2014 April

    Stairway to Heaven: 16th Ave Tiled Step Project Stairway to Heaven: 16th Ave Tiled Step Project Stairway to Heaven: 16th Ave Tiled Step Project Stairway to Heaven: 16th Ave Tiled Step Project Stairway to Heaven: 16th Ave Tiled Step Project Stairway to Heaven: 16th Ave Tiled Step Project

On a quest to cure the Monday blues, my roommate and I drove across the city to find the beautiful stairs I had once seen a picture of. These stairs were actually the initial idea for the adventure section in my blog and because my blog makes me happy, I figured putting the stairs online for you all would make me even more happy. The 16th Avenue Tiled Step Project (on the corner of 16th and Moraga) is a neighborhood effort that drew 300 neighbors to collaborate on creating something beautiful to represent the neighborhood.

It’s amazing to walk up the stairs and see the detail in each tile and find the larger symbols mixed in the swirls of color. Not to mention it’s a little bit of a workout. I think a girl might have run up and down the stairs twice before I walked up once… nice. What was even better was that once we got to the top we saw another set of stairs, which led to another (you can only imagine how tired this made me) and once we had climbed them all (slowly but surely) we were in a remarkable lookout spot with nearly 360 degree views of the city. The lookout spot was a grassy hilltop with a wooden fence around it an a bench to sit on and look out. To one side the ocean and to the other a view of the beautiful downtown high-rise buildings and straight in front of me my little neighborhood right in front of more ocean. Believe it or not we even made friends with people on top of the hill! A big shout out to San Francisco for giving me one adventure and surprising me with two, I’ll love you forever.

 

    Portobello Mushroom Italian Pizza Portobello Mushroom Italian Pizza Portobello Mushroom Italian Pizza Portobello Mushroom Italian Pizza

For a while I’ve been trying to go “gluten free,” but one problem is that my cheat days are every 8 hours or so. Not sure if I can still call myself “gluten free,” but I do anyways. Why don’t we just disregard the fact that I  made a Chicken, Brie and Grilled Pear Focaccia Panini a few days ago, focaccia doesn’t count right? So clearly because I never ever eat gluten, I found a fun recipe for my special diet from a website that I love: Pinterest. I then took that recipe and used it as an idea for my own little creation. These mushroom pizza’s are phenomenal, and I’m not just saying that because I cook them, they really are. They are healthy, tasty and filling! Also, something fun about them is that you can either cook them as personal sized pizza meals, or cut them up and put a toothpick in it for an appetizer. Food is fun when you get creative people! Here is what you will need to make 2 portobello mushroom italian pizzas.

Ingredients

2 Large Portobello Mushrooms
1 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 Onion
1 Zucchini
3 Spicy Chicken Italian Sausages
1 Can Sliced Black Olives
1 Jar Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce (brands may very)
Shredded Blend of Yellow Cheese
1 Tsp Garlic
Olive Oil
Pepper
Salt
Red Pepper Flaks

First things first: Preheat the oven to 375 F and pull out a cookie sheet or a ceramic oven-durable dish. Wash the mushrooms to make sure all dirt has been removed and place bottom up on the sheet. Take spoonfuls of pasta sauce and coat the bottom of the mushrooms as you would the crust of a pizza. Do this until you have as much sauce as you would like and then your mushrooms are ready.

For the Toppings: You will need a large cutting board to dice vegetables and use a large non-stick sauce pan on medium-high heat.

Dice onion, bell pepper, zucchini and spicy chicken sausages and toss into sauce pan lightly coated in olive oil
Mix in garlic and a few shakes of pepper and a shake or two of salt to the mixture
Cook for about 10 minutes until vegetables and sausage are golden and cooked
Take off heat and spoon into prepared mushrooms, I always like to fit as much of the toppings as I can so they look like little mountains.
Next is the fun part, cover the tops of the piled-high mushrooms with cheese! Thats right, make them nice and cheesy
After you have smothered them in cheese drop the diced olives on top and stick them in the oven
Bake mushrooms in the Oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Once they are out of the oven give them a few minutes to cool off and decide which way you would like to serve them! You get everything you could want in a pizza but in a healthier option! I’m also a huge mushroom fan so I can’t complain about the fact that I am guaranteed a taste of mushroom in each bite. Try it out and let me know what you think!!

