Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Four Barrel Morning

Good morning, and happy moment of sunshine to all!  I am finally emerging from my flu-induced cocoon and thought I would enjoy this spring morning at Four Barrel coffee.

With a cup of drip in hand and a cheddar bacon scone to nosh on, I perched in the parklet out front, watching bicycles and cars whizz by on Valencia.  Not a bad start for a Thursday.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Memphis BBQ

Hey folks. It's my first night in Memphis, and I'm diggin' it.

Our first stop was for BBQ, at Corky's, about a half hour's drive outside of downtown.  Their dry-rub ribs were ridiculously good (while the choice of "wet" or "dry" ribs is apparently a classic one in Memphis, they are pork-centric all the way).

My plate came with pulled pork, normally a hands-down favorite, but tonight totally back seat to those killer killer ribs.  Next time I'm going with a full plate of dry ribs and not wasting any time.

It's a big, sloppy plate, so get your hands dirty.  It's worth it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Southern Pacific Brewing Co

Tucked away on Treat near 19th Street is a gem of a place called Southern Pacific Brewing Company.  Inside a warehouse, you scarcely see it from the street.  But walk through the metal gates, across their picnic-tabled outdoor patio, and into a multi-level, bustling gastropub.

The high ceilings are riddled with skylights, lending fresh air, natural light, and an outdoorsy feeling that you can enjoy even on a chilly 50 degree day in SF.  The furniture is Parsons-style natural steel and reclaimed wood (Room & Board, I would know you anywhere).  Super cool space and they sure packed a lot of people inside for the middle of a Saturday afternoon.

I had a couple IPAs and this lentil burger, which was a satisfying and tasty start to a Saturday afternoon of fun with the girls.  I am eager to go back for a second round!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Deli Board

Have we talked about Deli Board yet?  We need to.  Their sandwiches are pretty mindblowing: meaty, melty, and creative.  And if you're more of a soup or salad type, there are killer options for you as well.

First, I have to say, they make the best brisket sandwich I have ever eaten (the Munsoned is also a 7x7 love, hitting this year's updated Big Eat list).  It took all my willpower to try something new when I popped in for lunch today.

I ordered the Lawrence:  chicken salad, provolone, jalapenos, bacon, pickles, thousand island, french roll. The chicken salad was made with tender chunks of dark meat -- JACKPOT!  I consider it a delicious reminder that I should continue to try new things on their menu (especially when I can always take a bite of Lafe's brisket sandwich, too).

My advice:  Get to Deli Board, soon and often, and definitely go with friends.  Now that's the good life!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Winter Squash Soup

It may not feel like winter with these gorgeous sunny days we are having, but it's still a great time for a winter squash soup.  I improvised this recipe based on ingredients I had on hand in my kitchen.  That's one of the beauties of soup; once you know a couple basic techniques, you can play around a lot with ingredients, seasoning, and textures.  Add a tablespoon of curry to the onion mixture and garnish with green apple slices? Add cayenne to onion mixture and garnish with queso fresco instead of goat cheese?  Get creative - it's all yours!

Winter Squash Soup
active prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
serves 6-8

1 acorn squash
1 butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt, to taste
crumbled goat cheese, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Halve the squashes and scoop out the seeds. Rub the flesh with one tablespoon of the olive oil and place the halves, cut side down, in a pyrex dish.  When the oven is ready, roast about 40 minutes or until squashes are fork-tender.  (I pulled out the acorn squash at about 40 minutes and roasted the butternut for nearly an hour.)

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and started to sweeten, at least eight minutes.  Add the minced ginger and cook for another minute.  Remove from heat.

When the squashes have cooled, scoop the tender center out of the skins and add directly to your saucepan.  Add the chicken broth.  Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender, in batches), puree to combine until smooth.  You may need to add water until soup reaches desired consistency.

Return saucepan to stove over medium heat.  Add butter and salt, stir thoroughly and taste.  (You may need to add more butter, or more salt, but add in small increments, stir and continue to taste.  You will be amazed at the depth of flavor a little butter can add at this stage.  This technique is a must for potato leek soup as well.)

Serve with a sprinkle of goat cheese for garnish, and enjoy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mimosa time

There are so many ways to enjoy gorgeous weather and a hilarious weekend with friends.  Mimosas on the lake (Tahoe, of course) are definitely one of them.  Hope you all got outside and into something amazing this weekend!