Pan-Fried California Halibut, our Welcome Home Meal

Cooking, Partners, Thirsty Suki

Crater Lake
Overlooking Crater Lake

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Ryan and I took a road trip through Oregon in a rented Jucy campervan. We were on the road for five days, making stops in Crater Lake, Bend and Portland. We slept in the van at rest stops, campgrounds, and even a motel (just for one night).

We prepared most of our meals, while limited to the ingredients we’d packed with us. We pre-cut vegetables before hitting the road, so we were eating the same ones morning and night. The onions, shallots, bell peppers and mushrooms made appearances at breakfast and dinner, while the cheese from our lunchtime grilled cheeses also showed up at breakfast to top off our eggs.

The few meals we “cheated” on and didn’t cook were dinners at a Thai restaurant (once in Bend and once in Redding) and a home-cooked Puerto Rican meal at Ryan’s cousin’s house.

California HalibutUpon returning home to our real kitchen, unpacking the campervan and getting settled from the trip, it was time for a delicious home-cooked meal. Our Sea Forager shipment of the week were slabs of California halibut, or as Ryan and I like to call it, “Calibut.”

We decided to keep it fairly simple by pan frying the halibut in olive oil. For the thickness of our filets, we gave each side about five minutes. We rounded out the meal with broccoli and couscous with grilled corn on the side and a glass of 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

California Halibut

We were recently invited to join Cultivar Wine’s Blogger club. We gladly accepted, and our first shipment this quarter included bottles of 2014 Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

California Halibut California Halibut

As described in the tasting notes, this Sauvignon Blanc is aromatic with notes of jasmine, roses, and subtle citrus, which open to passionfruit and melon. As for flavor, the wine has bright passionfruit and citrus notes and pairs well with grilled fish and chicken.

Our pan-fried “Calibut” was no exception, and the glass of Sauvignon Blanc really made this homecooked meal even more special after our roadtrip.

Interested in trying Cultivar Wine? They’re hooking up [Super Duper Fantastic] fans – you can enjoy Cultivar at 10% off with code SuperDuperCultivar when you order!

Disclosure: I am required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site [Super Duper Fantastic] and Cultivar Wine. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of product. I receive wine from Cultivar Wine as a member of the Cultivar Wine Bloggers group. All opinions presented are my own.

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Eat SF : A Lazy Bear Birthday

Hungry Suki, Life in SF

Lazy BearI’m one who enjoys celebrating a birthday for as long as possible. Birthday weekends turn into birthday weeks that then turn into birthday months.

One of these days I will celebrate all year long. Life is worth celebrating. It doesn’t mean to splurge without a care, but it means to make the most of the here and now, rather than waiting forever for the perfect moment to arrive.

Ryan’s birthday was during the first week of the month, but we made sure to celebrate ahead of it and through the following week. One of those celebrations was dinner at Lazy Bear, a dining experience in San Francisco that was conceived originally as a pop-up dinner party.

Restaurant goers purchase tickets online for the multi-course menu, which reserves their spot at the table. The price of the ticket depends on the time/day of the reservation. There’s an optional beverage pairing one can add for $$, and it consists of approximately seven drinks [mostly wine] to pair with the meal’s courses. I purchased one ticket with and one without, so that I could drive the birthday boy home afterward.

Lazy Bear – Snacks

When you arrive, you begin your evening upstairs. Various snacks are brought to you, and you have a chance to mix and mingle.

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
Snacks: Broiled Shigoku Oyster, Cured Fluke
Lazy Bear
Snacks: Soft Shell Crab Tempura, Whipped Scrambled Eggs (not pictured)

Once you’ve had a chance to settle in, you’re led downstairs and seated at one of two communal tables. We found out that one of my friends was dining that same night, and even though we hadn’t requested to be seated together, we ended up at the same end of the table. Fun coincidence!

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
The Kitchen and The Birthday Boy!

Lazy Bear – Main Dining Experience

At each seat is a notebook with the menu inside [pictured above] and a pencil for taking notes about each course. We knew that we’d start out taking notes and probably give up by the end of the meal. We didn’t completely stop taking notes; they were more sparse, however.