Let me remind you, all food tastes better with wine and company

Cheers,

Aly

 

    Have an Epic Time Have an Epic Time Have an Epic Time Have an Epic Time Have an Epic Time Have an Epic Time

To be honest the making of this blog is what dragged me to Epic Roasthouse on the Embarcadero. I couldn’t stop thinking about champagne, the Bay Bridge lights and how perfect a picture of it would be on my home page… it is called Bubbles + Bay after all. But in all truth it isn’t that hard to convince myself that I need to go to a nice restaurant and splurge a little, I deserve it. Right? I primarily just wanted drinks (go figure) so we went around happy hour. Happy hour has some pretty great deals off the bar menu, deals I wish we saw before we ordered everything. Typical. Don’t make the same mistake! Though I can’t complain, I enjoyed every last sip of my expensive champagne.

What We Ate:

Deviled Eggs
Sprinkled with bacon on a bed of Arugula

Champagne We Drank:

Château de Brézé
Brut Rosé, France, Loire Valley, Saumur

Iron Horse
Green Valley, Wedding Cuvée 2009

Cocktails We Drank:

Gin Blossom
No. 209 Gin, Orange Blossom Mead, Combier, Mint & Lemon Juice

Bay Lights
Skyy Vodka, Fentimans Rose Lemonade & Soda Water
** Proceeds from this drink go towards the “Path of Performance” which helps the Bay Bridge light show keep shining through 2026. I thought this was so awesome!!

What We Liked

The Atmosphere! Going to a restaurant for me obviously has to do with how good the food is but also the atmosphere. Eating and drinking out of the house is more a social activity than it is anything else, it’s pure entertainment! I don’t care if a restaurant has the best tacos since sliced bread, if the atmosphere isn’t exciting you won’t find me eating there. The patio, where we sat, is right under the Bay Bridge and right next to the water. Needless to say that makes for a fabulous atmosphere on it’s own. The inside also is a stimulating environment that you would find me in any night of the week, if I could afford it. Their website has great pictures of the inside if you want to get a better feel.

The Champagne! It may have been pricey but it was worth every last drop. All great days should end with champagne and I was happy to have a toast to the creation of this blog with a glass of beautiful rose champagne in my hand.

The Deviled Eggs! I’m a sucker for deviled eggs, which means I get them pretty much anytime I see them on a menu. Thus being so, I am quite the critic and these passed with flying colors! Everything about these deviled eggs were fabulous… I mean they were topped with bacon how could they not be?

The Gin Blossom! The Gin Blossom had a unique fresh taste and perfectly balanced the gin flavors with some sweet mint and lime juice. This cocktail was refreshing and awoke every one of my tastebuds. I would order it a thousand times again.

Overall, I thought the atmosphere was exciting and invited company to have an Epic time, see what I did there? I know I will be back, and maybe try out the dinner menu that looks amazing! I think going and grabbing drinks on the patio is fun and beautiful, but I definitely would advise on staying there while it’s dark out and you can watch the Bay Bridge light show, it’s really something special. Maybe I’ll be going back there soon for dinner, hint hint ;]

Cheers,

Aly

    Chicken, Brie  and Grilled Pear Focaccia Panini Chicken, Brie  and Grilled Pear Focaccia Panini Chicken, Brie  and Grilled Pear Focaccia Panini Chicken, Brie  and Grilled Pear Focaccia Panini Chicken, Brie  and Grilled Pear Focaccia Panini

Inspired by my growling stomach, I decided there was nothing I wanted more than some sort of sandwich. Why did I want a sandwich? Honestly, it’s because all I wanted to do was eat bread. I decided to try something new that I had not yet made before so I found inspiration in Real Foods by my house in the Marina. It probably looked like I went down the aisle in the grocery store and picked out all of my favorite food and threw it in the cart to someone watching. This is the outcome of going shopping and feeling like you’re so hungry you are slowly withering away. Thankfully I had the idea to turn the sandwich into a panini,because if it wasn’t smushed down a little bit I would probably look like a barbarian eating it. I’m a hungry girl, okay?

