Sunday, April 30, 2006

Big Kitchen

This morning we headed out for breakfast at Big Kitchen in Southpark. Southpark is such a great neighborhood- definitely somewhere we are thinking of moving to. It has such a friendly, relaxed feel combined with that of the intellectual arty crowd more commonly found in Seattle or Portland. Big Kitchen is known as one of the best breakfast places in San Diego- the fact that Whoopi Goldberg used to wash dishes there further adds to its fame.
We were prepared for a fair wait outside the 'Kitchen'- but were happy to do so, coffee is usually available, and waiting in the San Diego sunshine never unenjoyable. When we arrived however, we were pleasantly surprised to be seated immediately and sat down a cute little wooden booth. the atmosphere inside was great, with lots of quirky customers, and walls filled with interesting bumper stickers, photos (of Whoopi of course) and various random pieces of memorabilia.
The menus arrived and we were pretty much blown array with the vast number of choices - including 'favorite breakfasts' of regular and famous diners. After a good amount of umming and arring we settled on the Mexican omlette and the spinach and cheese egg scramble.
the food arrived and was very tasty- very nice portion sizes, just enough to fill you up, but not so much that you spend you entire Sunday bloated and regretting the indulgent breakfasting. The home made salsa which accompanied the food was delicious, as was the spicy ketchup. Everything seemed very fresh and well cared for. The staff were delightful, although the busy nature of Sunday morning breakfasting meant that we were not always taken care of as often as we would have liked. At the end of the meal came a blow that I had been slightly anticipating- the restaurant accepted no credit card. I really think this is pretty disgraceful in this day and age- if you want to charge $8-$9 a plate for breakfast you really shouldn't expect people to have to carry around that sort of cash in thier pockets. This is a big international city, and the restaurant is a well known, successful business that really can afford to offer its customers that sort of convenience. The lack of which I find to be a slight arrogance on the part of the proprietors and which, despite the good food, leaves a slightly bad taste in the mouth.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Stuffed Peppers and Avocadoes

Sorry for the delay- recipe time!
Here are the recipes for the stuffed peppers and avocadoes that formed the center of my dinner party. Both best served at room temperature in my opinion- but try hot/ chilled whatever you fancy!

Stuffed Peppers

2 Red Bell Peppers
4 Tomatoes (diced)
1 Jar Green Olives
4 Cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
Extra Virgen Olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper


1, Wash the peppers and split them in half vertically. Do not remove the stalk but slice in half with the pepper shells. Remove the seeds.

2, Arrange the diced tomatoes, sliced garlic and olives evenly in the four pepper shells.

3, Place the peppers in a baking tray. Generously dribble olive oil on and around the peppers. Season with black pepper.

4, Bake in the oven at a medium hot setting for forty-five minutes.

Stuffed Avocadoes

2 Large Avocadoes
A little lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
2oz Brazil Nuts (chopped finely)
2oz Grated Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley (chopped)
2 Tomatoes (skinned and finely chopped)
Melted Butter


1,Halve the avocadoes, remove the pulp and brush the shells with lemon juice.

2, Chop the pulp and season. Put into a bowl with brazil nuts, cheese parsley and tomatoes. Mix and spoon into the avocado shells.

3, Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Trickle butter onto the avocadoes. Dust with Paprika

4, Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes at a medium setting.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dinner Party

Dinner Party last night- cooked up some treats- recipes to follow!
(I need a break after all that cooking!)

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Sun-dried tomato Pizza

Looking at the great food blogs on the web I realise I need to start incorperating more photos into my blog. Last night we made fantastic pzza- heres the recipe, easy to make and healthier than take out. Enjoy!

