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eG Foodblog: FrogPrincesse (2011) - From tartines to tikis

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I've got a couple of these that work great with slack or very soft doughs and I have even used them for quick breads.

One is a very old Griswold but I also have a newer, very inexpensive one similar to this that was made by Lodge. They discontinued it but from time to time one shows up on eBay and is worth getting if the price is right.

When it is preheated in a hot oven, the oven spring is terrific and the crust beautiful. I just make a "hammock" of oiled parchment and roll the slack dough into the hot pan and shove it back into the oven.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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We had lunch today at a place I often eat at during the week, MIHO Gastrotruck. It's a food truck whose philosophy is to use local seasonal produce, and made-from-scratch ingredients. It was created by two former employees of the Linkery (a local restaurant known for its sausages and cured meats), Kevin Ho and Juan Miron.


There was a long line as we got there a little late.


Here was their menu today -


Daily Menu

fresh, seasonal produce sourced as locally as possible...

all natural, sustainable meats raised without hormones or antibiotics...

hand crafted street food made from scratch every day...unless it has an *


local raspberry, almond, local mixed greens, pt. reyes blue cheese, poppyseed vinaigrette


grass fed beef, all natural Duroc bacon, fire roasted local padron pepper, all natural white cheddar, local avocado, cilantro lime aioli, local brioche bun*


tequila, lime, & agave marinated wild rock cod, pico de gallo, crema fresca, local cabbage, local corn tortilla*


hand made frybread, roasted local summer squash, local torpedo onion, black beans, pico de gallo, crema fresca


hand cut kennebec potato, hand made moroccan spice ketchup


We ordered a burger & fries for him, and the fish tacos for me.

We also got a bottle of Mexican coke, and a Hawaiian soda.



We passed on dessert, but it looked pretty good.


Our orders were handed to us with a big smile (as advertised!).


Then we settled on a grassy area nearby to have our picnic under a tree (it is very hot today!). It was wonderful as usual.

The fish tacos


Burger and fries


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Of course, I have to go to the grocery store every once in a while. My usual stores are Trader Joe's for everyday items, and Bristol Farms for the rest. Bristol Farms is somewhat similar to Whole Foods, without the sometimes preachy politics.


The olive bar


They have a very extensive cheese selection.


More cheese


The meat department


The produce section. A lot of it is local and organic.


I never venture into that aisle, but my husband pointed to me their array of old-fashioned sodas.


Their liquor department is well stocked...


including a few hard-to-find bottles.


I bought this for my collection. I am sure I will find a use for them!


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After Bristol Farms in UTC, we headed south to Hillcrest. When we moved to San Diego 13 years ago, we used to live in this neighborhood that we still visit regularly.

I felt right at home since it is the home of a European-style bakery, Bread and Cie. Their bread is baked in a 10 000 pound stone hearth French oven and they use traditional French techniques. When they first tried to use their European bread recipes in San Diego, they could not understand why they would not work as well, and spent considerable time tweaking them to adapt to the local conditions.


What I love with their breads is that they have the most amazing crust, and deep flavors.


We brought this epi home, together with some cheese from a nearby cheese shop. (To be continued)


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Thanks FrogPrincesse,

I'm enjoying your blog very much!

A couple years ago from London we were going to move back to the States and San Diego was an option, I even posted a message on this board! I was worried about the quality and the abundance of good produce. Well, I can see clearly from you blog that it wouldn't have been an issue.And I'm very jealous of your spacious kitchen...

We ended up on the Cote d'Azur. I have the feeling that, strangely, here people are not so focused on food (like me) and I have to travel far to get what I want.

Saba, we called vincotto, in the part of Italy where I'm from. I had a sardinian roommate at University. The pan' e saba she used to bring from home was FANTASTIC. I tried to replicate it many times with little success.

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Frimousse does indeed have a sweet face!

Your kitchen remodel stayed so true to the original style of the house and yet gave it a whole new contemporary look. Love what you did, and I can see it was not a simple little makeover!

I would love to do Pupus and Mai Tais like yours!

This might be a silly question, but does your profession (Chemistry) influence your cooking, or no?

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A couple years ago from London we were going to move back to the States and San Diego was an option, I even posted a message on this board! I was worried about the quality and the abundance of good produce. .

