Yes, there has been a hiatus between recent posts. But with good reason: I was honeymooning!
After our wedding, we traveled to two islands and Hawaii: Lanai and Maui. From fresh fish daily to macadamia nut pancakes, waffles and French toast, I can’t say enough good things about the food in Hawaii.
If you have the opportunity to visit Maui, do not miss a day trip to “up country.” We found a charming country road that led to burgeoning organic farms including a goat cheese farm (Surfing Goat), vodka distillery, and a huge lavender estate filled with two dozen varieties and breathtaking ocean views.
Gazebo. This casual breakfast/lunch spot has a Gilligan’s Island feel, but with homey hawaiian brunch food. It’s off the beaten path, but well worth stumbling upon; the macadamia nut pancakes if not ordered as your meal should be ordered for sharing. And don’t forget the coconut syrup served with Hawaiian breakfast. It’s truly the icing on the cake.
5315 Lower Honoapiilani Road / Napili / Maui
Leoda’s. Leoda’s is written about mainly for its pies—both sweet and savory. And while the chicken pot pie was not just a novelty after about 9,000 pounds of seafood, it was also pretty good. BUT I would not go back for the pot pie; I would go back 100 times for the ahi tuna sandwich. The soft, but toasty fresh-baked bread, fresh fish and avocado were the perfect combo for a vacation lunch. Bonus: pie for dessert.
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
820 Olowalu Village Rd Lahaina / Maui
Surfing Goat Dairy. This farm in up country not only allows to you feed the goats, but it also allows the goats’ cheese to feed you. Tour the farm, see the animals and processing facilities, then top it off with a sampling of Surfing Goat’s famous goat cheese. The dairy supplies some of the most renowned restaurants in Hawaii as well as a handful on the mainland in California and beyond.
Surfing Goat Dairy
3651 Omaopio Road / Kula / Maui
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. Walk the “farm” on your own, or take a self tour through lavender fields and intricate gardens containing more than two dozen varieties of lavender as well as hundreds of other plants—some edible, some not.
But the most pleasant part of Ali’i is sitting out on its wooden porch overlooking the gardens and the ocean, while sipping on lavender iced tea and eating a warm, buttery lavender scone.
1100 Waipoli Road / Kula / Maui
Maui Kombucha. And, since my husband is a kombucha fanatic, we found the local brew at Maui Kombucha. It’s not on the beaten path, but this hippie spot tucked into a strip mall offers a changing variety of housemade kombucha along with plenty of vegan snacks (try the Hawaiian toast).
810 Kokomo Road / Haiku
We are eagerly preparing for our wedding weekend and that means… lots of food.
It also means my mom has been busy in the kitchen and now that I have touched down on the East Coast, I am here to help!
Today’s project involves adorning dozens of seahorse sugar cookies baked by my mom with our wedding colors: green and brown.
That means dipping the cookies in dark chocolate and sprinkling with green sugar. You could do this for any wedding colors, and could even color white chocolate depending on the effect you are looking for. (My brother had a blue and yellow wedding in April and our mom did yellow (white) chocolate with blue sprinkles on those.
Once the chocolate has set, we’ll be wrapping these, tying with colored ribbons and placing them in welcome bags for guests. A great DIY cookie solution that adds a personal touch and keeps along with the wedding theme. And they taste great too!
In case you are wondering about the seahorse significance… the town where we are getting married, Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, used to have a motel with a giant seahorse in the front. The motel is long gone, but the seahorse stands and has always been symbolic of the town for us.
I am never one to turn down dessert, even when it comes, as this one did, right before dinner.
You can’t miss The Baked Bear. Its prime location in Pacific Beach, San Diego—plus its 20-something founders Rob Robbins and Shane Stanger who grew up in North County and did a lot of promo for this place prior to even opening its doors May 4—make it a family favorite, before you even consider that we are talking about TWO cookies and ice cream tucked nicely in between them.
The Baked Bear also lets you decide which cookies and which ice cream you’d like to use to assemble the sandwich of your choosing. The selection spans oatmeal raisin, chocolate, white chocolate macadamia, red velvet and more, all made in-house by the BB’s pastry chef.
Top it with a selection of ice cream flavors, and hello DIY dessert.