1 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 package yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2-2/3 cup hot water
2 teaspoons olive oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup italian herbs
2 tsp poppy seeds

1/4 jar of pasata
mushrooms- sliced
1 pepper- sliced
1/2 onion- sliced
Brocolli florets
1 stick heart of palm- sliced
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 jar sundried tomatoes
2 heads roasted garlic- peeled
low fat mozzeralla -sliced
low fat cheddar- grated

1. Combine flour, yeast, salt, sugar, herbs and poppy seeds in a food processor and mix.

2.Combine the hot water and sundried tomato oil in a measuring cup. Keep the motor runing and gradually pour in the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. Process until the dough forms a ball, then knead for 1 minute.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. cover and levae to rise for 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours, roll our dough and place on a pizza tray. Prebake in the oven for 15 minutes.

4. Spread on passata and then arrange ingredients on top.

5, Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins until the crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling.

6, Serve and enjoy!

Before the Oven...............

And After...........

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hors d'Oeuvres

We are having a little party tonight, so we threw together a few Martha Stewart style hors d'Oeurves for our guests. I love the little crackers with the thyme leaves embedded. The cake stand is left over from our wedding- we bought 30 plus of them off ebay and had an english style afternoon tea- they make pretty good hors d'Oeuvres servers- adding height and being a little unique here in the US.
Some of these hors'deourves are my own creation and some are from Martha's hors d'eourves handbook which my wife lives by.

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Friday, April 21, 2006


This week we headed up to Disneyland. I was amazed to see that Disney actually let you bring in food- being sure that they would want to drag every last penny out of you. We packed up a picnic- comprised largely of Trader Joes dips, plus crudities and tortilla chips and headed up to the park. When we arrived at the gate the lady checked my picnic backpack and proclaimed that we could only enter if we promised not to use our picnic plates- food is allowed, but plates are not. The reasoning being I suppose that food is a snack and plates constitute a picnic. We faithfully promised, and entered the park. When lunch time arrived however we found Disneyland devoid of picnic tables- we knew there was new somewhere and understood it to be just to the left of the park entrance. After quite a lot of searching we found the most secluded area imaginable- more difficult to locate than the secret garden, disguised by 20 foot hedges there to stop anyone getting ideas about not eating the Disneyland food.
We had a lovely lunch, in relative peace thanks to the hedges, and later in the afternoon were made to be heartily glad of our picnic plan. We stopped at a cafe for a drink and saw the most disgusting looking food that was being served- I believe the idea behind it was Chili cheese hotdogs- they looked like a piece of cardboard, with a piece of rubber inside, covered in sludge and plastic. All for the wonderful price of $7 a hot dog!
We were not so well prepared however to avoid Disneyland prices entirely and our two evenings at the parks were spent dining in "Downtown Disney". Once I got over the price shift and just accepted it as Disneyland I was pleasantly surprised. We went first night to Cafe Uva, an open air terrace serving a range of foods which were all plesant enough, with friendly service- a nice relaxing break from our theme park day.
The next evening we dined late at night in the Jazz Cafe, a wonderful restaurant with genuine New Orleans artifacts including an outrageous beaded Piano. The service was wonderful, our dishes delightfully presented and we had a lovely relaxing time. Until that is, some of the wait staff, (presumably after a long day) came and started to play chopsticks and every other moronic tune on the piano. Not what you need after hours of being subjected to Disney music. This was an unprofessional moment that took the glamour off our evening a little.
So my advice for Disney- bring food, lots of nice healthy food. Dine out in the evening, (you'll need it after walking around Disney all day), and be prepared for high prices, that’s all you are gonna get- just deal with it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Probably the most commonly consumed dish in our house is salad- especially now we ae living in a warm climate and therefore less in need of a warming dish each night- we also have the wonderful farmers market to provide us with Fresh ingredients. Many people have trouble making an interesting salad, I cam up with this list to help remind myself of good ideas and inspire me to make exciting tasty salads each and ever time!

The base of a salad is usually some sort of leaves

Red lettuce, (adds colour)
Baby spinach

As well as the tradition salad fruits it is good to add some different fruits with interesting flavours and textures.



Sugar Snaps
Green beans
Red/white onion

Nuts add protein to a salad as well as an interesting change in texture


Cheese is another good source of protein in your salad, and also an excellent change in texture. Try warm goats cheese, to make an even more interesting salad.

