TAPAS Grand Wine Tasting

This was our first year attending TAPAS Grand Wine Tasting (TAPAS = Tempranillo Advocates, Producers & Amigos Society) and I have to say, we found it to be quite a fun time!  So what exactly was this event?  Details below:
  • WHAT: It is billed as the most extensive annual tasting of domestically produced Spanish & Portugese varietal wines in North America.  While Tempranillo was certainly the star, there were plenty of other wines to taste such as Albariño, Verdelho, Graciano and more.
Lots of Good Eatin’ Over Memorial Day Weekend!

What a fun Memorial Day Weekend we had...so much yummy food I’m almost sick of eating. Almost.  It started out with an afternoon at KQED filming the season 6 opener of Check Please! Bay Area...that’s right, yours truly is going to be on the show!  More on that as the air date get’s closer!

During the rest of the weekend we tried out three restaurants that we hadn’t been to before: Chouchou in Twin Peaks, Flour + Water in the Mission, and the new Bun Mee in the Fillmore.  We attended SF Carnival 2011 and even made it to the North Bay to go to the 22nd Annual Larkspur Flower & Food Festival after a 35 mile bike ride up Mt. Tam...gotta earn those calories somehow!

Phew, I’m tired, happy and full just thinking about it!  Since it was such a fun food-filled weekendI thought I’d give you a quick run down so you can decide which restaurants or events next year you want to check out yourself...
Atelier Crenn – Poetic Culinaria

Atelier Crenn is a relative newbie to the Cow Hollow end of Fillmore Street (in the old PlumpJack Cafe location) having only opened their doors in January of 2011.  While I don’t typically do restaurant reviews, Atelier Crenn is a unique enough experience that I thought I would share.

Atelier Crenn is the brainchild of Dominique Crenn (you may recognize the name from her Iron Chef win or her three Michelin Stars). Dominique spent her childhood in France and her French upbringing is certainly seen in her cooking.  The name of the restaurant references her father’s workshop Atelier Papa Crenn and his artwork can be found in the restaurant.  If you venture for a visit, be prepared, it’s an expensive night out even without alcohol.  The Chef’s 8-course tasting menu cost $115 (four-course menu is $72) with beer/wine pairings running you an extra $70. Since I was with two friends we opted to simply buy two bottles of wine instead (at roughly $60 each). So at the end of the evening the damage was about $180 including tip.  Each.  And to be perfectly honest, your not exactly full after 8-courses of “Poetic Culinaria.”  But it is a unique and entertaining evening that is different from most anywhere else I’ve been in San Francisco... consider it dinner and a show all wrapped up into one.
New! PieTisserie…pop-up pie shop in downtown Oakland

Who doesn’t love a Pop-up Pie Shop?  Seriously...what a great idea.  I have to admit, I’m definitely more a pie-gal than a cake-gal anyway, so the fact that PieTisserie has “popped-up” right around the corner from my work for the entire summer is dangerous.  Bikini season ain’t looking so good! PieTisserie’s owner, Oakland resident Jaynelle St. Jean, has been making pie for years...first starting out by staging a window of her mother’s home and giving away slices to friends of the neighborhood.  She must have quickly realized she was on to something as she soon set her mission to fill the need for unique and delicious pies, or, Random Acts of Sweetness as her tagline proclaims.
Smitten Ice Cream! The First Hayes Valley Proxy Project Shop

A friend of a friend recently opened up Smitten Ice Cream shop in Hayes Valley...the first shop to be opened in the much anticipated Proxy Project to be exact.  If you’re not familiar with the Proxy Project, it’s a temporary two-block construct with a focus on sustainable design intended to house retail, art galleries, gardens, community use spaces and of course restaurants.  Keep an eye on this project, folks, it’s sure to be a foodie focal point being right down the street from the original Blue Bottle, across from Millete and soon to be next door to planned Proxy inhabitants such as Suppenkuche’s Biergarten, Ritual Coffee (in Blue Bottle’s territory?  Neat!), Delfina Pizzeria, 4505 Meats and more!

But I digress...back to the first Proxy Project opening, Smitten Ice Cream.  While this is Smitten’s first “permanent” location the ice cream has been being sold by founder Robyn Sue Goldman via her Radio Flyer wagon and Kelvin (more on that in a minute!) since 2009.  Where?  Well, Robyn has been quite industrious in getting the word out and a following for Smitten Ice Cream while the details of a shop location were in the works.  From samplings on the streets of San Francisco to Bay Area festivals to corporate events, Robyn has been wowing ice cream enthusiasts everywhere with her fresh and innovative take on ice cream.
Foodie Valentine’s Day Celebrations

Christian and I celebrated V Day on Sunday with a trip to the SF Ballet to see Giselle (fabulous!) and dinner at Paul K (a bit underwhelming).  But we also celebrated on V Day proper by cooking a nice meal at home and popping a bottle of bubbly so I thought I would review both celebrations.

I’ll start with the dinner we made ourselves on Valentine’s Day itself...a nice bottle of 2006 Mumm Blanc de Blanc, Mussels Steamed in a Spicy Tomato-Cilantro Broth with a DIY salad of Arugula, Beets, Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese drizzled with truffle honey, balsamic, olive oil, salt & pepper.  Dessert was homemade chocolate dipped strawberries.