I spent the last week visiting my family in California and had a great time. I couldn't believe that I hadn't seen them since last Thanksgiving. Time sure does fly! So I spent the week sailing with my dad, shopping with my mom, and eating... a lot. There were a few restaurants that were on top of my list that I had to eat at. We went to my favorite Italian restaurant Grappolo, in Santa Ynez, on Wednesday night. My dad is their plumber and knows the owner so he asked him if he would make their amazing fish raviolis for me, and of course I had to have the flourless chocolate cake which is the most amazing dessert. The recipes for both dishes can be found in their cookbook.
The next morning I met my friend for breakfast burritos at La Unica, in Santa Maria. This taqueria makes the best breakfast burritos I have ever had. Bacon, eggs, potatoes, and refried beans. Delicious! I spent the rest of the day in San Luis Obispo shopping with my mom and enjoying the amazing California weather.
The next day there was more Mexican food on the agenda: Lunch with my grandma at Casa Manaña. Santa Maria is full of Mexican restaurants. They are everywhere, and most of them are really good. But there is something about the cheese enchiladas and refried beans at Casa Manaña that I love. I haven't found a place in Nashville that comes anywhere near these. I could have eaten another order, but good thing I didn't because my mom had gathered up all of the family friends for a dinner at The Swiss. This restaurant has been newly renovated and the menu has changed a lot since I moved away. Now it is one of my mom's favorite restaurants. I had a tri-tip sandwich with pinquito beans because they are the specialty of Santa Maria, a dish that I took for granted until I moved away and realized I couldn't get it anywhere else. It was a great time with family and friends.
Saturday was dedicated to sailing with my dad and brother in Santa Barbara. My dad bought an old beat up sailboat and has been restoring it for the past couple of years. It looks great! We spent the whole afternoon on the ocean. We had gone sailing when I flew in on Tuesday and even saw some whales! But none on Saturday. It was the perfect day to go sailing. When we got back to the harbor my dad started cooking dinner. We bought marinated steak from the Mexican market up the street, along with some mini corn tortillas, cilantro, and onions and made some of the best tacos I've ever had. It was the perfect day.
Sunday was my last full day in California so we went to the Hitching Post in Buellton for dinner. This is my favorite steakhouse. We had the grilled artichokes for an appetizer and I had the filet mignon. Basically the same thing I always get, because its the best! I had a great time back home visiting with my friends and family. Food, friends, and family. Throw in some great weather and California sunshine and you have the makings for a perfect vacation.
Monday, September 17, 2012
The restaurant scene in Nashville seems to get larger every month. New restaurants are have been opening all over the city, especially in East Nashville. For our anniversary last week we decided to head over to the newly opened Lockeland Table to check it out. A week before I was trying to decide on which restaurant we should go to for this occasion and when I came across the menu for Lockeland Table I knew that my search was over. Everything on this menu sounded amazing! So Will called them up to make the reservations. And good thing we did. Lockeland table has a small dining area, and it was packed when we got there. Nearly half of the restaurant is the bar area and there is even a pizza bar in the back of the dining area. Mason jars line the open shelves that separate the dining room and the bar. They are filled with pickles and jams which speak to the local, homemade feel of the restaurant. Will always makes fun of me for this, but I really love when restaurants use dish cloths as napkins. So homey and rustic.
We decided to skip appetizers this time so we could save room for dessert. Next time I am definitely getting appetizers. I was trying to decide between the bone-in pork loin or the trout. I went with the pork loin. This may sounds strange to some people, but I know that many will agree. Sides and condiments are usually my favorite part of the meal. So when a dish comes with mac and cheese, braised greens, onion jam, and pickled mustard seeds, I know exactly what I am going to get. One word: fantastic. The pork was flavorful and made even more so by the sweet and tangy condiments. The mac and cheese was smokey and creamy and went amazingly with the greens, which were the perfect tenderness and great balance of flavors. Will had the steak frites with a perfectly cooked steak. I have to mention something about the fries. While they were not the level of crispiness that I usually prefer, they were some of the best tasting fried I have ever had. I have no idea what they were fried in, but wow. We ended the meal with deliciously fried ricotta doughnuts filled with jam. Yum!
So anyone looking for a great new restaurant in Nashville really needs to try Lockeland Table. I know we'll be back really soon!
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Hello everyone who reads my blog. Sorry I have been an absentee poster lately. I haven't been too particularly busy or anything, things just seem to rush by in the evening and I haven't been too motivated to try too many new recipes. But I promise that this will change! I know how pathetic this sounds, but Summer is my least inspiring foodie season. I know, all that fresh beautiful produce and I can't find inspiration? What's wrong with me? Well, living in Nashville in the hot and humid summers doesn't exactly having me rushing to crank up the oven. I also love cooking really homey comfort foods from around the world, and those too aren't ideal when its 100 degrees outside.
But enough excuses. Autumn is approaching and I can already feel the urge to rush into the kitchen and bake a thousand apple pies. Ok, maybe not a thousand. But I am planning on baking a lot this season. I'll also be cooking a lot more and finding new inspirations and recipes to share with all of you. I'm off to visit my family in California next week and after that I'll be posting more. Sharing my culinary adventures and hearing about others adventures is one of my favorite things to do. I'll leave you with some photos of recent baking projects. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog! You inspire me!
Brunch: featuring Almond Puff Loaf, Herb Frittata, and Kanelbullar
Birthday Cake for 3 great friends
Mustache cookie-on-a-stick modeled by the beautiful Molly