Friday, November 28, 2008

My Thanksgiving...

What a day! I got to visit with my extended family, eat fabulous food and give thanks for the many blessings in my life. Enjoy my photos and take a walk with me through my Thanksgiving Day...

My Grandfather, also known as Papa, and his sidekick Ulrich Von Dassel.

My Aunt Tricia and Cousin Robert.

Aunt Carolyn

My mom, Kathy.

The Dinner Table to seat 27.

My Uncle Don and Aunt Susan with Dolan and Cody.

My Aunt Tricia with my cousins John and Robert.

My Nanny.

My Nanny's favorite appetizer, Caviar and Cream Cheese with pearl onions.

One of many dips my mother made to fill us up before dinner.

A small portion of the original Crompton Family.

My cousins with my Grandparents. My family.

My cousin Charles and his... girlfriend Alesia...stay tuned on that...

The Renz Family - Allan, Allison, Aunt Carolyn, Uncle Greg, Shannon.

Cousins: Robert and Dana Crompton.

All of the cousins.

As you probably guessed, we did ALL the cooking. ;)

The Turkey with a a lemon meringue and pecan pie.

Making gravy.

Plate of Thanksgiving goodness.

Dishing it up!



Allan gave it a thumbs up!

My Thanksgiving plate.

Cheese cake!

Carolyn's Sweet Potato Creation.

Brendon really cleaned his plate. Must have been good!


Uncle Robbie

Shannon loves Pumpkin pie filling.

What is this?... read below...

And the biggest news of the day... Charles and Alesia are getting married!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Vault - Hollister, Ca

The Vault is back everyone!!! I am so excited about this! Tuesday through Saturday they are serving dinner from 4pm - 9pm. It always has been the perfect place to go after work to grab a drink and catch up with friends. I was fortunate to see for myself what the Vault had to offer the first night back in action...

I had a Signature Vault drink, the Root Beer Float, and an order of the Potato Skins. Both were fantastic. The drink hit the spot and the Skins were to die for. The salsa was excellent! I consume a lot of salsa and it is fair to say that it is the best Hollister, trust me. They are not your standard, ready made version Skins, they are actually made in house and the perfect balance of melty cheddar and crispy bacon. The menu is modified from their old menu but they kept the favorites...

Appetizers: Onion Rings, Calamari, Prawn Cocktail, Pot stickers, Buffalo Wings, Mozzarella Sticks, Caprese (Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic - sounds awesome) and of course, Potato Skins.

Salads: Oriental Chicken Salad (my favorite), Cobb Salad, Chicken Caesar, Waldorf

Entrees: Chicken Alfredo, Pesto Tortellini, Spaghetti, Fish and Chips, Lo Carb Chicken and Burger, Cheese Burger, Steak Sandwich, Chicken Sandwich

Specialties: New York Steak, Ribeye, Chicken Marsala, Calamari Filet, Tequila Lime Salmon (my favorite).

I am so happy to see The Vault back in action. This Saturday, for the Lights on Celebration, they are doing a special Pasta dinner with salad and bread to feed the masses watching the parade. Go on down and revisit The Vault, I know I am going to! Please check back for full review...


Thanksgiving is almost here!

Gobble gobble! Can hardly wait! I will be doing a post on my Thanksgiving dinner, so stay tuned... You won't want to miss this feast!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Nina and Jose's Pozole Parlor

Saturday was a beautifully cool Fall day and I was invited to Nina and Jose’s Pozole Parlor to enjoy a fantastic pozole lunch with her family. As I walked into the kitchen I saw a huge pot … huge … bubbling away on the stove and the pozole being scooped out with a big ladle by Jose. A large, thick, chop-sized piece of tender pork and hominy, almost the size of a small marble, was generously filled into festive bowls. The broth was flavorful and rich but not overwhelming. There were the usual accompaniments such as shredded cabbage, chopped onions, slices of radish and lemon. Jose instructed us to add all to bowl, squirt with lemon and a shot of hot sauce. I would like to think of this as Mexican style Chicken Soup, it has no chicken or noodles in it of course but I believe it has the same healing powers. Nina and Jose, thank you for such a wonderful meal.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cutting Horse Restaurant - San Juan Bautista, Ca

If you want to check out one of the most beautiful buildings in San Juan Bautista wander downtown and visit the Cutting Horse Restaurant. With a full bar, live music and rustic d├ęcor this is like the old west, all over again. Monday is their Rib Special Night and Wednesday’s they have a unique Wine Special. It excited my brother and sister enough to come check it out for ourselves.

The salad has been quoted by my brother as one of his all time favorites salads. He enjoyed a beautiful plate of greens tossed with Continental dressing – Blue Cheese and Italian dressing. Jennifer and I both ordered baby pots of French Onion Soup. It tasted as though the onions were cooked longer, and at a lower temperature allowing them to reach optimum flavor.

I ordered the Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Really, really excellent vegetarian dish. I was surprised how meaty they actually were, making it a great alternative for those who are not craving a steak. The smooth and creamy cheese was rich and laced with garlic, creating a decadent dish enough for one to enjoy.

James ordered the Rib Special. I was lucky enough for James to throw me a bone and got to try what the Cutting Horse had to offer. The ribs were delicious, a very familiar version of what my mom makes. They just melted off the bone. The outsides just slightly crusty, the insides meltingly tender. Covered in a tangy BBQ sauce that was not overwhelming to the meat, just enough to wet the palate. The sides were perfectly cooked cowboy beans and nicely buttered corn on the cob.

The next dish ordered was Jennifer's Chicken Marsala, with chosen sides of cole slaw and a baked potato. Which I found funny, unique choice of sides JD! The Marsala wine sauce had its own distinctive, complex aroma that tantalised the taste buds and sent the olfactory senses into a spin. I am serious, it did! The chicken breast was quite large and pounded to a uniform thickness, lightly coated and rested with enough perfectly cooked mushrooms to finish off the chicken with a bite of each. The baked potato was fine, and the cole slaw had a tartness to it that kept you coming back for more.

Next up was the dessert portion of this little rodeo. We were brought Creme Brulee and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with complimentary after dinner cappachinos. The Creme Brulee was thick and cool, how it should be. The Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding was something I had never had before, I enjoyed the chocolate syrup it rested in, and was cooked perfectly throughout. The after dinner cappachinos are a long running tradition at the Cutting Horse and are a perfect ending to a fabulous meal.

The service our visit was smooth and unadorned. Classic, no-frills attention never stopped pouring. Condiments found their way to my table without special requests. Orders were delivered hot and fast. I liked that the wait staff did not have a bag of tricks to nudge their tip percentages up, like complimenting my clothes or stooping to make eye contact. They were friendly without being patronizing, always more focused on doing their jobs than being my buddy. This is the telltale mark of service industry lifers.

All in all, I recommend to everyone a visit to this local landmark. There is an old time feel to this mission style restaurant that other places cannot even come close to. The walls are adorned with brands of local ranches and other western memorabilia, as salute to San Benito County. They aim to please and put out a nice spread. Not too much more a person can ask for. I give it two thumbs up.