I don’t think these guys will have an instant of a problem selling these hand crafted delights, but the inner foodie in me says they could be a little more—dare I say it—diverse, in their flavor offerings. I can see this getting really interesting with cinnamon, or cardamom, or coconut ice cream, and more fruit and herb flecked cookies (dried cherries? Pineapple? Rosemary?).
…and then the inner (sometimes absent) health consciousness in me just wishes there was a “mini” version.
4516 Mission Blvd Ste C / Pacific Beach // San Diego
It has been a while!
While I have been busily making my way through San Diego’s growing food scene, I have also been crafting some recipes at home. While the tried and true is fun, I came across something recently that I could not help but mention: soba (buckwheat) noodle salad.
The recipe came originally from YumSugar but I had to make my own personal adaptations after two trial rounds through this salad. It is perfection. Bring it to a BBQ, eat it for a weeknight dinner, eat it for lunch for three days in a row like I do… just make it!
Why I like it:
1. Boil and shred your chicken. I use two organic chicken breasts, boiled in water for 25 minutes. Or you could bake them. Cool and shred with two forks to desired shape and size.
2. Boil the soba noodles according to instructions. **Word to the soba wise: Soba noodles will boil over in your pot! Therefore, you must watch them like a hawk while they are cooking. Mine take four minutes total and I turn them to half heat to prevent them from turning my entire stove into a soba bath.
Drain the noodles and run under cold water. Transfer to pot. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently with tongs so they don’t become one GIANT soba noodle.
3. Chop the salad fixings: grated carrot, slivered snap peas (sliced diagonally for pretty appeal and crunch), a bunch of scallions (greens and whites).
4. Make the dressing.
5. Add all remaining ingredients (sprouts, chicken, veggies, sesame seeds), dress and toss. Serve at room temp or cold. Gets better after some fridge time!
It definitely doesn’t happen every day, but this weekend it was “cold” in San Diego with a cool drizzle and overcast skies. Sunday night called for comfort food.
This “stoup” as Rachael Ray would call it is hearty but not overbearing and it’s totally vegetarian. Served with cilantro, lime juice and peanuts for crunch, it maintains a light and tangy flavor, anchored with butternut squash. It’s pretty in the bowl with its bright orange color, contrasted with a handful of cilantro with each serving.
It’s a recipe I found and adapted. It can be made in the slow cooker over the course of a day, or in about an hour’s time once the lentils have a chance to break down.
Butternut Squash, Chickpea, Lentil Soup
1 can chickpeas
2 small to medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped finely
1 small onion
1.5 cups red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tbsp ground cumin
Sautee the onion. Add carrots, ginger, spices, broth, chickpeas, tomato paste and squash. (If slow cooking, add all ingredients at once.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 45 minutes or until lentils are broken down.
Serve with a handful of cilantro, a sprinkling of peanuts (I used spiced roasted peanuts, found at Sprouts in the bulk bins) and a hefty squeeze of lime.
Words to the wise:
This weekend marked the March installment of 30th on 30th in North Park. For those who haven’t had the experience, it’s a single day when the North Park “corridor” of 30th Street at and around University Ave. agrees to offer food and drink specials all on the same day (the 30th, hence the name.)
It’s like speed dating with restaurants—a quick take at each spot that keeps moving until you are full or exhausted (or both): stop for a half drink at one spot, pick up a slider at the next one, a few oysters around the corner, some vegetarian Chinese food down University… and the list goes on.
Seven Grand, which is a bar fashioned after an early 20th Century watering hole in full with lots and lots of hand crafted classic cocktails (and an abundance of whiskey). It’s an offshoot of an LA spot under the same name and I look forward to revisiting on a non-3oth occasion. (Also, the plaid carpet was not lost on me; this place has character.)
The Linkery, largely a sausage spot, also has much more in terms of craft beer—including a delicious framboise sour. Beer and wine only; and lots of interesting mustards.
West Coast Tavern, kind of a standard bar menu, has buffalo mac and cheese as its 30th on 30th contribution. Paired with one of WCT’s many ginger-inspired Mules, it makes for a good kickoff, or game-watching spot.
A word to the wise: many of the specials are cash only. Come prepared!
30th on 30th for schedule and a list of participating venues.
