December at My Home Sweet Home

I hung light on the outside of my home sweet home.

I hung light on the outside of my home sweet home.

I haven’t posted since December 16th when I wrote about my road trip to Marin with 7 restaurant reviews in 6 different Bay Area towns and my home town of Mount Shasta. I’ve been busy with the holidays. In late December our family celebrates Christmas, New Years and my daughter’s birthday. I say holidays because I have friends who celebrate Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice. There is room for everyone’s practices in my life. It’s a busy time of the year with lots of extra task that need doing. In the middle of it all we had the death of my daughter’s second family’s mother.

Doodling is fun! There is always something to draw. I think the feathers came out like feathers.

It is my habit to stay busy, which is easy because, there is always something that needs doing…especially at the holidays. Whenever I’m bored, stressed or down I make art or bake. Since I wasn’t going to bake cookies this year, I sharpened the colored pencils and started playing around. I’ve always loved playing with paper! For years I made Papier-mâché bowls, trays, masks and columns. I’ve recently added dragonflies to a line of cards I designed. I save CLBs (Cute Little Boxes) and cover them in sheet music paper or paper from free books I get at the library. My friend Cami makes little envelops and cards that inspired me to do the same. I reused and old handmade sweater into pompoms and a hat for my daughter. I’m filling this blog with images of my many projects.

Little cards and envelops about 1 1/2” square. My new line of dragonfly cards with glitter. CLB (cute little boxes) and bows are fun to make!

The year 2018 is almost over. Like every year there are births and deaths, trials and triumphs, and everything in-between that we call our life. Here’s a big cheer to “out with the old and in with the new!” As we prepare for the celebrations and traditions for New Year’s Eve, I wish you, your friends and family the very best of health, happiness and prosperity in 2019!

I unraveled a sweater that had a couple of moth holes in it to make pompoms and a hat for my daughter’s birthday.

Sonoma Market - tiramisu

A dusting of cocoa tops off this moist and fragrant tiramisu

A dusting of cocoa tops off this moist and fragrant tiramisu

Lucky for me that my friend Jan had to run some errands in the town of Sonoma that included a stop at the Sonoma Market for some tiramisu.

Tiramisu is an Italian coffee-flavoured dessert from the Veneto region of Italy where Venice is the largest city in the region. It is traditionally made of ladyfingers soaked in coffee, layered with a mixture of mascarpone cheese and whipped cream and embellished with chocolate.

The Sonoma Market version is “Delicate sponge cakes soaked in coffee, filled with layers of cream and topped with chocolate shavings and cocoa powder.” states their website. Every bite is rich in coffee and cocoa flavor with the smooth rich texture of the cream. Using the sponge cake made it lighter in texture than the traditional ladyfinger cookies. I liked it! I liked it very much! Thank you, Jan!

The Sonoma Market is located at 500 W. Napa St, just north of the Sonoma Square. They have been serving the Sonoma Valley for more than 50 years. The market has a reputation for having high-quality meats and seafood, fresh farm-to-market produce, a large selection of local and imported wines, artisanal cheeses.

Cafe Verde - Corte Madera

Cafe Verde in located at 502 Tamalpais Dr, in Corte Madera, It’s a homey cafe with a large outdoor patio

Cafe Verde in located at 502 Tamalpais Dr, in Corte Madera, It’s a homey cafe with a large outdoor patio

Cafe Verde in located at 502 Tamalpais Dr, in Corte Madera. It’s a homey cafe with a large outdoor patio. My friend Jan and I went for a happy hour beer. It’s located next to the Corte Madera sports field, Jan said parking can be impossible when their is an event. Fortunately she lives within waling distance. The Cafe Verde is a local casual spot with a European vibe serving Mediterranean style foods.

Roasted beet salad with a tart Lemon vinaigrette

Roasted beet salad with a tart Lemon vinaigrette

We split their roasted beet salad served with sliced almonds, and goat cheese and a lemon vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was sweet and tart! There was too much of it for me. Next time I’ll ask for the dressing on the side. Yes, we had beers, too. They have Deschutes Brewery beers and ales on tap

Jan comes here often enough to get a hug from our sever who was very happy to see her. It is the kind of place where there are no strangers. They are open 7 days a week from 8:00 am - 9:00 pm serving breakfast lunch and dinner with a Happy Hour from 4-6 pm.