Lazy Bear
Spelt & Rye Dinner Roll – House Cultured Butter

Lazy Bear
King Salmon – Cucumber, Lemon Verbena, Melon, Mint

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
Broth of Toasted Grains – Egg Yolk Fudge, Ramps [before and after the addition of the actual broth]

In between courses, patrons are encouraged to visit with the kitchen as dishes are being prepared. We made sure to do this several times to capture everything in action.

Lazy Bear
New Potato Fondue – Morels, Peas, Kale, Fine Herbs

Lazy Bear
Pork – Collared Greens, Apricot, Walla Walla Onion, Lardo

Lazy Bear
Squab – Cherry, Spruce, Porcini

Surprisingly, one of my favorite dishes of the meal was the squab. I’m accustomed to how squab is prepared for Chinese banquets, and it’s one I usually avoid. When I saw it on the menu, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was prepared medium rare and resembled a perfectly cooked duck breast in texture. Delicious!

Lazy Bear – Desserts

Like the earlier courses of dinner, there were a handful of desserts to enjoy. I especially liked that they were smaller bites and not overly sweet.

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
Raspberry – Soy Bean, Ginger, Jasmine Tea [+ prep] and Mulberry – Cocoa Nib, Foie Gras, Buckwheat

Lazy Bear Lazy Bear
Treats: Macaron, S’mores Semifreddo, Financier

We were part of the earlier seating, and by the time dessert rolled around, guests from the later seating were ushered upstairs for their snacks. The pacing of the meal was well-planned, and we didn’t feel rushed at all.

Definitely worth a repeat performance, possibly for another special occasion or even any old day!

Click to add a blog post for Lazy Bear on Zomato

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Snakes! American International Rattlesnake Museum

Travel

I went backpacking over the weekend with Trail Mavens. Our campsite of choice in Point Reyes – Wildcat Camp. It was a 5+ mile trek each way with our packs. While we spotted no wild cats at our campsite, we did see bunnies, mice, quail, and even snakes! With snakes in our midst, the topic of rattlesnakes came up and reminded me of my visit to the American International Rattlesnake Museum in New Mexico.

American International Rattlesnake Museum

Devoted to rattlesnake education, the American International Rattlesnake Museum is an animal conservation museum located in Albuquerque. The museum has the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the world. According to their website, that’s 34 species.

The staff regularly participates in international viper research events, and the museum hosts a diverse collection of living rattlesnakes and an extensive library of study material and educational tools. We could have spent hours at the museum just watching the nature videos playing and getting close-ups of the snakes.

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Western Diamondback

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Horned Rattlesnake (Sidewinder)

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Mottle Rock Rattlesnake

American International Rattlesnake Museum

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Albino Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Look at that rattle!

The key message I took from visiting the museum was that rattlesnakes are important to the ecosystems in which they live and that if we encounter them, we are far more dangerous to them than they are to us. In most cases, rattlesnakes will make every effort to avoid human contact. They will only rattle when provoked or if there is a serious threat.

In addition to rattlesnakes, the museum holds a few other living creatures worth visiting. Here are just a few:

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Gila Monster

American International Rattlesnake Museum
Alligator Snapping Turtle

There’s also an impressive collection of artifacts with a snake theme: jewelry, paintings, flags and coins. I didn’t take a photo of those, so you’ll have to use your imagination or pay the museum a visit.

It’s worth it, even if you’re afraid of snakes.

Visit American International Rattlesnake Museum

202 San Felipe NW, Suite A
Albuquerque, NM 87104-1426
505.242.6569
More info: website

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Fresca’s First Overnight – Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley

Around California, The Animals

Holman Ranch

Several months ago, we were invited to stay at Holman Ranch, a 400-acre event property and winery in Carmel Valley. We took that as an opportunity to stay in Carmel Valley for the first time and to take Fresca on her first overnight trip with us as the property is dog-friendly. Prior to this visit, we’d only heard about Carmel Valley from winery folk and occasionally during our dinners with Ryan’s mom. She and her significant spend quite a bit of time relaxing and wine tasting in the area, so they’ve got a few wineries to recommend and a few tales to tell.

