Light Of My Life

Today is a good day. Why? Because for the next two days, you do not have to worry about anything. No deadlines, no waiting for the clock to hit five, no driving home during rush hour. The only thing you have to worry about is where are you going to eat on Saturday night and what are you going to order.

I think I’m restaurant’d out and will cook at home this weekend for the first time this half of the year. I am overdue for a Farmer’s Market and Chipotle Sunday morning.

It is funny how l was talking about Marlowe in my last post and my latest dining experience so happened to be it’s sister restaurant.

Abby, the fire of my loins, took me out for a spectacular birthday dinner on Wednesday. We have a collective list of restaurants we want to try in San Francisco and Park Tavern happens to be one of them.

Located in the beautiful North Beach district, it is an upscale American Tavern that offers a satisfying menu of seasonal, market-driven seafood and meat dishes for every palate.

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We ended up just dropping the car off at valet because North Beach is the worst for parking, I did not even want to deal with it.

I love the ambiance of Park Tavern, it was nicer than your average restaurant but still felt comfortable and not too stiff.

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Everyone there was so pleasant and made us feel right at home. The waiter was charming and kept asking us if we wanted pictures of x, y or z. We might of took him up on a few offers. 🙂

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I stole this picture from Abby’s Instagram. I asked her if she would be mad if I ordered a Shirley Temple. When a eight year old orders one, nobody bats an eye. When a grown up (like myself, giggle giggle) orders one, the whole world goes crazy. Luckily, Abs was extremely accepting of my love for grenadine.

Go big or go home, right guys?

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I do not even know where to start with the food, we ordered almost everything on the menu. Both of us were huge fans of Marlowe, so I know we were in for a real treat.

First up is the Park Tavern fries. What is that on the sides, you ask? Oh, just a nice dollop of truffle and a soft boiled egg topped with caviar. Yes, this might be the most fanciest fries I ever had in my life. Fancy and delicious. My technique was dipping the fry in the egg/caviar and topping it off with truffle. It was unbelievable and I had a dream about it that same night. I wish I was kidding.

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Abs never had gnocchi (I know, what), so it was a must. Another pan-seared gnocchi dish in my corner, I am a lucky girl. This parisienne gnocchi was seared with wild mushrooms, farmstead blue and petit thyme.

I still can not believe how incredible this was.

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Park Tavern is known for their Brussels sprout chips, which I did not realize was a thing. Kale chips are so 2010, these are the new baked greens and I am excited to try to make these at home.

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She switched from her Caipirinha to a Chardonnay (or Sauvignon, who knows or cares) and I went from my very alcohol (ha) Shirley Temple to a nice Riesling. It is my favorite and the only wine I do not get tired of.

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The most amusing part of our night (besides us googly eyeing each other) was the table next to ours. Seated were two posh middle aged couples that we made small talk with and ended up being best friends by the end of the night. One of the women loved my camera and asked to take pictures of us. She just bought her first DSLR and caught the photography bug.

I obliged.

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I ordered the “Poulet Noir” to share and holy presentation. They said it would be revealed as a whole chicken but this was another level. This was served with black truffle, butter braised baby spinach and roasted peewee potatoes.

The spinach was phenomenal with the subtle taste of the truffle.

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Abby chose the caramelized sea scallops w/ yellow curried carrot puree, sunchoke barigoule, breakfast radish & chrysanthemum greens. For being someone who is not a fan of seafood, I had one whole scallop and Abs was so proud of me. I have to admit that it was great.

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What is a birthday without creme brûlée? This unique custard was made with local TCHO chocolate, chili, lemon zest and sea salt. A rich, chocolate biscotti was served on the side. I wish I did not eat this so fast because our waiter surprised us and brought out a complimentary carrot cake with cream cheese frosting as a birthday treat.

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I am surprised I was able to get out of my chair after. If you count, that is seven different dishes I consumed in two hours. I could not have done it without Abby sharing with me. I have to say thank you again, Abby, for the fantastic dinner. Love you to the moon and back. 🙂

We wrapped up our meal around 9:30p and had some fun with the valet guys and a stranger before heading home.

And that, my friends, concludes my five-day-after-birthday dinner meal with the ever-so-special Abs.

Do you ever still order Shirley Temples? Try to make me feel better, please.

Which dish would you be most excited to try?

Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts

Why couldn’t Brussels sprouts taste this spectacular during Thanksgiving ’96 in the Condell household?

That is what I was saying to myself as I was creating this week’s recipe. I don’t know what’s going on with me, but everything coming out my kitchen has been straight fire! If there is a roll, I am on it.

Now, why did I feel like making Brussels sprouts this week? Well, they are slowly coming into season so we have plenty of months to recreate this recipe and it was my meat week so it only felt right to include Italian sausage in edible sausage casings from DCW Casing and bacon. 🙂

Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts W/ Italian Sausage, Bacon and Mushrooms

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: 3-4

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Ingredients:

  • 10-Oz Brussels Sprouts, cut in half
  • 6-Oz Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 10-Oz Bacon
  • 2 Italian Sausages, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 Tsp Paprika, Herbs de Provence & Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet

TO PREP

1. Wash the brussel sprouts, remove the outer leaves and cut them in half.

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2. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly and cut to 1/4-inch slices. Slice the sausage to 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the garlic into paper thin slices.

TO COOK

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3. Brown the bacon in the skillet over medium high heat and let it cook through. Remember to flip a few times for even cooking. After it’s done, move it to paper towel covered plate to absorb the extra fat grease. Keep the bacon fat in the pan.

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4. Drop the Brussels sprouts and sliced garlic in the skillet (cut side down) and cook it in the bacon fat. Stir after three minutes. Salt and pepper lightly.

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5. After five minutes of cooking the Brussels sprouts, add the cut pieces of sausages and stir occasionally.

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6. Drop in the mushrooms.

7. Cut the bacon into small bite sized pieces and mix it in with the rest of the food in the pan.

8. Season with the herbs de provence, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Always taste your food and under/over season to your preference!

9. Food should be done around 15 minutes. Brussels sprouts and mushrooms should be tender.

Voila!

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10. Squeeze half a lemon on top to top it off!

How did I eat it? I prepared bow tie pasta and made a simple garlic, butter and lemon sauce to compliment all the flavors from my pan seared Brussels sprouts!

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I like to give vegetarian options at the end, but this dish really tastes so good because of the meat and bacon fat! I would sear the Brussels sprouts in grape seed oil, add more mushrooms and maybe cook it with a white wine.

PS: Does anyone else wonder why we call them Brussels sprouts? I thought there would be a cool back story to the mysterious proper noun that I could interject when meeting new people (jk), so I turned to Google.

Turns out, they were quite popular in Brussels, Belgium. Not so interesting…and kind of makes sense if you think about it.

PPS: The word Brussels starts sounding weird after typing and saying it in my head for thirty minutes straight. Carrying on…

Can I reminisce about New York for a little? I didn’t think I would enjoy the city as much as I did.

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A few more days would have been nice.

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I need to explore Central Park a bit more and all the museums that NYC has to offer!

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Already looking at flights for January, my friend just moved out there last week and it would be a nice surprise to visit her. 🙂

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What is the most exciting fact you know? Brussels sprouts, love them or could not care less?