Goats cheese

Fresh herbs can make a zesty addition to a salad and provide some interesting and unusual flavours.

Garlic chives
Salad burnett
Welsh onion

Flowers make an attractive addition to a salad and can be quite tasty too.

Sunflower petals

Other Ingredients
Boiled eggs
Poached eggs
Quails eggs
Chicken breast
Sundried tomatoes
Sunflower seeds

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Green Pasta with Prawns

I came up with this dish after sorting between the wierd collection of ingredients that were in my fridge and then putting them together in a way that I am pleased to say- worked! I know this dish is going to sound very wierd to a lot of you but do please try it, you will love it I promise!

Marinade: 2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
5 cloves garlic, chopped
½ lb fresh prawns, skinned and headed
2 tbsp Olive oil
6 cloves garlic (chopped)
½ glass white wine
2 cups frozen peas
1 lettuce (roughly torn)
1 cup cream
1 cucumber (diced and steamed)
4 avocadoes (diced)
10 oz pasta shapes (cooked al dente)
¼ Red onion (thinly sliced)
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tbsp freshly chopped chives
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint

1, Place all the marinade ingredients into a bowl. Place the prawns in the marinade and leave over night to marinate.

2, Heat the live oil in a large wok. Remove the prawns from the marinade, and place in the wok. Fry the prawns gently until they become almost tender add the garlic, and fry a little more. Add the white wine and peas, cook until the peas are tender. Add the lettuce and the cream and cook for a further 3 minutes.

3, Remove from the heat, stir in the cucumber and avocado. Toss with the pasta shapes. Sprinkle on the red onion blue cheese and herbs. Serve straight away.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Boat House

Finally a wonderful dining experience to report. We decided to go out for brunch today (unbeknownst to us this apparently the second biggest brunch day of the year, after Mother's Day). After some deliberation we headed out to the Boat House in the harbor for some sunny views of San Diego and an elegant brunch menu. I am happy to say we were not disappointed. Having called and made reservations that morning we arrived and were immediately seated at a nice table with a clean white linen tablecloth, by a window over looking the harbor and Point Loma. The views were great and the atmosphere in the restaurant, being Easter, was cheerful and relaxed, brunch is such a great meal to go out for. .

Our waiter arrived and we ordered drinks- the $5 free flowing champagne being unavailable on Easter unfortunately we decided to order a bottle anyway- it was not a bad price. To eat I chose the Eggs benedict, my wife a spinach mushroom and cheese omelet and my sister-in-law the French toast. Our drinks arrived, elegantly presented and were some followed by some delicious warm muffins. We sat and talked enjoying our drinks, loving the views and feeling very relaxed. After a nice period our food arrived, again nicely presented, great portion sizes, and very tasty fair. The French Toast was a real hit, served with strawberries and a great syrup.

We really enjoyed our brunch at the boathouse, it has some of the best views in San Diego, the staff are impeccable and I am sure we will be coming back here again and again.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Corvette Diner

