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Napa, my favorite place on earth 

Again, I went to Napa last weekend 🤗

First stop, wine tasting at Domaine Carneros, I really love their champagne, Demi-Sec and Pinot Noir, The Famous Gate ❤️

Pinot Noir tasting


Gorgeous bubbles

Can’t miss the cheese plate

Smoked salmon plate 😜is delicious

This goes very well with the bubbly

​​

This chocolate bar pairs really good with both champagne and red wine



Can you see the 🌈?

 

The view is spectacular at the outdoor seating area, it would be nice to grab outdoor seats during the warm days.

Second stop, V. Sattui, though I have been to this winery multiple times, this was the first time I did the tasting in the members tasting room. Their off dry Riesling is one of my must have, especially on a summer day’s BBQ!

I wish I can bring this home


❤️ my Allsaints city monument coat


After everyone had enough wine, we headed to Ristorante Allegria in Napa downtown for dinner. The tapenade for bread dipping is one of the best I have ever had.

Great food


It was a really fun outing with good friends, great wine and yummy food.

I can never have enough of Napa Valley.

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Where is the wine? 

Can you believe that I made a trip to Sonoma yesterday without having a glass of wine? 

I am in love with my Burberry scarf and coat

First time visiting Benziger Family Winery, but I missed the tram tour due to the late arrival. I walked around a little bit in the winery, and really love the ambient of it. There wasn’t many visitors at the time I was there because it’s almost 5pm on a Sunday. I am sure I will be back for the tour.


My main purpose of visiting Sonoma is for this place The girl and the fig.

There were a few empty tables at the patio 🤔


I arrived at 5:45pm, which I thought it’s still considered early for normal dining hours, and didn’t expect to be packed at the restaurant. I was told by the host that there wasn’t any table available for party of two, and the waiting is an hour.

Without wanting to wait for an hour, I took the communal table seating. I ordered a drink, a cheese plate, and side of fries.

After taking my orders, the server further asked if I wanted to have my entree ordered because it would take an hour to get the entered prepared and served. I wasn’t very happy to hear that, and decided to take a pass on the entree. 

Very refreshing non alcoholic drink, with pomegranate juice, soda, ginger and mint

The fig compote and the fig cake were tasty, the cheeses were kinda disappointed

This is a nothing special fries


Despite of the over 2500 reviews in Yelp, the whole dining experience I had in the restaurant really turned me off. Maybe it’s me, maybe will be more pleasant if I made a reservation ahead? Maybe…

The Girl and The Fig

110 W Spain St, Sonoma, CA 95476


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Beer Brined Chicken and Espresso Brined Chicken

From time to time, I ran out of ideas what to cook for dinner. It happened yesterday. 

I picked up a pack of chicken drumstick from  Sprouts Farmers Market, went home and started to brainstorm ways of cooking chicken. 

Steamed? Pan fried? Braised? Stir Fried? Next, at a glance into the fridge, I found the beer! 

Beer Brined? That sounds cool! I quickly deboned the chicken drumsticks and poured in the beer, added salt and black pepper. While I was doing that, another idea flashed through, “how about espresso brined?”

So, I put that into action as well, pulled two shots of espressos! 

Look what I found in the fridge? It’s beer


Pouring in the good stuff


The happy soak for 30 minutes


This is definitely for coffee lovers


🙄🙄🙄


While the brining process going on, I cooked the Capellini, and stir fried the Enoki mushrooms. 

30 minutes later, I pan fried the chicken, started with the beer brined. It tasted so good, that my boyfriend and I finished it in no time. Of course, I forgot to take picture of it. Yummy yummy in my tummy! 

The next batch of pan fried chicken was the espresso brined. My boyfriend isn’t a coffee drinker, he doesn’t like the taste of the coffee in the chicken, but I love it so much, it is  made with my favorite Lavazza Super Crema espresso. This time, I managed to take a picture of the plate. 

Pan Fried Espresso Brined Chicken, served with Capellini, along with Enoki mushrooms


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Happy Birthday to me 🎂

Birthday, it’s a day with a feeling of love and hate!

Love that I had a great time spending my birthday with my buddies and bffs! Surely, with yummy food 😋

Hate that I am growing older but not taller 😤

Wishing myself not just happy birthday, but happy days!

Zola
565 Bryant street, Palo Alto, 94301


Mushroom, potato gnocchi, poached egg, black truffle! All good stuff

This pork chop is to die for


Very tasty braised short rib

Another year wiser 🍷

I am lucky to have my BFF organizing the birthday dinner

😘

Thanks for coming!

I am going to celebrate my birthday for a week long!


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7 Courses Dinner Cooking Challenge

I wasn’t able to get a table booked with Acquerello for my boyfriend birthday this past Wednesday, which I have been calling in for few weeks to try my luck. After a long search among all restaurants in the area, I couldn’t find one that I really want to go as bad as I would for Acquerello.

Finally, I decided to take the challenge and make a 7 courses meal including dessert.

Ain’t have time to do a proper table setting, simply a menu, a few fresh cut flowers, and a bottle of Trimbach Gewurtraminer Alsace 2014.

img_1274I named my 1st course Red in Between 🙂

-heirloom tomatoes sandwiched between a bed of arugula and basil mango, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar glaze, salt and pepper of course. 

The 2nd course is Fig Fleur. I cut up a fresh black mission fig from the tip of the top, kinda make it a blossom way, stuffed with pepper goat cheese chèvre, drizzled with honey.


3rd course, I served the caviar plate. My very first time buying caviar from a grocery store. I picked it up from my favorite Whole Foods Market.

To buy me some extra times, I simply put together a pink grapefruit granita as palate cleanser. 

The 4th course, sautéed mixed mushroom with white truffle oil on toasted bagguette, topped with fresh burrata. It happened that I have a Kiwano fruit in my fridge, I set some of the green pulps on top of the burrata to freshen up the look of the dish.

Finally, 5th course, the entree begin with Maine Lobster Risotto. It was the first time I cook a live lobster!

I got this little guy from New England Lobster Market and Eatery!

Another palate cleanser to buy me time! Frozen Grape 🤗 yea, I was running out of idea!

The 6th course, lamb lollipop! I gave them a cast iron quick seared on both sides, dipped into rum, coated with brown sugar, and gave them a nice torch! I am glad I didn’t set up a kitchen fire…. Mint olive oil on the side.

 Tada…my last course, and the most enjoyable part of my entire cooking, Matcha Soufle. Too bad I wasn’t aware that my pantry was out powder sugar. So I dusted the top with matcha powder. Does it look like a green hulk?!?!

Despite all the mess I made in the kitchen, I think the dinner turned out to be pretty good.


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Weekend cooking 


I have been busy working on a few projects lately, finally I have a weekend rest this week.

It’s been months I been eating out too much, I really crave for some home cook food. Googled beef bourguignon recipe and the recipe from food network Ina Garten popped up http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/beef-bourguignon-recipe.html

I put everything together basically following the recipe, the only modification is I was using my Presto pressure cooker instead of the oven method https://www.amazon.com/Presto-6-Quart-Stainless-Pressure-Cooker/dp/B00006ISG6

Once it’s done, I realized that I forgot to grab the bagguette, so I replaced the carb with pasta. It turned out delicious, and I am happy with it!

Cooking and dining home, with my pajamas 🙂