Bottega and Trinitas, Napa Valley

Im super lucky to be able to get to visit Napa Valley as much as I want for work.  Im also very lucky that the best restaurants in the region, (as well as the world) are my customers.  One of those restaurants is The French Laundry.  Another is Bottega Ristorante.  I have gotten to know the chef de cuisine there and we take a group of 8 there for dinner and to our suprise, they have seated us at the best table in the house, right in the center of the dining room.  As we are seated, the server says "We will not be providing the table with menus tonight, as the chef has something in mind and would like to just play with you.  Will this be okay for you?"  There is only one answer to that... "Yes Please!"

So a gigantic platter of cured meat and lardo wrapped sea urchin is plopped in the middle of the table.  I have a feeling that this is going to be a great meal. 

Kale Salad with pork belly and poached egg

THIS is a real spaghetti!

Beautiful Branzino

cleanse yo palate

I stopped taking pictures of the rest of the food because there was SO much.  A total of nine courses, but as you take a look at the last two dessert platters, some of the courses had many, many items on a platter!

We are staying at the Meritage resort and we get a private tour and tasting by one of the owners of Trinitas Wines!


This doesnt suck.


China Poblano, Las Vegas

The plan was to have a drink and a bite at a number of places, making our way up and down the strip, until we couldnt eat or drink anymore.  Of course the first stop was Bouchon, for a bottle of bubbly and a jar of foie.  Then our plan got all jacked up.  We went to China Poblano (of course we HAD to stop at my favorite bar first- the Chandelier).  I have been here many times and it is virtually impossible to have one bite here.  One drink for that matter- so we ordered three at a time (margarita flight).  Note the foamy crap on the top- that is salt air, so every sip of drink gets the perfect amount of salt.  So dope.  China Poblano is a Jose Andres restaurant and when you walk in there is a station on the left, where they are hand making asian noodles and dumplings.  on the right side, they are hand making tortillas and tacos.  A blend of a chinese noodle bar and a taco stand.  I love the food so much that we threw our plans in the trash and decided to eat as much as we possible could there.  Some winners:

Dan Dan with spicy pork

Rou Jia Mo Street Sandwich

Duck tongue (yes... duck tongue) and beef tendon (yes... beef tendon) tacos

Of course we ate dumplings and tons of other stuff, but when food is this good, you forget to take pictures of them all and just gorge

But... DO NOT leave without eating Golden Pigs.  Oh MY Gawd- think of chinese pork buns, but instead of steamed- deep fried!  then served with a bowl of condensed milk to dip.  Your arteries will be so happy and so mad at the same time.


Five at Hotel Shattuck Plaza, Berkeley CA

I have a rule when im traveling, Dont eat at the hotel restaurant/bar.  Usually cause the food sucks, and even when it is good... im already staying at the place, so i might as well go out and see whats out there.  Traveling to Berkeley a lot has allowed me to uncover most of its gems.  One of those gems is a restaurant in a hotel- Five at Hotel Shattuck Plaza.  Whenever I am in Berkeley, I usually hit this place twice in a week.  Ive become a regular and the bartenders hook me up.  Bartenders Q and Tanya will take great care of you.  If your drinking wine- make sure and get a flight, way better value than buying one glass.  For the same price as one glass, you can get three!!  Five has been awarded the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand award in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, which is an award for the gourmet quality of food you get for the value of the price.  some of my favorites;

Gougers- whenever I have ordered them, they bake them off to order and they come to the table piping hot.  Nommy Cheesy Bread Balls!

Oricchiette Mac and Cheese- made with lobster bisque and bay shrimp

Fried Sweetbread Sliders with quail eggs?  Ummmm, yeah!

Braised Pork Cheeks with Fired Polenta?  Doi!  Dude, the polenta cakes are little fried squares and when you bite into them, molten polenta pours out. 

I accidentally deleted the picture of the house burger- which is bonkers.  Also deleted the pic of my favorite dish there- the Gnocchi with Boar ragu- its off the hinges.  Will have to eat it all again to re-take pics.


Santa Rosa

When in Santa Rosa- make sure to take a drive to Petaluma to taste ALL the beer at Lagunitas- its worth it.  And if you happen to be lookingfor some amazing food there- hit up Willi's Wine bar- its dope.

We ate damn near errythang

Like Goat Cheese Fritters with lavender honey

Oyster Rockerfella

Duck Liver Mousse with Cherry Moustardo

Some Bomb- Ass Mac n Cheese with peas.  Me likey peas in my mac n cheese!

Pulled Duck BBQ on polenta

If Bone Marrow is on the menu, its gonna get ordered

Lamb Chops!




What'd Eliana Eat All Summer

Starting off the summer with 2+ weeks in Hawaii added a few pounds to the mid section. But it didn't end there. Here's some of what we grubbed on this summer
Pots of mussels
Piles of spot prawns
Umami burgers- filled with soy sauce, fish sauce, and furikake
Oysters, straight out of the sound, gifted from an island neighbor
Puget sound surf and turf
A badass lunch at Ba Bar, with congee pork belly and other goodness
Kalua Pig and Cabbage

Ramen with spot prawns and tocino
And some sizzling tacos pastor
Tom douglas doughnuts send her off