Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

Yuz(u) Will Love These

Monday, February 15th, 2016 No comments

thumb_IMG_5079_1024thumb_IMG_5072_1024The long anticipated arrival of Yuzu Pearls allowed me to try this fabulous dessert and share the result with you. The Yuzu fruit is a citrus fruit originating in East Asia. It looks and tastes a lot like a lemon. It first came to our attention when we ordered dessert at Yuki Yama in Park City. We almost never have room for dessert after eating sushi, but this beautiful little dessert passed by and we were intrigued. It was a light, citrus flavored cheesecake and immediately had to research how we can create these at home. After a bit of searching, I found yuzu juice and yuzu pearls. I decided to give the pearls a try. The result is a very good imitation of the dessert from the sushi restaurant.

Here are the ingredients and the steps to make this yummy, yuzu cheesecake:

5 oz. graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
8 oz. whipping cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 oz. Yuzu Pearls
1 gelatin leaf

Extra whipping cream for serving.

You will need 8 small canning jars or other glass containers.

Process the graham crackers in a small food processor and mix in the melted butter. Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of the small jars and press down – I used the tamper from my espresso machine.

Soften the gelatin leaf in a small amount of water and remove from water and put into a small saucepan. Add the yuzu pearls and heat over a larger pan of boiling water until softened. Process the yuzu pearls and gelatin in a small food processor until the pearls are dissolved.

In a large bowl of the electric mixer, process the cheeses until smooth. Add the caster sugar and process until combined. Add the vanilla and the yuzu mixture and blend.
Beat the whipping cream until stiff and fold into the cheese mixture.

Spoon the cheese mixture into the jars and close with lids until ready to serve.

When serving, remove lids and add decorative whipping cream to the top.


Hungarian Rhapsody at the Four Seasons Gresham Restaurant

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 2 comments

When have you ever asked someone about their favorite cuisine and had the answer be “Hungarian”?  All that is about to change for me!  Tonight we had the pleasure of dining at the the Budapest Four Seasons Gresham Restaurant.  The chef is Italian, so the menu has both Italian and Hungarian offerings. We experienced a delightful mix of both by making selections from both sides of the menu.  Each course was divine, but my two favorites came from the Hungarian side of the menu: Chilled Peach and Apricot Soup – Almond Crumble, Milk Sorbet, Mint and Lemon Meringue and the Chicken Paprika – Galuska Dumplings, Paprika Sauce and Cucumber Salad.

Hungarian Chicken Paprika with Galuska and Cucumber Salad

Hungarian Chicken Paprika with Galuska and Cucumber Salad


Hungarian Chicken Paprika with Galuska
4 pc. chicken breast with skin
1 cup chopped white onion
3 garlic cloves
5 pc. Hungarian yellow Pepper
(long and yellow color)
3 pc. Tomato
1 tablespoon Sweet paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon Caraway powder
salt and pepper to taste


For Paprika Sauce
2 dl. sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cream

Dice the onion, paprika and tomato and add to a preheated pan; add the chopped garlic. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add water continuously until all the vegetables reach a paste consistency. Finish the sauce with caraway and paprika powder, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Keep boiling for 10 more minutes. Add the chicken breast, cooking for about 15 to 18 minutes (depending on the size of the breast).

Remove the chicken from the Paprika sauce and finish it adding some sour cream, mix with flour to make it thicker if needed. Blend it and pass through a chinois.


.15 kg Flour
3 eggs
Miss all the ingredients together and strain through strainer with large holds in order to have small button size into boiling water, cooking for 5-6 minutes. Strain the Galuska and keep it under running cold water. Saute the Galuska with a touch of butter before serving.

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad


Cucumber Salad
2 cucumbers
3 dl Vinegar and water (1:1)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 clove crushed garlic

Peel the cucumber and thinly slice it. Season with salt and let it rest for 10 minutes. Strain, removing the water and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Let marinate for at least 3 hours and refrigerate before serving.


