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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Parisian Japanese Meal Among Friends!

Ahh Japanese food. Healthy, fresh, exotic with a bit of a bite to it. Oh how I adore thee... I think maybe I could eat it everyday. I always wondered in Hawaii how Japanese people were used to eating rice, drinking miso and eating seaweed for breakfast. I think that is the only part I maybe couldn't do. Well...maybe I could if I was living in Japan. I mean how great would it be to live in Kyoto and every April be surrounded by hundreds of flowering cherry blossoms trees like the pic below? I could def do that. I think it is such a great food culture and I'm amazed by how much fish the Japanese eat and how long the Japanese live!

Japanese Breakfast

I had the pleasure of eating yesterday with 2 great friends from my MBA program who are from Tokyo, Japan. They just moved into a beautiful flat in the 8th arrondissement in Paris by Madeline and we had the most delicious "real deal" meal:

Pate de Canard avec Fig + Olive followed by Dow de Canard avec soup de la miso et pour dessert chevre de une fermier (Fois Gras with Fig and Olive and Seared Duck with Leeks over white rice with lemon pepper wasabi sauce and homemade miso soup with seaweed). We also had incredible truffle salt from Japan that was so delicious and we sprinkled it over our fois gras toasts. Such a rich french/japanese meal!

During dinner my friends told me a cute story about the combo of leeks and duck. They explained that leeks and ducks are a perfect combination and go back centuries in ancient Japanese culture. There are stories and stories about ducks carrying leeks on their backs. Soo cute. It really is a great flavor combination.

I think I should end this post by naming it abracadabrantesque which is one of the longest french words I have ever heard. I mean speaking french is hard enough and then they have to come up with words like this?! Really? I think Americans struggle enough with franglish that this just isn't necessary! Anyways, we drank a tasty bottle of red wine titled this and couldn't stop attempting to repeat this over and over. It was pretty funny. It reminds me of the english super duper long word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b-Z0SSyUcw from Mary Poppins!! Hahahah. That movie was just on my flight from the US. Weird...

Here is the aperitif we had:
And the Entree:

Le plat principal
Really good Champagne from a small house in Reims: Drappier

Amazing French Red Wine with an incredible Name!

Very Tasty Farm fresh goat cheese for dessert- only in France would you consistently eat cheese for dessert

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A True American Delight: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Ohh smothering cheese, tangy sourdough bread and the rich creaminess of tomato soup. It's such an odd yet perfect truly American combo. I really want to make these for a cocktail party one day. This is from my top 5 fav blogs Cup of Joe. http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/. I'm def going to make this soon and give the recipe but if your around SF really nothing beats the grilled cheese at Hog Island Oyster company!

When I make this tasty true american treat I'd add heirloom tomatoes to the soup base and garnished the soup with beautiful mini multi colored grape tomatoes that are ohhh so flavorfull and delicious and perhaps add a touch of basil oil and himalian pink sea salt or even the truffle salt I just discovered. Wouldn't that be good?

I heart Hog Island Oyster Co http://www.hogislandoysters.com in the Ferry Building in Sf and their farm in Marshall by Point Reyes, ca http://www.hogislandoysters.com/farm/location.

Hog Island Oyster Company
1 Ferry Building Shop #111
San Francisco, CA 94111

(415) 391-7117

The grilled cheese at Hog Island is TO DIE FOR. Its made with Messo secco, cave aged Gruyere and Fromage Blanc. I also die for the oysters, the clam chowder is incredible and the terragon baked oysters with butter, tarragon, shallots and orange zest.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse Parfait

These creamy and luxurious mousses have a delicious hint of lemon and a subtle white chocolate flavor. I love the clean crispness of this dish and I also really love the tiered look. I've made this a few times and each time I appreciate this dish a little more.