Upon arrival, we were checked in at the Holman Ranch tasting room in Carmel Valley. While we didn’t have a chance to try out the tasting room experience firsthand, there was no shortage of wine tasting during our stay at Holman Ranch.

After settling into our room, we toured the property, checked out the vineyards and the wine cave, as well as the Spanish-style hacienda on-site.

Holman Ranch
Estate-grown grape varieties across approximately 21 acres of vineyards include: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

Holman Ranch
Fresca in the cave, where the processing, aging, bottling and labeling takes place.

Holman Ranch
The meticulously manicured lawn with a view overlooking the Santa Lucia Mountains.

As an event space, Holman Ranch aims to offer unlimited possibilities to its guests. Packages start at $1,000, and one event is allowed at a time, so the property is all yours to enjoy during the rental period. Outside caterers and vendors are welcome, so it’s a fantastic way to personalize an event if you’ve got your own vendors in mind.

Holman Ranch Holman Ranch
Fresca enjoyed the decor, taking a moment to strike a pose with a statue friend.

Holman Ranch Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch Holman Ranch
Inside the Hacienda: courtyard and chapel.

In the evening, we joined Nick Elliott and Hunter Lowder, the husband-wife team overseeing the operations of Holman Ranch, for dinner at their restaurant in town, Wills Fargo. The group got a chance to chat with them about all things Holman Ranch and Carmel Valley.

After dinner, we headed back to the ranch. There are ten guest rooms on the property. While they are normally only available to those who have booked events at Holman Ranch, as guests of the ranch, we were lucky enough to have a chance to stay in a room.

The stay was particularly memorable for Fresca because this was the first time she’d get to sleep in the same room. She was so well-behaved and didn’t even try to wake us up at an unreasonable hour as she’d been doing for awhile. The much-needed sleep was greatly appreciated, so going forward, we would finally let her sleep in our bedroom at home. The rule now is that there will be no animals in the bed.

While we are not currently in the market for a large event space, it was still neat to get a sneak peek of Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley and see what the possibilities could be! It was a lovely little dog-friendly getaway. After we “checked out” [aka just left our key in the room when we were ready to go] in the morning, we headed over to the beach since someone loves going to the beach.


Fresca enjoying her time at the beach.


With my new friend, Tucker

Disclosure: Our visit to Holman Ranch was complimentary and part of a media FAM trip. Thanks to Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley for hosting our stay. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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Currently – v.05 {2015}

Being Suki

Loving that I finally gave in and let Fresca sleep in our bedroom. I was adamant about keeping the animals out of the bedroom overnight. While it might have been her puppy phase, she would wake us up early in the morning to get into the same room as us. We lost precious hours of sleep for months. Now she lays there quietly until we are ready to wake up. Hooray for sleep!

Loathing how little I used of my ClassPass this month. Yes, I keep track of how much of the pass I use each month, and going to Belgium threw off my rhythm. On a positive note, I took advantage of a sign up bonus and one of my months was free, so I didn’t waste any actual dollars.

Watching Chef’s Table on Netflix, and I am officially obsessed. I’m 2/3 of the way into the first season with just two more episodes to go. I’m hoping there will be more because I love going into the lives of these world renowned chefs, learning about their struggles and all they’ve overcome to get where they are today. Also, I want to eat at all of these restaurants. Niki Nakayama’s n/naka is at the top of my list, and I’ve hinted in the most blunt way possible [aka not a hint at all] to Ryan that I’d love to go there during my birthday month. He’s got his work cut out for him!

Feeling lucky and incredibly grateful for all the good things in life.

Currently - Piles of Cheese
Good things, like piles of cheese

Planning another international trip in the fall. We have our eyes set on Mexico City for Dia de Los Muertos. Super excited. Suggestions and recommendations welcome!

Working hard and getting bills paid.

Wishing for cleaning fairies! We’re having some guests over this weekend, so we have to make it presentable. We worked on it a bit over the weekend and have a few more evenings to make progress. Just because I can live in my sty doesn’t mean my guests should!

Looking forward to IFBC [short for “International Food Bloggers Conference”] this year! After perusing the list of attendees, I decided last week that I wanted to head up to Seattle for the weekend. I will be rooming with a long-time blogger friend, Mary of Fervent Foodie!

What are you currently up to?

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