Saturday, May 22, 2010


Just the other evening my husband and I decided to have a night out; last weekend was very busy and I was in need of some us time. We decided to head to Santa Rosa to Jackson’s.  Mixology is a growing culinary trend, treating the bartender as a profession. The new job title is mixologist, a person that specializes in creating cocktails.  We are not talking just your classic martini or gin and tonic (although they will do those perfectly), but unique and creative endeavors.  If you appreciate the art, then Jackson's is a must.

For my first selection I went with a "Ginger Not Marianne" (ha ha Gilligan) an incredible mix of lemon and ginger (Canton ginger liqueur) with just a light touch of spritze, garnished with a slice of candied ginger.  The only problem with them is that you could sit and drink them all night.  Jim started with a "Belushi's Breakfast", an absolutely bizarre and incredible combination. Bourbon (Bitterman's), espresso and dark beer (Death & Taxes) finished with a peanut brittle rim!  When he first saw this he thought that sounds very 'questionable', but on further reflection he decided if a place like Jackson's puts something that sounds that bad on the menu, then it must be great.  And it was.  The beer foamed to just the perfect amount and added a foam head to the glass on which floated 3 espresso beans. You can imagine how John Belushi would have stayed awake.

Deciding to have dinner nearby (To Dai for Sushi, quite nice), we went for a second round of drinks.  This time I went for a... (darn, can't remember the name, but it was something like Gin Limey), a wonderful gin and lime combination.  Jim's other selection was a "Cotton Tail"; imagine a perfect white gazpacho in a glass. It went perfectly with our Truffle Fries (bar nibbles are a must).  Made with fresh carrot juice and Cynar (an Italian artichoke liqueur) and someother things.  Being a chef I asked to taste the Cynar, it was truly awful!  So hat's off to the mixologist becasue it fit the combination wonderfully.  I cannot believe that anyone would think to use it, but it highlights the drink incredibly well.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Beautiful Place

One of the bonuses of catering is that I often get to see spectacular locations.  One weekend I might be overlooking the ocean from a barn above occidental or out in a vineyard with the sunset.  Just today I did a site visit with a bride for an upcoming wedding at a location that I hadn't been to before.

The Ralston White Retreat center is located in Mill Valley.  A beautiful home that was built in 1913 as a wedding gift to his wife.  A grand classic house that you can rent out for the entire weekend.  The wonderful surprise as you drive up is that the front lawn in the shape of a heart; what a romantic place for the ceremony.

It is located north west of downtown Mill Valley just beyond Blithedale Park, a beautiful redwood grove.

What a nice Sunday Drive.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bummer :)

Yesterday was the annual Chili Festival here in Petaluma, and after 2 years of winning top honors with our vegetarian chili, I thought it was only fair to go with the meat category this time.  If vegetarian is good, then won’t it be better with meat?  That was the working theory.  But, sorry to say no.  There is not only much more competition for the meat category, it's also a bit more of traditional taste.  But look out, we’ll be there again next year.  Thanks Cinnabar for all the hard work.

FYI:  It was a Chili Verde with Slow Smoked Pulled Pork and Cilantro Crema.  Very tasty, but didn't quite hit that Chili spot.


Sunday, May 2, 2010


Do you ever get the wants for just a really good hot dog? We found a great place here in Petaluma for an inexpensive, fast and great lunch.  Roy’s Hot Doggery.  Located at the auction yard on Corona Road (where Mike’s At The Yard used to be) and stopped in before going to a movie on our day off.  We were a bit early 11:20 and figured we could sit down and enjoy.  What a warm welcome we got and quick service.  I selected to have a traditional chili dog and husband had a Farfen Fog (Vienna All-Beef Hot Dog loaded with kraut, spicy mustard & pickle).

The dogs were great, but what delighted me most was a new creation he had - Pesto Blue Cheese Fries! Having behaved lately and not ordered French fries in a while we decided to indulge.  Boy was it worth it.  A great flavor combination on thin crisp fries.

Go in and give them a try!