Sunday, April 29, 2012

E is for: Eat. Drink. Be Bloody Mary. {Bacon Bridal Shower}

Usually when you think of bridal showers, things like balloons, tea sandwiches, and lemonade all come to mind. Not me. When I volunteered to host my friend Kim's bridal shower, one thing that constantly kept popping up in my party ideas was bacon. So much so that I decided to make an entire theme out of it.

Yup. I went there. I hosted a Bacon Bridal Shower.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

D is for: Dolores Park & BiRite Creamery

When I first moved to San Francisco after living in San Diego for almost five years, one of the hardest things to get used to was the weather. I had grown accustomed to keeping a set of beach chairs in the trunk of my car and heading to the beach whenever I found myself with a free hour or two on a sunny day. And let's face San Diego, it's sunny almost every day.

So imagine my shock when I learned that, not only is cloudy and foggy most days in San Francisco, but the beach seems like another world away. And if you do happen to venture out to it, half the time it's windy and cold by the time you get there.

And then I discovered Dolores Park. San Francisco's version of the beach, a convenient little oasis smack dab in the middle of the city.

Friday, April 27, 2012

D is for: Doodle Noodle Tuna Casserole {Recipe Remake}

No, I did not make up the name of this recipe just so it would coincide with "D" week. This is actually the name of a dish my dear Grandma Joyce used to cook on the farm for all the hungry workers during wheat harvest. It was never one of my favorites as a kid because it called for bell peppers and pimiento. Some years ago, I decided to make it with broccoli and mushrooms instead and suddenly I loved it!

However, I don't tend to make casseroles too often these days. Like...hardly ever. For one, they usually call for some sort of condensed "cream of [insert ingredient] soup." Have you ever looked at the labels of one of those things? Way too many ingredients that end in "ate." Casseroles also generally call for other fatty ingredients (mayo, cheese, etc)...which aren't the best idea if you are trying to eat healthy.

But recently I was inspired when one of my Twitter followers asked if I had any good, healthy casserole recipes. Who says casseroles can't be healthy? I took on the challenge to remake this classic farmhouse recipe. (Thanks Brooke!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

D is for: De Rodriguez {Miami Restaurant Review}

I was looking through some pictures the other day and came across all of these gorgeous photos I snapped at a dinner in Miami last month. I had totally forgotten about these! And then I realized they would work perfectly for "D" week.

It was my first trip to South Beach and it was in celebration of my friend Kim's upcoming nuptials. We had a fabulous four days in the sun, and enjoyed a very memorable meal at De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean. Kim grew up in Florida, so she requested Cuban food for one of our dinners out. This was a "Nuevo Latin" spin on the traditional fare, and it was perfect for our girls night.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

D is for: Deer Tacos with Quesadilla Shells & Chipotle Sour Cream

If you ever have the chance to try venison, you definitely should. It's similar in taste to beef, but it's much leaner. Some people think it has a gamey taste to it, but I think has a more complex and rich flavor than beef.

It's pretty expensive to buy commercially, but my friend Devon scored some from White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, who is an avid hunter in the off-season. She made some delicious (and spicy!) venison chili when she did a guest post back in "V" week. Since she had some left over, we decided a taco night was in order!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

C is for: Chocolate Covered Bacon Candy & Maple Bacon Cupcakes

So I know it's technically the start of "D" week, but I have a couple more "C" week goodies for you. These were part of the Bacon Bridal Shower that I planned for my friend Kim. Although I had posted some of the recipes in previous weeks (i.e. Bacon Bloody Marys and Bacon Waffles), I wanted at least a few of the things to be a surprise, so I held out until after the shower today to post these delectable treats.

I will share more about the entire shower with links to the menu items next week, but I'm happy to report it was a big hit. We had a lovely time, and somehow managed to fit comfortably in my tiny San Francisco apartment. I was a tad nervous about an all bacon theme, but everyone really embraced and enjoyed our bacon-heavy menu.

I even managed to work bacon into a couple of the sweet treats, which I will share with you today. I did Maple Bacon Cupcakes for a dessert item, and made chocolate covered bacon candy as party favors for everyone to take home with them.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

C is for: Charlie Palmer's Burritt Tavern {Restaurant Review}

I was expecting Burritt Tavern to hit a home run. Instead, I felt like it was a solid stand up double.

