Fine Dining Greatness with No Remorse over at the Plumed Horse…

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One allure of three-star dining in the French countryside is the surprise of finding worldly offerings in a provincial environment. Similar dynamics are at play at the Plumed Horse, the famous restaurant that opened in 1952 in Saratoga, the storybook-like village tucked up against the Santa Cruz Mountains.

With white lights wrapped around the tree trunks lining the street in front of low-slung buildings, this stretch of Big Basin Way provides a dramatic contrast to the gilded, sophisticated interior of the restaurant. The entrance provides a neutral transition to the world of fine dining.

The dining room has a modern, big-city feel – perhaps not evocative of San Francisco, but certainly Dallas, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. The mod fireplace that dominates one wall in the 60-seat lounge competes for attention with the three-story glass wine cellar that divides the lounge from the 80-seat dining room. Step through the cellar door and you might have a touch of vertigo because the glass floor makes you feel as if you’re walking into space. Below you are boxes of wine; above are hundreds of bottles displayed in clear racks.

Designed by Walid Mando, the dining room features an impressive barrel ceiling of shimmering Venetian plaster, overlaid with sycamore panels that arch over massive leather-framed mirrors and sapelli wood walls. The tables are beautifully set before comfortable microsuede chairs. But what really grabs attention are the three Chihuly-like chandeliers made of fiber optics that change from steely silver to vivid green, pink and aqua. This unexpected dash of glitz adds a striking contrast to the tailored room and provides diversion should conversation lag. Depending on your mood, you can see the fluted disks as electrified jellyfish or psychedelic mushrooms.(sfgate.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Plumed Horse – Saratoga, Ca

Average Cost

Above $61

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Chef’s Tasting Menu, Black Pepper & Parmesan Soufflé

So it’s my wife’s birthday and I wanted to do something special for her and take her to a nice exquisite restaurant.

Somewhere fancy.Somewhere remarkable and different. Not the usual.

What better place than an elegant restaurant with a ritzy ambiance and a great menu.

I found the perfect place..

Plumed Horse in Saratoga, California.

Let’s talk about it…

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Exotic Italian Extravaganza is my Moddo at the A Bellagio!

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One of the earliest dishes attributed to an Italian, and still extremely popular today, is Chicken Tetrazzini. It was created in the early 1900s in honor of Luisa Tetrazzini, the operatic soprano known as The Florentine Nightingale. The famous muffuletta sandwich of New Orleans, named after the muffuliette rolls baked in Sicily, was created in 1906 for Sicilian workers. The ever popular Philly cheese steak was invented by an Italian, and the specialty fish stew of San Francisco, cioppino, originated from the Italian fish stew ciuppin, made by the Genoese fishermen who settled there.

Soldiers returning from Italy after World War II brought with them their desire for the foods of a grateful but war-torn nation. Enterprising immigrants opened restaurants providing the soldiers with the foods they had developed a craving for and introduced the soldiers’ families to spaghetti and meatballs, sausage and peppers, ravioli, lasagna, manicotti, baked ziti and pizza. (lagazzettaitaliana.com)

Today’s Restaurant

A Bellagio – Campbell,Ca

Average Cost

$11-$30

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Veal Ravioli in Beef Broth, Sea Bass, Rib Eye Steak

Italian food has become the American soul food that puts a smile on anyone’s face.

Scrooge would be happy eating Italian food..

Oscar the Grouch would be happy eating Italian food..

Your angry Uncle that you hate to see during Christmas would be happy eating Italian food..

Whether it is a great pasta made with delicious colorful red tomato sauce or pasta swimming in a snowy white Alfredo sauce..

Italian food has a piece of my heart and A Bellagio had the ambiance, the customer service, and excellent food that was magnifico!

Let’s talk about it…

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Chinese Cuisine that will make Your Day when you Dine at Chin’s Gourmet!

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The experience of dining in China is far different than eating at restaurants in America. Manners and menus are almost entirely opposite.

Menus in China are usually illustrated hardback books, in which almost every single dish has a picture. That means a menu typically has around 20 pages, lined with beautiful photos. Chinese people order food according to the picture, not necessarily the written description in menus.
Furthermore, each table is typically only given one menu, and when the menu is placed before them, the waiter stands next to the table ready to write down the order. You do not sit at the table and talk for several minutes before ordering; you order when you sit almost immediately
In China, people are used to dining in noisy environments, which is considered welcoming and joyful. So, if you need to call a waiter in China, call loudly. Very loudly. Shout “Waiter” and wave your hand. Since there is no tipping in China, every person is your table’s waiter, and it’s appropriate to stop anyone in the restaurant and ask them for something. This is not rude, it is expected! (attractchina.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Chin’s Gourmet – Temecula, Ca

Average Cost

$11-$30

Rating (1-10)

8.5

Recommended Dishes: 

Red Red Shrimp, Hunan Beef, Egg Flower Soup

A couple months ago I was in Temecula, Ca to attend my son’s Pop Warner football event.

As I was driving down the street I noticed a large  artistic looking restaurant smack down on the corner that drew my attention.

My wife and I were famished and needed something that would be flavorful and filling at the same time.

What better than some Chinese cuisine..

Let’s talk about it…

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I get Anxious and Jumpy when it comes to food over at Stumpy’s!