I like to spend Sundays shopping for the week ahead and making something really delicious—preferably a meal that can fit into a single bowl.
This Sunday it was chicken tortilla soup made from a recipe I adapted from one I found online. I used organic free range chicken breasts, although you could use a cooked rotisserie chicken or even a day-after homemade chicken roast. I like the chicken shredded, so the breast meat works well in this case.
For the tortilla strips, I bought corn tortillas, sliced them super thin while still uncooked lengthwise, then cut the thin strips in half. I did absolutely nothing to them but spread them on a baking sheet, then baked for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. If you prefer your crisps salted, you can also toss them in olive oil and sea salt before baking. Skip the salty Tostitos and try making them at home!
-One onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 cans roasted green chiles
-1 can diced tomatoes
-6-8 cups chicken broth (or equal proportion boullion and water)
-1/2 package frozen corn
-1 can black beans
-2 large chicken breasts
-2 tbsp cumin
-S+P to taste
-Homemade tortilla strips (a must)
-Chopped fresh cilantro
-Dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt
Sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add chiles, tomatoes, broth, corn, black beans and cumin. Bring to boil. Add chicken (raw) and continue to boil for 25 minutes. Remove chicken, shred, then return to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
(This soup freezes well, too.)
Serve with all the fixings and enjoy with your favorite Sunday night TV lineup and/or craft beer! Our pick: White Hawk IPA from Mend0cino Brewing Company.
The much anticipated Soda& Swine along with its counterpart Polite Provisions is now open. Doors opened to the public last night, Monday, for the restaurant and bar’s soft launch including family and friends were welcomed earlier in the evening. I passed by around 9 and the place was packed for the pre-launch.
The menus include dozens of draft options including beer, wine and spirits, as well as the signature sodas—think sarsaparilla, chai cola and orange cream, to name a few. Oh, and virgin options too.
Soda and Swine boasts simple small plates along with a meatball concept (you choose the meatball type, sauce, cheese and style for a total DIY dining approach), salads, sides and pies.
The place is beautiful with dark wood, comfy seating and lots of candlelight. If I were in Chicago, I’d say it resembles Gilt Bar and Maude’s Liquor Bar, brainchildren of the Windy City’s Brian Sodikoff and not too shabby (incidentally the force behind the food here comes from former Chicago Ria chef Jason McLeod, as reported by SD’s edition of Eater back in November). Surely once it gets in gear it will be a North Park/University Heights destination for San Diego’s finest foodies. Review coming as soon as I can get in the door!
Soda and Swine menu: click here.
Polite Provisions menu: click here.
Polite Provisions/Soda and Swine
30th and Adams / University Heights / San Diego
Thank you to Jessica and Brian for teaching me the deliciousness that is Christmas Coffee.
It’s a very simple addition to the start of a day, but one that is becoming a morning staple for me.
When brewing your morning coffee in a drip maker or French press as I have been doing, add a tablespoon of cinnamon right on top of the coffee grinds. It adds a nice spicy flavor and doesn’t do a thing to the calorie count like some flavored creamers do.
Plus, cinnamon supposedly has lots of health benefits. I don’t know if that’s true, but reason enough to start with Christmas Coffee every day!
Next stop: perfecting the “Mexican Mocha” just the way my local coffee spot Filter does it. Add some chocolate and nutmeg into the mix…
What’s better than dining on a boat? Not dining on one! Rather than worrying about chasing after glassware and place settings on the open water, the Marine Room offers just about everything a boat dining experience would, except it’s on dry land.
Never could you ever build a restaurant like this one with today’s building standards.
While the Marine Room’s reputation precedes the place itself, its High Tide Breakfast, which kicks into gear once each month at said high tide time, was news to me.
The food features a full breakfast buffet with all the smoked salmon, Belgian waffles, made-to-order omeletes and chocolate mousse cake a girl’s heart desires for a grand total of $35/person—but the view is the thing to write home about.
I think I actually gasped upon being startled at one point by a huge wave crashing into the window about four feet from me and my coffee.
Go here for the people watching and the coolest seaside dining experience you’ll ever have on dry land. Just make sure you get up early for this one and make a reservation!
2000 Spindrift Drive
La Jolla, Ca 92037