Pardon the baseball comparisons, but that's the best way I can describe my experience there last night. My longtime friend Jake was in town with his lovely wife Janel. Wanting to be a great host, I poured over possible restaurant reservations, making one at Delfina and another at Park Tavern. But Jake preferred to eat earlier than 9 o'clock and stay closer to Union Square, where they were staying. My friend Jason suggested the newly opened Burritt Tavern by renowned chef Charlie Palmer.

First off, I love the vibe of the place. It's got that speakeasy feel, with exposed brick, large old photos adorning the walls and lots of dark wood accenting the entire bar and restaurant. The drink list is interesting and well thought-out and totally fits the theme of the place. I ordered one with rye whiskey, cherry herring, sherry, fernet and chocolate bitters. I'm usually not a fernet fan, but somehow this drink all worked together very well...sort of like a subtle chocolate covered cherry. We were lucky to snag a private booth along the wall, that comes complete with a little curtain if you prefer to dine in privacy. Background music is provided by a three-piece jazz band and you definitely feel like you are transported to another place and time.

Friday, April 20, 2012

C is for: Chicken Parmesan Grilled Cheese

As you may have noticed, I’ve been cheerfully enjoying National Grilled Cheese Month with my Green Bean Casserole Grilled Cheese Sliders and my Grilled Cheese Roundup over on Brit. I just couldn’t help myself, so I was back at it in the kitchen this week coming up with another delicious creation. This one was inspired with my favorite sandwich at La Villa Delicatessen in Willow Glen. It’s been awhile since I’ve had one, so I can’t remember exactly, but I think their version is more of a sandwich rather than a melt. Either way, my rendition turned out AH-mazing (if I do say so myself).

I’m not going to tell you lies. This is not a healthy sandwich. BUT…I did make my own tomato sauce and I baked the chicken instead of frying it, so that cut down on the calories a bit. I went with Fontina cheese because it seems to melt better than mozzarella, and I really like the way it tastes with the chicken and tomato sauce.

If you like Chicken Parmesan, you are going to L-O-V-E this sandwich. So what are you waiting for? Click here to check out the step-by-step instructions over on Brit.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

C is for: Chard & Chickpea Stew

 Today’s recipe is one passed along to me by my dear friend Janie McCauley, a fellow Bay Area WSU grad (Go Cougs!) who writes for the Associated Press, and often covers a lot of the same teams as I do. If we’re not chatting about the clothes or the Cougs, we’re talking about food. Janie is really good about eating healthy, and she passed along this recipe to me a couple months ago. 

The best part about it is that it’s super simple to make, but very hearty and healthy at the same time. When the Giants are home, I work a lot of night shifts, so it’s helpful to make something on Monday that I can easily heat up for lunch throughout the week. This chickpea and chard stew definitely fit the bill. I used chicken broth, but feel free to use veggie broth to make it a vegetarian soup. I also used fresh tomatoes, but Janie said she used canned ones and it still turned out great!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

B is for: Bacon Bloody Mary

I'm so honored to be throwing a bridal brunch shower next week for my friend Kim Grubbs. As much as I love to cook and host, I've never actually hosted a shower of any sort. Probably because a lot of my friends and family live in other cities (Seattle, San Diego, L.A., etc). Of course, I have been menu planning and brainstorming for months.

I may have mentioned this in the past, but Kim can't eat any meat. This is not something of her choosing, as she would eat duck every week if she could. Her body can't break it down properly. But what we DID discover is she can eat cured meats. Yup...she can have bacon. I would venture to say that if I was only allowed to have one type of meat, bacon would be right up there.

So as I was starting to make lists of possible breakfast foods, bacon kept popping up in all of my ideas. And then it hit me...what if we did a bacon-themed shower?!? (Don't worry, I'm not ruining any surprises. This is definitely something you want to clear with a bride before you move forward. For the record, Kim was stoked about the idea). Then I remembered having a bacon bloody mary at Tractor Room in San Diego. Done and done.

Friday, April 13, 2012

B is for: Baseball Jello Shots

It's baseball season!!

Being your resident sports reporter/foodie/jello shot expert, it only seemed fitting I provide you with something special as the 2012 season kicks off.

People ask me all the time what my favorite sport is. As a kid, it was definitely basketball. I loved playing it and I loved watching Michael Jordan (who didn't?). As I got older, it switched to football (Go Cougs!) And I still love lazy NFL Sundays during football season. Covering the Sharks has made me understand and appreciate hockey.

