Happy in My Soul: My First Farm to Table Dinner

Bloomfield Farms Inaugural Farm to Table Dinner

A little over six months ago I had the opportunity to cross an item off my bucket list and go to my first truly Farm to Table dinner. This experience was so amazing that it re-ignited a long time dream of mine and spurred me into action. Hence my last post about some changes ahead, so it only seemed appropriate that I tell you about this experience as my first post of the new SavoryGirl. The dinner was hosted at Bloomfield Farms in Petaluma, CA on a gorgeous summer evening in July.  It was the first one they've ever done, organized by a farm friend, sommelier and restauranteur David Lynch of St. Vincent Tavern and Wine Merchant here in San Francisco. So a few friends and I met at St. Vincent on a Sunday afternoon, piled into a chartered bus and sipped rose as we rode up to Petaluma with the sun starting to set over the hills of wine country. That gorgeous view out the window of the bus was enough to make me nostalgic for the summer I spent in Napa during my MBA internship and I found myself in an amazing mood as I stepped off the bus 90 minutes later.

Aesthetic

As we began to walk around Bloomfield Farms my mood skyrocketed...breathing in the fresh air, taking in the views and playing bocce while sipping wine with the very people who grew the grapes and made the wine from three vineyards all within miles of Bloomfield Farms. This all reminded me of an idea I had for a business years ago but had buried deep while I built my life and career here in San Francisco. As I though about this idea again while enjoying the wine and having fun with my friends I found myself saying over and over again that this experience was making me "happy in my soul".  And this was all before the food!

Kicking off 2015 Right!
Yoga at Amansala Bikini Boot Camp, May 2014

Yoga at Amansala Bikini Boot Camp, May 2014

I love January.  As much as I love the holidays (and wow, do I LOVE the holidays!), January is never a let down for me. Why? Because there's nothing I love more than a fresh start. A chance to re-examine things, make some changes and believe that you can stick to them. Now, I'm not talking about resolutions per se...I've never really been into those...but I am talking about habits and lifestyles and changes for the better both big and small. I truly believe that every day I wake up is a new opportunity to be the best version of myself, and January is like the ultimate new day! Not surprisingly, a lot of the changes that I start thinking about each January have to do with food, health and fitness.

This year, however, my focus is a bit more on mental health than on food, physical health or fitness.  Why?  Because I feel like I inadvertently dabbled in this space a lot in 2014 as I went through my hardest year yet.  And every time I dabbled, it felt really, really good.  So good that I want to make this focus a more central part of my life and routine.  In 2014 I crossed an item off my bucket list and went to Amansala's Bikini Boot Camp, I took a 6-week meditation class, I got back into therapy after 10+ years off, I read a couple of really empowering and fantastic books (The 5 Things We Cannot Change and Nonviolent Communication for those interested) and I just genuinely focused on improving myself in areas where I was feeling a bit shaky.

So to start off 2015 I'm heading to a 3 day yoga and meditation retreat to try to lock in all of that cumulative goodness that I acquired in 2014 and really start this year off right. I'm super excited to take a solo and leisurely drive up the coast, have a few days with no cell service, practice lots of yoga and meditation, eat all organic, vegetarian meals, have time to hike in beautiful Salt Point State Park and then cozy down each night with a good book and a warm bubble bath all while surrounded by the beauty that is coastal Northern California. I mean really, doesn't that sound divine?

But before I head out, I thought I'd leave you with a few links to my blog posts, below, summarizing what I focused on in January 2013, two years ago. That year the focus was on food, so I did the 3-week Whole Living Detox which was amazing. A lot of prepping and cooking each Sunday, but so worth it as you'll see in my four summary posts below which are chock full of all of the amazing recipes and photos.  And the three habits that seemed to make such a difference for me back then, I'm proud to say are still 80% a part of my life 2 years later! When I return from my 3-day yoga and meditation retreat I'll be picking out a few of my favorites from that detox to include in my weekly menus throughout the rest of January to keep my healthy momentum going, so stay tuned.
SavoryGirl Video: Off the Grid Fort Mason

After this amazingly beautiful weekend in the Bay Area it is clear that summer is here...and that means Food Truck season is in its prime! So I'm re-posting this May 2012 video and post to inspire you to get out there and start sampling all of the amazing Food Trucks that the Bay Area has to offer!

