Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Box Mix-up

There was no Suzie's Farm Week 4 box posted because I accidentally forgot to pick my box up last week. I had changed my pick-up location to Poway, then gone on vacation for a week, and promptly forgotten that it was still set to Poway. I thought I was picking it up at Hillcrest and fully intended on going there on Sunday. On Saturday afternoon, my error dawned on me and I hurriedly called the farm, leaving them a message and asking whether I could pick it up on Sunday. No answer. I even went to the HFM on Sunday to ask if there was anything they could do. The worker in the booth recommended I sent them an email. I did this when I got home and received a reply on Monday stating that I was out of luck. :(

I know this is my own fault for not picking up the box, but I this was still upsetting and annoying.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is a trip to Palm Springs without a little Cheeky's?

Cheeky's has easily become our breakfast place while visiting. The service is attentive and the food is great. Let's not forget about the flight of bacon ($4):

Each time we go it's been different strips. This time it was: extra thick, apple cinnamon, pepper, jalapeno, neuske's. We agreed we liked the jalapeno the best.

Rich had the soft scrambled eggs with English white cheddar and prosciutto ($10). It also came with a side of toast. I tried the buttermilk and fresh corn pancakes with blueberries and bacon ($10). It was 2 large pancakes with corn kernels mixed into it. For some reason, I was envisioning the pancakes to be made from cornmeal but I think I read the description wrong. They charged me $1 to add blueberries, which was disappointing since there didn't seem to be anywhere near $1 worth of blueberries in the pancakes. The pancakes themselves were great though -- fluffy, moist and delicious. I love that they also provide real maple syrup.

It's a semi-expensive breakfast at about $30 for both of us, but until we find a better alternative, we'll stick it out here.

Jake's: Living up to the Hype

On Saturday night, we decided to try out our surprise favorite from last year, Jake's Ready to Eat. Last year we thought the combination of good service and value made this a win. But had we hyped it up in our minds and would it live up to our expectations again?

Jake's isn't a big restaurant and although our first reservation time slot wasn't available, they were able to reserve a table for us within 15 minutes of the time we originally wanted. This time, we sat on the outside patio, next to a heat lamp and covered by a tent to keep the rain out. With the dim candle on the table and green hedge of a backdrop, it made for a pretty and relaxed atmosphere.

The amuse-bouche was a beet skewer with goat cheese. Two of my favorites!! Rich was generous and let me have his portion. Excellente.

They added a few new items to their menu since the last time we were here, including an option to get a three course meal for $29. A select number of entrees were allowed for this option. Since I was already planning on getting a salad and one of the entrees, this made more sense economically. The organic mixed greens salad was good (no cheese!) and for my entree, I had the fettuccini a la vodka ($16) with heirloom tomatoes. It was very heavy and rich, but also really delicious. I couldn't finish the entire dish.

Rich had the (surprise!) filet mignon ($26) with mashed potatoes and asparagus. He enjoyed it and said he thought it was better than the filet he had the previous day at Chop House.

For dessert, I was allowed to choose anything on the dessert menu. It was a toss up between the toffee banana crunch cake and the coconut cake, but the waiter said the coconut cake was better (hands down). Rich had a giant brownie ($6) which he said was good, but preferred a less cakey brownie. The coconut cake was very good. It was HUGE (3 layers) and moist with delicious cream cheese frosting. None of that gross buttercream stuff. I only wish there was more coconut flavor in the cake itself.

We were stuffed by the time we finished and they still surprised us by bringing out two bites of a pecan tart, just like last year. The owner (guessing?) also came by to ask how everything was. The service was awesome. We love Jake's.

Another weekend in Palm Springs

We were in Palm Springs again last weekend, trying a few new places as well as a couple of favorites from last year.

First up was the Chop House restaurant for Rich's steak fix. It is right across the street from LG which I found funny but there seemed to be a good number of patrons at both establishments. The decor is dark and reminiscent of a traditional steakhouse. We were seated on the patio which was less stuffy than inside and plenty warm with the overhead heat lamps.

I started with the organic beets salad (without the gorgonzola cheese). It was on the small side for a hefty $9 with maybe only 4 slices of beets total for the entire 1-2 cups worth of salad. It was fine, but I could have easily eaten a double or triple portion.