A simple Happy Hour Menu

A simple Happy Hour Menu

Doña Tomás - Telegraph Ave - Oakland

Doña Tomás has been serving classic Mexican dishes for 15 years on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland

Doña Tomás has been serving classic Mexican dishes for 15 years on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland

Doña Tomás is a popular eatery in Oakland’s Temescal District at 5004 Telegraph Ave. serving classic Mexican dishes. Doña Tomás uses as many sustainably grown and organic produce and meats as is possible sourced in the Bay Area. I went there with my friend Jan after the obligatory visit to Ikea. I hadn’t seen Jan in about 7 years, but like all good friends we picked up like it was yesterday. It was fun to catch up in the lively atmosphere with the Sunday brunch crowding the dinning room. The patio was closed because of the smoke from the Camp Fire.

Chef Dona Savitsky worked her way through the kitchens of San Francisco before opened Doña Tomás in 1999 in Oakland’s Temescal District. In 2003 she opened Tacubaya Taqueria . Tacubayal is a colorful causal dining taqueria in the trendy Berkeley's Fourth Street shopping district.

Doña Tomás is closed on Mondays and check website for lunch and dinner times.

We saw these signs in windows all over the East Bay. I love Oakland for their bold attitude!


Me & Jan outside Ikea staying trying not to breath the smoke

Me & Jan outside Ikea staying trying not to breath the smoke

Jan took this picture of your’s truly with the bright red wall inside Doña Tomás

Jan took this picture of your’s truly with the bright red wall inside Doña Tomás

Beautiful guacamole & chips! Jan had a Mexican Coffee, coffee spiked with Kahlua, topped with whipped cream. I had an IPA - perfect start to brunch!,

Beautiful guacamole & chips! Jan had a Mexican Coffee, coffee spiked with Kahlua, topped with whipped cream. I had an IPA - perfect start to brunch!,

The Guacamole y Totopos was a simple mashed avocado with cilantro, onion, chile and lime, with tortilla chips. The avocado was treated with respect so that it’s decadent creamy flavor was enhanced…not hidden.. by the added chile, onion and lime. I ordered an IPA from their rotation tap offerings. This one was from Fieldwork Brewing Company a craft brewery founded in Berkeley,

IMG_4307%281%29.jpg

Jan ordered the Huevos Revueltos which is scrambled eggs with chorizo, nopales and goat cheese, cilantro, puréed black beans and warm corn tortillas. Nopales is prickly pear cactus that is roasted. William Sonoma says, “They have a flavor that recalls both sorrel and asparagus and are used in salads, side dishes and with eggs.” I had a bite Jan’s meal and found it had the same rich balance of flavors that Doña Tomás is well known for serving.

Tacos Desayunos makes my mouth water just looking at these tacos that tasted so good!

Tacos Desayunos makes my mouth water just looking at these tacos that tasted so good!

Tacos Desayunos translates to breakfast taco comes with two corn tacos, whole pinto beans, cheese, rajas, pico de gallo, avocado and cilantro, tomatillo-guajillo salsa, each topped with a fried egg. The salsa is made with roasted poblanos and rajas is strips of roasted poblanos. I was so happy with my meal! The rich depth of flavors that from the roasted poblanos just made me feel like I was eating real food that someone put together with thought about the end product. It also reminded me how these simple ingredients can come together to make a meal.

After eating Jan and I walked around the Temescal District checking out the shops. The Temescal District is commercial and residential properties along Telegraph Avenue and adjoining areas along Telegraph Avenue from 40th to 66th Street, also the Berkeley border, This are has an eclectic mix of shops, eateries in a residential neighborhood. It wasn’t an adventure to find a parking space. They are doing some construction and I captured this huge crane. Another sight I don’t see much of in Mount Shasta.

