Friday, June 26, 2015

Charity Auction Dinner

When faced with an Auction theme "An Evening in Paris" to benefit a local church/school, I thought, "What if my friend Chef Dave Cruz came down from Napa to cook dinner?" Called up a friend who has a great house for entertaining and asked if she'd like to co-host a dinner with me. Neither of us knew the full extent of what we were getting ourselves into. It was hard work, but worth it.

Part of the fun, and issue, was the theme we came up with for the dinner: Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon. A fun, elegant, casual dinner party for 15 people was based on the fact the china has a French-theme. My china is based on 'the Loire Valley,' which I learned was France's valley of kings, a UNSCO World Heratage site. Versaille wasn't far away, Marie's Petit Trianon would be an ideal site for the dinner in mind. Queen casual.




Monday, August 12, 2013

Brix Restaurant

Talk about blessings in disguise. Our friends wanted to take my husband out for his birthday and suggested Bottega in Yountville. I contacted an acquaintance, James Darden, on Facebook to ask him if he could help us obtain a reservation, as he works there. Instead of responding, "sorry, can't help you," he simply 'unfriended' me. This seemed a rude thing to do, as the friend hosting us said, "Food is only as good as the people."
Lucky, lucky us, our chef friend Dave Cruz [who’s currently working as the Head Chef at Brix Restaurant located at 7377 St. Helena Hwy in Napa, CA  94558, just north of Yountville--(707) 944-2749] was excited to host us for dinner. It was easy for us to obtain reservations on opentable.com, for the time we wished. When we arrived Saturday evening we had a lovely table on the corner of the patio. The wedding in the distance looked ideal and beautiful; the weather perfect.

Chef Cruz sent out a wonderful selection that pleased our palates. It was beyond expectations, simply a relaxing, well decorated and manicured place to have a meal. A friend once commented that Brix was her parent's favorite place to eat, and they would go there each time they were in town. I don't have to wonder why anymore. Brix is sensational.
figs with manchego
polenta with pesto
pork belly
salmon tartar
prawns
sweet and sour chicken wings
flat bread
butter lettuce salad
panzenella
bronzino
halibut
beef short ribs
beef rib eye with smashed marble potatoes
apricot beignets and salted caramel ice cream bars
chocolate layer cake




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Backyard Restaurant

A couple of weeks ago received a message that Dave Cruz would be cooking at his friend Dan Kedan's restaurant Backyard in Forestville, CA. We immediately made a reservation.
Walking up to the restaurant after a 9 mile jaunt across Santa Rosa, passing by Willowside Meat (the butcher), and a right-hand turn onto Hwy 116, things looked familiar. Nearly 15 years ago, my husband and I ate at this restaurant before it became Backyard this past November. On a drive back from the Mendicino Coast, it was a convenient stopping place. Hearing a bit about Backyard from Chef Dave Cruz, we wanted to try it, and now that we know it's exact location, we'll be back when we're headed to the Redwood Coast.
Arriving after a busy couple of weeks, and thankful for a holiday weekend, I ordered "Tim's Mocha," which was most enjoyable. I'd drive this way just for this coffee drink, told by friends that it had whipped cream within. It's nice to know this restaurant shops the way we do at home, including dairy from Strauss Family Creamery.
The night's menu, five-courses featuring the bounties of Northern California and guest chef Dave Cruz, began with a trio of Amuse bouche. The crostini with kimchi, bacon beignet and buttered radish were served on a hazelnut wood tray.
The kind chefs sent out a flatbread with miner's lettuce, onion and sausage for us to try.
To the table came a beet and wheat berry salad with a yogurt and mint sauce. The Sonora wheat berries were perfectly cooked and made one think of the fiber and nutrients that support good living.
Pasta being made earlier in the day, as posted on Backyard's Facebook page.
and the finished product: Tagliatelle with egg, king trumpet mushroom and parmesan
Wild Alaskan halibut with quinoa flavored with flavorful carrots. Another dish that makes one think of living well, in good harmony with the earth. A dish that shows good stewardship/husbandry of the soil, plants and animals. Wish the world's population could all eat like this, we would feel better in our 'environmental skin.'
Grilled beef with potatoes, black trumpet mushrooms, asparagus and garlic butter.
Three cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery: St. Pat's, Mt. Tam and Red Hawk with marmalade were sent from the kitchen with kindness.
Lemon posset with cherry, pistachio brittle and meringue. As possets should be, it was like a lemon soup (thickened liquid). The flavors were bright, and cherry rich.
The owners Dan Kedan and his wife (her birthday, no less), are sweet and passionate about their restaurant. It has to be a good feeling to get up, work hard and know that while reaping the reward of long work, one's doing no harm to the world one's children will grow. The feeling of the restaurant is definitely family and future oriented. What a nice place to happen upon on the way to or from the Mendecino Coast, or it could strike one's fancy enough to stay in West Sonoma County permanently.