Bar Bocce

I don't know if there's anywhere in the world I'd rather be during the Fall than in the Bay Area.  Fall in San Francisco is always spectacular, and this year has been no exception.  Bar Bocce, in Sausalito is one of the best places to experience this phenomenal weather.  Grab a glass of Prosecco from the bar and play a round of bocce on their water-front court while you wait for a seat on their great big outdoor patio and you have yourself an afternoon!

If you happen to get to Bar Bocce a bit later in the day or didn't hit it on one of our spectacular fall days have no fear...they have a great big fire pit and cozy fleece blankets for you to wrap around yourself while you stare wistfully at the shimmering water and idyllic house boats.

So...how's the food?  Well, Robert Price of Buckeye Roadhouse and Bungalow 44 is in charge of the kitchen so you're in good hands.  But like so many restaurants with amazing spaces and views, the food doesn't quite live up to the ambience.  It's good food, but not great food...but the spot is so fantastic that I do always find myself coming back for more.  Some of our recent samplings from the menu...

Slow Cooker Sauerkraut & Apple Pork

 

This is a new recipe for us, adapted from "Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever."  It sounds so yummy and perfect for the end of October though that I just had to share.  What I like about this recipe vs. other similar ones that I've seen is that there isn't any cinnamon or nutmeg going on here.  Nothing against those spices, but I am SavoryGirl after all and I prefer my dinner Savory and my dessert sweet.  So dinner that tastes like apple pie just isn't for me!

If you were sticking to German traditions you would likely serve this with some buttered potatoes or spaetzle, but since Christian's triathlon is less than a week away we're going to lighten it up and serve it with a side of dark greens...maybe collard greens, kale or our old standby roasted rapini. Nothing like a nice and easy Slow Cooker meal on a Sunday, enjoy!
Weekly Menu: October 30 – November 5, 2011
Sunday: Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples
Monday: Lemon-Dill Halibut with seasonal vegetables & brown rice (DIY)
Tuesday: Poached Eggs with Mushrooms, Tomatoes & Toast Points
Wednesday: Leftovers: Pork Chops
Thursday: Leftovers: Poached Eggs Dish
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Carb Loading for Christian! Homemade Pici & Roasted Red Pepper Salad (DIY)
One week left until Christian's triathlon!  Which means we have a nice carb-loading meal scheduled in for the end of this week...one of my all-time favorite homemade pasta recipes, pici!  Otherwise we're keeping it relatively simple and healthy this week with minimal fat and meat.  I always love breakfast for dinner, so I'm pretty excited to try out Tuesday's new recipe and the new fall-inspired slow cooker recipe on Sunday seems like a perfect way to finish off the month of October.  Have a great week and keep your fingers crossed for Christian next Sunday!  
Homemade Pici

I learned how to make this super simple, rustic & traditional Italian pasta at one of the 18 Reasons Noodle Labs (see my post on the class here) that I attended in the Mission here in San Francisco.  If you've never attended an 18 Reasons class, I strongly recommend doing so...super fun, laid back and informative! What I love about this particular pasta, though, is that it forces you to slow down, use your hands, and enjoy some quality time (and wine!) with friends while making it...don't try to make this pasta alone!  It wouldn't be nearly as fun and you'd end up stuck at a table rolling out the pasta for an hour to get enough for two by yourself.  But don't let that scare you off, I promise it's super easy, just a bit manual, but the resulting pasta (and traditional breadcrumb topping that goes along with it) is so worth it.  I know it's going to feel a bit odd for some to not have a sauce and instead just have the pasta with the breadcrumb topping...but trust me on this one, the Italians know what they're doing!
Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes

How my Christian loves his pancakes...so much so that years ago when we started cutting back on processed foods (meaning no Bisquick) he started experimenting himself with different pancake recipes...and he was no cook back then! He's now made so many different pancakes that we often lose track as to which are our favorites, but these Pumpkin Pancakes are a mainstay... especially in the fall.  Christian's tinkering with this recipe has perfected them over the years and boy was he happy when I woke him up on his birthday last weekend with a freshly made batch topped with candied pecans! So what's so special about these pumpkin pancakes vs. others?  Well they're healthy as far as pancakes go (hey, the amount of butter & syrup you slather them with is your issue!), spiced and flavored perfectly and oh so puffy...which is my one and only criteria for pancakes on the rare occasion that I eat a sweet breakfast. Just in time to try out a few times before Thanksgiving breakfast....they're always a hit with our family and friends as a start to our Turkey Day!
Weekly Menu: October 23-29, 2011
Sunday: Christian’s Birthday Dinner: Bacon Wrapped Scallops w/  Roasted Rapini & Tomatoes and Cheesy Polenta (DIY)
Monday: Taco Night with Spicy Brussel Sprouts (DIY)
Tuesday: Salmon over Warm Lentil, Apple & Walnut Salad
Wednesday: Leftovers: Tacos
Thursday: Chickpea Soup with Kale & Diavolicchio
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Leftovers: Soup
So we're back on schedule with the menus again with no trips planned out of town until Thanksgiving!  This week is a good one, because we're starting it off with Christian's birthday so I'm making him his requested dinner and then we're going old-school with a good 'ole family taco night.  Haven't done that in a while, so we're looking forward to it...we usually make our tacos with ground turkey and homemade seasonings so their a bit healthier and we control the salt.