Cityscape - something tall is going up in Oakland. notice the sky has a little blue showing a reprieve from the smoke of the Camp Fire

Cityscape - something tall is going up in Oakland. notice the sky has a little blue showing a reprieve from the smoke of the Camp Fire

Piazza de Campovida - Hopland, CA

images.png

I began my road trip south to Marin County down The Nickel (aka I-5) winding through the Coastal Range and around Clear Lake on 20 to hwy 101. My first stop being Ukiah, which is a pretty sleepy town on Sundays so we made the short trip south to Hopland looking for a meal. I wanted to go to someplace I hadn’t been to before when we came upon Piazza de Campovida. We were too early for dinner so off to the bar we went for lunch.

Pizzeria serving farm to table topping and fresh salads.

Pizzeria serving farm to table topping and fresh salads.

Olive tree in a pot at the entry. Photo by M. Reynolds

Olive tree in a pot at the entry. Photo by M. Reynolds

craft brews and local wine.

craft brews and local wine.

Hopland is a small farming town named for the hop vines that were cultivated for beer production since the mid-19th century. The town has been a destination for micro brew enthusiasts since 1983 when the Mendocino Brewing Company opened the 1st brew pub in California. Today the hills are covered with grape vines and wineries abound. The town is located about a 1 1/2 hour drive on hwy 101 north out of San Francisco and only 15 minutes from Ukiah

Hopland is also the home of Solar Living Institute, “12 acres of ponds, impressive trees, organic gardens, extraordinary views, numerous demonstrations in sustainable living, and pristine habitat for the area’s flora and fauna.” The grounds are truly beautiful and the Real Goods Store has everything you need to live off the grid.

Water and imperial Golden ale are served in jelly jars.

Water and imperial Golden ale are served in jelly jars.

Piazza de Campovida is a large Mediterranean style building that houses a hotel, bar and dinning room located at the south end of the downtown area of Hopland at 13441 South Highway 101. The food part of the complex is connected to the Campovida Farm & Winery a small family owned and operated farm and winery located at 13601 Old River Road. They supply wine and some of the fresh food for the restaurants. The call the restaurant the Stock Farms. I’m still confused about this names, but the atmosphere is comfortable, the serve excellent and the food was delicious…so I don’t care what they call it.

We ordered the wood fired oven cooked gluten free crust with kalamata olives, artichokes and fresh green onions.

We ordered the wood fired oven cooked gluten free crust with kalamata olives, artichokes and fresh green onions.

Our servers were Michael and Lhasa. The are both local being born and raised in Booneville and Ukia, respectively. Michael has studied at a vineyard and is working on becoming a sommelier. It turns out that Maggie has know Lhasa since she was toddler. You gotta love the small town-ness of this area.

Pizza’s are traditional Napolitano style pizza cooked in a wood fired brick oven. We ordered an artichoke, fresh green onions and Kalamata olives pizza with a gluten free crust. The gluten free pizza crust was made with a gluten free rice flour  by Pamela’s Products in Ukiah. They added some good olive oil to it so it was crispy and wonderful. We didn’t eat it all and I had a cold slice the next day for breakfast. I don’t recommend that. I too it as travel food so I couldn’t say if I would taste better warmed up, but not so good as a cold leftover.

The locally grown watermelon radishes added a crispy tartness to the perfectly dressed house green salad. The plate on the right is a metal dish..fun and funky!

The locally grown watermelon radishes added a crispy tartness to the perfectly dressed house green salad. The plate on the right is a metal dish..fun and funky!

The salad was crispy mixed field green, watermelon radish, carrots and cucumber. It was well dressed with their house vinaigrette. I had to have a discussion about the watermelon radishes that I thought might be a varied of beet. I’ve never had a watermelon radish in Mount Shasta. It is pale red in color and has a mild flavor and hint of pepper and a touch of sweetness. Michael told us they grow these locally.

Maggie taking a picture of the fountain at Piazza de Campovida in Hopland.

Maggie taking a picture of the fountain at Piazza de Campovida in Hopland.

Cantina Del Sol - Albany

Cantina+Del+Sol+Logo+Final.png
Cantina Del Sol is colorfully decorated! this is a large wall mural.

