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Affordable Treats in Normandy

My husband and I will be spending a week in May at a Gite in La Manche near Ste Mere Eglise. We’ll be on our way home from a year of culinary exile in Uganda and are really looking forward to relaxing, rambling and chowing in Normandy. I’ve done some poking around through the other posts on Normandy, but am having trouble finding places that would suit our needs budget wise. We’re both graduate students and have about 20 Euros/person/day to play with, after accounting for transport and lodging. We’ve got a kitchen, so I can cook a bit, and I’m sure there will be lots of picnics. If anyone has any advice on great spots for lunch or dinner for around 10-15 Euros a person either in Bayeux, Caen, La Manche or near Mont St. Michel, I would be most appreciative. Also, does anyone know where in Normandy you can buy pre-sale lamb to cook at home? Thanks in advance for your help.

Mar 20, 2008
China in France

Mendocino/Ft. Bragg Updates?

We had a great time up on the mendocino coast this weekend. Just extraordinary! I can't believe we've waited this long to travel up there.

The chow:

Ardellas in Willits: Stopped here for lunch on the way up. Great food for the somewhat generic looking space. Crowded with locals chatting across the tables. Gigantic lemondades (a little sweet), and creative grilled sandwiches. The veggie panni with goat cheese was super tasty, as was the potato leek soup. I found things a little on the salty side, but not so much as to be unenjoyable.

Dinner: Picnic with tapas I made prior to departure on our private patio at Howard's Creek Ranch (Great place! Loved the meadow cabin!)

Breakfast: Howards creek. French toast, baked pears, sausage, quiche, coffee, fruit. Yummy!

Lunch: Picnic with supplies purchased at Say Cheese in SF pre-depature.

Dinner: Piaci Pizza in Ft. Bragg. Mendo Bistro was crowded with local prom couples so we opted for Piaci Pizza across the street. Great little place, very very friendly. We shared an arugula salad with some fantastic goat cheese, a pizza split down the middle between housemade sausage (lots of fennel) and caramelized onions and a veggie. Great pizza, nice thin crust, good flavor. Finished with a cup of spumoni from Cowlicks across the street. I thought it had sort of a grainy texture which I found odd. The best part was the wine. Our sever, Sarah, hooked us up with a carafe of McNab Pinotage for 12$. It was fantastic! She also brought out a class of graziano zin for us to try on the house and drew us a map of all of the wineries we should visit on our drive home. Great night!

Breakfast: Howard creek with eggs, sausage, and biscuts.

Lunch: Another picnic on the beach in the sun.

Great times had by all. Thanks Hounds!

May 07, 2007
China in California

Restaurant recommendations for Monterey, CA

Don't forget about pacific grove (PG), cute little town between Monterey and Carmel, you can actually get there walking the bike path along the beach from Cannery Row. I love the Red House Cafe, great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, amazing soups and a lovely room. First Awakenings which is attached to the American Tin Cannery Outlets right of Cannery Row is also great for breakfast or lunch. Papa Chano's on Alvarado St. in Monterey does super Mission style burritos, Turtle Bay a block down from Alvarado does yummy healthy Mexican seafood dishes for cheap.

May 03, 2007
China in California

Mendocino/Ft. Bragg Updates?

Thanks for that info. Particularly on Mendo village which I was less sure about. We're really looking forward to the trip and I'll report back on what we find.

May 02, 2007
China in California

Mendocino/Ft. Bragg Updates?

We'll be up on the north coast this weekend and I was wondering if anyone had any updates on the chow scene in Mendocino or Ft. Bragg. We'll be staying up in Westport, and likely driving south for most meals except for breakfast. We'll also have some picnic supplies in tow. Thanks to the prior postings we're planning on a splash out dinner at Mendo Bistro on Saturday night, and less expensive places for the other meals. The boards seem to point towards:

Mendo Bistro
Piaci Pizza
Taqueria Ricardo
Headlands Cafe
Cowlick's Ice Cream
North Coast Brewing Company
Tote Fete Bakery
Garden Bakery

Are we missing anything? Have any of these closed or changed ownership? Is there one we absolutely should not miss.

Thanks in advance for the advice.