As I mentioned in my previous post I really am not a fan of being treated like a naughty child and paying for the privilege. Unfortunately our trip to the Corvette Diner last night turned out to be just such an experience. I had been looked forward to the evening out all day- the Corvette is a classic fifties diner serving up a wide range of burgers, sandwiches, sodas and desserts. The wait staff dress in fifties outfit, and the whole decor is very elaborate with a the namesake Corvette parked in the center of the restaurant. Not having been alive in the 1950s for me it is a place reminiscent of Jack Rabbit Slims - Pulp Fiction. There is nightly entertainment - Dave the balloon man was set to be there Friday night, and it looked like we were in for a fun evening.
We arrived, and being a restaurant that doesn't permit reservations we had to wait for 20 minutes for a table. We sat near the ice cream/ soda station and saw the most enormous desserts being created as well as delicious looking shakes and sodas. The atmosphere was fun, a little rowdy but all good natured. Eventually we were seated in a fun little booth. Our waitress, a sixty year old woman with a bouffant wig, passed by and threw some straws at us in what was meant to be a sassy style- a little forced, but we were having fun and it was all good. The waitress returned and took our orders for dinner- this is when the fun and games began. My sister-in-law and I both opted for Oreo shakes, but my wife chose instead to have a glass of Red Trolley Ale. ID was asked for and she presented her federal employment ID, the same one she always uses, the one which incidentally took her one and half years to get.
The waitress wasn't sure if they accepted the ID, was friendly enough about but called over the manager all the same. How the lady who approached our table ever became a manager I have no idea- her people skills were non-existent. She looked at the ID and informed us that although the card had a photo, a federal seal, a signature, and ever a finger print on- it wasn't valid because it had no description. In order to be valid an ID apparently needs height and weight. This was one of the most ridiculous things we had ever heard- people lie in their drivers license descriptions all the time- not to mention loose and gain weight. My own driver’s license being a case in point says I am 12 pounds heavier than I am and states that my hair is blonde, which many could call into question. Slightly perturbed having never had any problem with her ID before my wife politely asked what she should bring along next time she came to the restaurant, as she preferred not to carry her passport around with her. "Well you should"- came the reply from the manager! "No, I really shouldn't", said my wife, "What if I was to loose it, it has my US visa inside...” Then came the strangest part of this interlude as the manager began to tell us about a passport she had found in the restaurant just the over day- thus proving our point that it really wasn't a sensible thing to carry it around. She failed to see this point however and left the table with us all feeling disgruntled, and again treated distinctly like naughty children. My wife is from England, has worked as a bar tender for 3 years, and to be told at 23 years old that she can't have a beer with her burger and fries was a little much for her.
Our food arrived- we had all ordered burgers. A nice thing about the Corvette is that you can choose from lean beef, Boca burger, turkey patty and chicken breast for all of the burger options. You can also chose to have a whole-wheat bun, a nice touch not found at many burger joints around San Diego. Having said that, the food was unfortunately nothing special- the burgers were okay, the fries were not at all good. The Oreo shakes were delicious, but then again if you mix ice-cream, milk, chocolate syrup and cookies it really is pretty hard to go wrong. Our experience had been distinctly marred by the ID incident- it was not the lack of a beer that was aggravating, but rather the way we had been treated. We won't be going back, and I would advise the Corvette diner to more thoroughly vet their management staff and find candidates who actually know how to speak courteously to customers.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Top of the Cove

After a long day working yesterday we headed up the coast to La Jolla to make the most of what was left of a beautiful sunny day. We walked along the cove, saw the seals and some pretty cute ground squirrels and then decided to head up to Georges on the Cove for a drink with a view. On our way we passed 'Top of the Cove' a similar (although less fancy) restaurant which was offering happy hour drinks and appetizers in it's 'Ocean View bar'. The prices were very cheap and it sounded like fun so we headed on up there. Big mistake...

We were greeted first by a man in a tuxedo asking us if we had reservations for dinner (why we would have needed them for the almost empty downstairs restaurant I can't tell you. We replied that we just wanted drinks and appetizers and he looked down his nose at us and sent us upstairs, in a manner suggesting that we should have know automatically this was the place to go. We headed up the stairs and were met by an even snootier looking man with ginger hair. He was courteous at first but once he realized we were only there for drinks and appetizers his manner changed abruptly becoming almost rude in his tone. He informed us we could sit, well basically that we could sit anywhere that didn't have a view. Perhaps I am being a little extreme, we did manage a vantage point from which the ocean could be seen, but the view was certainly not an uninterrupted man. At this point the snooty ginger haired man returned, and if we didn't already feel like second class citizens he made sure we knew our place by positively throwing the menus at us across the table.
After some time we were greeted by a waitress who took our orders- I chose a chocolate martini and my wife a mandarin one whilst my sister in law had an apple juice. We chose three of the $3 appetizers- onion rings with aioli, chicken drumsticks and some sort of ceviche item.

