Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving Table - very pretty!

One of my most favorite appetizers of all time - Stuffed Jalapenos!

Outside app's - Cavier and Cream Cheese, Apricot Jelly and Cream Cheese, Stuffed Jalapenos, Olive Variety and crackers.

Cousin Rebecca and Penny

Papa and James

New cousin Aliesa, Cousin Shannon and Melissa Good Taste!

Newly engaged Cousin John playing with the herd of dogs.

Cousin Allison and Aunt Carolyn worked hard all day preparing our lovely meal. Thank you!

Aunt Tricia too. Worked and worked. Thanks again for making that terrific gravy!

Beautiful sisters! Papa even snuck in the photo. Tricia, Kathy and Carolyn.

First course. Cucumber boat with shrimp - topped with a refreshing Thousand dressing.

Everyone getting prepared for the main event!

Ready, set, go!

Cousin Robert and Girlfriend Stephanie

Cousin Charles and Alesia

My plate. Heavy on the stuffing because there were two types! Onion with cheese sauce, dark turkey, white turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy over everything and sweet potatoes. HEAVEN!

My Uncle Charles and Aunt Kathy.

Had to get a shot of the propane powered fire!

Ulrich Von Dassel Crompton. He is pretty special.

And their off! What a day! Thank you to everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Acorn Squash: Another treat!

So, I am obsessed with stuffing vegetables. But,I think the main reason I like to do it is because of the portion control. I am stuffing the veggies with not so healthy items but because the cavities are small enough to get away with.

Cutting the Acorn Squash is quite a task! Once done I put in a pat of butter, salt and pepper in each half. I put it on a plate, saran wrapped and nuked both halves for 12 minutes at the same time.

In the mean time I had the oven at 375 and got together my "stuffing ingredients". Leftover Chicken Curry was in the fridge, as well as the tub of mashed potatoes from the night before - perfect! Mashed potatoes go down, curry gravy on top, with a sprinkle of the Parmesan cheese on top. Sounds odd going into a squash doesn't it?

I kept the squash in the oven long enough for things to get crispy, last minute I switched it to broil to get the top nice and crusty. Just watch it, it only takes a few minutes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving in a Bell Pepper

I know it is not Thanksgiving yet but I was craving some comfort food goodness. I did it the Rachel Ray way - fast and easy! I know that may make most of you cringe, heck, it makes me cringe.

Anyhow, I had 3 beautiful bell peppers - red, orange and yellow. I cut the tops off them and dunked them into a pot of boiling water. I let them parboil for about 10 minutes, until they were soft. In the mean time, I made Stove Top stuffing - so easy, yet so delicious. When the stuffing was done I mixed in shredded parmesan cheese - just because I thought it would be fun. And I must admit, I cheated again instant mashed potatoes in a tub! Throw it in the microwave for 5 and mix. Easy! I stuffed the bottom of the bell with the mashed, then the stuffing and topped with more cheese.

I stuck the three babies in the oven under 375 for roughly 25 minutes. I wanted the bells browned and soft. They were terrific! My mom said the only thing missing was gravy! Homemade gravy is another adventure on a another day!

Bahama Billy's - Carmel, CA

After hiking at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park I had made plans for Elena, Amanda and I to try out a new restaurant. Bahama Billy's just so happened to be on the way home! The menu caught my eye with all the seafood choices. I have been on a kick lately, if you hadn't already noticed. In the Barnyard shopping area is where you will find great shopping, along with Bahama Billy's.

We got there at an awkward time, they were finishing up lunch service but it was not quite dinner. So we were stuck in the bar area, I did not mind but the dinner area is where the beautiful tables were - with a fantastic fireplace. We had a great view of the bar, I guess that is pretty cool. Given lunch menus, we were ravenous!

First, we had to celebrate! Bahama Mama's for the twins and a Mojito for me. The Bahama Mama's were stout little suckers if I understood correctly. Cruzan Coconut Rum, Banana Liqueur, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice and a float of Dark Rum! Yowza! That is a drink!

Like I mentioned before, we were pretty hungry so we decided to split some appetizers to kick off this little shindig. Calamari Ring caught Elena's and my eye so we went ahead and ordered those. They were a tad chewy. The Rosemary, Parmesan and Lime Tarter was a good addition to the plate. Then we saw the Sweet Potato Fries, and just HAD to try those too! They were fried to perfection and had a duo of dipping sauces to go with - Habanero Aioli and Chutney. I liked them both! Then they brought us complimentary garlic bread - whoa nelly, getting full...