Empellón Cocina: Mexican with a Twist

Friday, May 31st, 2013 No comments

We recently had the great pleasure, while visiting New York City, to have an early dinner at Empellón Cocina, a new restaurant recommended by Gavin Kaysen for their creative interpretation of Mexican Cuisine.  We were curious about the meaning of Empellón and learned that it means “push or shove”, which tells you that this must be an adventuresome chef who wanted to infuse a bit of fun into the atmosphere.  Rising Star Chef Alex Stupak has created an incredible menu with offerings that must only exist on his menu, as we have never seen them anywhere else.  Guacamole made with pickled Jalapeños, Pistachio Guacamole, instead of the usual corn chips, the guacamole and salsas are offered with Masa Crisps.  All seven salsas can be sampled for $15.  There were so many tempting selections, but the portions were too generous to try everything on the menu.  We shared the Soft Shell Crab Tacos and the Shrimp Tacos after our starters of Pistachio Guacamole and the 7 Salsas, my favorite was the the Smoked Cashew Salsa (with smoked cashews and chipotle pepper).

Shrimp Tacos with Smoked Potatoes, Brown Butter Crema and Pickled Pasilla Oaxaquena.

Shrimp Tacos with Smoked Potatoes, Brown Butter Crema and Pickled Pasilla Oaxaquena.

7 Salsas, including such flavors as pumpkin seeds, smoked cashews, tomatillos, chipotle peppers, and the spiciest of all : Salsa Habanera.

7 Salsas, including such flavors as pumpkin seeds, smoked cashews, tomatillos, chipotle peppers, and the spiciest of all : Salsa Habanera.

Soft Shell Crab Tacos with lightly roasted tomato petal and lime mayo.

Soft Shell Crab Tacos with lightly roasted tomato petal and lime mayo.

Chef Alex shared the recipe for the Arbol Chile Salsa – Recipe and below commentary from the Chef:
This salsa lasts indefinitely and improves with age. It is extremely picante and can be used in place of pretty much any store bought hot sauce. We use this salsa on our tongue tacos as well as in our micheladas but it goes well on just about anything.
100 each Arbol Chiles
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup Hulled Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
10 each Allspice Berries
5 each Whole Cloves
1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
5 each Garlic Cloves
2 cups Cider Vinegar
1. Remove the stems from the chiles and discard.
2. Roll the chiles between your fingers to remove all the seeds and discard seeds.
3. Place the chiles in a blender.
4. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they begin to pop and turn a deep brown color. Add the sesame seeds to the blender.
5. In the same skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds until they pop and all turn a golden color. Add the pumpkin seeds to the blender.
6. In a molcajete or spice grinder, pulverize the cumin, allspice, cloves and oregano. Add the ground spices to the blender along with the salt, sugar and vinegar.
7. Blend the mixture for several minutes. It should be quite smooth.


A Bit of Brooklyn in Mission Hills: Brooklyn Girl

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 1 comment
Chicken in a Pot


You don’t have to go to Brooklyn to have a Brooklyn experience. We have now found Brooklyn right in Mission Hills, a fun neighborhood in San Diego. Brooklyn Girl was created by Michael and Victoria McGeath, formerly of Trattoria Acqua in La Jolla. They have now brought their restaurant skills to this fun, urban hang-out. A huge cocktail menu awaits you and if you are a wine-lover like me, the wines are reasonably priced and there is a decent wine list. (We had the Whitehall Lane Merlot for $59).

Pan Seared Wild Salmon

Pan Seared Wild Salmon

The entrees are huge and are intended for sharing. We enjoyed MARY’S FREE RANGE WHOLE CHICKEN “IN A POT”, which was more than enough food for two. A delicious wood-oven roasted treat with onions, carrots, red potatoes and thyme butter for $28. Everything is organic, homemade, and delicious. The PAN SEARED WILD SALMON with Mushroom ragout, Savoy cabbage, Baby Heirloom Potatoes, fresh Yellow Corn Veloute for $23. was enjoyed by others in our group. My favorite aspect of the restaurant is the Brooklyn decor. A huge open room with an open bar and fun photos and signs adorning the walls, interesting artifacts and light fixtures creating the Brooklyn scene. This is definitely a happening place…we were 20 miles away from our own zip code and still ran into several friends over the course of the evening. So if you’re in the mood for a noisy and crowded, but fun atmosphere, this is the spot. The menu is broad enough that you can enjoy something new for many visits to come.

Categories: Restaurant Reviews