May 01, 2007
China in California

Best place for Saturday Breakfast/Brunch around 9th and Irving?

I'd probably hit one of the cafe's in Cole Valley - Reverie (muffins, bagels, frittatas, omlettes, or Boulange (mostly pastries) or Zazie for table service. Both Reverie and Zazie (could be a bit of a wait) have lovely gardens. If you want to stay in the inner sunset I'd probably go with Park Chow.

Apr 26, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Biscuits: Patting Dough vs. Rolling Dough

I've never made biscuits in the food processor before. Would you mind sharing the recipe you use?

Mar 29, 2007
China in Home Cooking

El Delfin - Costillas De Puerco en Rojo

Has it ever been written up outside of chowhound? The last two times I've tried to go it's been closed. Once was a Saturday night when they closed up due to lack of bussiness. I agree with you, love El Delfin, and would hate to see it go. I think some good press might do them a lot of good.

Mar 27, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

CSA subscriptions?

We've been part of a CSA for a little over a year now. I love it! I find that even if you're right about being able to stock up on veggies and bulk grains for ten dollars a week at Henry's, which I find a little hard to believe, that you'll still likely save money with the CSA since you won't be at the grocery store where you'll be tempted to pick up the sorts of things that might otherwise drive your grocery bill up.

In terms of CSA vs. farmers market, our CSA is defintely a better deal than our local farmers market. And, more importantly I like that we've committed to a farm and to buying local organic produce. Left to my own devices I would likely go to the farmers market some weeks but not others. We pick up our box a few blocks from our house and it works out fine.

Being part of a CSA also keeps you very tied to the seasons which can be a good thing or not depending on how you feel about winter veggies, but even some place like Henry's is generally stocking things from all over the place to give us the illusion that we can have anything we want any time.

Even if in the end it is a "doing good" thing rather than a "saving money" thing, Is that really a problem if you feel you can comfortably fit it into your budget? Whether its the living and working conditions of farm laborers, pesticides, or the 1/5 of our national oil budget spent on transporting food and cooling food so that we can have tomatoes in Februrary there are plenty of reasons to be a do-gooder on this one.

Mar 26, 2007
China in General Topics

Tajine reopened, and where?

Any word yet on whether or not Tajine has re-opened? If so, has anyone had a chance to check them out in their new digs?

Mar 26, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Leek

This dish is amazingly good!

Mar 19, 2007
China in Home Cooking

Good dinner for a group in the Mission.

I've ocassionally run into problems with El Delfin closing early for lack of business. I really can't figure out why they're not packed all of the time. Its super super good, but if you plan to go, I would give them a call in advance.

Mar 19, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Going to La Ciccia

Aha! Next time I'll have to try the bottarga.

Feb 28, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Going to La Ciccia

We were there last night and had a fabulous time. House cured salumi was very good, but perhaps better for a large table than for two. My house made squid ink pasta special with mussels and lobster was incredibly good. They do something with freshly ground fennel seeds that is just magical. The pasta was absolutely perfect. I wasn't wild about the boar stew though.

The room was a little chilly given the cold snap we've had lately. I would recommend wearing a sweater or something that will keep you warm.

Feb 28, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Lunch on Saturday

What about Chez Papa?

Feb 24, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Mi lindo yucatan. Good for a group?

I'm thinking about heading out to try mi lindo yucatan (mission branch) with a group before doing some dancing around Mission and 18th on Saturday night. Is this the sort of place that would be good for a group? What's the atmosphere like? Any must order dishes? Thanks!

Feb 23, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Post-City Hall Wedding Lunch for 8?

Doesn't Rubicon only serves lunch on Wednesdays? Kokkari is a great suggestion!

Feb 22, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Post-City Hall Wedding Lunch for 8?

I found the atmosphere at Boulevard sort of corporate and impersonal the last time I was there. They're happy to go elsewhere in the city, is there anywhere else that does a beautiful lunch further away from city center.

Feb 22, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Post-City Hall Wedding Lunch for 8?

Thanks for the suggestion. I forgot to mention one thing... Both the bride and groom are vegetarians and non-drinkers, this is not true of their guests, but someplace with great vegetarian dishes would be really perfect.

Feb 21, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Post-City Hall Wedding Lunch for 8?

