A Tale of Two Weekends (Part 1)

I’m happy to report that both food odyssey’s from the past two weeks were completely successful.

The first, in Napa, was a whirlwind daytrip to the gourmet mecca of Yountville in Sonoma county.

For lunch, we ate at Addendum (basically, Ad Hoc to go) and had fried chicken, baby back ribs, pulled pork, corn bread, corn succotash, potato salad, and Chardonnay.  I’ll add commentary in later, but I thought I would upload some pictures first.

Menu for the Day

Menu for the Day

Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Cornbread

Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Cornbread

Baby back ribs, pulled pork, corn bread... corn succotash hanging out in the back.

In short, totally delicious.  Worth 6 hours of driving.  Add this to the category of Michelin quality food for under $20, because each lunch was only $16.50.  Every component was totally perfect, but I’d have to say my favorites were the fried chicken and the cornbread.  The cornbread was wonderfully soft and moist, without being crumbly or soggy.  I think my companion put it best when she remarked “It’s like they took a million needles and injected butter into every crumb.”  Well said.  The chicken was impossibly crispy, flaky, tender, and juicy.  Perfect.

This is the sort of food you can pick up to go eat under a tree by a vineyard a few blocks away and forget what decade you’re in.  Suffice to say, it was an unforgettable lunch (I hope to be back this weekend for more of the same.)

Afterward, we headed over to the Bouchon Bakery to pick up a few pastries from home.  A picture of what I ended up buying:

Clockwise from bottom left: Thomas Keller Oreo (TKO), brioche bun, strawberry almond croissant, plain croissant, paladin roll, a bouchon, and TLC cookie.

Also purchased: macarons and a loaf of olive bread.  These were actually the most delicious things, besides the strawberry croissant.  It was an amazing trip all in all and I can’t wait to go back.  I’ll post pictures from San Francisco and Outside Lands soon, so check back in a few days.


Stop What You’re Doing

And make these brownies.  Sorry for the teaser title but these brownies are showstopping.  And heart stopping.  In every way.

Adapted from howsweeteats

1 stick butter
1 cup 2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
2/3 cups chocolate chips (optional)
2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 cups crushed pretzel sticks
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Make a crust with crushed pretzels and melted butter, press it into a prepared 8×8 pan.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla.  Add in dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, and salt) and carefully spread over prepared pretzel crust.  Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Just before brownies are done, melt peanut butter in a bowl and combine with powdered sugar.  Take brownies out of the oven and pour the peanut butter mixture over them.  Wait as long as you can for the brownies to come to room temperature and eat.

Less Than 2 Hours Later - Out of Control

Only God can judge me.

I realize that these brownies probably look like poop casserole but hopefully the conspicuous amount missing from the pan is testament enough to their overwhelming, life-ruining deliciousness.  ‘Cause this brownie is a life ruiner.  It ruins peoples’ lives.

More updates to come in the near future, stay tuned.

Your Eyes Are Not Decieving You

Two updates, hardly spaced by more than a few days?  I’m not going to bother with delivering stale jokes about the infrequency of my blog updates, mostly because I’ve already heard most of them from certain members of my viewership and because said individuals have done it better.  Alerted to the fact that there are, in fact, people who read my blog, I feel compelled/encouraged/guilted into submitting another post for your review.

As observant readers may know, I’m working at a real job this summer.  Through some sort of mixed blessing/cruel twist of fate, I happen to be working across from my favorite burrito place of all time.  La Costeña.  I don’t profess to be any sort of expert on Mexican food (especially on Cal-Mex, as the burrito is a San Francisco invention [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_burrito]) but I know what tastes good.  Behold.

The Super Burrito

Super Burrito from La Costeña

Easily the best burrito place I’ve ever visited.  I could go on and count the ways I love burritos from La Costeña, but I’ll eschew the lengthy summary in favor of a few key points.

  1. The meat in this burrito is hands down the best anywhere.  This is one of the very few places that cooks your carne asada to order (as though you were at some fancy steak house instead of a room in the back of a Mexican convenience store).  The pollo en mole here is also fantastic (I prefer it to Bayless’s mole at Topolobampo in Chicago).
  2. The sheer weight and size of this burrito makes this eating experience a half day event.  Figure about 20 minutes to eat the Super Burrito, and a few hours after to both a) let it pass, like a hamster through a boa constrictor and b) revel in your superior decision making capabilities.
  3. As many add ins as you want.  Loads of veggies, cheeses, guacamole, salsas, etc. etc. ad nauseum.
Obviously, I can’t eat a Super Burrito from La Costeña every day for lunch.  (That sort of unfettered gluttony will have to wait until I’m married.)  So most days (roughly four out of five days of the work week) I pack my own lunch.  I decided to take a picture of it today and upload it because I thought some of you might be interested in seeing what I eat when I put lunch together for myself:

My Lunch Box

A summary of my lunch: Baby spinach salad with feta and raspberries, champagne-pear-gorgonzola dressing, peanut butter pretzel mojo bar, cherry tomatoes, corn-black bean-mango salsa with greek yogurt, mandarin orange fruit cup.

My lunch on most days usually involves a main course (salad, sandwich or soup) some fruit, some vegetables, and a cliff bar for a snack.  Even though eating tasty food is really important to me, sometimes I get sleepy if I eat too much good food so it’s generally not a good idea for me to do so at work.

So, at the risk of turning this into a healthy-food blog, some things I’ve included :

Baby spinach, cranberry, and walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette (optional: add chicken breast to any salad)
Chipotle corn bisque with greek yogurt and pepper
Tuna sandwich on wheat with avocado-hummus from Trader Joe’s

In case any of you were concerned that I’d gone soft on finding great things to eat, rest assured: I should be driving up to Napa this Saturday to sample sandwiches from Bouchon and Fried Chicken from Ad Hoc.  Then I’ll be attending a pot luck in the evening, for which I’ll likely have to sort through Bon Appetit to find a recipe suitably indulgent.  A word of caution to anyone who might be in attendance: a successful potluck dish for me is one which causes people to love me and hate themselves.  Consider your waistlines warned.

Will update at the end of the weekend with pictures of adventures in food.