After an inexplicably long wait- whilst the staff attended to the 'real guests'- our drinks and food arrived. The chocolate martini was actually pretty good- leaving a taste of Hershey’s syrup as an after taste, the mandarin martini was passable, nothing special. The appetizers were not great, the ceviche turned out to be 3 single tortilla chips made soggy by a few bits of tomato and roughly chopped shrimp. For a dollar a pop these were really quite dreadful. The onion rings were okay- too thin for my personal liking (i like to have some onion in my onion ring), and the aioli was not at all of the quality i expect from an allegedly first class establishment like Top of the Cove. The drumsticks were veyr tasty but extremely difficult to eat with no finger bowl being offered to us of course. We ended up getting extremely messy and looking just like the low class down and outs they had taken us for.

So to sum up- not the most pleasant experience, it’s never nice to be treated with distaste, and especially not when you are paying someone to do so. What makes me really annoyed is that they advertise the Happy hour out there on the street, drawing people in, but then seem intensely disappointed that that is all people have come for.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Prado

Another excellent dining experience to report. Yesterday was the most beautiful perfect San Diego day and it seemed criminal not to go and sit in the sun and have a leisurely lunch- the perfect place to do this- why the Prado of course, set right in the center of Balboa park on a beautiful courtyard, shady but not dark, elegant and yet still retaining an outdoors/ nature type feel. I have been waiting a long time for the perfect day to go to the Prado and I am pleased to say I was not in the slightest bit disappointed.
We were seated at our table and giving large glasses of ice water. I am always immensely interested in what food a restaurant gives its diners to snack on prior on the meal, one of my favorites ever being the bread and aioli served at Vagabond. The Prado in my mind lived up to expectations, providing flat bread and a delicious hummus. This may not have been quite as mouthwatering as Vagabond's aioli, but it was at least less guilt ridden, and was certainly delicious in its own right. The only slight issue with the flat bread was that they were covered in Poppy seeds, which, as we began to much away soon covered the table. The Prado had of course thought of everything however and soon a waitress arrived to "care for our table", wiping off the poppy seeds, leaving us feeling clean and adding in that little VIP touch which is what one wants from a flashy lunch out.
We ordered drinks next, settling on the mojitos which had been assured were "especially good", they were indeed fantastic and extremely refreshing- perfect for a hot day. To eat I chose the Chicken Enchiladas which were extremely good, served with Oaxaca cheese and a trio of delicious salsas. My wife had a little difficulty in choosing a salad, not being used to such an array of meatless options. She asked for some advice and settle on the pressed salad which comprised largely of arugula, with some strawberries, figs and candied walnuts thrown into the mix. The presentation on the salad was beautiful, set in a small round on the centre of a very large dish with a balsamic glaze zigzagged across the plate.

Everything about our meal was fantastic, the wait staff treated us like movie stars, the timing of the food was perfect, the food itself very tasty and the presentation stunning. The Prado is only a 30 minute walk from our house and I am sure it will be a regular haunt this summer.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lanna Thai

We recently paid a visit to the newly opened Lanna Thai in Pacific Beach. We wrote down the directions, drove over there and were slightly disconcerted to find the restaurant bang in the middle of a strip mall nestled in close next to a 7-eleven, neon signs intact. Although not the classiest of locations I was slightly hopeful - the best Thai food I have ever had came from a strip mall location north of Seattle.

We stepped inside the location and it was as though a miracle had taken place- in utter contrast from the garish run down surroundings outside, the inside was calm, attractive and extremely inviting. The waiters looked slightly surprised to have customers- (there was certainly no need to make a reservation), but rallied themselves immediately and courteously seated us.

We started the meal by ordering drinks. Choosing drinks is often a slightly disappointing part of a Thai meal- the only options on offer generally being Singha beer, Thai iced tea and some distinctly average house wines. At Lanna Thai however we were presently with an array of wonderful sounding cocktails- I chose the Lannatini, whilst my wife went with the spiced thai, my sister in law having never had it before we encouraged to try Thai Iced tea.

