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


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Another week please!

I second that motion. Your blog is inspiring.

"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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After Catalina Offshore, it was time for us to pay a visit to the Mercato, the farmers' market in Little Italy, a neighborhood in downtown San Diego. It's wonderful how a group of residents, The Little Italy Association, launched this market a few years ago, and how it went from a few selected booths to a market that could rival with European markets, with over 100 booths ranging from high-quality organic produce to freshly shucked oysters.

The market seems to continue to gain in popularity. Today we had a hard time finding parking, and the crowd was definitely there with us! The quality is still the same as when the market was first created. One of the criteria for vendors is that they produce food within a 100 mile radius.

A market with a view

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They always have musicians, which make shopping even more enjoyable.

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Shopping at one of our favorite vendors, Schaner Farms, for eggs (we got an assortment of duck, guinea hen, and hen eggs), blood oranges, and flowers.

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We bought a basket of golden raspberries from this vendor.

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The white alfafa and sage honey had a wonderful delicate flavor, so we picked up a bottle.

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It's great to see vendors selling local meat since it can be hard to find.

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Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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How can you resist this?

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There was no way I could, so I got a little sampler from Carlsbad Aquafarms, our local source for mussels and oysters. They were wonderfully light and crisp.

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This French crepe vendor had an incredible technique.

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Display of French pastries

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Citrus including a personal favorite, Oro Blanco grapefruit

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Panini

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Dessert was just a block away at Pappalecco, an authentic gelateria with the creamiest ice cream. Compared to typical American ice cream, gelato is more dense as it contains less air, resulting in an extraordinary mouthfeel and intense flavors. Pappalecco is a prime example of this style of ice cream.

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The store itself is like a little piece of Italy transplanted to the US, with Italian staff that greets you in Italian.

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The display case.

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Dark chocolate

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Tiramisu

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Their signature flavor is a chocolate with amaretto.

The coffee station

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They have good coffee there as well, but we decided to go somewhere else for that.

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Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is the coffee shop that we frequent on weekends. It's located in La Jolla, in a lively neighborhood called Bird Rock, just a few streets away from the ocean. This area is full of interesting little shops and art studios.

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The store itself is very comfortable, with large benches in the windows that are rolled open to let the breeze in. There is even a little play area for kids inside the shop.

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The coffee is roasted on the premises. All of their coffees are organic and fair trade, and part of them are sourced directly from the farmers. The owner travels around the world to directly select beans that meet his high standards.

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Cappuccino art

The coffee is so smooth and well balanced, there is no need to add sugar to the cappucino.

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Single espresso

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After coffee, we went back home and spent a relaxing afternoon in the pool.

A few hours later, it was finally time for a cocktail.

I made him his favorite with my new bottle of bourbon.

Perfect Manhattan

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My personal favorite these days is a White Negroni.

We brought back a couple of bottles of Suze during our last week in Paris, one of which ended up behind the bar at Noble Experiment.

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As a pre-dinner snack, we sampled the cheese that we had bought yesterday at Venissimo.

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On our plates:

Midnight moon, a firm and nutty goat cheese from Cypress Grove, a company that helped popularize goat cheese in the US.

Selles-sur-Cher, a goat cheese from France, made in the region where my husband and I got married, and where my parents own a small country house.

Black emerald grapes from my farmers' market bag.

Our second snack was a foie gras mousse topped with fleur de sel, with plums from the Little Italy Mercato on the side.

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Our dinner tonight was inspired by one of our favorite chefs. Jean-Marie Josselin is a French chef based in Hawaii who used to own a restaurant in San Diego, 808. Unfortunately, his restaurant closed a few years ago. A Pacific Cafe, his former restaurant in Kauai, was also a favorite of ours. He recently opened a new place in Poipu.

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The halibut was seared with a white sesame seed crust. It's served atop yellow waxed beans with a lime ginger beurre blanc and black sesame seeds. For me, this recipe represents a great example of a successful mix between French techniques with the beurre blanc, and Hawaiian flavors with the lime and ginger. It's a simple idea but I find it quite inspiring.

The halibut was local and bought at Catalina Offshore this morning, and the yellow wax beans were from my Specialty Produce farmers' market bag program.

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Brava! Encore!!!

"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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This morning, I started off the day by a quick sharpening session on the EdgePro using the 220 grit stone. I noticed that my Forschner chef knife was getting quite dull when I was cutting tomatoes earlier this week, so it was time to do something about it. I did not really do a thorough job, but in less than 10 minutes the knife was able to cut through paper again.

