, 2008
|Monday, September 8, 2008
Less Panch at the Villa
The current economic climate may be having a healthy side effect. The last few burritos that I have gotten at various San Francisco taquerias have suffered from deflation due to inflation. To be clear, I like my big food rolls just fine, but these new downsized burritos are still satisfying and allow you to bypass the siesta rather than the Corazon.
Pancho Villa's Al Pastor especial burrito ($6.95):
... comes with beans, guac, cheese and salsa to fill out the bbq'ed porky goodness of this tasty tortilla treat, but it's a fair bet that when (if?) there is a favorable financial forecast we will roll with this same reduced ration of 'rito (which isn't such a bad thing.)
Pancho Villa is clearly in touch with the economic climate as well as their restaurant climate which extends to enhancing their ducting:
... as well as their deducting.
|Sunday, September 7, 2008
The Marin Master Gardeners lived up to their name - those nightshade heads matched us with four heirloom tomato plants based on our particular microclimate and we are now treading tomato water with our bulbous bounty.
After witnessing the start of the cage match this year, we will be first in line for their once a year sale next April to get more of this deadly-delicious salsa staple.
|Saturday, September 6, 2008
Grilled fish for a large group can be tricky business but K & G had a plan that not only sated many picky palates with delicious herb influenced, pink meat, it also made for a pretty presentation.
They soaked cedar planks in water before laying the salmon filets (skin side down) over these wood flavor infusers and showering them some herbs from their gorgeous garden.
The planks doubled as serving boards which they slid on top of a platter with serving utensils. They were easily and neatly swapped out with a fish fresh off the grill once the hungry mob had devoured each of the slabs of brain food. Since there were several kids, it was also a way of tailoring the portion size without the waste or mess of halving a salmon steak and leaving a raggedy orphan portion.
Corn on the cobb, salad, potatoes and Acme bread rounded out B's fabulous birthday celebration but one of my favorite touches was the inconspicuous inclusion of a luxury butter (which I greedily took more than my share of to slather over the hot from the oven bread.) K&G know how to put on a party.
Southern Marinites may not get that Trader Joe's that was moving into the old Tower Records/Crown Books corner of the Cost Plus/BevMo mall on Redwood Hwy in Larkspur. The issue is traffic - the city wants Trader Joe's to pay for a new signal if they want to get the Greenbrae-light to draw traffic to their fair city.
|Friday, September 5, 2008
It has been a while since our last visit to Royal Thai.
Back in the day, you could sit by the window and watch all the court ordered spousal abusers funnel in and out of the anger management seminars across the walkway. I never saw any perps walk into the restaurant, (maybe because they heard the food couldn't be beat?) Sadly, there was some abuse taking place behind these closed doors.
The larb ($6.95):
... used to deliver a peppery, close-fisted punch, but there was no heat to this ground pork, red onion, Thai basil and cilantro mixture. It used to come with cups of iceberg lettuce which have now been replaced by shards.
The Pad Thai ($8.95):
... was padded without the Thai. Bland and texturally appropriate for those without teeth, this noodle and tofu dish was pink with embarrassment.
The whole fried tilapia:
...looked promising, but the sauce was sweet enough to qualify this dish as our dessert.
We are worried that they have lost any aggressive spicing tendencies – maybe there is counseling available across the courtyard…
|Thursday, September 4, 2008
We made a trailia towards our table's hemisphere at the chic little Aussie eatery, South Food + Wine.
We were on a seafood (and eat it) diet which we kicked off with Kingfish sashimi ($16.00):
This combo of goat cheese and seafood might sound strange, but they paired swimmingly with encouragement from ginger, microgreens and shallots.
The perfectly cooked, seared scallops ($22.00):
... had their sweetness boosted with grilled figs, apple-fennel chutney and enriched with a confetti of bacon.
... was jenga-ed over sweet, ripe tomatoes and chubby white beans. The fish was fragrant with curry and had a nicely crisped skin, which we showered with grilled lime.
The Licorice Parfait ($10.00):
... wasn’t' a layered dessert, but more of a semi-fredo with a moat of lime providing security of this rind-capped tower of intense licorice flavor.
The service was friendly and efficient and we enjoyed our ocean based eats, but next time we plan to check out some of the meatier offerings.
This down-under food was up and over our expectations.
South Food + Wine
|Wednesday, September 3, 2008
'Buck's new trend
Starbucks admits that they have always had difficulty with their food, and in response to customers' requests for healthier options, today's launch of a new "wholesome" breakfast program takes a passive aggressive approach. Their new "guilt-free" breakfast options promise "delicious" and "perfect" ways to start your day but are about as satisfying as an Ipecac latte.
This is the type of chow that gives nutrition a bad name by creating formulations to cater to pie charts rather than pie holes. It makes people believe that they have to make an exclusive choice between health and hedonism.
Their "perfect" oatmeal ($2.45):
... was a tub of instant, bland, sludge that is served with your choice of dried fruit, brown sugar or nuts. Since they didn't have a potassium cyanide pill topping, I opted for the nuts, which offered a textural variation, but did not mask the fact that in their over-zealous approach to virtuous eating, they didn't add anywhere near an adequate amount of salt to delineate the border between the oatmeal and cardboard tub (which was also high in fibre.)
Their new apple bran muffin ($1.75):
... did not fall far from the Starbucks muffin stump.
They tried to produce a lighter textured version of a bran muffin with fruit chunks, but it tasted slightly stale with the texture of a cello-wrapped vending machine dough lump.
The good news is that if you are feeling bummed about skipping the exotic vacation this year, you can still experience the airline food without the travel expense.
I don't think I'll be going back for more "perfect" food, but I will come back when they get their Clover machines to see if there is any improvement with the coffee.
|Tuesday, September 2, 2008
There was only one other table occupied when we rolled into Limon Rotisserie for lunch at 12:30 today.
The half polla a la Brasa ($9.50):
... was a delicious, crispy skinned, nicely spiced, chunk of chicken with moist and flavorful flesh. The white meat didn't have a hint of dryness on this marinated, rotisseried, ration. A choice of two sides accessorize this chick. We selected the vegetables in pepper sauce:
... (that were cooked to a crisp tender) and tacu-tacu:
... which are delectable, deep fried bean and rice balls with crunchy outsides and starchy bellies.
The Peruvian stir-fried sirloin strips ($9.25):
... with onions and tomatoes topped off a mound of fries. The meat was perfectly cooked and flavorfully spiced.
There was a spicy similarity among the preparations, which did not cause flavor fatigue since all the dishes were so well executed.
We were impressed that they were able to offer this kind of chow at such resession-friendly prices, but we couldn't understand why the dining room was practically abandoned. We will do our part rotate around again in the near future.
Mark your calendar
We had a great time at last year's La Cocina open house. This community kitchen is an important launching hot pad for low-income entrepreneurs.
I'm guessing that they chose to do a little crowd control by charging a small entry fee this year, but with all those tasty samples in store, it's still bound to be a popular event.
A taste of La Cocina
Monday, September 1, 2008
A platter of these skewers of heirloom tomatoes from our garden, mozzarella and basil with a balsamic reduction quickly disappeared as we sipped and chatted with our pals. We will definitely add this simple and tasty appetizer to our recipe rotation.
And while we are on the subject of garden grown chow, Mayor Gavin Newsom made an announcement today that the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden will not be moved this month (as originally planned.) The Civic Center Plaza plants will remain in place until November. So if you haven’t had a chance to spin through this salady station, you have plenty of time to take this root to City Hall.
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