Don't forget about our entrees! Lol. Totally stuffed already we made our way the best we could. I ordered the Macadamia Halibut with Whipped Potatoes, Broccolini and Mango Butter. The Fish was cooked perfectly, the Mango Butter was too sweet! I stayed away from it as much as I could. Elena ordered the Seared Sesame Tuna, it came with sticky rice Broccolini and Wasabi Aioli. She seemed to like it but nothing out of this world. And last was Amanda's Coconut Shrimp Rice Bowl. She was bummed about the dish - it did not even taste like shrimp!

After all this food we were ready to pay the bill and get the heck out of there! Too much everything! Good thing we hiked a portion of it off! The bill was a smidge pricey but what did we expect with all the food and being in Carmel. I guess Monday through Friday they have a 50% your bill during Happy Hour. That sounds like a better deal than what we had! I would given 1.25 thumbs up because the price did not match the quality of food. I think things were tasting better than what they were because we were so hungry! Another restaurant, another day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mimi's Cafe - Gilroy, Ca

After I took my shopping trip to Costco yesterday... Amanda, Elena and I declared ourselves famished. I was driving, so I forced them to decide what we were going to eat. Mimi's Cafe was selected and I wasn't disappointed.

I did have two slices of carrot bread and a cup of Cream of Broccoli that are not pictured. I am a bad blogger that should be burned at the stake. But, what is pictured above was my main event. The Pistachio Crusted Mahi Mahi with Mashed Potatoes - can you say YUMMO!. The sauce was a butter caper sauce and it really did a kung pao to the meal! And that my friend, is a good thing! I was extremely stuffed because I ate the whole thing. Almost licked the plate clean even!
Mimi's is a great option if you have a group of people. The menu is huge and there will always be a good selection for even the pickiest eaters. Price wise it is on point as well. The decor is charming and our server was a speedy one. 1.5 thumbs up for being a good chain - those are few and far between!

Starting out rough...

On Fridays I like to get dressed up for work. I like to wear clothes that I have in the back of my closet because it makes the day a lot more fun...

I know I am not dressed to the hilt, but our office is semi casual. I always like to rock my suede boots and black leggings as much a possible, they are so comfortable. Anyhow, as I was heading out of the door this morning I went to grab my favorite Costco buy... Blount Lobster Bisque out of the fridge.

Well, I guess I was in a hurry, or else I am just a giant klutz... but I dropped the container of liquid gold (lobster bisque) on the floor. Splattering all over my favorite suede boots. Gosh darn it. Well guys, Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Starbucks - Give me some caffeine!

The Tazo Black Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade will get you moving! Yowee! Very refreshing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet Molly Malone!

My Mom's new Irish Water Spaniel Puppy - Just 8 weeks old!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pedro’s Restaurant & Cantina - Los Gatos, Ca

On Sunday afternoon I had to take my mom to the airport and we couldn't go to the Bay Area without visiting Pedro's Restaurant & Cantina. This restaurant has been a family favorite for almost as long as Tao Tao's located in Sunnyvale, not quite but a long time... What does that mean to you? Probably not much, as you most likely have no idea what I am talking about. The long and the short is, Pedro's is good. If it wasn't, we wouldn't keep coming back. Located at 316 North Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Los Gatos you will find a great basket of chips and salsa and a killer Margaritas.

The inside of the restaurant is so cute, I love anything talavera! Abobe looking walls and tin roofs make this place look authentic and totally fun. The chips and salsa have always been good and today was no exception. Heavy on the cilantro and blended perfectly, no random chunks of anything.

Their menu is huge and everything sounded so good! They did have a Sunday Brunch Buffet that was running that caught my eye but, I did not need to go there. One entree would be plenty I am sure! I was torn between the Mole Enchiladas and the Carnitas Enchiladas. Ever since my wonderful meal in Paso with the Carnitas Tacos, I have been on a kick! So I went with the Carnitas Enchiladas and was not disappointed, the meat was lean and super flavorful! It had a tomato cream sauce on top that I was not too fond of though, I didn't hate it - it just reminded me of a thick version of tomato soup! The next entree was Robert's Trio of Enchiladas - Cheese, Chicken and Beef. Wowza! That is a lot of enchilada! Colored in the flag of Italy, or even Mexico! Ha ha.