A friend of mine is getting married at city hall next Friday and he and his bride to be are looking for a fancy spot to celebrate afterwards. There will be about 8 in the party and the lunch will take place on a Friday. Price and neighborhood are entirely negotiable, they'd like to eat somewhere european and with an atmosphere to suit the occasion. Does anyone have any suggestions for an excellent spot for this fete?

Thanks!

Feb 21, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Marcella Hazan's Pasta with Leek Sauce--Yummy!

Wow! That is a truly amazing and very easy dish. Just perfect!

Feb 20, 2007
China in Home Cooking

Pancake Tricks?

I swear by the joy of cooking recipe. Its fantastic, easy, always works great. For a super easy sunday morning you can always mix the dry ingredients in advance (DIY pancake mix) and then add the egg, milk, and melted butter when I'm ready to make the pancakes. I use a non-stick frying pan with just a little cooking spray.

The real secret is to add a little cinnamon and vanilla in the batter. I also like to core an apple and slice in thin into rounds, put one on top of each pancake after you pour the batter in the pan. When you flip the pancakes the apple with carmelize and cook slightly. Yum! You can keep the pancakes warm in a low 200F oven until you've got them all done. Real maple syrup is of course essential. Its very hard to go wrong.

Feb 20, 2007
China in Home Cooking

SF - Park Gyros on 9th?

I love their babaganoush, its really smoky and has a great texture. They do have free delivery, so I don't know why you would need WOW. I don't have much experience with the rest of the menu but the babaganoush is top notch.

Feb 16, 2007
China in San Francisco Bay Area

Blood orange marmalade . . .

I used the stovetop method described in this post

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/27629...

a month ago to make a big batch using navel oranges. However I used the food processer shreder attachment to grate the oranges. It turned out really well, not bitter at all, and I thought the texture was really nice. I posted some bits about canning and the finished product http://www.chowhound.com/topics/358193.

Feb 15, 2007
China in Home Cooking

No self-respecting hound would go out to dinner tonight - what's on your home-cooked menu?

It sounds like you did a lovely job! The dinner sounds fantastic, not haphazard. I'm sure you won more points than you thought you did.

Feb 15, 2007
China in Home Cooking

No self-respecting hound would go out to dinner tonight - what's on your home-cooked menu?

We had a butternut squash and goat cheese pizza with kalamata olives, super easy with a TJ's crust and squash roasted the day before. A bottle of champagne we had been saving ended up beign a great match with the pizza. Potato chips to start, great with the champagne, and flourless chocolate cake, baked over the weekend, to finish. Super easy, very tasty, and I thought quite romantic. I think the key to good V-day cooking is to keep it simple, it was nice to be able to focus on each other rather than on complex preparations and lots of dishes.

Feb 15, 2007
China in Home Cooking

Hounding-Up Pasta Al Forno

I ended up incorporating the 1/2 cooked penne, the bechamel flavored with nutmeg and thyme, parmesan, a little moz, porcini's sauteed with garlic and then topping with bread crumbs and more parmesan. It turned out nicely, but I think next time i would up the garlic. It was also more crunchy and chewy than creamy, perhaps more bechamel is in order next time, or a small dish. Very tasty. Thanks for all of the help!

Feb 14, 2007
China in Home Cooking

Hounding-Up Pasta Al Forno

The trouble is I've already got the broccoli, really great broccoli from my CSA, perhaps I could roast the broccoli instead of blanching it.

Feb 13, 2007
China in Home Cooking

Hounding-Up Pasta Al Forno

I should have said in advance that got some vegetarians to work around. What about some reconstituted porcini's or a little roasted garlic?

Feb 13, 2007
China in Home Cooking

Hounding-Up Pasta Al Forno

I never heard back yesterday on my baked penne question, so I thought I'd try another way. I'm going to mix slightly under-done penne, bechamel, pecorino, and blanched broccoli in a casserole, bake until bubbly, then uncover top with bread crumbs and bake until brown. The question is....

How can I make this more hound-y. Right now it sounds pretty boring to me. I don't have a lot of experience with cream sauces so I'm not sure what to add to make it really pop. Any tips would be much appreciated.

Feb 13, 2007
China in Home Cooking