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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Taqueria San Bruno, San Fran, California

Taqueria San Bruno on Urbanspoon


This was on my list of places to visit while in the area, as soon as we got off the plane we headed over. A little out of the way and modest looking should not turn you off from giving this place a try because the food and service are second to none.

I knew I was having Shrimp tacos (I head read the reviews) and they did not disappoint me. Soft shells and flavourful shrimp - yum.  I also tried a fish ceviches, it was fresh and tangy with lime and celentro. They give you chips and you can choose the salsa you want, ranging from mild to kinda hot. Add  Lime to your beer and you are a happy camper!

My second visit (on the way back to the airport) I had a Carnitas burrito, So good! Huge with crispy pieces of well seasoned meat. I had enough left for a second meal.

4 mmm`s out of 5

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Monday, 27 April 2015

A weekend visit to Napa Valley, California - Here are my suggestions

I Just spent the weekend in Napa and like most things, doing a little bit of homework makes for a perfect holiday. Since I wasn't there for long, I wanted to get the most out of my time and money.

First thing I did was find a place to stay, Candlelight Inn, I booked it on line.  http://www.candlelightinn.com/  Not too expensive in Napa terms.They have beautiful rooms, lovely grounds, a heated pool and a dynamite breakfast - that is included in the price.

Next and Most importantly, We visited the down town visitor center and spoke with Jim. After telling him that we had visited Napa before and we were not looking for 'Run of the Mill' he suggested a few wineries. We went to the Castello di Amorosa http://www.visitnapavalley.com/wineries-castello_di_amorosa_309.htm and to Nichelini  http://www.nicheliniwinery.com/ . I don't know what you are looking for but I will suggest, as he did 'Go early and Go far first' making your way back thru Napa, It gets crazy busy!! The Visitor center will be able to suggest exactly the type of wineries for you to visit depending on your taste.
Tasting rooms are an option too  http://www.trnapawineco.com/wineries.html

I knew that I wanted to have some Great meals, I am spoiled living in Montreal.
http://www.napatouristguide.com/restaurants-downtown.html so I ate at Zuzu and a sister restaurant of the same chef, La Taberna - my personal favorite. They are almost beside each other on Main street Napa. (Reviews of both can be found here on my blog) http://bigmamasnest.blogspot.ca/

I found a few top secrets  http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/napas-top-secrets,5374/?page=1  and visited The Oxbow public market, a great place to pick up some food to take with you. At many tasting I heard "I need food!" Tasting a lot of  wine requires food.
I had lunch at La Luna Market, it has picnic tables in the back of the store. Simple surroundings and good food (It is the place to pick up inexpensive spices) Both places are worth visiting!

The next day we went to Sonoma and I loved it! It is how Napa use to be, a gentler  pace. We went to Chateau St Jean http://www.touringandtasting.com/destinations/sonoma-valley/chateau-st-jean/ and had wine and cheese in their rose garden. Then we visited Deerfield https://www.rexfamilywineries.com/xe/xe.asp?page=viewcat&cat=deerfield-ranch  an Organic winery.

Your Napa/Sonoma Adventure can be any thing you want, Enjoy!



La Taberna, Napa California

La Taberna on Urbanspoon


The chef of La Taberna has a proven track record ( Zuzu, Atlas social and a few more) so Yes, you can expect Exceptional food here. Pintxos are a Spanish tapas that are truly Bite Size pieces of art. Each morsel is delicious and if you are a little bit adventurous, your taste buds will be delighted.

The smoked black cod was fantastic...a small piece of cod served in a tin (similar to that you would find oysters in)  served with pan fried bread and dressed with a tasty olive oil. My mouth waters just thinking about it! We continued to ask for suggestions and we were thrilled with the results, a flavourful octopus and rich suckling pig. Each Pintxo is between $4 and $7 allowing you to try a variety of dishes.

 The vibe is relaxed making it a wonderful place to share wine and great food. If you have a big appetite, you will sample many items before you fill up. Maybe not the right restaurant if you are starving but certainly the right restaurant for exceptional dining.

5 mmm's out of 5

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Zuzu, Napa, California

Zuzu on Urbanspoon

Zuzu is on Main Street in old town Napa, it is a popular Tapas restaurant with both locals and visitors, as a result it is busy. They do not take reservations But before 5:30 it is quieter, so if you are visiting from the East coast the early time might work for you. There is an up stairs so don't be put off when looking in to a full restaurant.You can bring your own wine with a corking fee  around $15 (we were never charged, it is possible that the fee is only a formality)

The menu is varied and asking for assistance will depend on your waiter, some will say that everything is great, others will share their personal favourites. We shared every dish, starting with Queso, fried Manchego cheese. Followed by a tasty Bacalao, Salt cod with white truffle oil, it was similar to a fish cake. We followed the suggestion of the waiter and tried (reluctantly) Boquerones, white anchovies, sliced egg and Remoulade on grilled bread. to say it was fantastic is an understatement, how could anchovies be that good?? Be Brave! This is a Must try, it is so smooth and creamy on the toasted bread, it is truly Unforgettable.

Start with four dishes for two people and work your way from there.

4 mmm's out of 5



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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Polcari's Restaurant - Saugus

Polcari's on Urbanspoon


When we arrived, without a reservation, I thought we would never get in!  After a short 20 minute wait our party of 9 was seated.

Most of our group opted to share pizzas, I was one of the few that ordered Pasta. I had Schiaffettoni, a jumbo rigatoni tossed with caramelized onions, toasted walnuts, spinach and garlic cream sauce.
It was Huge! 

 The dish was good, the flavours had mingled, although the sauce was not terribly thick I was pleasantly surprised by just how tasty it was. The restaurant has a family style feel to it, comfortable for a crowd with the signing of Happy Birthday in the background.

Our bill was extremely reasonable, since things could be easily shared!
3 1/2 mmm's out of 5Image result for polcaris


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Tavola, Winchester, Mass

A Tavola on Urbanspoon

This was my first visit to A Tavola ( I have been to the chef''s other restaurant) I want to say I love it, I really do, mostly because I like the chef and his staff. The truth is, it's average.

It was packed when we arrived and at that point I had no idea that the menu was prepared by the same person. A busy restaurant is a good sign, the vibe was great! We shared an antipasto, that did have an excellent homemade ricotta, a variety of cured meats and olives. I then had the evening special, a white fish with shrimp. The smell and the taste of the shrimp were over whelming, making the entire dish less than appealing.

We finished with 4 homemade donuts with 3 different dipping sauces, they were good but nothing special.  Atmosphere and great service can make an evening but for me, it's all about the food.
3 mmm's out of 5

A Tavola Dining Room

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Barros Luca

Barros Luco on Urbanspoon

I think I simply made the wrong choice because my family loved their meals. I had asked for one thing from the menu but they had only made a limited quantity and were all out, I then chose something else (beef tacos) and didn't love it. It had a seasoning that was way too salty. The shells were good, as was the salsa and the guacamole. The accompanying Salad was a little wilted and the rice - nothing special.

The sandwiches, which appeared to be the right choice, were given rave reviews  as were the empanadas. The surroundings were basic, the prices was very inexpensive and the service was extremely friendly ......so really a mixed review.

3 mmm's out of 5


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