Rich had the regular (8 oz) filet mignon ($31). He said it was good, but not knock-your-socks off good. It was good enough that he finished his plate though! All of the menu items are a la carte, which in my opinion, just makes dinner more expensive. He had a side of french fries ($5), and was disappointed they didn't carry any potato options he would have liked (i.e. roasted potatoes).

For my "entree", I had two side dishes, the brussel sprouts hash ($7) which was caramelized onions, mushrooms, shredded brussel sprouts and truffle oil and the wild mushroom ragout ($8) which contained a mix of shitake, portabello, chanterelle and button mushrooms. They were a bit too oily for me, but the flavor was very good.

 For dessert, we tried the NY style cheesecake ($7) which we both thought was dry and not very good.

Overall, it was a decent but expensive meal. We'd probably go back if we had to, but would rather search out other options.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Suzie's Farm: Week 3

Since I wasn't able to make it to the Hillcrest Farmer's Market this morning, I arranged to have my box picked up at the Poway Farmer's Market. I like that the Suzie's Farm CSA website allows you to easily switch the location. I had never been to the Poway market before and although it is smaller than Hillcrest, there is still a good number of fruit and veggie booths and not a lot of craft ones (a plus!).

This week's box contained:
  • red russian kale (5.25 oz)
  • cabbage cone (1 lb 5.5 oz)
  • basket of serrano and cherry bomb peppers (6 oz)
  • more zucchini (2 lb 7.5 oz)
  • 2 bunches onion purplette (4.5 oz)
  • 1 bunch parsley (2.25 oz)
  • 2 golden treasure peppers (4.5 oz)
  • 2 red bell peppers (5.75 oz)
  • 1 red kabocha squash (1 lb 13.25 oz)
  • 1 bunch radish (8.5 oz)
  • pea shoots (4 oz)
  • cannellini beans (shelled weight = 4.75 oz)

I'm not sure if I'm not trying as hard to use my produce (possible - I haven't been cooking as much this week) or if Suzie's Farm is giving me more food than the Inland Empire CSA (possible - I was getting their "small" box), but I have a lot of leftover produce from last week. I still have the zucchini (with more zucchini this week!), 1/2 of the onion purplette (I'm finding it hard to figure out what to do with these), radish greens, and some peppers.

I am enjoying the selection so far (with the exception of maybe the 3 weeks of onion purplette and zucchini), and also that most of the box is VEGETABLES! The only other complaint is what to do with all the "hot" peppers. As a person who doesn't eat hot peppers, I have had a basket of them every week. I usually use serrano peppers in salsa, but I don't know if I can use a whole basket of them. And the cherry bombs? Are those hot?? I haven't seen those before. Maybe Maddie the crazy hot-pepper eating dog wants to try one?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween Spookiness

For Halloween, we had "spooky" chili, cornbread, and a spooky dessert.

The chili contained all ingredients from Suzie's Farm except for the beans. I cut out bat shapes from cheese to make it "spooky." Heh.
For the spooky dessert, I made these Devil's Food Cake cupcakes from Martha Stewart. I generally don't like making cupcakes because they tend to come out dry when I make them, but these were moist and fudgy. My original plan was to fill them with strawberry preserves to make them ooze "blood" when bitten into, but I ran out of time to do this. They were still yummy on their own. And of course, they tasted even better with spooky faces on them!

Suzie's Farm: Week 2

Sorry, it's been a really busy week so no picture this week or weighted values, but I can at least provide the list of items in this week's box:

Suzie's Farm - Week 2 box contents:
  • acorn squash, 2 small
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 6 small zucchini
  • 2 large brown onions
  • bag of small tomatoes
  • two small heads of fennel
  • mixed sweet peppers (golden treasure, red pimiento)
  • head of lettuce
  • basket of habeneros
  • red russian kale
  • bunch of radishes
  • 2 bunches of onion purplette

I used a lot of last week's items to make chili for Halloween.  I'm still working through the fennel and acorn squash.  And the habeneros?  I took those into work and didn't dare try them myself.  I was coughing just chopping jalapenos the other day.
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