Cantina Del Sol is colorfully decorated! this is a large wall mural.

I meet my dear friend Stella at Cantina Del Sol, Mexican-American Comfort Food located at 1175 Solano Ave. in Albany. According to their website they are open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and offer a weekend brunch menu, Margarita Monday, Taco Tuesday and Thirsty Thursdays with vegetarian options and desserts .

“Our food is prepared with locally-sourced and authentic Mexican ingredients and made in our kitchen. From the horchata to our own salsa verde, Sol Sauce, we make all of your favorites right here!”  states their website.

I’ve know Stella since she was 6 years old! I love her!

I’ve know Stella since she was 6 years old! I love her!

IMG_4264.JPG
IMG_4277.JPG
Chick peas are their bar snack they go great with beer and mezcal!

Chick peas are their bar snack they go great with beer and mezcal!

With my locally craft beer, Fieldworks IPA and Stella’s Mezcal we were served chili lime seasoned dried chickpeas. Fieldwork Brewing Company is a craft brewery founded in Berkeley, They have a large selection of Tequila and Mezcal. Stella’s Mezcal was served in a little gourd cup that sat on a raffia ring. The chickpeas came in a beautiful rustic handmade Mexican bowl. We were ready to catch up with each other before ordering our food.

Roasted Poblano Caesar Salad - photo by Stella Davies

Roasted Poblano Caesar Salad - photo by Stella Davies

Stella grew up in the food business. She starting out busing tables then became a 3rd generation waitress. She’s continued to move through the rank from bar manager to event coordinator. She knows what to order at the eateries throughout the East Bay. We agreed to try multiple dishes starting with a Poblano Caesar Salad that included romaine hearts (pre-recall), ancho chili croutons, cotija cheese, house made Poblano Caeser dressing. The lettuce was crispy, but wet so the dressing was watered down. I didn’t taste any ancho chili flavoring, but the croutons were crispy and not oily. Roasted Poblanos will be added to my next taco night dinner salad.

Chile Relleno - photo by Stella Davies

Chile Relleno - photo by Stella Davies

We ordered a Chile Relleno which is an egg battered poblano peppers stuffed with panela cheese with ranchera salsa. The filling was melted to a creamy consistency. The ranchero sauce, while very flavorful and the right amount of spicy for me, there was way too much sauce for the relleno. We still ate every bite!

Charro Beans are pinto beans with bacon and chorizo.

Charro Beans are pinto beans with bacon and chorizo.

My favorite was the Charro Beans are pinto beans with bacon and chorizo. How could you go wrong? They were just delicious! Whole pinto beans are my favorite bean and I like it when a restaurant adds a little something to them. Sometimes for taco night, I will add a little cumin or I’ll add some salsa or green chiles.

Carne Asada Tacos - charred beef with lots of chopped onions

Carne Asada Tacos - charred beef with lots of chopped onions

The Carne Asada Tacos are filled with diced beef and onion with cilantro. They are served on a soft corn tortilla. I added lime and then ignored my taco to eat the Chile Rellono and salad, so my tortilla got soggy and fell apart. Their tacos aren’t the small street tacos so, you only get one tortilla. Octavio, our serve got me another one and then I got to enjoyed the taco. The fresh onions, cilantro and squeeze of lime were the perfect compliment to the beautifully charred beef.

I didn’t have any trouble finding a parking space at the end of the block. We were there at about 6pm and it was pretty quiet. The restaurant is brightly decorated with a large sun mural on one wall. We enjoyed catching up with each other, but we didn’t have room for dessert!

Támal - Coastal inspired Mexican Food in Fairfax

Támal has a large selection of tequila and Mezcal and a specialty cocktail menu.

Támal has a large selection of tequila and Mezcal and a specialty cocktail menu.