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In 1867, Charles Feltman, a German butcher, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand in Brooklyn, New York and sold 3,684 dachshund sausages in a roll during his first year in business  He is also credited with the idea of the warm bun.

In 1880 a German peddler, Antonoine Feuchtwanger, sold hot sausages in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. He would supply white gloves with each purchase so that his customers would not burn their hands while eating the sausage. He saw his profits going down because the customers kept taking the gloves and walking off with them. His wife suggested that he put the sausages in a split bun instead. He reportedly asked his brother-in-law, a baker, for help. The baker improvised long soft rolls that fit the meat, thus inventing the hot dog bun. When he did that, the Hot Dog was born. He called them red hots.

Although the exact origins of the Chicago Dog are not documented, Vienna Beef of Chicago claims the “Chicago-style” Hot Dog was invented by two European immigrants at the Chicago World’s Fair and Columbian Exhibition in 1893.(hotdogchicagostyle.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Stumpy’s – San Jose, Ca (Willow Glen)

Average Cost

$11-$30

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

Hot dog of your choice, the burger of your choice

If you live in the East Coast of the United States then I’m sure you can find a hot dog stand on every corner.

Not so much here in the Bay Area of California.

You may find a Wienerschnitzel pretty easy but trying to find a restaurant that actually sells tasty hot dogs is not so easy.

Anytime I find a joint that serves these awesome bite size buggers, I am ready to celebrate!

Today is that day of celebration when I found this hidden castle of great joy and magnificence called Stumpy’s

Let’s talk about it..

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I have Wet Glazed Dreams of eating some Krispy Kreme!!

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Donuts have a somewhat labyrinthine — and, at times, shady — past. From when they arrived in America, doughnuts have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps — and, thanks to a rather ragtag bunch of characters, they are now one of the most iconic American pastries. In fact, Smithsonian.com notes that “in its democratic ethods, its optimism, and its assorted origins, [the doughnut] does seem rather quintessentially American.”

Donuts have become the poster child of everyday indulgence thanks to a melting pot of influential characters, historical happenstance, and sweet tooths — and many, many pans filled with hot oil. Dutch settlers introduced doughnuts to the U.S. when they ended up in Manhattan, then known as New Amsterdam. They called these doughnut predecessors “olykoeks,” or oily cakes, which were fried in pork fat. Formed by dropping dough off the end of a spoon, their name evolved to “oliebollen,” or oily balls, thanks to their irregular round shape. Unlike today,oliebollen were traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas season, and each cook had his or her own, individualized recipe.(food52.com)

Today’s Restaurant

Krispy Kreme – Santa Clara, Ca

Average Cost

It’s a donut..Talking around a buck or so..

Rating (1-10)

10+

Recommended Dishes: 

Glazed donuts!! But any kind you like..

Something about a donut just brings a smile to my face!

Actually, it brings a smile to everyone’s face!

Something about that fluffed design of sweetly battered dough with a nectarish glaze all over it just makes my knees shake.

There are all kinds of ways to decorate your donut.

You can make powdered donuts..

Donuts filled with jam.. Strawberry, Raspberry, Apple.. Yum!!

Or the good ol fashioned glazed donut.

Krispy Kreme by far has the best glazed donut I have ever tasted!!

Let’s talk about it..

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You will Lose your Mind from the Food at 1909!

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The Temecula Valley.  Southern California Wine Country.

The history of winemaking in California began with the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. As the mission chain advanced northward from San Diego, vine cuttings were planted at each of the new missions, with some mission sites more successful than others at producing wines. Among the most successful of the missions was Mission San Gabriel, just north of present-day Los Angeles, whose wines were generally regarded as the finest of all the mission wines. By the early 19th century the California wine industry was concentrated in Southern California, with a number of successful wineries being established in what is today downtown Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley, and other favorable locations, including, somewhat later, Cucamonga Valley. During much of the 19th century Southern California provided most of the wine produced in the state, eventually being supplanted by Northern California as the wine production center of the state.

In the late 1960’s Southern California grape growing and winemaking began a revival in the Temecula Valley with the planting, beginning in 1968, of substantial wine grape acreage. The first wines from the new vineyards were produced by Brookside Winery in their Cucamonga winery, but in 1974 the founding of Callaway Winery marked the beginning of winemaking in the Temecula Valley. Since then numerous additional wineries have been built, some with restaurants and overnight facilities, including luxury resorts.(temeculawines.org)

Today’s Restaurant

1909 Restaurant – Temecula, Ca

Average Cost

$11-$30

Rating (1-10)

10

Recommended Dishes: 

1909 Burger, Beer Battered Fish Tacos

So it’s the ‘Best of The West’Pop Warner Football event in Southern California; and I am here to watch my youngest son (Safety) finish off his football season with their Super Bowl event.

The event was held in Murrieta, Ca so I decided to stay somewhere close which was Temecula, Ca.

Temecula seemed to be a great town to stay in and it was impressive from the 1st night in.

They had a Christmas parade about 2 miles long with magnificent lighting, bands and everyone from the community lined up on both sides of the street.

They also have a huge casino called Pechanga with great entertainment, great dining and huge amounts of fun. I’ll talk about that on another blog..

Another great experience was the beautiful Christmas lit area downtown, with tons of restaurants and a party crowd that filled the scenery.

This is where my wife and I found ourselves on Friday night to enjoy the Southern California night life with some Southern California cuisine..

Let’s talk about it…

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