Tender Greens, San Diego, CA
Tender Greens is a chain of casual organic eateries with 12 locations in California. While known for their salads and sandwiches, I also think they make great desserts. This is a seasonal strawberry shortcake made with a scone, freshly whipped cream and strawberries sprinkled with some sort of citrus.
Locations are mostly in Southern California but there is one location in the Bay Area in Walnut Creek.
Pa Pa Walk, San Gabriel, CA
Pa Pa Walk is a Taiwanese eatery in San Gabriel Valley, which is East of Los Angeles. This “mango snowy” is just finely shaved ice, chunks of the ripest mango, and condensed milk, but it was the most refreshing treat after eating a large dumpling lunch nearby.
Pa Pa Walk 227 W Valley Blvd #148B, San Gabriel, CA 91776. (This is in the shopping center next to the Hilton, and Pa Pa Walk is hard to find because it’s hidden by the staircase.)
Sous vide lamb, quinoa, English pea, green garlic, meyer lemon charcoal
Our friend J.R. hosts what I call an “underground restaurant” out of his house once every few months called Sous La Terre. It’s not actually a restaurant, because running one without the proper licenses and permits would be illegal (Yes, that’s the attorney in me disclaiming any wrongdoing here.) but it’s more like a gathering of J.R.’s friends to enjoy some crazy stuff that he creates in the kitchen. The seating is limited to eight people and the number of courses vary each time. Everything was amazing and it’s important to note that J.R. doesn’t work in the food industry, he just likes to cook. Here is what he served us last night:
Amuse bouche: seaweed and flowers
Lonza (cured pork loin), pickled vegetables (beet, carrot, celery), bone marrow powder, creme fraiche
Spring onion soubise with shaved asparagus, sous vide farm egg, caviar, parmesan tuile
Sea urchin, chicken, fennel, and radish over lobster broth
Crispy chicken skin as a “snack” between courses
Goat cheese, macerated strawberry, avocado, buttermilk, mint, olive oil
“Chocolate and Milk”
Milk ice cream, chocolate cremeux, pastillas de leche, chocolate powder, butter powder, frozen chocolate foam, dehydrated milk cream, cocoa meringue, dulce de leche, salt.
And let’s not forget the beverage pairings:
Supplication, a sour beer made by Russian River Brewing Company in nearby Santa Rosa, CA.
Buzzerkeley, a sparkling Belgian ale infused with a bit of honey from Calicraft, based in Walnut Creek, CA.
Robert Sinskey Vineyards’ 2009 Pinot Noir
Thanks again to J.R., for letting us be a part of such a great evening! There is really nothing better than a good meal and good conversation.
We were sitting on the couch the other day and I was minding my own business when, out of nowhere, Jenn says … cinnamon roll … very quietly under her breath. We really like cinnamon rolls in this household. I personally grew up on Cinnabon and would read and reread the caption on the side of the box about how they go up to the top of some mountain to get only the finest cinnamon… Markara cinnamon they called it.
So anyways, I decided to go ahead and make us some rolls. I’ve had great success making them in the past, but as rolled off the couch to get started, Jenn wanted me to switch it up and make pumpkin cinnamon rolls. If you at some of the things I’ve made before, you’ll notice that I like to keep things simple with the things I make… so I guess I groaned a little.
But alas, we had some unused pumpkin puree sitting around, and I really like pumpkin pie, so I figured why not. Jenn forwarded over Smitten Kitchen’s recipe (why does it seem like all women are smitten about Smitten Kitchen??) and I dove in.
One thing I liked about this rendition is that the rolls are a lot smaller than usual, which means you could eat more than one and not feel so bad about it. Why is smaller better? Well if you like cinnamon rolls, you’d already know that the center is the best part! Also, there wasn’t much pumpkin flavor to it once baked. You might notice a tinge of flavor in there, but I think if I fed someone one and didn’t mention the addition of pumpkin to it, they might not taste it.
The frosting was also a bit runny, but it made it a lot easier to apply. All in all, another successful batch of cinnamon rolls down the hatch!
Get the recipe here.
- This dessert is rich. The original recipe that I altered called for heavy cream, but even with whole milk the dessert was really indulgent. Bread pudding is one of those things that is fairly simple to make and really hard to mess up. This particular recipe is almost like baked french toast, but the eggs and milk turn the bread into custard. I’d still eat it for breakfast!
- One 12-ounce brioche loaf, toasted and cut into small cubes
- Six eggs
- Three cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Three tablespoons bourbon
- One tablespoon vanilla
- Grease a 8x8 pan. You can use a 9x13 pan but the bread pudding won’t be as tall.
- Whisk everything but the bread together in a big bowl.
- Throw in the bread, mix to thoroughly coat the bread piece, then let it sit for an hour.
- Pour the gloop into the pan, pop it into a 375 degree oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the mixture puffs up and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove, let cool completely before cutting.
- Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with walnut praline just before serving
- Walnut praline recipe: Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, or line with a silpat or parchment paper. Toast one cup of walnuts for five minutes, then chop into small pieces. Heat one cup of sugar and two tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts and turns into an amber color. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and wait for it to cool. Chop praline into small pieces. This can be done ahead of time.
- Craving pumpkin pie but feeling too guilty about the small mountain of food you crammed into your stomach on Thanksgiving? Well, this pumpkin frozen yogurt is a far cry from a slice of pumpkin pie a la mode, but it might hit the spot and it’s practically guilt free. It only requires four ingredients but I know not everyone has an ice cream maker.
- One cup plain greek yogurt (As I typed this out I wondered how good this would be if I used maple greek yogurt. Hmm…)
- One cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- Two tablespoons granulated sugar
- One teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- Combine all ingredients and mix until fully blended.
- Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- I saw a photo of these floating around the internet a while back but didn’t have the motivation to make them until recently. There’s a Thai temple nearby that serves cheap, authentic Thai food for a couple hours each Sunday, and I couldn’t stop thinking about their sticky rice for weeks after I had it. In popsicle form, I can satisfy a craving simply by pulling one of these suckers out of the freezer.
- Can of coconut milk
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup of arborio rice (risotto rice) or sticky rice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- one teaspoon of grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ripe mango, sliced into tiny pieces (I would up this to two if you’d prefer a higher mango to rice ratio. I’d definitely bump it to two the next time I make mine, but that might just be personal preference.)
- Mix together coconut milk, milk, and rice in a small sauce pan.
- Cook on low heat until rice is completely cooked through. Stir every few minutes.
- After rice is cooked, stir in sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and grated ginger.
- Fold in chopped mango
- Spoon into popsicle mold and freeze until solid.
Every morning, I make a big pot of espresso. The first two servings go to our morning cappuccinos, and I usually save the rest for an afternoon iced latte. One day I didn’t feel the need for the second helping of caffeine, so I decided to turn the leftover espresso into coffee jelly. The recipe is stupidly easy.
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin
- 2 tbsp. hot water
- 2 cups of coffee
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Mix the gelatin powder and hot water in a cup and let sit for a minute or two.
- Meanwhile, heat the coffee in a small pot
- Stir in the sugar and gelatin mixture and keep stirring until everything is dissolved.
- Pour into cups or into a tray and pop that sucker into the fridge.
- Let gelatin set for at least two hours.
I mushed mine up and added milk, but I think the traditional Japanese way of enjoying this dessert calls for a dollop of whipped cream. It’s an alternate way for me to get my caffeine fix, and in these long, monotonous days filled with only studying, the variety is very welcome.