San Diego has the largest number of farms of any county in the US and has also the largest community of organic growers in the nation. There is a lot of room for improvement for the restaurant scene in San Diego but the quality and abundance of produce is as good as it gets anywhere.

Edited by Honkman (log)
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This might be a silly question, but does your profession (Chemistry) influence your cooking, or no?


I see a lot of parallels between cooking and chemistry. I think that the fact that I was more at ease with pastry initially is no surprise, because it's very precise, each item is measured, and there is little room for error. Being a chemist, these are things I am very comfortable with.

With cooking, there is much more room for interpretation, and it took me a lot of practice and observation to get a feel for things.

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Yesterday, after picking up an epi at Bread and Cie, we went to a cheese shop nearby, Venissimo. We've been regulars at the store since they opened in 2004. Their first store in Hillcrest is located in a tiny little wedge of a space. Since then, they've opened other stores in Del Mar, downtown, and Long Beach.


The downtown store offers regular cheese tastings and classes. I learned to make ricotta at a class that the passionate Gina, who owns the store with her husband, gave last year.

The quality of their cheeses surpasses what you generally find in a supermarket, because they are handled with much more care, and are allowed to age properly. And they will always offer you a sample to ensure that you will be satisfied with your purchase.




They also offer a small assortment of cured sausages, and various cheese-related items.


We bought a couple of goat cheeses, a Selles-sur-Cher and a slice of Midnight Moon that we will be nibbling on tonight.

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Before going home yesterday afternoon, we stopped by Great News in Pacific Beach, which is the store where I buy most of my kitchen equipment. They also have a cooking school. I attended their knife skills and pressure cooker classes with my friends a few years ago. Their classes are a lot of fun.


Sharp things. I bought my Messermeister from them after realizing how bad my knives were. You should have seen the chef knife I was using then - it was starting to turn into a serrated knife!


Shiny things


A rainbow of stoneware


Le Creuset


I know what you are thinking, but I was reasonable and did not splurge on this one!


Some things are kept under lock and key.


Their cooking school is located at the back of the store.


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I am still catching up on my backlog and realized that I never got to post pictures from Specialty Produce. When I picked up my farmers' market bag on Thursday afternoon, I also had an extensive tour of the facility.

You see Specialty Produce truck all around town. They are a wholesale distributor of produce to restaurants in San Diego. Their warehouse is also open to the public during certain hours.

The amount, variety and quality of items that they have in stock is really overwhelming. Most of it is sourced from local farms, and a lot of it organic. I think that you would be hard-pressed to find anything that they don't have in stock.

Their website has a wealth of information. In addition to listing every item in stock (and quantities!), it also provides details on the various items they carry, the best way to prepare them, which restaurants in San Diego recently purchased them, and even videos in some cases!


Microgreens and edible flowers, including orchids

















Red corn




They also have a large dry goods section with everything from dry pasta to locally-made jams.


Slabs of salt for cooking


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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I suddenly have a great need to visit San Diego and Specialty Produce specifically - wow :wub:

Me too. I have one fridge in my van, a trip there would necessitate loading in an extra.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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Last night we went to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner. Nine-Ten is located in the Grande Colonial hotel in La Jolla and serves impeccable Californian cuisine, with interesting touches from chef Jason Knibb's Jamaican heritage.


We've had many great meals there and enjoy letting the chef decide for us, so we ordered the "Mercy of the chef", a 5-course tasting menu. Each of us received a different dish, so that's really a good way to extensively sample the menu.


We started off with a cooling watermelon and ginger spritzer.


First Course

Hamachi Sashimi

marinated baby shiitake mushrooms, scallion vinaigrette marinated baby shiitake mushrooms, scallion vinaigrette


Peach and Nectarine Salad

cucumber, purslane, mizuna greens, mustard frill, plum, cilantro flowers, soy-yuzu vinaigrette

This was my dish and I really liked the soy-yuzu dressing with the peaches, I thought it was a great idea. The little jelly spheres of plum were a fun touch.


I got a rosé wine with the salad, which was surprisingly dry and provided contrast to the dish.

The Hamachi was paired with a Sancerre. Our sommelier was great, by the way.