It's a beautiful dessert and not too overly complicated to make. The recipe comes out chic and will perfectly complete a meal. I made it last for a Piedmont friend reunion dinner this past week. I think if you're using Meyer lemons then you might be able to get away using a bit less lemon juice as the Meyer lemons are so unbelievably flavorful. I really like this dish the best in little mini cups but you can display it in cocktail glasses if you want. I think it has such a punch of flavor that you really only need a few bites after a big tasty meal.

Look at my little cute pup Rocco trying to get a taste

The mousses should be a light fluffy consistency
* This recipe is inspired by an Epicurious recipe below


5 Large Egg yolks (organic free range eggs if you can find them
1/2 cup sugar plus a Tbls more for Whipped Cream
1/4 cup lemon juice and 3 Tbls grated lemon peel
pinch of salt
3 1/4 cups whipped Cream
1 3.5 oz High Quality White Chocolate Bar crunched up with your hand into small chunks
4 cups finely sliced strawberries


Begin by tackling the lemon mousse. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, lemon juice, peel and pinch of salt in a little metal bowl that is small enough to set over a big saucepan of bowling water. Or use a double boiler if you have it. Make sure the water is on a very gentle simmer otherwise you'll scramble the yolks and have to feed your lemon scrambled eggs to your furry pet. (Jk don't do that because the lemon might mess with his tummy).

Whisk the mixture for about 7-12 minutes until its pretty thick. This process can take a while. Make sure to keep on whisking until it really is quite thick. Take the lemon mixture off the stove and let it cool off.

Now combine a few tbls of the cream with the white chocolate in another small metal bowl over the simmering water until its just melted and no longer in chunks. Cool this mousse to room temp as well. Beat the cream in a big bowl until you have soft peaks. Add the Tbls of sugar. Next divide the whipped cream into the two mixtures evenly. Fold in a few cups at a time until all the cream is incorporated.

Now layer a few tbls of the lemon mousse in the bottom of the serving dish. Top this with a few tbls of the strawberries layered neatly. Make sure you put enough strawberries in there so that you will see the layer. Top this with the white chocolate mousse. Layer 1 or 2 more times depending on how much room you have. It's best if you make the dish a few hrs before so it can sit in the fridge and set. Top each parfait with some of the tiny slices of the strawberries (the smaller the better and the sweeter).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Organic Quinoa with Shiitake Mushrooms, Coconut Milk, Red Bell Peppers and Soya Sauce

My last few days in Paris before I came home for 1 month of weddings and vacation I stayed at my sisters flat in the 6th and made a yummy pantry meal.

I was in such a lazy mood and after traveling across Europe by car, moving out of my flat and squeezing one too many boxes into my sisters boyfriends cave I was certainly more than ready to lounge around all day in her flat and barely lift my pinky!

Lounging I did and this included one too many minutes of the Tour de France and lots of TV shows I simply used as background sound as I distracted myself with the computer.

This dish I pulled together pretty quickly after looking around in desperation through my sisters fridge and pantry. Luckily my sister is a very healthy eater and all I really had to chose from was organic quinoa, a handful of asian ingredients, and a few tomatoes, cucumbers and red bell peppers.

The coconut milk added a perfect amount of creaminess and it really was a nice little dish.

PS. How beautiful is my sisters blooming cactus on the right? You can see a bit of her glorious rooftop Parisian terrace in this photo.

Asian Inspired Quinoa

- Box of Organic Quinoa
-Can of Coconut Milk
- Salt and Pepper
-1 Tomato
-1 cucomber
-1 red bell pepper
-Dried or Fresh shitake mushrooms
- Soya Sauce

1. With all rice I like to soak and rinse a few times to get out the starches. Rince the Quinoa a few times and place quinoa and a cup of water and cup of coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to boil. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Reduce to simmer and cover for 15-20 mins. If liquid gets absorbed too quickly turn the temp down and add a bit more coconut milk

2. After 20 mins add 1/4 cup more coconut milk, add diced tomatoes, bell pepper and mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes to cook the veggies and infuse the quinoa with a bit more coconut flavor.

3. Add a dash of soya to the quinoa mixture (this will add a bit more salt) and plate with cucumber and tomato and enjoy!