May 3, 2012

Street food is one of my absolute favorite things about traveling abroad.  It's the fabric of a culture...what ties communities and generations together while allowing locals to make a living and share their authentic food with those who come to visit.  Eating street food is like drinking locally grown wine...it allows you to taste and get a sense of place.  Terroir, if you will.

The relatively recent swell of food trucks in our own country brings this glorious tradition to our own backyard...but even a die-hard foodie like me found it hard to keep up with all of the different trucks and be where they happened to be just at the right time.  So for the first couple of years when food trucks were all the rage, I kind of missed out which was frustrating!  But who has time to chase trucks all over town just to show up right when they're running out?  So when Matt Cohen founded Off the Grid, which brings food trucks from all over the Bay Area together into centralized locations I was thrilled!  Finally, an efficient way to sample from many food trucks and support my local food scene.  It's like I'm traveling & eating all around the world right in here in San Francisco.

This short video takes you on a tour of the Fort Mason Off the Grid market...take a quick look and then swing by on a Friday and check it out yourself!

Foodie Itinerary: San Diego, CA

One of San Diego's Many Beautiful Beaches

This is a reposting from September 2011 as I head down for a visit with friends this upcoming weekend... Sunny San Diego...how we love it here! I know, I know...everyone loves it here but we have a sentimental attachment since we lived in Pacific Beach for 3 years right after college, got engaged and got married here. We were young, poor, in love and on our own starting to define what our life together would look like for the first time. Incredibly happy memories filled with sand, sun & way too much drinking with good friends.

So all of this nostalgia means that our visits to San Diego tend to be a little different than our typical Gastronomic Globe Trotting. Instead of trying to track down the latest and greatest restaurant or looking for an authentic "taste of place" we tend to just stick to our old haunts (mostly in/near Pacific Beach) and hang out with friends. That being said, a lot of our old haunts are the perfect taste of San Diego to us (and pretty darn cheap since we were so poor!) so I think you'll enjoy some of our favorites when you're in town as well:
Foodie Itinerary: Wine Country…beyond Napa & Sonoma

So you've explored Napa and Sonoma and fancy yourself a CA Wine Country enthusiast.  Not so fast...there's a whole lot more exploring to do!  When you first move to the Bay Area, you spend a lot of time in Napa and Sonoma and bring all of your visitors there...but after a while you branch out a bit, and fall in love with the California wine country all over again.  So when we don't have Wine Country virgins in town (who really should be first introduced through Napa in my opinion) our preference is actually some of these lesser known regions.  We prefer them for the more laid-back, humble feel and because they make wine (and sometimes food) just as good as the more famous and expensive regions.  So here are my favorite regions beyond Napa and Sonoma and a few recommendations for where to taste, eat and stay for each...photos to help inspire can be found here:
Foodie Itinerary: Sonoma, California

Ah, Sonoma.  This is a different experience than Napa...a bit slower paced and gives you a glimpse into what Napa maybe used to be like before it got so popular.  Don't get me wrong...there are still plenty of tourists, but there's just a different vibe.  The people working at the winery linger to talk to you longer and there's a sense of simplicity that is both welcome and comforting.   You do have to drive a bit more in between wineries if you follow my list below, so as with all wine tasting please be careful and make sure you have a designated driver.  Sonoma's a bit harder to do in a day and get the full experience so I suggest a weekend to truly enjoy it at the leisurely pace you should adopt while visiting this unique and tasty region.

My recommendations for what to do, where to eat and of course where to taste are below...and to see some pictures of many of the wineries and surrounding valley check out my Sonoma Photo Album.
Foodie Itinerary: Napa!

