Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Cookie monster.

We made (or I should say, my wife made) Christmas cookies last week. I helped with the loading and unloading the oven, plus the frosting. And of course, decorating them is always fun. They turned out great, using my Mom’s classic recipe:

Molasses Cookies

1 ½ cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
¾ cup molasses
4 teaspoons water
4 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
4 cups flour
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

Chill dough overnight or a few hours, roll out, cut, bake 9 or 10 minutes in 350 degree oven. Frosting is your typical powdered sugar frosting: 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons milk (add as needed), 1 teaspoon vanilla.

It seems a little old-fashioned to use shortening instead of butter. This recipe make lots of cookies.

Have you ever eaten in a boathouse?
Went to the Colorado Boathouse 1887, kind of an older crowd sort of place for fish and steak. We went on a Sunday night, so boats in the marina were decorated with Christmas lights getting ready to join the bay parade, plus the Hotel Del was fully decorated with lights, which we could see from our table.

The food: tried the steamed artichoke appetizer, with a couple of dipping sauces, not bad. I had tilapia stuffed with shrimp, scallops and shiitake mushrooms, but the whole thing was fairly small and just alright. (We sometimes had the Trader Joe’s seasoned tilapia at home though I did overhear a guy say he never buys it anymore as he heard something bad about tilapia. I have no idea what…is it a bottom feeder fish? Of course, it’s a very mild fish.)

My wife on the other hand had the Mediterranean chicken breast (stuffed with artichoke hearts, feta cheese, olives and sun-dried tomatoes). Yum. It was excellent and a huge portion cut in slices and spread over the plate and served up with a creamy sauce. She had tons to share.

As it was my wife’s birthday she shared the Chocolate Lava Cake (they put a candle in it, and comped the artichoke appetizer as a present). Cake was slightly pricey at $12. It was rich and good and chocolaty but nothing like the great desserts presented at Just Fabulous or Extraordinary Desserts. Waiter was friendly. We walked over to the Hotel Del to check out the outside ice skating rink on their back lawn. Wow, Southern CA ice skating with an ocean view.

Bust this belly!
My favorite lunchtime food splurge (health wise) is the Italian Beef and Sausage Combo from Buster’s in the food court at Scranton Road and Mira Mesa in Sorrento Valley. Yum. You can get it with peppers and onions and side containers of au jus and a hot pepper mix. I also ask for it wet (or dipped) so the bread is soaked. I guess you can also get it with red gravy. It’s great, but honestly, I think they are making it a little smaller now with less meat so it isn’t quite the belly buster it used to be. I enjoy one of these every few months. $7 with tax. The owners are from Chicago and serve up hot dogs, polish sausage, brats with a few other items, plus breakfast items.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Random food scraps

Not much going on in my food world in the last week or two so I'll just toss out some random thoughts this week.

If you are reading this you are probably also a regular reader of Chowhound. Don't forget to post your top 5 restaurants in the "San Diego Ultimate Poll" posted by someone also named Scott (okay, it was me). San Diego foodie talk seems to be at an all time low over there.

Sometimes I like to try a new cheese - I bought a saint nectaire cheese at Trader Joe's, but found it disgustingly smelly and gross. I've read it can be mild with a nutty, even woody, flavor. Well, it tasted like a cow chewed it up and crapped it out. Even though they would refund the few bucks, I tossed it out.

Rorie, I ate at La Bastide Bistro in Scripps Ranch last weekend. I had the Sea Bass with red peppers and sausage and an Italian parsley sauce. Very Good. My wife got a shrimp and smoked salmon pasta, with dill cream sauce. Desserts were the chocolate mousse and a plate of several cream puffs filled with ice cream. My wife declared the mousse to be fabulous. They were both good, I preferred the dessert at Just Fabulous the week before. Now, I'm quite inexperienced with French food (and many types of food) but I love trying to things and would definitely return.

Anyone making reservations for Restaurant Week? We have two lined up so far. I'll report on them after we go. Any menu wows?