Friday, August 6, 2010


So I feel like Food trucks have taken over the US and it is definitely a trend that has got me going. I mean the food is good, has great flavor and is cheap and recession proof. Do you think these guys make money? Seems like a pretty fun job to me...

Sitting in my little country town in France I started pondering. Would this work in France? Pondering quickly turned to obsession and right now my new thang is the business idea of opening a Taco truck in Paris. Hmm is this an acceptable use of my recently completed MBA?

I think Mexican food is super well received in Paris yet the problem is the final product usually ends up being pretty mediocre. I mean tortillas that are too sweet, oddly shaped and a weird consistency and these are complimented with odd extra creamy guacamole that just taste flat out wrong. This all comes for a price tag of 32 euro. Seems up-surd right?

Food trucks which have recently swept across the US culinary scene like a blazing fire could be a trendy twist in the land of baguettes and gooey chesse. I think a little truck would be super cute and would work well. But... where oh where to park it? Of course my spastic self immediately started writing a business plan. Hahahhah. Who knows if I will follow through but a girl can dream....

So, being home for 1 month in San Francisco I was inspired to spend my first day back on a Taco Truck tasting mission with my mamma. We tasted 3 different places and it was scrumdiddlyumptious delicious. Ohhhh how I miss the heat, flavor and uniqueness of Mexican food. I'm going back next week to learn a few recipes.

Here is a list of where we went in Oakland, ca off Fruitvale and International.

1) First Stop: Guadalajara Taco Truck- 44th and Intl. These taco's were the first of our tasting extravaganza and thus we might have been a bit biased in our rating here as we were soo hungry and craving taco's. We had chicken and al pastor (pork) which were both incredible. They had the perfect amount of heat and the simple addition of diced onions and a pinch of cilantro was really all they needed. I think these were my favorite

Résultats de recherche

  1. Tacos Guadalajara

    4400 International Boulevard
    Oakland, CA 94601-4511, United States
    (510) 261-7440
    30 avis

How cute does my momma look nervously deciding which taco to choose :)

2) 2nd Stop: El Ojo De Agua just up the street 1/2 a block from Guadalajara. This time I decided to go off on the edge and try cabeza. I know I have heard time and time again how tasty it was but my culinary pallet I guess just isn't mature enough yet for some scrumptious head. It was really fatty and I just wasn't feeling it. My mom got pescado or fish which is usually quite hard to find at a taco truck and it was really nice. It was smothered in a somewhat hot green salsa which gave it a serious kick of heat. I loved how they gave us some fresh cucumbers on the side and of course the spicy carrots and peppers.

Résultats de recherche

  1. El Ojo De Agua

    3132 East 12th Street
    Oakland, CA 94601, United States
    (510) 535-9310
    20 avis

3) 3rd stop was Taqueria El Paisa on 41st and International. We used these guys for a mobile taco truck catering service for my brothers engagement party. Their taco's were ohh so delicious at the engagement party and I'm hopefully going back next week to have them give me a taco cooking lesson early one morning when they start cooking the meat. Here we had 2 taco's (Chicken and Carne Asada) and a few spicy cucumbers and slurped our tasty meal down with a glass of half Horchata (cinnamon, nutmeg, milk) and hibiscus drink. The horchata was incredible as always and after our 3rd taco each we were filled up with authentic Californian style Mexican food and ready to head back home.

Résultats de recherche

  1. El Paisa Com

    4610 International Boulevard
    Oakland, CA 94601-5208, United States
    (510) 534-2180
    1 avis

Ummm finished those ones quickly!! Our mouths were on fire from the spicy cucumbers

Here are some good shots of the neighborhood.

I was definitely obessed with the spanish styled houses on Cordova and Fruitvale. They were really each so similar yet unique in their own way with tiled stairs, cactuses, and bright pastel colors. Loved it. If you head to Intl and Fruitvale to taste some taco's make a little pit stop on the way to this cute street to check out a little architecture on your way.

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