Summer is right around the corner; the grapevines are starting to fill out and soon will be heavy with grapes and lush foliage.  It's a wonderful time of year in wine country.  Living in the Bay Area and being passionate about food and wine means I often get asked for wine country suggestions, particularly since I actually used to live in Napa and worked at a winery for a summer.  I love wine country and boy do I have lots of recommendations!  So consider this the first of a three part series on Wine Country....Napa, Sonoma, and Beyond. First up, Napa!  If you've never been to wine country before, Napa should be first on your list. Yes, it's touristy and at times a bit cliche but it's Napa!  You should experience all Napa has to offer first and then move onto the smaller and more quaint wine regions like Sonoma, Russian River and Alexander Valley.  Exploring and understanding Napa will allow you to appreciate the others even more.  Trust me. If you can, try to go during the week since the weekends are more hectic. My recommendations for what to do, where to eat and of course where to taste are below...and to see some pictures of many of the wineries and surrounding valley check out my Napa Valley Album.  It will inspire you to start planning your trip right away!
Video: Off the Grid with SavoryGirl

Street food is one of our absolute favorite things about traveling abroad.  It's the fabric of a culture...what ties communities and generations together while allowing locals to make a living and share their authentic food with those who come to visit.  Eating street food is like drinking locally grown wine...it allows you to taste and get a sense of place.  Terroir, if you will.



The relatively recent swell of food trucks in our own country brings this glorious tradition to our own backyard...but even a die-hard foodie like me found it hard to keep up with all of the different trucks and be where they happened to be just at the right time.  So for the first couple of years when food trucks were all the rage, I kind of missed out which was frustrating!  But who has time to chase trucks all over town just to show up right when they're running out?  So when Matt Cohen founded Off the Grid, which brings food trucks from all over the Bay Area together into centralized locations I was thrilled!  Finally, an efficient way to sample from many food trucks and support my local food scene.  It's like I'm traveling & eating all around the world right in here in San Francisco.



This short video takes you on a tour of the Fort Mason Off the Grid market...take a quick look and then swing by this Friday and check it out yourself!

Weekly Menu: April 15-21, 2012
Sunday: Asian Inspired Pot Roast with Creamy Grits & Spicy Bok Choy
Monday: Leftovers: Tacos from last week
Tuesday: Leftovers: DIY Pizza from Saturday
Wednesday: Leftovers: Pot Roast
Thursday: Ginger Pear Pumpkin Soup with side salad & bread
Friday: Christian's brother Kyle is in town! Eat Out
Saturday: Leftovers: Soup
This week's menu is very leftovers heavy...not on purpose really more because our meals last week stretched further than we thought they would.  Made our grocery shopping bill very affordable this week!  If you followed along last week, I hope your Tacos and Pizza came out as delicious as ours did.  If yours weren't a home run in your house (it happens to all of us!), just try to get creative and turn your leftovers into something new. The taco meat could turn into a layered enchilada casserole for example.

If you didn't try the DIY pizza night that I recommended in last week's menu I encourage you to do so soon.  We've been trying to make homemade pizza for quite a while and this dough recipe and minimalistic approach to toppings made our most successful DIY pizzas yet!  The dough requires no kneading, is super easy and comes out great even without a pizza stone or fancy tools/ovens. Blistered, crispy crust at home, really! Christian even said these could replace going out to eat fancy artisan pizzas at restaurants for him. High praise from a pizza lover in a city with great artisan pizza everywhere you turn (Tony's, A16, Una Pizza Napoletana, Pizzeria Delfina, Delarosa, just to name a few of our faves!).  I'll be writing a post about our successful pizza night soon...stay tuned.
Pacific Catch

 

I keep waiting until a time where we actually eat in at Pacific Catch instead of ordering out to take a good photo and tell you about it, but I've decided enough is enough and it's time to share!  Pacific Catch is by far our favorite take-out place...we order it in at least twice a month, which is saying a lot for us since we prefer to try new places and are rarely repeat customers!

So what's so great about Pacific Catch?  They have fantastically fresh seafood, great flavor combinations and super high-quality ingredients.  I order the same exact thing every time (which again, is crazy for me!)...not because the other bites I've had aren't delicious as well but because I genuinely crave this dish pictured above (it would be even prettier if not in a take-out container!).  So what is it?  It is the Japanese Wasabi Bowl with Poke and half brown rice/half salad (instead of the full white rice order it usually comes with).  So freaking good!  Ridiculously fresh Ahi, avocado, fresh ginger, micro greens, wakame salad, shredded nori all lightly dressed in a soy wasabi sauce.  Don't let the wasabi in the  name fool you, it's not super spicy.  Mix it all together sit back and eat some of the most guilt-free yet satisfying take-out you've ever had!