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Showing posts from October, 2018

Asheville NC: Breakfast at the Moose Cafe

The Moose Cafe at the state farmers' market in Asheville is a treasure: great food in huge quantities, welcoming service, and beautiful flowers everywhere. This is my breakfast. I couldn't finish it but I sure enjoyed it.

Asheville NC: Baked Pie Company

I spotted Baked on the way to dinner and instantly knew where dessert would be. The shop has a wide range of pie flavors in several styles: cream, fruit, low-sugar, nut. The place was hopping on a Saturday evening. An evening pie shop is a great idea. The decor is cozy. I didn't manage to get a photo of my low-sugar raspberry pie but it was all-around good: filling and crust.

Asheville NC: Dinner at Travinia

A celebration called for a trip to the mountains and a nice Italian dinner. Traviana in Biltmore Park Town Centre fit the bill. My meal started with a Caesar salad and moved onto a nice plate of chicken marsala and pasta. I don't have the chance to eat marsala very often in Atlanta and I welcomed the chance to enjoy it here.

Butter-Basted Steak

Inspired by this article from Serious Eats, I decided to butter baste a steak. I marched down to Tucker Meats and picked up a nice, thick ribeye. Then I got to work. The technique is pretty much as it sounds: keep spooning butter over the steak as it cooks, flipping it several times in the process. The goal is not to make the steak taste like butter, although it does pick up a nice buttery flavor. The hot butter helps to cook the steak on both sides at once. Flipping also helps to even out the heat. As a side effect, the butter helps to give some nice crunchy bits on the steak's outside. I also made some home fries. While the steak rested, I drizzled the leftover steak butter on top. The result was deliciously crispy potato and superbly crispy potato skin. This was a very satisfying meal.

Silicon Valley Agriculture

A few pockets of farmland still exist around the South Bay. I found one next to Cadence headquarters. In the middle of the large field was a tarp and a very nice family selling a variety of fruits and vegetables. I bought some raspberries that I enjoyed over the next two days. I am impressed by the hardiness of these farmers. Some day, another corporate headquarters may be dropped onto this land. In the mean time, I'm glad that these folks are making use of the land and enriching our lives.

San Jose CA: @YC Coffee

Faced with a few minutes of free time, I decided to check out San Jose's Japantown. Tbese days the neighborhood is home to a mix of cultures plus some urban gentrification. I stopped by @YC for a quick snack. I found a store decorated with quite a bit of art. The proprietors were friendly and welcoming, clearly proud of their shop. My bagel with cream cheese hit the spot. I sat down and enjoyed it before heading out into the world.

San Mateo CA: Wursthall

A trip to the northern end of the Penninsula gave me a chance to try Wursthall, the restaurant associated with Chef Kenji Lopez-Alt. Downtown San Mateo is filled with early 20th century architecture. The space inside has a modern, airy feel that complements the traditional facade. I went with currywurst. The sausage was good, the potatoes were outstanding. The potatoes combined bits of crunchy exterior and a soft, nourishing middle. The curry sauce combined a kiss of spice with creaminess, a perfect combination for the potatoes and an alternative to butter as a source of moisture. I am disappointed that I was told only at the end that they do not accept cash. Electronic commerce exposes customers to a number of risks of both security and privacy. Telling them they can't pay with cash only after they have eaten is a little late.

Los Altos Hills CA: Cetrella

Dave introduced me to a new place in downtown Los Altos Hills. Cetrella is a California Italian restaurant in an elegant setting. The menu combines Italian pastas and meat dishes with modern pizzas. I followed Dave's lead on ordering. First, a light and flavorful salad. Then onto the salmon pizza. The thinly-sliced salmon worked perfectly. The distinctive taste of salmon wasn't an obvious pizza topping for me but this worked very nicely. The salmon was thin but still retained its moisture and texture.

Cupertino CA: Cafe Torre

Kees and I reminisced about the past and planned the future of IoT over dinner at Cafe Torre: excellent food, gracious service. Service started with bread, of course. My lasagne was excellent and a very subtle take on a dish that can easily lean toward extravagance. Kees went with the clams. I finished with a capuccino and a lemon tart that was delicately tart and just sweet enough.