Támal is located in downtown Fairfax across from the parking lot by the theater at 23 Broadway Blvd. Támal’s tapas-style menu include foods inspired by “Regional Mexican cuisine and Mexican craft cocktails. Chef Steve Jaramillo focuses on traditional cooking techniques and indigenous ingredients of Regional Mexican cuisine creating a menu representing Mexico's coastal regions. The full bar includes an extensive list of artisan Tequilas and Mezcals, and craft beer on tap.  Enjoy the back patio with fire pit.”

Támal has a warm contemporary vibe with a mixture of wood, metal and Mexican artworks. They are open for dinner at 5pm Wednesday thru Sunday. Walk-ins are welcome or call for reservations.

The Town of Fairfax is located in central Marin County about half way between San Rafael and Point Reyes Station.

Riley IPA from Adobe Creek Brewing

Riley IPA from Adobe Creek Brewing

I met my friend Joannie at Támal in Fairfax on a smokey Friday night. The wind was blowing in smoke from the Camp Fire in Chico blanketing the entire Bay Area. The patio was closed because of the poor air quality, so we sat at the bar. Joannie ordered an El Chapo Paloma off the specialty cocktail menu it is made with Lillet blanc, grapefruit shrub and lime soda. It was as refreshing as it sounds. This began a conversation about El Chapo, the infamous drug lord who escaped from a maximum-security prison, was on the most wanted list and currently on trial for 17 count indictment that covers nearly three decades of alleged criminal activities…he pleaded not guilty.

I had a pint of the Riley IPA brewed by Adobe Creek Brewing which is owned by Jonathan MacDonald the brother-in-law of Tamal owner Mike MacDonald. Adobe Creek Brewing is a one-man brewery making less than 100 barrels of ales and lagers a year base in Marin County.

The Riley IPA is a West Coast style IPA has the light malt and hoppy bitterness I expect from an IPA with a citrus finish of grapefruit and hint of pineapple. It’s an unfiltered brew that has everything I want in an IPA.

The Chile Relleno is rich in flavor and beautifully plated in Mexican pottery.

The Chile Relleno is rich in flavor and beautifully plated in Mexican pottery.

We ordered several Antojitos (translates to tapas or snacks). The Chile Relleno was served bubbling hot from the kitchen in a Mexican pottery dish. It is made with a roasted Poblano chile, winter squash, mushrooms, goat cheese in a creamy verde sauce. Joannie doesn’t like goat cheese that worked out for me because, I like do. I enjoyed the different textures achieved with the mix of mushrooms and squash. It is a rich smokey dish of cream goodness.

Ceviche with warm and salty house made chips

Ceviche with warm and salty house made chips

Támal’s ceviche is made with sea bass, and I tasted habanero, lime, cilantro and olives. The ceviche is served with warm and salty house made tortilla chips. I don’t get to eat much ceviche in Mount Shasta so this was a real treat for me. I remember the first time ate cheviche was in San Diego and a chef friend of mine had just returned from a trip to Peru and threw a return party serving this lime cooked dish. I remember it being a bowl of fish and lime deliciousness. Támal’s cheviche has more complex ingredients and it was definitely a treat!

Season Fall salad made with baby arugula - beautifully presented.

Season Fall salad made with baby arugula - beautifully presented.

The Fall Salad included baby arugula and butter lettuce with thinly sliced crispy pears, dried persimmons, walnuts and shavings of Mexican cheese with Támal’s house made walnut oil and lime juice dressing. Every bite was the taste of Autumn in my mouth!

Joannie and I sat at the bar. Tyler was our bartender and he was sweet and efficient answering all my questions about the food. He likes his job and it shows. It was nice to catch up with Joannie and to eat the food at Támal. I recommended it to my Marin friends and Mount Shasta friends who travel that way.

Apple Crisp - Maggie's Way

All meals at Maggie’s table are presented in an artful fashion. The tinfoil held warmed bread she served with our soup.

All meals at Maggie’s table are presented in an artful fashion. The tinfoil held warmed bread she served with our soup.

My mother, Maggie studied Home Economics in college and we grew up benefiting from her love of her home. Throughout my life I watched her poured over decorating magazines and study cookbooks then she applied the knowledge to her home and table. She became a vegetarian about 50 years ago and moved into a vegan plant based diet about 15 years ago. None of these dietary restrictions changed her love of good healthy tasting food.