But my favorite sport to cover has to be baseball. It can be a grind during the so-called "dog days" of summer, but in the end, I really do love going to the ballpark everyday. (Especially when you get to cover a World Series Championship!)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

B is for: Brie & Green Bean Casserole Grilled Cheese Sliders

Did you know there's a food holiday every single day of the year? In fact, some days, there are more than one. Some foods even get entire months dedicated to them.

April is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, and April 12th is the specific day dedicated to America's favorite toasty, cheesy sandwich. Clearly I had to do something to celebrate...but the question As a frequent reader of food blogs, I've seen just about everything. Baked potato grilled cheese, buffalo chicken grilled cheese, caprese grilled cheese. Sweet, savory...the list goes on and on.

As I started brainstorming, I wanted to do something that elicits the idea of comfort food, because after all, grilled cheese is right up there with the best of them. When I think of comfort food, I think Thanksgiving. And when I think Thanksgiving, I think of green bean casserole. (And turkey and mashed potatoes and a lot of other things, but definitely green bean casserole.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

B is for: Black Bean & Veggie Burger

For some reason, I love veggie burgers. This is not to say I don’t enjoy a good juicy hamburger from time to time, because I do.  (I’m a Montana girl afterall). But there’s something about combining the different flavors of veggies and beans into a patty that just appeals to me. Last week, I made homemade black bean burgers with leftover filling from the zucchini cups and ate them with my delicious avocado fries. They were so good I just had to recreate them for “B” week. 

This recipe is very versatile, meaning you can use just about any type of vegetable you want. The good news is, because I was experimenting last week, I learned by trial and error that they definitely need something to hold them together. Just regular bread crumbs weren’t enough, so I added some dry oatmeal for some structure and fiber. The second batch came out great…crispy on the outside, slightly soft in the middle and they didn’t fall apart.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

B is for: Baker & Banker {Restaurant Review}

Baker & Banker sounds more like a law firm than a restaurant, but make no mistake, this establishment can lay down the law when it comes to good food. (Get it?? You see what I did there?)

It's named after Lori Baker (who actually IS a baker....she's the pastry chef), and her husband Jeff Banker. It's located in an old apothecary space in Pacific Heights. This place is constantly coming up on my Yelp searches, and it's also listed on the SF Eater 38, so it's been on my list for awhile. They also have a bakery on site, that's open from 9-5. Apparently they have an amazing brown butter chocolate chip cookie, so I will have to go back during bakery hours.

As for dinner, I went there with my mom during her most recent visit to San Francisco, and we had a fabulous meal.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

B is for: Blood Orange Mimosa Jello Shots

Remember when you were younger, playing youth sports like soccer or tee-ball, and one of the moms would bring a bunch of orange wedges for halftime or after the game? Well, fast forward about 20 years or so. I now find myself playing on an adult kickball league (yes, I said kickball), and instead of orange wedges, I bring orange peel jello shots. Hey, we’re all still kids at heart, right? 

Making jello shots in fruit peels is nothing new on e is for eat. I made Lemon Meringue and Arnold Palmer jello shots in lemon peels. I made Ruby Red Greyhound jello shots in grapefruit peels. I’ve also made orange creamsicle jello shots in orange peels on my own before, but I wanted to step it up a notch for the blog. As you might have noticed, I’m sort of obsessed with blood oranges at the moment. (The citrus salsa, the blood orange mojitos and margaritas in Arizona). And if you’ve read the blog from the beginning, you know that I’m also partial to champagne. Enter the blood orange mimosa jello shots!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A is for: Arizona, Part Deux {Restaurant Review}

Once again, I find myself in Arizona. This is my third trip here in the last six weeks. I swear I've spent more time here than I have in San Francisco recently.

Anyways, you might remember the first time I was here for two weeks, I diligently documented my daily restaurant adventures in Scottsdale. Since it's appropriately "A week" while I'm here, I'm doing a second list of Arizona restaurants...this time in the Phoenix area. I'll probably add a couple more over the next few days, but wanted to get this out there before the calendar changes to "B."

I'm extremely excited to tell you about Pizzeria Bianco, which Andrew Baggarly suggested during my first trip here. It's a well known pizza spot, and they don't take reservations, so it gets SUPER busy. In fact, I called Friday night around 9PM to see what the wait was, and the lady told me 2 hours. Sorry, I don't care how good the pizza is, I wasn't about to wait two hours.

A is for: Aurilia's Sesame Seared Ahi with Asian Noodles & Veggies

I'm very excited about today's post for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's freaking delicious. And simple. And relatively healthy (minus the sugar). You should probably run out and buy the ingredients RIGHT NOW. I'll wait for you to come back.

