Tuesday, January 27, 2015

If It's Monday It Must Be Dim Sum

Monday, January 26, 2015

Only 3 of us today but we had a great time. Dim Sum at the Seafood Palace during the week is very limited because they really are not that busy during the day. We ordered a couple of items off the cart then went to the main menu. Since only 3 eating today we did not go overboard on the selections.

Saturday and Sundays Dim Sum is a huge cart menu. Need to get to the Seafood Palace early because they get very crowded on weekends. Dim Sum and dinners.

We started out with Walnut Shrimp and Beef Tendon off the cart and had the egg custard tarts for dessert also from the cart.

The Walnut Shrimp was excellent. Good light sauce and very tender shrimp. The beef tendon is a put off for some people but it was very tender . It is a matter of taste and texture. I do not have too many hang ups when it comes to food. I will try anything once. I do not have to have it again if it's not to my taste but I have discovered so many foods that really enjoy just my taking that first taste. I do not limit myself.

We were given  a bowl of the Hot  Spicy soup on the house. I do like this soup. Full of flavor but not too spicy. Just a slight hint.

Then to the main menu where we had the white fish with Chinese vegetables. Today it looked like very small bok choy. Only a few inches long. Fish was tender and very mild with a thin sauce of some sort. Good flavor.

Last item was Pepper Beef with fat noodles. Again good flavor, tender beef. One person at the table thought it should have been more peppery but I was quite happy with it.

Not a long list of wines. 2009 Huber Pinot Noir and 2009 Sea Smoke Bottela. Interesting because Huber is on Hwy 246 and Sea Smoke is just over the ridge from them towards Santa Rosa Road. It was a taste off. Sea Smoke was more fruity and a bit bolder. Huber was more restrained but an excellent wine.

I brought a bottle of NV  Diamant, Vanken , Reims, France, Champagne. Bought this bottle several years ago and wanted to open it with a very small group of people. A bit on the sweet side and very crisp. I probably would not buy it again as I prefer other Champagnes at half the price. Paid $80 for this bottle mainly because I did like the taste but I really wanted the bottle. Clear glass, designed by Baccarat. Not sure what I am going to do with the bottle but will hang onto it for awhile until I get a brainstorm.

So a nice 3 hours of food, conversation and wine. Just beat the rain home. Nice to have these Monday's off.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kashiwa Sushi

Wednesday. January 21, 2015

I have driven past Kashiwa for years, ever since it opened. Never stopped in. The former owner of Kinokawa is the owner and head "sushi" roller here.

So when the LBSS posted a dinner here I jumped on it. There were 9 of of us tonight. Four including me decided to to the Omakase dinner. 12 pieces of sushi, miso soup, cucumber salad and a small serving of cooked tuna with sesame seed for $45. Saved me from trying to decide which sushi I wanted. If I am confronted with more than 2 items on a menu I have a hard time making up my mind. Everything sounds good and I want it all so it ends up being a big dramatic decision.

Can't remember all the types of fish but every piece was different. There was, salmon, salmon belly, mackerel, halibut, snapper, uni, toro, . All very good and super fresh fish. Should have kept notes. Cucumber salad was good, extremely thinned slices of cucumber with a very light vinegar oil dressing. Miso soup was standard

Everyone ordered  beer. I happen to like very cold beer and when it starts to get warm I cannot dink it anymore.  I very rarely order a beer in a restaurant. I can open one at home and keep the bottle in the freezer with the unpoured liquid and drink it at my leisure.

I ordered a half bottle of Au Bon Climat Chardonnay (only one available besides house wine) $18. Did not ask what corkage was. Will need to do that next time. I do intend to go back since I drive by the place every day coming home from work. Excellent food and service. not cheap but good sushi never is.

Kashiwa has a wide selection of Japanese food dishes. If you are not a raw fish person there is something on the menu for alternates. There was tempura ordered along with a bento box , poke salad and several other non sushi dishes. Everyone had high fives for the food.

This is close to a authentic establishment you would find in Japan. No neon lights. Small rooms for private dining while seated on the floor. Can't remember the correct name for those types of rooms. Along with a small dining area with tables and chairs and a chef's bar.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Harvey Wallbanger Brunch

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kelly & Dimitry decided to host a Harvey Wallbanger brunch today. Partly to celebrate several birthdays and the main reason I think to use a lot of the oranges on their tree. They squeezed 70 oranges this morning for fresh juice. It was a very good juice, sweet but not full of acid. So good in fact I had 3 large "bangers. I would have had a couple more but since I was driving I decided to back off,

Everyone brought a food dish so there was a good variety. A platter of baked french toast made with cream cheese and nuts, biscuits and gravy, an egg casserole with green chiles and turkey sausage, a potato, cheese, bacon "cupcake", a platter of croissant sandwiches,  fresh berries, a dessert kabob of fruit and nutella spread pancakes and a large birthday cake.

No one went hungry or thirsty. Birthday gifts for everyone one celebrating a birthday within 30 days of the event,

Weather was perfect. We all sat outdoors and enjoyed January in California. It was a nice, relaxing day

Dinner at Ceppo

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Paul, Margie and I decided to do a recon dinner at Ceppo's in Huntington Beach to see if it would be a good choice for one of Margie's monthly dinners. This place used to be Raymond's Bistro then some kind of pasta house that was terrible and now a new owner and a new name. Sign outside is deceptive. It says Japanese - Infusion. Nothing to indicate Italian food. The appetizers do have a Asian influence but the pastas and entrees are Italian. 

We decided  because of the limited amount of tables and the atmosphere it would not be good for a monthly dinner.

