chezpei.com

Trying to eat something delicious, each and every day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fried Chicken Friday!

Thanks for coming over, S and E! Dinner parties are fun. Fried chicken parties? Even more fun.

Here are our tasty plates, all ready to go. You can tell the photo was a rush job; I had hungry people waiting! We had fried chicken, mashed red and yukon potatoes, and heirloom tomatoes on a bed of butter lettuce.

E's plate. He's being healthy and laying off the fried stuff. Actually, I was pretty jealous of his plate because it was so pretty. I might have to make the same thing for myself some time. The chicken breast was marinated in lemon juice, salt, pepper, fresh basil, and dried oregano and sage. Then it was topped with a light salad of chopped parsley and olives in olive oil, and a little good Parmesan. It was really quite lovely.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

N's Fantasbulifferous Bridal Shower

Well, we finally pulled off N's bridal shower (and how!) Almost 20 girls descended upon Fort Mason yesterday for a really fun afternoon of eating and chatting.

Blogger stopped cooperating with me just as I was loading the last two photos, so I don't have a shot of the gorgeous venue. N's sister works at a nonprofit in Fort Mason, so we were lucky to have the use of a cotttage with a yard over looking Muni Pier and Ghirardelli Square. The setup was adorable. And here's the food table! Let's see some close ups.

Prosciutto wrapped breadsticks; simple but delicious. Who doesn't like prosciutto?

Endives filled with cherry tomatoes and microgreens, served with some Italian dressing. Tomatoes this time of the year are a great idea. We ate an entire bowl of them, plain, after the shower.

Chicken salad in puff pastry. Maybe I was starved for salty food after baking desserts for two days straight, or maybe this was just that good. I think it was my favorite thing all afternoon.

Cucumber sandwiches and smoked salmon sandwiches. It's hard to tell, but they are cut in the shapes of acorns and squirrels because there's a running joke that N loves squirrels (and scampers about and nibbles on her food like one).

Now, to all the sugar. I fried up Earl Grey doughnuts, which for a first try I have to say turned out pretty darned well. Mmmmm....doughnuts.

Plate of scones, both chocolate chip and currant.

Devil's food cupcakes with marshmallow fluff frosting. The cupcake recipe is courtesy of Martha Stewart; the frosting recipe is from Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle, which is one of the better cupcake shops sweeping the nation.

N's younger sister made these tasty apple galettes. It's scary how thin, fruity desserts encased in pie crust tend to just disappear into everyone's stomachs. Yum...pie crust...

Aha, something colorful and healthy--melon balls! There were also two bowls of mixed berries, which mostly ended up in everyone's champagne.

There was also a lovely cheese plate and mini skewers of mozarella, tomatoes, and basil. Everything was delicious, and the presentation was too adorable for words. N's sisters drove themselves half mad making sure all the decorations were set up, inside and out, and scouring second hand stores for shabby chic mixed china. I think everyone was very impressed with the entire soiree.

My plate. I know I cast a photo over it when I took the photo, but I was too hungry to care. Time to eat!

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lynmar

This picture pretty much sums up why I love Sonoma. Imagine birds chirping and the occasional eagle or horse passing by.

We discovered Lynmar Estate and fell completely in love with the winery. I had a lovely chardonnay and several nice pinot noirs. And that's saying a lot, because I'm not usually a pinot noir fan. There was also a rich syrah that's more similar to what I usually drink.

But mostly, the people and space won us over 100%. At Lynmar, when you purchase a tasting, you aren't forced to stand at a bar and make small talk with the employees while you try to down one wine after another. Instead, you place your order, then you pick a seat outside and the wines are brought to you, poured, described, and left for you to enjoy at your own pace. You are also welcome to bring whatever food you would like, or purchase amuse bouches that are paired with the wine.

Some of the outdoor tables are nestled in the middle of a flourishing herb and flower garden. We saw huge bushes of oregano, thyme, chives, asparagus, lettuce, basil, strawberries, sweet peas, posies, poppies, and a lot more. We even saw a birds' nest built into the side of the building, and the mother bird was flying back and forth with beetles for her babies. Ah, nature!

So if you find yourself in the Santa Rosa/Sebastopol area, do not miss a chance to visit Lynmar. Tastings are $10-25 instead of $5 or free, but it's a much more leisurely experience and you actually get to sip and enjoy your wine instead of feeling like someone's breathing down your neck waiting for you to drink your wine, swish it around in your mouth, pour out the rest, and then buy.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, W!

Birthdays are always a great excuse to eat and drink too much, and this Saturday was no different--except maybe the party lasted a little longer than a normal one. Oh, let's say, 12 hours? We started the afternoon with a trip to the gym. And if you don't think that sounds like birthday fun, you're thinking of the wrong person whose name starts with W.

After the gym, we hightailed it to Waterbar for their daily $1 happy hour oysters (11:30-6:00 daily, with $5 drink specials on weekdays). We discovered a new beer, the Pinkus Organic Hefe-weizen. The Leffe blond might have a more interesting flavor profile, but the Pinkus is really smooth and neutral; a nice fizzy drink to have with food.

Two dozen oysters were enough to leave our inner mollusk-lovers sated while leaving room for what lay ahead.
And, in the first surprise of the evening, a free drink! This apparently basil-grapefruit concoction was presented to us by a server who said the bartender had made it by mistake. Another table's reject was our gain. I'm puzzled why another table would reject a free drink even if it were a mistake, but freeloaders don't ask questions. It was tasty.

We hung out in the Fillmore for awhile, stopped by Harry's bar for a quick beer, and then went to Woodhouse Fish Company to wait for a table. As soon as we sat down, we ordered and killed this plate of deep-fried Ipswitch clams. It might have been a fluke of the evening, but I think the Woodhouse on Market does a better fry job. A bunch of W's friends joined us at this point for a lobster-fest.

Almost everyone ordered one of these, and the birthday boy ordered two! Delicious, and not overly mayonnaise-y.

J had the crab cakes instead, and I think next time I might too. J didn't think they had enough flavor, but at $12 for a pretty big portion I don't think he should complain too much.

A block's walk later and we were at Wine Jar, which is a cute little neighborhood wine bar but not somewhere I'd go out of my way to frequent in the future. To his credit, the proprietor did pour W a great glass of champagne when he heard it was his birthday. Pretty generous, given that our group of 8 only ordered a bottle of malbec and glass of red. To his credit, W doesn't love champagne and bequeathed his windfall to me. What are friends for?

Speaking of what are friends for, the above image is stolen from the web because we had too much fun at Mad Pianos to remember the camera. What happens at Mad Pianos stays at Mad pianos, but let's just say the group owed W a round of Jack D. shots after what we did to him.
Ah, Pearl's. It might just be W's favorite restaurant in SF. He introduced a lot of his friends to this place at the end of the evening, and put away a double-patty buffalo burger in a salute to his 28th. What a trooper. As usual, I stole his frings (that's fries and onion rings in one basket, for you newbies). All in all, a fantastic SF birthday!

PS. We did go to the Hidden Vine after Pearl's, but the new owners are a real buzz kill. They've turned one of my favorite places in San Francisco into one of the least enjoyable drinking experiences anywhere. Thanks, doofuses.

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