Santa Clara CA: Logan's Big Dawgs

There I was, driving around Santa Clara near the 49ers stadium, on the prowl for Chinese food. That's when I spotted this stand on the side of the road in a quiet residential neighborhood. I had to stop, of course. My chicken andouille sausage was very good. It gave the distinct spices of Louisiana but wasn't overpowering. The white sauce gave an extra kick of spices combined with a very nice creaminess. I sat at a picnic table, enjoying the food, the sun, and the day.

Santa Clara CA: Breakfast at the Biltmore Hotel

Hotel breakfasts can be convenient or a disappointment. I was pleased to find that the Biltmore's breakfast was very pleasant. I use eggs as a canary; these eggs were fluffy, not oily, and most important not crunchy. The buffet also provides a table of Chinese breakfast items.

PHX: The Refuge

My transfer at Sky Harbor allowed me to enjoy an espresso at The Refuge. This coffee house is operated by Catholic Charities. I have renewed my acquaintance with espresso lately. I enjoy its simplicity and minimalism. I try to gulp less and appreciate more.

PHX: El Bravo Mexican Grill

A transfer at Sky Harbor gave me a chance to try some different airport restaurants. I decided for El Bravo for lunch and was quite satisfied. My cheese enchilada was flavorful and filled with soft, comforting cheese; the salsa was smooth but pretty tasty. The refried beans were very creamy, the best I've had in awhile.

Tucson: A Feast at Feast

I joined the Farmers for another wonderful meal at Feast. The chef very graciously stopped by to start off our evening. We started off with a host of appetizers. The beef bone filled with marrow, my personal favorite, didn't make it into the shot. A quartet of main courses. Mine was the beef, served on a bed of wonderful vegetable with a bit of a gingerish Thai taste and great texture. Finally, dessert, of course. Several of us ordered the chocolate licorice cake. The licorice was very subtle but discernable in the aftertaste---an unusual and very good combination. The vanilla cookie contrasted in both taste and texture.

Arlington VA: Enjera Restaurant

I was in the mood for something a little different for dinner on my trip to Crystal City. Ethiopian food fit the bill. I enjoyed my dinner in Enjera on the quaint main street that used to be the business district before Big Development came to town. This is my veggie special. It packed an amazing variety of textures, flavors, and colors onto one plate, particularly given that none of the dishes included meat.

Arlington VA: Bob and Edith's Diner

In the mood for a hearty breakfast, I stopped by Bob and Edith's Diner in Crystal City. It has the old fashioned diner style and service---welcoming, efficient. Here are my veggie omelet, home fries, rye toast, and coffee. The omelet was very good, although I wish I had known that I had a choice other than American cheese. The home fries gave that perfect balance between crispy exterior and creamy potato interior. Rye toast is something I don't make at home and always a treat.

Arlington VA: Clark Street Grill

Crystal City in Arlington is one of those upscale food deserts one finds in northern Virginia and other new urban environments. It can be hard to find food outside 9-5 business hours; breakfast can be tough, too. Clark Street Grill was open and nearby so I decided to give it a try. Here is my breakfast of scrambled eggs, potatoes, and toast. Everything was workmanlike. The eggs were perhaps a little more oily than my preference but the potatoes were very enjoyable. This meal got the job done and was reasonably priced.

Dining at Duke

My Duke friends gave me a chance to see and try several of their campus dining facilities. We started with lunch at The Commons where the beef stew was my favorite. We checked the downstairs food court, which included this coffee house that also serves freshly-made crepes. Hmmm, crepes... We continued our discussion over coffee next to the bookstore. My Mexican coffee was a refreshing change of pace---the cinnamon gave it a nice hit.

Chapel Hill: Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill

My Duke friends took me to Stoney River in Chapel Hill to discuss research over dinner. The space is large and decorated in a casual elegant style. The open kitchen is huge and fun to watch. I started with this tomato and mozzarella salad. The mozzarella was very fresh and gave that nice chew along with some milky sweetness. The fried onions were very tender/crisp thanks to their thinness. And that pile is huge, isn't it? My ribeye was nicely cooked to medium rare and salted. In addition to the mushrooms, I also tried the sweet potato souffle with nuggets of brown sugar. Several of us enjoyed the creme brulee for dessert. It was very creamy and covered with a beautiful crystallized sugar sheet.