The rest of the week is getting us into the Fall spirit with one new Salmon recipe (I'll let you know what I think!) and one of our favorite soups from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook (Vol II).  The diavolicchio in this recipe is basically red-pepper flake infused olive oil...it's super easy to make and insanely addictive.  We always make extra so we can slather it on everything in our house for weeks.  Yum!  
Weekly Menu: October 16-22, 2011
Sunday: In Orlando, FL for work
Monday: In Orlando
Tuesday: In Orlando
Wednesday: In Orlando
Thursday: Shrimp & Artichokes over Parmesan Grits
Friday: Leftovers: Shrimp & Parmesan Grits
Saturday: Eat Out
Oh, I'm sorry to say that you're on your own again this week...I'm heading to a conference for work so most of this week's menu is non-existent, but feel free to go back to menu archives and fill in the blanks.  After this I'm back until Thanksgiving though...so there shouldn't be anymore interruptions to the menu.  And speaking of Thanksgiving...stay tuned, good stuff planned, I'm cooking for 12!
Shrimp & Artichokes over Parmesan Grits

This is an oldie but a goodie, honestly probably one of the earlier “gourmet” recipes when I was in my early days of cooking.  It was these types of early simple dishes that gave me the confidence in the kitchen and gave my now husband the confidence to propose to this gal who was starting to feed him so well!  This is quick and easy for a weeknight but satisfying meal.
Umami Burger Arrives in San Francisco

Most of us living in the Bay Area know that there is a, shall we say, friendly little competition between those of us living in San Francisco and those living in L.A. Why? I'm not really sure. They're such different cities they're honestly hard to even compare but the back and forth continues. Which city is better? Nor Cal vs. So Cal? The prettier people? The smarter people? Which is better...having prettier people or smarter people? The best restaurants? It goes on and on. Silly really, but it's here to stay.

So when I heard that L.A. import, Umami Burger was opening it's first northern CA location in my neighborhood I was intrigued to say the least. So intrigued that Christian and I popped in for lunch on day 2, right in the middle of their soft launch. So not really fair to assess the restaurant in it's entirety so early but since we did check it out I thought I'd share:
Weekly Menu: October 9-15, 2011
Sunday: Chicken Curry Udon Noodle Soup (DIY...see thoughts below)
Monday: Spinach & Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf with late season corn on the cob
Tuesday: Leftovers: Soup
Wednesday: Leftovers: Meatloaf
Thursday: Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies & Fried Croutons with Farmer's Market Shishito Peppers
Friday: Leftovers: Orecchiette with a side salad
Saturday: Eat Out
We're getting back into the swing of things this week with a few favorites and one new recipe that I've been wanting to try for a while.  The Chicken Curry Udon Noodle Soup is inspired by some of the delicious dishes we've had at one of our favorite restaurants...Noodle Theory.  To make it we're going to riff off of two of our own favorite recipes (Thai Chicken Noodle Soup & Khao Soi) and use Udon which we're both kind of obsessed with these days.  We're pretty excited about the idea of this soup, so if it comes out well I'll post the recipe we end up creating.  The meatloaf recipe is an oldie but a goodie...one we've been making from way back in our early living together days.

Orecchiette is one of our favorite pastas so when I stumbled upon this Bon Appetit recpe a while back I made note of it, so I'll let you know how it turns out.  We also saw some beautiful shishito peppers at our farmer's market which seemed like a nice appetizer/side to go along with the orecchiette dish....they're very en vogue these days showing up on pretty much every appetizer menu we see from Zuni Cafe here in San Francisco to Girl & the Goat in Chicago.  They're so super delicious and so easy to make...just sautee them up in some olive oil salt and pepper until they start to blister a bit and eat them whole.  Yum!