I tried making this panini more interesting than a different version of a grilled cheese, so I added a few extra components.  For the sauce, I created a homemade garlic aioli with rosemary. The rosemary gave the sauce balance as it counteracted the strong flavors of salt and garlic by giving the sauce some depth in herbal flavors. I then also decided that caramelizing the onion would take away the strong bitterness of a fresh onion and compliment the brie cheese and garlic aioli. The caramelized onion and grilled pear that I picked for the panini make for a perfect combination of salty and sweet.  You will also notice I did not substitute the chicken for processed meat. Taking the extra time to cook a nice chicken breast does not only make for a more tasty sandwich, but also makes for a heartier/healthier meal. Below is the ingredient list for making 2 panini’s and the components that make it so awesome. When it’s gone you will want to get up and make another, trust me because that’s what we did. Why not make everyone in the office jealous of your packed lunch?

Ingredients

Panini 

1 Wedge Brie Cheese
Arugula
1 Red Onion (to be caramelized)
2 Pears (I bought Red Bartlett Pears, you can use any)
1 Loaf Focaccia Bread

Chicken

1 Chicken Breast per sandwich
2 Tbs Olive Oil (I really just drizzled it into the pan, but I would assume that much)
Garlic Salt
Pepper

Homemade Garlic Aioli

1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Egg
1 Tsp Rosemary
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Lemon
Salt
Pepper

For the chicken: Turn stove on medium-high heat, use medium sized non-stick sauce pan (or bigger if cooking more than 2 chicken breasts), cook for about 20 minutes, flipping chicken every 5 or so minutes.

Pour olive oil in the medium pan to coat the bottom and give a good base for the chicken
Put pan on medium-high heat with olive oil
Lay raw (thawed if frozen) chicken in pan on olive oil
Season chicken lightly with garlic salt (I usually do this to both sides of the chicken once I flip it)
Do the same with pepper (apply to your own taste, I really love pepper so I put a little more than most)
Most importantly keep an eye on your chicken and don’t let it burn while it’s cooking!
After about 20 minutes the chicken should be cooked all the way through
Slice chicken in half so that the breast is thinner not shorter (hamburger bun style!)

For the garlic aioli: get out a food processor or blender if you do no have one. I used a magic bullet for mine because I don’t have a food processor, so it’s doable for everyone!

Pour 1/2 cup olive oil in blender
Add the egg (you can use just egg white if you want)
Throw in 3 cloves garlic (if you do not have a food processor chop up the garlic before adding).
Squeeze half lemon into blender (you can add more if you want after)
Season with the rosemary, salt and pepper. I would advise to use minimal salt, as the olive oil already has a salty taste.

Blend together until it is creamy
*I then put my aioli in the fridge to help it become more solid.

For the caramelized onion: Get out small frying pan and medium cutting board. Cook for about 10 minutes

Slice up the onions into long skinny pieces
While preparing the onions have the stove on a medium-high heat until the 2 Tsp of olive oil is crackling
Add onions and reduce heat to medium-low
Stir the onions every few minutes to ensure that they are not burning
Onions should slowly turn to a rich brown color
You may add salt or any other seasoning you would like (I just used olive oil)
Take off stove after about 10 minutes and onions are a deep brown (not burnt!!)

