Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wine Vault & Bistro: St. Paddy's Dinner

UPDATE: Wine Vault & Bistro very kindly added two more dates, so I snagged myself a spot at the March 31 dinner. YES!

Ah, yet another meeting of one of my favorite restaurants with one of my favorite boozemakers. Of course, I can't go because I'll be at MCAT class. Yes, woe is me. Wine Vault & Bistro is pairing up with Stone Brewery (signature gargoyle above) for their St. Patrick's Dinner. Apparently, owner Greg Koch has given Wine Vault some awesome limited brews and beermaker Jeremy Moynier is hosting the dinner. March 17, 6:30pm, $39.50/person.

Anyway, if anyone out there goes, please let me live vicariously. Don't forget the pictures. Oh, and 1/2 liter carafes of all of the beers will be available during the dinner for $6. 6 bucks?! Geez, I might have to skip MCAT class for this.

Asparagus Salad | Burrata Cheese | Shaved White Asparagus | Nasturtium | Watermelon Radish | 25-Year-Old Balsamic
Stone "Levitation" Ale (4 oz. pour)

Fish 'n' Chips: Beer Battered Yellowtail | Potato Cake | Porter + Malt Vinegar Aioli | Micro Greens
Stone "09.09.09" Vertical Epic (4 oz. pour)

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin | Brussel Sprout Hash | Guanciale | Thyme Jus
2007 Stone "Old Guardian" Barley Wine (4 oz. pour)

Lamb Shepherd's Pie
Stone "Arrogant Bastard" Ale (4 oz. pour)

Glazed Corned Beef and Cabbage | Braised Baby Vegetables | Stone Ground Mustard Aioli
Stone "Ruination" IPA

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brulee | White Chocolate + Brown Butter Mousse
2008 Stone "Imperial Russian" Stout

Levitation Ale ROCKS. It's too bad they don't have the oaked Arrogant Bastard, which I tried at a recent tasting and really liked. Just remember that when you're relaxing with that carafe of Levitation, I will be working on my organic chemistry problems. Sigh.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Moo Moment: The Valentine Post

I was receiving PR emails about when I "consider my editorial content for Valentine's Day". I chuckle to myself, since I'm mildly flattered that anyone assumes that I have my shit together enough to actually plan content for anything. Nah, it's not that organized. I go about my life and write about whatever pops up.

D. and I usually don't celebrate Valentine's Day, largely because we don't like the overwhelming commercial aspect of it. We decided to forgo the pressure and expense years ago.

However, this year, we brought it back a little bit. Some of the effort, none of the pressure. Part of it is that it's our 9th Valentine's Day together and we're one month away from our 10 year anniversary. Time for a little mushiness, a little reflection. We've been together for nearly 10 years, married for a little over 6 months, and it's fair to say that we grew up together.

Back in college, D. was frustrated with the high cost of flowers at Valentine's Day. Being practical to the bone, he decided that Costco was the only way to go and rounded up a group of friends to pool their resources for several of the large Costco bunches that they could divvy up and give to their respective dates. A decade later, Costco still rocks when it comes to flowers.

I wanted to take him out for his favorite potstickers and to one of the main stops on our rotation of restaurants: Dumpling Inn. Serving Northern Chinese cuisine that isn't perfect, but very comforting. They make great potstickers with a fabulous crust.

We also really like their spicy eggplant with ground pork. Fantastic wok hei on this dish, making it perfect in taste and texture.

Apologies for the starkness of the photos... the bright white energy-saving bulbs didn't work too well with the iPhone's camera.

D. loves eclairs, so I made a quick run to St. Tropez Bakery in Hillcrest. Picked up some eclairs, meringue cookies, and a napoleon. As Darlene mentions in her latest post, those layers go soggy fast. The pastry cream was tasty and so were the eclairs. The meringues had great texture, but were a little bland.

As I slog through pile after pile of practice problems, D. does things like making sure that I eat, have clean clothes to wear, and do not generally self-destruct. I'm pursuing a very old dream, one that I gave up once upon a time. I just couldn't let the dream go and I'm grateful that D. sees that living with the dissatisfaction of having never tried is worse than the crazy schedule a medical career will likely entail. And with his quiet and unwavering support, I can only take a moment this Valentine's weekend to marvel at how very, very lucky I am.