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Then I put the knife into good use by finally breaking into the large slab of bacon I made (and partially carbonized!) a few days ago. It looks like the burn is superficial, which is good news. If the slab of pork belly had had a rind attached when I bought it, it might have helped with the problem, but for some reason the belly was sold to me rindless.

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For breakfast, I cracked open the beautiful duck eggs from Schaner Farms.

These take a little longer to cook than regular eggs since they are bigger. They can be a little tricky to crack open at first, as the shell and membrane are thicker. Lastly, their flavor is very pronounced and rich, but I feel that they are similar in the respect to good-quality free-range chicken eggs.

Perky yolk

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Breakfast was the duck egg cooked sunny side up, with homemade hickory-smoked, maple-cured bacon, golden raspberries, and a glass of freshly squeezed Valencia orange juice.

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The flowers were from Schaner Farms too. We used a slice of homemade brioche to soak up the yolk.

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For lunch today, we headed near the beach to La Jolla Shores.

We had not been to Barbarella for a long time, so we decided to go there for a change. This is one of the first restaurants we went to after our daughter was born, because of its very casual atmosphere. This bistro-style restaurant makes everyone feel welcome; kids have a little play area, and dogs are treated to a bowl of fresh water and a dog biscuit. It almost feels like sitting on someone's patio, surrounded by lush greenery and flowers, with the cool ocean breeze. It's also fun to watch the beachgoers walk right past the restaurant.

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The owner of the restaurant was a friend of the late Nicki de Saint Phalle (who also lived in the neighborhood). The French artist's touches are seen throughout the restaurant, including a large vase on the bar, the pizza oven, and even the kids' menu.

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The food is Italian-inspired and very simple.

Linguini with clams

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The pizza is always very popular with kids!

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For our cocktail hour tonight, we had a Juliet and Romeo, a creation from Toby Maloney of the Violet Hour.

I always complain that this cocktail is fussy to make and it is true - unless I decide some day to splurge on a couple of Japanese dasher bottles, it's a giant pain to count individual drops of rose water and Angostura bitters. But, of course, when you sip this, you realize that it's really worth all the trouble. This cocktail is very delicate and well balanced. You can taste the cucumber, mint and rose water and how they play with each other without being overpowering. The touch of salt adds interest and also changes the texture of the drink.

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Our snacks: Californian pistachios, black emerald grapes, more of the foie gras mousse with fleur de sel, ricotta & Parma ham with balsamic vinegar for him (foreground), and with truffle honey for me (background).

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I had some spinach from last week's CSA that I needed to use, so I made a savory tart for dinner tonight. I took my inspiration from a recipe in Sunday Suppers at Lucques, which itself is based on flammenkuche, a thin Alsatian tart topped with fromage blanc, onions and lardons.

In tonight's version, the tart was first topped with a mixture made from homemade ricotta, homemade fromage blanc, and an egg yolk. Then I added spinach that had been blanched then sauteed in olive oil with caramelized shallots and herbes de Provence. Lastly, I added the crumbled feta.

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For dessert tonight, I made vanilla ice cream with the eggs from Schaner Farms. I love how they all have different colors and sizes.

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I made the custard with a vanilla bean that we brought back from a trip to Tahiti.

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Churning the ice cream in the ice cream maker

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The ice cream is ready to go in the freezer. We did not want to wait so we had it as soft serve.

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We served the ice cream with plums, and a caramel fleur de sel sauce that we bought at the market yesterday.

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It's finally time to wrap up this blog.

Thank you to the eGullet team for asking me to blog this week. It has helped me get out of my shell a little. I've had a fun time sharing many of my favorite places with all of you, the first barbecue/4th of July party I've ever hosted, and my everyday meals. Thanks to all who followed me around this week.

This blog was my way of saying thank you to all the eGullet members from whom I've learned so much. eGullet is a fantastic resource and a great community. I hope that it continues to grow and flourish.

Lastly, I would like to thank my husband who did such a wonderful job with the pictures. I have absolutely no idea how the other bloggers, who don't have a dedicated photographer following them around everywhere, manage to do this!

I can't wait to read the next Foodblog!

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Just gotta say I'm going to miss following your adventures every day - it's been a wonderful week - but sadly too short. I used to go to Irvine CA for a week or two every spring and stay with a friend there and cook in her wonderful california kitchen and look out over the Disney fireworks every night - your blog brought it all back!

Thanks for taking the risk and blogging.

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