The drinks arrived and were absolutely heavenly. My Lannatini was made of a lychee liquor and filled with some real lychees. It was like no cocktail I have ever quite had before and completely perfect in every way, not too strong not to weak. I immediately resolved to back to Lanna Thai, even if it was only for this drink.

For food we chose some more usual dishes- a vegetable delight, some Pro Ram, and a thick noodle dish. It arrived after just the right amount of waiting time- long enough for it not to feel like fast food, but not so long that we had to contend with roaring stomachs. When it did arrive the food was great, not the best Thai food, and probably not better than the Hillcrest restaurants- Amarin, Lotus etc. However it was very good, and very good value we realized once the check arrived.

I wish Lanna Thai the best luck for the future- I hope their unattractive location will not put too many people off. I encourage everyone to visit there at least once, we will certainly going back.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


We spent much of this weekend BBQing in the sun. I was reflecting on how having a BBQ has meant such different things at different places I have lived around the world.

In Brazil the Churrasco which basically meant that a cow was killed and then put on a large skewer and cooked for hours with very little seasoning. It was a treat that local people adored- the meat always being served with the traditional beans, rice and a tomato and cilantro salad. I was not so favorably impressed.

In England the BBQs are always charcoal- a gas grill wouldn't even be considered a BBQ. I'm sure things are not always this bad but in my experience the BBQ has consisted of meat cooked to a cinder (to make sure we don't all die from salmonella) served with coleslaw, potato salad ketchup and nasty white burger buns.

I have to say that although I am not normally this loyal to my country I do prefer a good ole American BBQ. Steaks marinated and cooked to perfection on a gas grill, skewers of vegetables- peppers, Vidalia onions, portabella mushrooms; chicken kabobs - and best of all our latest addition grilled halloumi cheese (not quite American but oh well :-)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Chicken Parcels

Albertsons is having an incredible sale right now- Chicken breats for $1.77/lb. I took advantage and cooked up this awesome dish last night:
Enjoy everyone- it's best served with a nice green salad- through in some artichoke hearts and palmitos to the salad to dress this up for a special occasion.

Baked Chicken Parcels

Marinade: ¼ bottle white wine
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 tbsp Lemon juice
4 Cloves garlic (finely chopped)
5 tbsp freshly chopped mixed herbs (chives, oregano
Salt and pepper
4 Chicken breasts
2 eggplants (sliced ¼ inch thick)
Olive oil for frying
Tomato sauce: 1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ onions (roughly chopped)
3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
¼ bottle red wine
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1½ tbsp dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
4 oz cheddar cheese (grated)
1, Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place the chicken breasts into the bowl, and cover with the marinade. Marinate for several hours, turning the breasts occasionally so that they are well marinated on both sides.

2, Fry the eggplant slices on both sides with plenty of olive oil. Set the aubergines aside and leave to cool on kitchen paper.

3, Make the tomatoes sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and the garlic, fry until soft. Add the tins of tomatoes, red wine and vinegar, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 mins. Add the herbs and simmer for a further 15 mins.

4, Remove the breasts from the marinade, fry on both sides until the meat becomes white. Wrap each breast in several slice of eggplant and place in a large baking dish. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts. Top with a layer of grated cheese, bake in the oven at 350ยบ F for 45 minutes.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Gulf Coast Grill Part II

We wanted to take my British sister in law out for breakfast this morning-a very American thing to do. The most famous place in San Diego for breakfast is Hash House A Go Go in Hillcrest- we have visited it before and had a great- (although slightly over -priced) breakfast. Hash House has a policy of no reservations and every morning on the weekend you will see lots of young hillcrest residents standing on the street waiting for a table. We knew this- but figured we would bring along our sudokus, wait in the sun and it would all be okay. When we arrived however, the lines were even greater than anticipated- seemingly twice as long as our previous 35 minute wait..... Hash House is good- but not that good. Casting around for an alternative we remember that Gulf Coast Grill had seemed to have a pretty interesting breakfast menu and headed right on over. We arrived and saw to our immediate relief that there was no wait at all, although there were plenty of happy parties tucking in to their morning meal. We settled down at our table and were taken care of by a very attentive waiter who was always there when you needed him, but never overbearing. We ordered mimosas to drink and celebrate the end of a great weekend. To eat we persuaded my sister in law to get biscuits and gravy- a very American treat which she greatly enjoyed. My wife got a farmers market omelet filled with vegetables and I tried the chorizo and egg tacos. My dish was unfortunately slightly disappointing- the beans tasted very bizarre- however to the credit of the restaurant my waiter whipped them away as soon as I had shown my displeasure and soon returned with a very passable substitute. The others enjoyed their food and the check when it arrived was, once again reasonable. on the whole the experience was not a rival with Hash House- but considering the lack of wait and the good prices we were happy with our choice.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Couscous Salad