Second Course

Northern Halibut

Chino farms corn, sea beans, hon shimeji mushrooms, peanuts, kaffir lime, coconut & green curry

The curry sauce was poured on the fish at the last minute.


Wild King Salmon

haricot vert, piquillo peppers, castelvertrano olives, shallots, grilled eggplant puree, fennel-chili lemon


Third Course

Lamb Loin

artichokes, fingerling potatoes, chanterelle mushrooms, pecorino, asparagus

The lamb was perfectly cooked and I enjoyed the combination of flavors. This might have been my favorite dish of the meal, although it is really hard to pick one.

It was paired with a Malbec from Argentina.


Jamaican Jerk Pork Belly

baby carrots, swiss chard, plantains, black-eyed peas, spicy jellies & sweet potato puree

This dish was paired with a Miora pinot noir with smokey undertones that were wonderful with the jerk spices.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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Fourth Course

Mahon, a soft cow’s milk from Spain, served with fried almonds


Black Diamond Cheddar from Canada, served with fig jam


Fifth Course

Toasted Goat Ricotta

local blueberries, honey jam, melon-lime granita

I was especially happy when this plate was placed in front of me. Gina from the cheese shop Venissimo, who taught me to make ricotta, learned to make ricotta from Jack Fisher, the pastry chef at Nine-Ten. She told us in her class that he felt that "If you can't make ricotta, you probably shouldn't be in the kitchen", which convinced me that I had to try making it at home!

So it was great to finally try his ricotta. It had a wonderful flavor from the goat milk, and a crispy tuile of honey on top.


Caramelized White Chocolate Mousse

marshmallow fluff, graham cracker, dark chocolate-rosemary sorbet

My husband, the chocolate-alcoholic, was in heaven with his dessert!


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After Nine-Ten, it was time to head to the Noble Experiment. This speakeasy-type bar is well hidden inside a very popular restaurant in the East Village.


We made our way past the crowds inside, and went straight to the back of the restaurant to an unassuming hallway.

What is behind the wall of kegs is completely unexpected...


A small space with comfortable booths.


But wait, what is on the wall? It's a fantasy-version of the catacombs with golden skulls!

Trust me, it all makes sense after a few drinks. :biggrin:


There is even a gallery of paintings on the ceiling.


There is a drink menu, but we always have the most fun when we let the bartender create something for us based on our preferences.


We prefer to sit at the bar so we can watch the bartenders in action, and see the extended liquor selection on the shelves behind the bar.

Last night, Brian took care of us under the watchful eye of Anthony Schmidt, the resident expert mixologist. It was Brian's first evening on his own and he did a fantastic job with our cocktails, together with a great conversation!


Our first drinks arrived.


I received a variation on the Negroni and got one mixed with Beefeater and Barolo Chinato cocchi, and a grapefruit twist (an idea I am going to steal!). He had a Monk's Buck (cognac, green Chartreuse, ginger, lime and club soda).

For our second round, I had spotted a bottle of Bols Genever that I had always wanted to try, and Brian turned it into a John Collins variation. I loved the depth of the genever in that drink. My husband ordered a drink with rye whiskey and Brian mixed something with Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, yellow Chartreuse, orange and Angostura bitters.


Anthony himself mixed a few drinks as well so we had a chance to see him in action.



Yet the even best things in life have to come to an end, and when the deer on the wall starts blinking at you, you know it's finally time to go home...

Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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Still trying to catch up with my posts!

This morning we went to Catalina Offshore to pickup some fish. They are located off Morena boulevard. They were rather busy so we did not have a chance to tour their warehouse.


Catalina Offshore is known for its high quality sea urchin that is exported to Japan. That is how their business initially started, by a professional sea urchin diver and his wife.


The offerings of the day


Their high-quality seafood is used by a number of restaurants all around town, including many of our favorites, Nine-Ten in la Jolla, Searocket in North Park, the Fish Shop in Pacific Beach, and MIHO gastrotruck. Most of it comes from California and Baja California.

We got the local halibut that we will cook tonight.

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Another week please!

Thanks your vote of support!

I am not sure I could keep up with the pace though! :smile:

But for sure, there is still enough material to cover at least another week, if I ever have a chance to do this again.

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