Food and wine tasting notes at Napa Valley

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20130629-025911.jpgIt was a nice day to enjoy the sunny weather, cool breeze, lush gardens and enchanting vineyards at the V. Sattui winery in Napa Valley. At their picnic grounds we had a gourmet lunch of rustic bread, salami, prosciutto, olives and Sonoma cheeses. This was made perfect with a fine bottle of my favorite Syrah and great company. Afterwards we hit three more wineries and did MORE wine tasting. Thank you to enthusiasts Ed and Alice for a great time 🙂

Napa is not just all about wine. For more artisanal food and purveyors visit Dean & Deluca (across V. Sattui) and the Oxbow Public Market at downtown Napa. Lots of great foodie finds!

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Chowder at SFO Fisherman’s Wharf

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Clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl is a must try at Fisherman’s Wharf. After a lot of walking around and the cool breeze at Pier 39, the heartwarming soup was just so perfect. The Boudin Bakery makes the best sourdough bread I have ever tasted! This bakery has been operating since 1849 and even has a museum for tourists. For bakers who understand the bread making process, the mother dough starter they are using has been nurtured for over 150 years! That’s a bit of history in every fresh batch of bread. Amazing !!!

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Lodi California Farmers’ Market

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It is a nice and sunny day here in Lodi California. Lodi is located in San Joaquin County, at the northern part of California’s Central Valley. This wine appellation may not be as touristy as Napa and Sonoma, but the area is known for the world’s best Zinfandel. It is home to over forty wineries, including renowned New World wine brand Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi.

Surrounding the vineyards are various agricultural producers. The county supports the “farm to fork” movement by having a Farmers Market every Thursday afternoons at Downtown Lodi. Over 70 vendors showcase their wines, sell local certified farm-fresh produce, summer fruits, vegetables, cheeses and different food specialties. Must try are the Lockeford sausages, Saint Lou ribs, Filipino spring rolls, Dancing Fox bread pudding, and Hummus Heaven.

Here’s a video by Izzy Obieta Lodi Farmers’ Market

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Norwegian meatballs

blog7blg1Norway is home to the Vikings but for me it was more like being in “Barbie” land. The women and men are so attractive with their slim and tall figures, blue eyes and blond hair. During my visit a few years ago, the Oslo weather was pleasant for a trip to Vigelandsparke or Frognerparken to admire the sculptures of Gustav Vigeland.blogn2

I was glad to come during the spring time; I don’t think I could survive the severe winter cold. During this season flowers are in bloom, berries and cherry trees bear fruit; it is a magnificent time to fish for trout and salmon in the lakes and rivers.

blog14The most popular Norse dishes are smoked salmon and cured salmon called gravlaks.  Gravlaks means salmon buried in a curing grave of salt and sugar. It is Norway’s greatest culinary contribution and has become a staple in international buffets all over the world.

blogns1Nature takes center stage in this very scenic country.  Sailing through the Fjords and the experience of lodging in a wooden cabin in the mountains made my holiday unforgettable. The scenery of towering trees on the Scandinavian ridge was just breathtaking!  It would have been perfect if only I could have caught a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis or the Northern lights. Perhaps a reason to return…

The only drawback about Norway is that it is ridiculously expensive for someone like me from the third world.  In Norway eating in restaurants can be quite costly which is probably why Norwegians themselves cook very well. Cecilia’s husband is great in the kitchen; he taught me their family meatballs recipe.

bl3Norwegian meatballs (Kjøttkaker med brunsaus)

500 g                      ground meat ( beef or veal)

100 g                      onion minced

30 g                        bread crumbs

1 pc                        eggs

150 ml                   beer

To taste                salt

To taste                pepper

Dash                      nutmeg

100ml                  clarified or melted butter ( for frying)

For gravy:

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