I am headed out to the desert today and packing up some food for picnics and BBQs to take along wtih us. Along with tortilla one of the staples I never go without is a good couscous salad- make it the night before and you will have a simple, delicios easy to eat dish to take along with you. You can even use wholewheat couscous to make it more healthy!

Couscous Salad

8oz couscous
1 firm cucumber (finely diced)
3 firm tomatoes (finely diced)
½ small red onion, (finely diced)
½ jar of olives (cut in half)
5 sun dried tomatoes
Small handful of walnut pieces
5 artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
3 oz brie, chopped finely into small pieces
2Tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
½ tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper


1, Place the couscous in a bowl with the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, olives, sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, artichoke hearts and brie. Gently mix so that the ingredients are well interspersed. Make sure you add all the juices lots from the tomatoes and cucumber when chopping them. Also add a little of the sun dried tomato oil.

2, Stir in the oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Season to taste. Leave the couscous over night to soak up all the juices. Simple as that!!!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Gulf Coast Grill

Today after work I headed to Gulf Coast Grill for thier awesome Happy Hour, it's the perfect place for a Happy Hour largely as it is so close to home. It is also a great place to go as the food is fantastic (half price appertizers and drinks from 4.30-6.30pm), the service excellent and the atmosphere friendly. This evening we enjoyed some chicken skewers with a really excellent coleslaw and some breaded bris with a salad of greens. Everything was perfect, including the glasses of Zinfadel. Best of all was the check which came to $18- not bad for 3 people getting drinks an appertizers that incenditally filled us up so much, we passed on dinner tonight.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cafe Pomegranate

My sister in law has recently arrived in town and I have therefore been a little lax in posting the last couple of days. However we did have a really fabulous meal at Cafe Pomegranate this weekend.
Cafe Pomegranate is the perfect neighborhood restaurant- conveniently located just close to our house, quirky, friendly great food and not too expensive. We had visited the restaurant once before- vowed to go back immediately, but for a myriad of uninteresting reasons, had not been back again until this weekend.

The wait staff are impeccable at Cafe Pomegranate- courteous, but real people - not just blank faces smiling their smiles and refilling glasses to get the highest tip they can manage.

The restaurant is Russian/ Georgian cuisine, with a strong focus on pomegranates, which are the nation symbol of Georgia. Our waitress told us that in Georgia when you want to wish someone luck or happiness you give them a pomegranate saying I hope you have as much luck as there are seeds in a pomegranate- an interesting bit of folklore I had never heard before- I fact I must confess I didn't know that pomegranates even grew in Georgia, let alone had such a strong association with their culture.

The restaurant, as I said is very quirky, guests have been allowed to graffiti all over the walls, lamps and ceiling- leaving an interesting array of thoughts for one to read whilst one eats- some of it profound, some of it distinctly less so.

We ordered the salad sampler to start- a delicious platter of unusual garlicky salads from Russia and Georgia which we had eaten on our previous visit. It was just as delicious as the first time, and perhaps too much so- by the time our main courses arrived we were far too full to eat more than a few mouthfuls. It was a wise decision however as main courses, although pleasant enough were not to the standard of the appetizers.

Still, we love Cafe Pomegranate- for the atmosphere if nothing else. A big thumbs up to our local neighborhood restaurant.