Friday, November 14, 2008

Highway Fun

Because one can never have too much birthday, unless of course one happens to be one of the Berenstain Bears, I took Daniel on a mini road-trip last weekend, up Highway One into Mendocino. As is our way, the road-trip was all about stopping to look at pretty views, and stopping to eat yummy road food. A brief review of our imbibing...

First stop was in the beautiful (but on this particular day, absurdly foggy) Point Reyes. This is a locavore's paradise, with every restaurant, even the greasy spoons serving local, organic, free-range goodness. We hit up the Bovine Bakery. Daniel enjoyed a buttery, sweet, delicious sticky bun-

I nibbled throughout the day on a whole wheat, vegan apricot, raspberry scone. It sounds more virtuous than it was. It was enormous and delicious and over the day I ate the entire thing. I always tell myself that I'm sampling these baked goods so that I can teach myself to make them, but let's be honest, it's really about my overly active sweet tooth...

After a thwarted attempt to see the lighthouse at Point Reyes, we made due with lunch at Station House Cafe, taking advantage of the bounty the Northern California coast has to offer. Daniel had the halibut club and I a veggie sandwich with grilled jalapeno. Both were fresh tasting and satisfying.
Is this what they call Pea Soup fog?

We then continued our drive up, through the rain and fog, oohing and ahing at the amazing sunset that managed to make an appearance at the end of the day, before ending up in Fort Bragg, where we hit up the North Coast Brewery for dinner. A Chimayo Chicken salad (avocado, hominy, kidney beans, chicken) and some really nice minestrone for me and because it was his birthday a 100% Califonia raised Brandt burger for Daniel. We were both pleased with our meals, but the realy winner was the 4 beer sampler that I had. My favorite, the dark Belgian Style Brother Thelonious.

After an evening of bowling, we were up early the next morning, hitting up a few Fort Bragg culinary favorites before hitting the road.

We've since put together several smoked poultry sandwiches using these supplies, and I made a delicious smoked salmon scramble for dinner Monday night.

Yum, look at all that fish

Then because nothing goes better with smoked jerkey than cookies, we headed to Mendocino Cookies to pick up a sampler for a class we were going to that evening. We got peanut butter chocolate chip, cinamon sugar, hiker's delight (coconut, cranberries, chocolate chip), and ginger spice. Daniel, the peanut butter freak, responded accordingly. I couldn't get enough of the cinamon sugar. It was so soft and smushy and melt in the mouth delicious. I nursed it through the day, savoring each bite before savoring the last morsel dunked in milk when we arrived back home that evening.

Our final foodie delight of the trip was Queenie's Roadhouse Cafe in Elk. It is indeed roadside, and there is indeed a Queenie, who emerged from the kitchen halfway through our brunch to greet the local regulars. This place is amazing. Real roadhouse, greasy spoon breakfast plus rainbow flags, plus organic veggies, meat and eggs, plus vegan options. A California original.

I got the cornbeef hash and poached eggs, served with housemade whole wheat toast and organic ketchup. It was really good, but the hash was a little too intensely hashy (read greasy) for me, and so I had to limit my intake to limit my subsequent belly aching.

Daniel's dish though was a winner of the first degree - a potato, onions, hot peppers, and smoked gouda melange, served with cage free scrambled eggs. The gouda was perfectly smokey and balanced so well with the tang of the peppers and the carby goodness of the potatoes. Mmmm. We'll definitely be back the next time we're in Elk. Okay, maybe we'll go back to Elk so that we can be back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Daniel Gets the BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER (and I don't mean the iPhone)

So in honor of Daniel's birth and the election of a new leader for this great nation, we had a little party in our new SF abode.

The focus was more on the what we were watching than on what we were eating, but a few foodie notes...

Those of the eagle-eye variety will notice the two bowls of candy perched on the arm of our couch. Daniel, who although he loves delicious candy more than the next guy will sometimes favor a joke over his palate, came up with the idea that when a state went red we would eat Airheads and when a state turned blue, we'd celebrate the Smarties they were.

With the election called early (especially in this kooky West Coast time zone), we were able to move quickly into the celebration portion of the evening. Complete with dessert and champagne.

Because he's been such a mensch of late, Daniel deserved two desserts -

A pear upside down ginger bread, recipe courtesy of Williams Sonoma:

And a three layer chocolate cake with caramel sea salt icing and a chocolate ganache, called the Sweet and Salty cake, recipe courtesy of the Red Hook bakery Baked, endorsed by Martha Stewart herself...

Please note the immense amount of butter involved in the ganache (does not include the butter that went into the caramel icing...)

Applying the caramel icing

The birthday boy applying the ganache, Ace of Cakes style

The presentation

It was a good night for two great patriots - President Elect BARAK OBAMA (I still can't believe it!) and our man Daniel.