There are times when I go stir-crazy at home.
When the travel bug hits – I could follow in the footsteps of an 80’s band and lose myself in videos of mountain climbers, martial artists and tribal leaders.
“Roam if you want to-oo… Roam around the world” – by the B52s.
Or – I can hit the road and use food as my ticket to another country.
Fresh veggies in an Oakland garden transported us to Italy. Scott insisted on picking his heirloom tomatoes moments before he was ready to prep them for this delightful caprese platter with fresh basil leaves, fresh mozzarella balls and sourdough baguette slices.
Next stop – Paris.
I couldn’t stop thinking about French bistro dining after Bourdain’s 100th episode in the City of Lights.
My hubby said this looked like a meaty marshmallow.
Following in Bourdain’s footsteps, I ordered breaded pigs feet at the Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. Cut into the breaded crust and you’ll find the juicy pig meat. They also leave in one of my gourmet guilty pleasures: the fatty gristle. Don’t toss it. Just leave it on my plate.
From prime rib to lichon, my dad converted me to the pleasures of oleaginous meat pieces – especially when they’re fried up to a crisp.
The oxtail terrine looked like a work of art. I thought the sliced pickles and pearl onions built up all the savory meat flavors.
Cassoulet is the perfect slow-cooked dish to welcome autumn weather. Bistro Jeanty uses duck confit, sausage, smoked bacon and beans. So hearty!
Another bistro customer decided to follow our lead for dinner. He said he’s looking forward to colder weather. That’s when his friend bakes cassoulet with lamb chops. It sounds like an interesting and yummy American twist.
Final stop, Cuba.
These dumplings were the start of a relaxing evening in the Castro at Chan Chan. I loved the kitschy decor, friendly service and Sangria. Lot’s of Sangria.
Yelpers rave about Chan Chan’s Roja Vieja. It’s a meat lovers dream with spicy sauce, ground beef and noodles.
Chan Chan pairs beef and chicken entrees with plenty of white rice, black beans and plantains.
I was impressed with all the different preparations for ripe bananas. Sometimes they were served with sweet cream. Other times, they pour vinegar over the plantains to transform the fruit into a tangy, savory dish. Both ways worked for me and I couldn’t stop eating them.
After we ordered everything on the menu along with a couple of pitchers of Sangria, I paid less than $200 for our meal. Great price for a wonderful evening with friends and good Cuban food in San Francisco.