Back? Good. the other reason I'm so excited about this post is it marks the first in what will hopefully become an ongoing series with Bay Area athletes and food. Whether it's learning personal recipes from guys who like to cook, accompanying them to their favorite restaurant, or even going fishing with them and cooking up the fresh catch of the day...I think it will be fun and interesting, and I'm super excited about it.

These segments will eventually air on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and also on the company website, but I'll give you a sneak peak on the blog so you can try out some of the recipes ahead of time. I'm sorry to say I won't have step-by-step photos at this time as it would've been too difficult to shoot video and photos simultaneously, but I'm sure I will be making this one again, and will update it later.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A is for: Anchor & Hope {Restaurant Review}

I had the pleasure of having my mom come to visit last week on the tail end of a work conference she was attending in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I had to work much of the time she was here, but we still managed to have some great meals, as always.

Since I was working the late shift on Friday, I was able to break away for a quick dinner. I did a quick Yelp search for restaurants in SOMA, and one called Anchor & Hope popped up. It's not one on my "list" of places I've been wanting to go, but it's seafood (which my mom loves), it was close to work, and it gets pretty decent reviews. (I usually stick to 4-star spots on Yelp, but I will make an exception for 3.5).

Two things that particularly caught my eye: their lobster roll and the angels on horseback appetizer. Lobster, oysters, and bacon....can't argue with that combo!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A is for: Asparagus, Broccoli & Kale Soup

Sip your veggies!

Obviously I'm on a veggie soup kick these days. The carrot cauliflower soup last week was a big hit (both on the blog and in my belly), so I decided to give it an encore this week.

I received a bunch of green veggies in my CSA bag, so I decided to make quick use of several of them in this delicious and very nutritious green soup. I did a combo of asparagus, broccoli and kale. Talk about your daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals!

And according to this article on, some vegetables can actually increase their nutritional value when cooked, including asparagus, broccoli and cabbage (kale is a member of the cabbage family). And if you still aren't convinced this soup is for you, check out these stats courtesy of

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A is for: Apricot & Basil Tart {guest post}

My loyal blog are in for a treat this week. I know I often deprive you of desserts, so this week, I'm treating you to TWO things to satisfy your sweet tooth. In addition to the Easter-themed amaretto cream chocolate strawberries, I present this lovely Apricot & Basil Tart, courtesy of Jullie Anne Caparas (who you might remember from the Yellowfin Tacos). Thanks Jullie Anne...these look amazing!
Hi everyone! I just thought I’d share this unique recipe I came across recently. It was just a regular night in the middle of the week…but I was seriously craving dessert. Ordinary cake or brownies wouldn’t do, I wanted something different. Ultimately, I made this interesting tart after a suggestion from my sister (my usual taste-tester when I try new recipes and a lover of apricots). It also caught my attention because I absolutely LOVE using basil in desserts. Its floral notes and mint-like quality go great with sweets. So, here’s to all of you that are hoping to maybe fancy up your mid-week meals or just want a funky dessert to try: Apricot Basil Tart!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A is for: Amaretto Cream Cheese Chocolate Strawberries {for Easter!}

I got so carried away with the delicious avocado fries that I forgot to announce I've decided to start back over with the letter "A." I considered several options...including dropping the letter theme altogether, picking letters randomly out of a hat, etc.

Ultimately, I decided I really like the letters because it gives me a focus and direction each week. And when I think back to the first days of the blog, I really neglected the beginning of the alphabet. I only posted ONE recipe during A week the first time around. Can you believe that? (Not to mention some less than stellar photos).

I promise that won't be the case this week. I've got some delicious A recipes to share with you, including these AH-mazing amaretto cream cheese filled strawberries dipped in a Bailey's chocolate sauce and decorated with pastel buttercream to look like Easter eggs. They're a mouthful of goodness...sort of like that last sentence.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for: Avocado Fries {Baked} with Cilantro Ranch Dipping Sauce

If you spend a lot of time on Pinterest (and let's be honest, how can you not?) you've no doubt seen some version of these avocado fries floating around.

Since avocados have started appearing in my CSA bags recently, I decided to get on board and see what all the fuss was about.

Oh dear.

Now I understand the genius that is the avocado fries.

First of had me at avocado. I love anything with avocado.

Secondly, they're fries. Done.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, these are baked and much healthier than their potato cousins. (Avocado is the "good" kind of fat y'all).

Sign. Me. Up.
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