For the pears: Take out large piece of foil. Preheat oven to lowest temperature. Use medium cutting board. Keep pears in oven on lowest temperature while cooking aioli, chicken and onions

Slice the pears into very thin whole slices and put onto foil.
Put pears in foil in the oven and keep in the oven until panini is ready to be made
I did not add any seasoning to the pear

Making the Panini: Get out large cutting board. I used a George Foreman panini maker but you could also try doing it on a grill.

Start with slicing the pears and putting them in the oven, to then preparing the chicken, followed by caramelizing the onions and lastly the preparation of the aioli. Once all ingredients are prepared to the final product, on a large cutting board cut the focaccia loaf into medium sized sandwiches. Add garlic aioli to top, bottom, or both slices of bread. I used both because lets face it, the more garlic the better. Cut into brie cheese and add to the top slice of bread. You may add as much brie as you want, like the garlic aioli I also added a decent amount of cheese. That is the point of a panini right? On the bottom slice of the sandwich layer the chicken breast slices, grilled pear, caramelized onion and arugula on top. Put the top slice with the brie cheese on the other half and slide it into the panini maker. Press the panini maker lid closed and let it sit in there for about 3-5 minutes, keep an eye on it the whole time.

This panini definitely had more instruction than the Salmon and Arugula Salad I last talked about, but it looks scarier than it really is! All the tasks are simple and easy. If you are trying this at home and need more guidance please email me, I’d be more than happy to help you make my new favorite panini!

Let me remind you, all food tastes better with wine and company 

Cheers,

Aly

    What A Treat: Tartine What A Treat: Tartine What A Treat: Tartine What A Treat: Tartine

I can smell chocolate from a mile away, well actually, probably farther than that. I think about chocolate when I’m asleep (imagine what my dreams are like… chocolate heaven), when I am supposed to be working (sorry boss), when people are talking to me (sorry friends I don’t hear you, just chocolate) and even when I’m talking to someone (who even knows what I’m talking about, not me). So it only made sense that while my friends and I were in the mission and had just filled our stomachs to the brim with food at The Vestry, I found more space for chocolate and smelled out the most talked about bakery: Tartine. The line was all the way to the door but as soon as we smelt the sweet fragrances we knew we had no choice but to wait with everyone else. To my surprise and delight the line moved quickly and by the time I got to the front I had slowly but surely talked myself out of ordering an entire chocolate cake, thankfully.

What we Ate: 

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart 
pure rich dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts on top dusted in powdered sugar

Lemon Poppyseed Loaf
lemon and poppyseed in a loaf… get it?

What we drank:

Mocha
an amazing handcrafted mocha coffee

What we Liked:

Chocolate! I think I made it clear that anywhere chocolate is concerned, I will be there, I will eat it, and I will love it. Though maybe I should be specific. I love dark chocolate, milk chocolate is for phonies. This tart was a delicious rich thick mousse texture with an extra crunch and flavor kick because of the hazelnuts. I probably devoured this in less than 5 minutes. It was good to say the least.

Poppyseed Loaf! Nathan ordered the poppyseed loaf and made everyone take a bite. He swore it was the best he had ever tasted. Though he may not be a loaf connoisseur as I am a chocolate one, I trust that it was quite phenomenal, because there is no denying the man is a foodie.

Mocha! If you like mochas you will like this mocha, because it’s a good mocha. How do you explain a good mocha? It had the perfect balance between coffee and chocolate (hello love already) and was gone within 10 minutes. I’m pretty sure that classifies this mocha as a good mocha. Should I say mocha more?

I would recommend: GO to Tartine. You don’t even have to be a sweet lover to go there. If you want a sandwich or panini on homemade bread or a birthday cake or a coffee or a drink or even a little brunch they can help you, checkout the menu. We got our little treats and mochas and walked around the corner to Delores Park where we ate it on a bench overlooking a spectacular view of the city, maybe you should try that too. Don’t just live your day, eat your way through them.

Cheers,

Aly

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Follow Bubbles and Bay around the City and through the kitchen! Enter your email address below to receive automatic updates!

%d bloggers like this: