Monthly Archives: May 2010

A week-end in Napa Valley

Last week-end we spent 4 days in St. Helena and Calistoga and enjoyed minute. We stayed two days in a wonderful bed and breakfast in Calistoga. The Meadowlark is located at 601 Petrified Forest Road in Calistoga,

The inn is owned and managed by Richard and Kurt and their love for flowers, horses and many chickens shows at every turn. The rooms are decorated with care including the perfect roses in the vase by the bed.

Breakfast is served from 9 to 10 each morning and the eggs have just been gathered that morning before Richard serves them to you. Call  1-800-942-5651 for questions.

We then moved to Yountville to spend one night at a new hotel called Bardessono. Bardessono is a very new up scale property that has built an all green hotel. One of the first all green hotels we have ever stayed in.  They provide a massage table in every room. This way your service is done right in your room and you can just put your robe on pour yourself a glass of wine and rest, before the next great meal. 

They have a very clean approach to the space, no rugs, drapes, automatic shades, and very little decor. Love the nice bottles of water that they leave by the bed, and in the refrigerator.

After Carl had his massage and I took some time to read my book we headed down the street three blocks for a great dinner at Redd. Every bite was a real taste treat, they offer most portions in half size so it give you a chance to try more of their seasonal dishes.

Breakfast was wonderful with a very healthy selection of fruits, baked goods and several nice to order items. If you are dining with them you may bring a great bottle of wine you picked up during your day of wine tasting with no corkage.  Worth the visit but very different feel than the other high end options in the valley.


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BBQ season

We have been having fun creating our own sliders using a new tool from Sur La Table. You can go to and pull up item 64355 which is the mini patty mold, the grill basket that holds 9 perfect size burgers for easy grilling.

Franz bakery in the Seattle area is now making perfect slider buns. Buy ground meat that has some fat content, grate one medium onion into about a pound and a half of meat, 3 tablespoons of A1 sauce , 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and pepper to taste. Mix together with your hands and form the mini burgers in the press.

Spray the basket with pam place burgers in the basket and grill to desired doneness.

On each bun we put dejon mustard on one side and made a pink sauce, mayo and ketchup mixed together, on the other. Buy a jar of hamburger pickles and place one or two chips on each bun. When the meat is done open grill basket and add one to each bun. The guests will love them and eat more than one each so plan ahead.

You can also make a great turkey burger by using fresh ground turkey meat and season as you like.



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Week-end in San Francisco

There are meals that you will never forget and that is what I have to say about our dinner in San Francisco last week. On Thursday we had a group of friends together to celebrate my husbands birthday, meeting at Quince.

Quince is a restaurant that has grown from a small space into a very beautiful room with food and staff to match.

Quince, 470 Pacific Ave, S.F.  415 775 8500.

After  a perfect selection of 4 passed appetizers we were seated for a 6 course tasting menu matched with several wines. We all decided the Tortelloni with Smoked Ricotta Cheese, white asparagus and fiddlehead ferns could never be matched.

If you go don’t miss the King Salmon with two vegetable purees. When you live in Seattle you believe you have tried salmon every way and usually never order it when you travel. Don’t miss this creation you will never taste salmon lik this again.

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Maui, Hawaii

Just a couple of notes about a visit we had to Maui last month. We had two wonderful dinners. “Hali Imaile” is well know to those that travel to Wailea and the region around the airport. Hali Imaile is owned by Bev Gannon, she has been recognized for her creative use of local produce in her many restaurants of Hawaii.

If you are in the region closer to Wailea try the Cafe O’Lei in Kehei 808-891-1368, make reservations and enjoy the energy of this fun local restaurant. Everything from sushi to ribs was served by quick moving happy waiters.

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Week in Spain

I just spent a week in Spain and had many great eating experiences and shared time in the city of Leon.

I arrived in Madrid and stayed at Gran Melia Fenix meeting friends for a quick tour through the Sunday flea market and lunch at Cafe de Oriente. Then a fun late dinner at “Alkalde” about 3 blocks from the hotel and well worth trying.

We had a private tour of the new collection at the Prado, always a must no matter how many times you visit Madrid. That night we went to the soccer game with 100,000 other fans. Madrid won so of course we had a late tapas tour in the old city.

Monday morning we took the new speed train to Valladolid for a great lunch and then boarded a bus to Leon. Leon is the location of a newly refurbished palace that has been given to the University of Washington for future students to come and study Spanish language, history and the arts. We will have up to 60 students in residence next year and for years to come. What a gift.

While in Leon we stayed at an old convent “Hotel San Marco” , or The King and Queen of Spain were there for the dedication along with the President of Spain and many local dignitaries. We shared dinner in a local restaurant called Bodega Regia where the dishes were presented as they have been served for 100 years.

Back in Madrid we had dinner at a local restaurant know for its ox tail stew, large steaks and Flamenco. The Flamenco show starts at 10 pm and is one of the best in the city. Worth the visit. The sound of the music, beating of the feet and chanting of the singers draws the crowd into the energy.

The next day I visited my friend Maria and her sister at their wonderful kitchen store, Alambique at plaza de La Encarnacion. If you are in Madrid and have time to take a great cooking class call Maria at the store or go on line to see what classes are being offered.

For lunch Maria took we for a short walk from the store to newly remodeled market “Mercado de San Miguel in Calle Mayor next to the Plaza Mayor. Small stalls with vendors selling the best ham, cheeses, breads and of course Spanish wines by the glass or of course a bottle. You can buy your wine, plate of perfectly  sliced ham and sit at a small table in the middle of the beautiful glass domed building and share the special tapas.

Later we walked a few blocks to a great new restaurant, cooking school and private event space. The restaurant “Fuentes and Bonetillo serves lunch and dinner or can be reserved for a private dinner or wine tasting. .

Enjoy Madrid I always do!

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