Posted by Lauren
Welcome to my one time a week post. Just kidding. I’ll blog more regularly **soon** ….. ;)
Last Saturday I met up with Nicole and my mom at the salon in San Jose. Nicole was in town and it was great to see her, even if it was short lived. I spent Friday night at a pool hall in Sunnyvale celebrating my friend Todd’s birthday, but I’ll spare you the photos. You can see instagram for the thrilling ping pong showdown video.
I picked up the most amazing homemade raviolis (frozen) from La Villa (find them on Yelp). If you’ve been within 20 miles of San Jose, you really need to visit La Villa in downtown Willow Glen. It’s the most popular and well-loved Italian deli this side of the Mississippi. (I think.) They’ve been around since 1947 and their “ravs” are Silicon Valley famous.
Then I drove home, made this spicy arrabbiata sauce, and finally dragged my butt to the gym for a short run and some squats. I hate squats. I hurried home, showered, finished up the pasta sauce with a secret ingredient (blend with an avocado!), and got all gussied up because….
My friend Sean and his friends host a dinner party once a month. They call themselves the Distinguished Tasting Friends. They usually pick one ingredient and make all sorts of amazing dishes (app, entre, side, dessert) focusing on that item. Last Saturday was their “one year anniversary” so they invited guests and asked for everyone to dress up.
Sean extended the invite and I was super excited 1. to eat all the foods 2. hang out more with the DTF crew and 3. wear my pink princess dress.
We met at a huge house in Berkeley, finished final food prep, and then surrounded the table to explain our dishes.
- Butternut Squash Calzones with Sage Walnut Pesto
- Brussels Sprouts with a really tasty sauce
- Vegan brushetta
- Vegan brie & vegan bread
- Vegan Mushroom “Risotto” – OMG SO GOOD
- Stuffed onions
- Sweet Potato Enchiladas
- Kale salad
And of course there was wine. If my long division is correct, it was about 1 bottle per person. :)
This was one of my favorites of the night: miang kham. A girl named Lindsay brought this dish. According to wikipedia, miang khan can be interpreted as meaning “eating many things in one bite.” Lindsay’s been taking a Thai cooking class, and her teacher explained that you take fresh leaves (ex. spinach, cabbage, piper) and fill them with roasted coconut shavings and fish sauce, fresh red/green bird’s eye chili, ginger, garlic, lime with peel, roasted peanuts, and dried shrimp.
The lighting was pretty yellow, so this photo didn’t turn out great. However!! These grilled cheese sandwiches from Sean’s kitchen were hella gourmet. First, he MADE the bread. Second, he MADE the bacon. (p.s. Sean is maple bacon famous on SCS and I made sure to promote his guest blog post to other DTFers.) He used fancy cheese that he picked up from San Francisco and thinly sliced organic apples as well. After smothering the bread slices with butter, setting them on a cast-iron skillet, and finishing them up in the oven, you better bet these were bomb.com. Our side of the table said they would pay good money for these grilled cheeses!
Soon, it was time for dessert!
During dinner I had a little bit of everything, but there was still room for sweet stuff. Isn’t there always? Here’s Sean showing off his vegan chai ice cream… again, all homemade!
And Beth brought this beauty here:
Her caramel cranberry almond tart was deeeeelicious. Must have been all the butter in the crust. :) We went around the table and shared what we learned from DTF in the past year. Since it was my first time, I commented on how the Thai dish above reminded me so much of my beloved tea leaf salad at Burmese restaurants. Everyone was so welcoming and nice, hopefully I can join them next month when the tackle pomegranate as their main ingredient…. any good pomegranate recipes out there?
Question: chai ice cream or caramel cranberry tart?
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