Food was good. I had the "Kobe" beef tartar and upon questioning the server it was decided that the beef was "Wagu" not Kobe". The price of $8 was not an indication of "Kobe" beef. "Kobe" would have been 4 times more money.  Margie had the fresh Burrata (housemade) with procuitto wrapped pear slices and Paul had the Pork Chashu. He said the pork was slightly dry.

I also had the Pork loin cutlet that came with fresh vegetables. It was good and not dry at all.  Paul and Margie both had pasta dishes. I thought the portions were slightly small. But they said their food was good.

Since it was just the three of us we had two bottles of wine. Corkage was $10 and I doubt if they would ever waive that fee. I brought a 2005 Tanca Farra, Alghero, A blend of 50% Cannonau and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. I think this wine would go a few more years. It was tight. I drank the leftovers a few nights later and it was much better. Paul and  Margie opened at 2012 Pio Cesare Gavi.

May's Thai Kitchen

Wednesday, January 14, 2014

Several of us gathered at May's Thai Kitchen in Long Beach tonight for dinner. This is not a wine crowd, most drink beer so I just ordered a glass off the limited menu. Small place, bad parking. Food was OK. My dining companions raved about it. Not too sure if it's that much better than Nayada and Issara.

I ordered a small bowl of Tom Yum soup. To me it was a large serving. It was good but I thought that it did not come up to the Tom Yum soup at Nayada. I also ordered a "sizzling seafood plate". Seafood was very fresh, sauce was OK. Took the majority of my food home. The soup really filled me up.

The company was great, the food OK. I would have to try a few more dishes to see it it is that much better from what I am used to.

First Wino Gathering of 2015

Sunday,  January 11, 2015

Today we headed to Santa Monica for our first gathering of the "winos" for 2015. Theme today was reds from Rioja, Spain and whites from Chile.  Very good selection of reds, a few Gran Riservas and some older wines. A 1996, 1998 and a 2002.  A couple I was impressed with.

Weather was great, no rain here which is good since everything is outdoors. This has been a rainy week so a break was nice.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

India Grill

Saturday, January 10, 2015

18 of us for dinner tonight at the India Grille in Cypress.  Seating ended up being  a disaster due to a large birthday party that did not vacate when they were supposed to.  Instead of having a long table in the middle of the restaurant we were sat at 3 tables.  5 people at one with banquette seating and outside chairs. 3 of us at banquette seating with outside chairs and in a corner and 10 people at a longer table in the middle. Wines could not be passed around easily. You had to get up and wander to see what was on the other tables. Conversations were limited. Dishes of food were not evenly shared. Banquette seating is difficult because people on the inside have to have a easy way out so you cannot seat more than 4  people in the back. Not the most ideal situation.

Food was very slow in getting out of the kitchen. They were simply over whelmed. It was just one of those days. Rained all day. Light but rain. Almost everyone brought white wines and most were not good. I only tasted two whites that to me were drinkable. We had to get a glass to use for a dump. The people at the table I was sitting at agreed with me.

We started out with Paneer Pokoras,  cheese that was dipped in batter and fried. Vegetable Pokoras, mix of vegetables, battered and deep fried and Chicken Tikka, fillets of white meat marinated. All were good as always.

Main courses consisted of Lamb Chau Chau, pan fried noodles with pieces of lamb and vegetables.

Nirvana Chicken, Chicken Tikka in a coconut sauce. Very good.

Shrimp Marsala, shrimp simmered in butter, tomates and cream sauce. This must have been popular because I ended up with one shrimp.

Vegetables Korma, one of my favoirite dishes, mixed vegetables in a creamy cashew curry.

Of course we had to have Basmati rice and Garlic Naan

Dessert was a choice of Gulab Jamun, deep fried dumplings in a creamed milk and saffron syrah or Pistachio Ice Cream. I opted for the ice cream and it is not as filling as sweet dumplings.

As always the quality of the food was very good. Once the restaurant got back into a normal rhythm service was much better. It was just way too much for a small restaurant to handle two large parties back to back. There is no easy way to tell the first group that they over extended themselves and to get out. When people are having a good time they want to linger.

Wines were a really mixed bag. A few good but most mediorce. Some I never tasted and did not see on the tables

2009 Drew, Weir Vineyards, Yorkville Highlands, Pinot Noir
NV   Louis Bouillot Champagne
NV   Segura Viudas, Riserva, Cava Brut
2008 Gertarioko Amestoi, Takolina, Cusecha, Spain
2011 Firestone Gewurztraminer
2009 Huber,  Sta Rita Hills, Barrel Select, Pinot Noir
2012 Wiens, Temecula, Rose of Pinot Noir
NV   J Cuvee (sparkling)
2009 Benovia, Savoy Vineyards, Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir
2012 Zocker, Paragon Vineyards, Edna Valley, Gruner Veltliner
2012 Seghesio, Sonoma County, Zinfandel
2012 Oreana, Santa Barbara County Verdelho
2011 Dumol, Clove Vineyard, Carneros, Chgardonnay
2012 Anthill Frams, Tia Marie Vineyards, Russian Piver, Pinot Noir
2009 Tablas Creek, Rousanne
2012 Tablas Creek, Cotes de Tablas Blanc
2012 Tablas Creek, Palilin de Tablas Rose
2013 Dr. Heidemanns Bergweiler, Dry Reisling
2009 Maison Louis Latour, Marsannay, Burgundy, France
2012 Sonora Cutrer, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay
2011 Sequoia Grove, Cabernet Sauvignon