All in all, the meal was a success! Perfect little location, excellent chips and salsa, beautiful setting and a lot of Mexican food goodness! The pricing is fair, your getting good ingredients here. No cutting corners, which is probably the main reason we have returned for so many years. Melissa Good Taste gives it 1.75 thumbs up, off a quarter because it is far from home and they put peas in their rice! Yikes! Lol. Leave your rice alone, it didn't do anything to you!! ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chick beer.

Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat Beer is pretty good stuff.
Definitely caters to the female consumer.
Check it out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pichanha Churrascarria - Burbank, CA

So what comes to mind when you think of a Brazilian Steakhouse? Think meat lots of it! On spickets, delivered to your table until you can't stop! Pichanha Churrascarria, located in downtown Burbank, was my first all you could eat meat extravaganza!

We enter the place and the hostess, and owner, seats us. He explains the concept of the restaurant. You start off at the "buffet" of non meat items... and off I go to the buffet to fill up on salads and side dishes. The salad bar was pretty basic. They have the typical romaine mix, iceberg mix and side salads like pasta salad, tuna salad, cucumber and tomato salad and shockingly tabouleh which I actually ate. They also a hot food side with some Brazilian and American side dishes like black beans, mashed potatoes, rice, sauteed zucchini and other stuff including curry chicken soup.

I ordered the traditional Brazilian capirinha drink, it's made with cachaca which is basically sugarcane rum. It's good and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite "spirits"...heehee! A bit on the strong side so be careful!

The gauchos start coming around with the meat. You have to put up this wooden block to green if you want meat or not, red to stop the meat flow. The first meat to the table was the Pichannha Special Beef (I assume it was a filet mignon, they gave very small pieces) it was very tender, melted in my mouth - my favorite of the night! I also had lamb, spicy chicken, Parmesan chicken and sausage. They serve 15 types of meat but I was too full to try anything else...

Holy meat lover special! This is a low carb lovers dream! The cost for the dinner is $29.95, not including my drinks or tip. If your a big eater I think it is quite a deal! Would I return? Maybe... I felt like I had to eat and eat to make it seem worth it. I am more into small plates, and lots of them!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Suzanne's Cuisine - Ojai, Ca

Like you have heard before, I am a Yelper. I like to research towns before I visit them. Through I can find out where the best places to eat or stay are based on actual experiences. I have yelped Ojai many times. Everytime I had, Suzanne's Cuisine had popped up as one of the top places to dine in Ojai. I just couldn't wait for the opportunity to visit it! And, tonight was the night!

On with the food! I ordered Mushroom Soup as a starter. It wasn't heavy on the cream so it had an earthy taste. There was just something very comforting about it. I wouldn't had minded more cream because as we all know cream and butter make everything lovely. But, all the same the soup was a winner.

Scott ordered the Butternut Squash Puree. He absolutely loved it. I mean, almost licked the bowl clean, he loved it that much! I didn't even get a chance to try it. Bummer!

Jan ordered the Duck Liver Pate. I was very excited she did. I had my eye on it but didn't order it. She was kind enough to give me a sampler. It was very tasty, I just try to not think of what it actually is... you know? I feel guilty enjoying it.

Order up! I saw Sand dabs on the menu so I just had to have them! They were a special for the evening and they really were great. Pan fried to perfection and the lemon butter sauce was a perfect compliment to the dish as a whole. There was rice underneath the fish that went untouched. I was too full! But the sauteed spinach made it into my tummy. It makes me strong!

Scott ordered a Seafood Sampler Masterpiece. Salmon, scallops and some other kind of fish, I forgot what the last on was! What a bad blogger. I do know that it was served in a ginger-curry sauce that I found to be quite interesting. He loved his dish and said, "These are the best scallops I have ever eaten." You can quote him on that.

Steve ordered the Chicken Scaloppini Piccata with lemon, capers and olives. He didn't say much about it but I was sitting right next to him and he appeared to have liked it. He ate the whole thing so I take it, that it must have been good.

Jan's order was the Cilantro Pesto Salmon. It looked very delicious and healthy too! I should have gone down that route. She was such a healthy eater! No bread, no butter. Yes, she was a very good girl.

All in all, Suzanne's was a wonderful experience. I would like to go back during the day with beautiful weather. They have an open air patio that overlooks their herb garden. The evening we were there it was late and quite chilly so they had the sides down. The specials menu was amazing. They had Butterfish with a ponzu-miso glaze that I was tempted to order. Hopefully it will be there when I go back. Ojai is just a wonderful place with so many fantastic places to eat. Two thumbs up for such a gem. Great service, delicious food and a beautiful environment!