“Apple crisp with a vanilla soy ice cream - by substituting apples in the recipe she got “The crisp I was after.”

“Apple crisp with a vanilla soy ice cream - by substituting apples in the recipe she got “The crisp I was after.”

Fresh Apple Crisp - Maggie’s way

Adapted from the How Not To Die cookbook.

The recipe from the book… it’s just a guideline in Maggie’s world

The recipe from the book… it’s just a guideline in Maggie’s world

Ingredients

Topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup pitted dates -
1/4 cup date sugar - Maggie eliminated the date sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp water - Maggie used apple juice and said you could use orange or even pomegranate juice

Filling:
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in hot water for 3 hours, then drain 4 cups sliced peaches - Maggie used an organic Braeburn, a crisp red apple. She says, “You can use as many apples as you want.”
1/3 cup date sugar - Maggie eliminated the date sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 - 2 to 3’ piece vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup raspberries - Maggie eliminated the raspberries

One of Maggie’s favorite authors to study

One of Maggie’s favorite authors to study

Directions - Maggie says you do not need a food processor or blender to make this crisp.

Topping: In a food processor combine the oats, pecans and dates, and pulse until finely ground. If you are mixing be hand chop the pecans and dates before mixing. Add 2 tablespoons of water or fruit juice, date sugar (feel free to eliminate sugar) and cinnamon and pulse until the mixture is well combined and crumbly or mix well by hand. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Filling: In a high-speed blender or in a bowl combine 2 tablespoons of water with the cashews, 1 cup of peach slices, dates, lemon and vanilla, and blend until smooth. In an 8 inch square pan or shallow baking dish, combine the remaining 3 cups peach slices with raspberries. Pour the mixture over the fruit, mixing gently to combine and spread evenly.

Crumble topping over the fruit. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the topping begins to brown and the filling is bubbling. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or ice cream substitute.

Road Trips - a new page on The Bill Plate

Hopland on a Sunday afternoon - home of the 1st micro-brewery in California

Hopland on a Sunday afternoon - home of the 1st micro-brewery in California

I’ve added a new page to The Bill Plate I’m calling Road Trips. It will contain story of Road Trips by me and guest bloggers. The 1st posting is a trip I made to Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin County’s where I visited long-time friends and shared meals. The Road Trip page will include restaurant reviews, too.

Let me know if you would like to be a guest Road Trip blogger. It’ll be fun!

I’m a member of the clean plate club!

I’m a member of the clean plate club!

Kim Harper - Stuffing - Untraditional + Traditional

Kim’s tradtional Stuffing with cranberries, apples and walnuts.

Kim’s tradtional Stuffing with cranberries, apples and walnuts.

Kimberly Harper shared her recipes for two kinds of stuffing: traditional with bread cubes, butter, chicken broth, sauteed celery, onions and mushrooms, throw in some fresh herbs (pictured above), chopped walnuts and apple and some kind of meat, like sausage. Or cornbread stuffing with chopped pecans, dried cranberries, jalapenos and spicy sausage.

For Traditional Stuffing Kim says,

The traditional stuffing is the same except it's the Mrs. Cubbison's traditional seasoned box and I use mild sausage, yellow onions, walnuts and apples, instead of the spicy sausage, green onions, pecans and cranberries.

Untraditional Cornbread Stuffing

Ingredients

1/2 lb spicy sausage
1 box of Mrs. Cubbison's Cornbread stuffing,
1 cup of butter
1 cup of diced celery
1cup of diced green onions
1 cup of chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 cup (or more) of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of chopped fresh jalapenos

Kimberly’s Directions

I cook a half pound of spicy sausage in a frying pan, remove the sausage and cook the veggies with the butter in the sausage grease until a bit softened, then add the nuts, fresh herbs like thyme, sage and rosemary, and cranberries for a few minutes. I add all of that and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth to the stuffing mix, put into a greased 9X13 baking pan, and cook covered with foil at 350 for 40 minutes. This recipe is great because it's easily customizable to what you have and what flavors you want to accent.