On that note, hope everyone had a great weekend and a fun V-day if you celebrate it. Lastly, gung hai fat choi and a prosperous year of the Tiger to all!

Dumpling Inn
4619 Convoy Street, Suite F
San Diego, CA 92111

St. Tropez Bakery & Bistro (Hillcrest Location)
3805 5th Avenue
San Diego CA, 92103

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


A lot of the country is buried in snow and we're getting lots (and lots!) of rain here in San Diego. However, we just received one small harbinger of spring.

We're loving our CSA boxes from Be Wise Ranch and this week's box had two clamshells (the plastic tubs) of strawberries. They're tiny and pack an amazing amount of flavor, so it's a shame to do anything but snack on them. No sauces, shakes, or baking... just enjoying a sweet little reminder that strawberry season will be here soon enough.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paso Wines at Urban Solace: Living Vicariously

This MCAT class is consuming my existence. 2 1/2 hours every night for five nights a week, not to mention the loads of homework (multiple choice homework still takes a long time) and practice tests. I received an email about Urban Solace having a Paso Robles wine pairing dinner, featuring five Paso winemakers. Of course, my favorite Adelaida Cellars is one of the winemakers. Oh, I thought, this would be a nice break from studying.

Except that it's on a Wednesday night and yours truly will be in class.

If they're not already booked up, I highly recommend making a reservation. If there are any aspiring bloggers out there who'd like to write it up, I'd be happy to post it on AoaAF. Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Menu from the website:

Passed Hors d' Oeuvres: Paired with House Bubbles!
- Baked Malpeque Oyster, Caramelized Fennel and Artisan Bacon
- Aged Cheddar Gougères

First Station: Paired with 2008 Vina Robles Verdelho, Huerhuero Vineyard, Paso Robles
Jidori Chicken Liver Paté, Grilled Asian Pear, Toasted Brioche, Spiced Honey

Second Station:  Paired with 2008 Still Water Vineyards Estate Viognier, Paso Robles
Braised Niman Ranch Pork Belly, Dried Apricot Chutney, Pomegranate Reduction

Third Station: Paired with 2007 Adelaida Cellars "Version Red", Glenrose Vineyard, Paso Robles (GSM blend)
Duck Three Way: Maple-Bourbon Cured Breast, Smoked Duck Prosciutto wrapped around Duck Confit and Housemade Ricotta

Fourth Station: Paired with 2005 Niner Wine Estates, "Fog Catcher", Bootjack Ranch, Paso Robles (Bordeaux Blend)
Spice Crusted Piedmontese NY Strip Loin, Shaved Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bordelaise

Passed Finale:  Paired with 2007 Adelaida Cellars Ice Wine, Muscat / Viognier, Central Coast
Blood Orange Glazed Apple Tartlette

(old photo of the tasting room with their previous logo)

I was at Adelaida this past weekend and their ice wine is currently on the tasting list. It's fabulous... sweet, but not syrupy as many dessert wines can be. The Version Reds are always great blends and I think it's a shame they're not showcasing their fabulous Syrah. It's being served with duck (three ways?!), which only increases my bitterness that I'll be stuck in a classroom at UCSD's med school campus. I know from past experience that Matt Gordon and his staff will serve a meal as good as it looks in writing, so the food will also be fabulous.

(Adelaida's walnut grove)

If anyone is interested in writing it up, leave a comment or email me at moowiesqrd [at] adventuresofanamateurfoodie [dot] com and we'll iron out the details. If leaving a comment, please leave your contact info.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Zumbar Coffee and Tea

Correction: My initial post called it Zumbar Cafe. It's Zumbar Coffee and Tea. My apologies.

Productive morning... took the bus to UCSD and managed some quality MCAT studying while waiting for my coworker E. to pick me up. We went to Zumbar Coffee and Tea in Sorrento Valley for coffee. Many of San Diego's chowhounds argue that Zumbar has the best coffee in San Diego. In this case, I will happily ride along on the bandwagon. I also have a bag of their Peruvian organic beans going through my espresso maker and they're awesome.

Zumbar Coffee and Tea
10920 Roselle Street, Suite #106
San Diego, CA 92121

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's that time of year again...


My boss bought about 16 boxes of Girl Scout cookies today. I'm not sure if he's the best boss ever or a man I should curse for all eternity. Fun note: Garrett has about as much willpower as I do... maybe less.