I recently watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown where he was dining at a restaurant in Rome with some friends and their baby daughter. Bourdain remarked how one huge difference he’s noticed between living in Italy and living in New York is that in Italy people are happy to see kids out at restaurants. Now, I’ve yet to visit Italy since becoming a dad, but I just love the idea that children are a welcome addition to the dining scene. While it’s certainly no Rome, Berkeley does have its fair share of family friendly restaurants, which is great, given that since day one we’ve committed to taking Fiona out to eat with us. Lately, one of our favorite places has been a burger spot called Farm Burger. Not only are their burgers always on point, but they have a pretty big play area for the little ones in the corner of the dining room! And while I’m proud to say that Fiona can (and will) sit patiently through a whole meal and entertain herself without the use of a screen, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a place for her to escape to and make friends. Another thing I love about Farm Burger is they always have a couple ground chicken burgers on their menu. Looking at their menu right now they have chicken burger with smoked gouda, sherry-date bbq sauce, kale coleslaw, and crispy onions. Umm, yes please!! This particular version I made for you today was, you guessed it, inspired by a special I tried on a recent visit. Note: I’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe since photographing the burgers below, so I apologize in advance for any confusion. Just know that these would make a killer addition to any grilling festivities you have planned for the coming holiday weekend . . . oh, and don’t forget to bring the kids! 😉
My love affair with passionfruit started in Taiwan when I would visit my grandparents. When passionfruit are in season, they are everywhere and so cheap. Just a few bucks will buy you heaps of passionfruit. Coming from the States, I had never experienced passionfruit in its raw form and was instantly hooked. I would tear through them and soon became an expert-speed-passionfruit eater, tearing off the tops and just squeezing the pulps and seeds into my mouth. I know, I sound like a mad woman. That’s how much I love passionfruit. Although my favorite way of eating passionfruit is pouring them over yogurt, just how my grandmother would eat them every morning. This recipe turns this breakfast version into a frozen sweet treat. For me, the crunchy seeds are part of the joy of eating passionfruit but you could easily strain them out. These are ridiculously easy to make and the combination of creamy tangy sweet yogurt with tart passionfruit is just perfection!
French toast, pancakes, waffles . . . that was always order of preference before having kids. Motherhood has a way funny way of changing you – even when it comes to personal breakfast choices. Quincy and Coco (who just recently gained two front teeth!) love waffles. So now, of course, I do too. In all honesty, it was Karen’s yeast-raised waffle recipe that won this waffle skeptic over. And if waffles are already your jam, these raise the bar. They’re malty, airy, crispy and versatile enough to experiment with some savory accouterments. We love the idea of serving up a do-it-yourself waffle bar for Sunday’s celebration. Simply cut up fruits, toast up some coconut, fry up some chicken and bacon and warm up maple syrup and caramel sauce. Just be sure to make several batches of the waffle mix the night before so that the yeast has time to do all of its magic. So good, so worth it. Happy Mother’s Day!
I fell in love with mezcal at first sip, 15 years ago at my favorite local watering hole in Santa Cruz, CA. My best friend (still to this day) and I, ever adventurous at the bar, were curious about a colorful palm fiber basket tucked away on the top shelf. While I assumed it was merely a decorative piece, he insisted it contained a bottle. A bottle we had to try, no less. Upon our request, the bartender eagerly brought down the basket, and proceeded to pour us two shots of Del Maguey. I’d be lying if I told you that I remembered the village of origin, but what I can tell you is that those were two of the most heavenly sips of alcohol I’d ever tasted. We were both already tequila drinkers, albeit inexperienced, so to taste something so familiar, yet also so intensely rich and smoky was truly a game changer at the time. There’s no doubt it sits on my Mt. Rushmore of alcoholic spirits (whatever the heck that means). Fast forward to today, mezcal continues to be my friend’s drink of choice; ever since that fortuitous day at the bar. And, it just so happens that said friend also obsesses over flan (and all things custard for that matter). So for his birthday last month, Audrey and I made it our mission to combine these two loves into one heavenly bite. Neither the orange, nor the mezcal are overpowering here. Rather, the subtle pop of bright citrus perfectly compliments the smoky undertone of mezcal.
Mexico City has been on the top of my travel list for a very long time. There are many reasons why this trip was long over due. Mexico is one of my favorite countries and having traveled throughout Mexico pretty extensively, I still couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been to its capital. The food alone is reason enough to visit. With some of the best restaurants in the world to street eats around every corner, we went with an appetite and focus on making sure we tried as many things as possible. Yes, there are amazing street foods like churros and tacos but there are innovative chefs using traditional Mexican ingredients in the most incredible ways like ant larvae, unique herbs like epazote, pulque (an alcoholic beverage made of fermented maguey), maguey worms, mole– the list goes on and on! I went with a few girlfriends for a four-day weekend, which was do-able but hardly enough time. We crammed in as much food and mezcal as we could, running around from place to place. I wasn’t too bummed about the short time there since I kept think over and over how I would have to come back– and I plan to! I hope these photos inspire your trip to Mexico City!
There is goat’s milk is this cocktail . . . and it’s @*%$ delicious!! I first heard about milk punch back in my cocktail catering days. Not only is it a delicious flavor modifier, but it’s a great way to preserve a cocktail. That’s right, you can mix up a bottle of milk punch, and keep it handy in your fridge for months (possibly years)! The process of adding acid to milk to clarify/preserve has been around for centuries. But as you can imagine, milk punch surely has its place in today’s flourishing cocktail scene. It’s a great way to premix cocktails for bartenders to keep ready in the well. As mentioned, it’s also a unique way to affect the flavor of a cocktail. When mixed, the acid of the cocktail curdles the milk. The resulting curds are used to filter the cocktail, stripping most color and any cloudiness from the drink, and softening the harshness of the alcohol. Please, I beg you, give the technique a try; experiment! For this particular cocktail I tried both goat’s and cow’s milk. The goat seemed to result in a more luscious cocktail. All in all, quite the magical process, don’t ya think? Just another reason to love cocktails (as if I needed another reason).