May 13, 2003 01:13 PDT
May 2003 Newsletter
Welcome to the May 2003 Newsletter. As I write this, I am sitting on a
balcony at the Hotel Luna Convento in Amalfi, probably my favorite place
in the entire world. Here Dick and I are enjoying the beautiful
sunshine, gentle ocean breezes, the glorious coastline and wonderful
food of Chef Enrico Franzese. It is difficult to explain that I am
truly at work when I am sitting in paradise! You can read about our
visits there in our website articles. This month we announce our
partnership with the Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia, a delicious
recipe from Diane Kochilas from Greece and restaurant reviews in Santa
We are thrilled to announce we will be representing cooking school at
the Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia. This is a perfect pairing of a
culinary holiday and a retreat to the wilderness to enjoy all the
outdoor activities they offer. For those of you wanting to stay closer
to home and not travel outside of the continent, this will be ideal. It
will also be a wonderful way for our European, Asian and South American
clients to come to North America to discover the delicious cuisine we
have to offer.
Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia offers culinary vacations, including
accommodation in luxury Trout Point guest suites, all gourmet meals,
cooking classes in the Lodge’s teaching kitchen and field trips to
unique food destinations. Seafood cooking, French New World techniques
& ingredients, cheese making and food appreciation is featured. Wild
foods form an integral part of all the programs. Except for the special
seafood classes, vegetarian options are included. Field trips may
include visiting places such as local blueberry fields, smokehouses,
lobster pounds, mussel beds, fishing wharfs, oyster farms, apple
orchards, the Chebogue salt marsh, the La Ferme d’Acadie Cremery and
Nova Scotia’s mushroom-filled woods. The Lodge offers a plethora of
outdoor activities including river & lake swimming, canoeing, kayaking,
mountain bikes, & catch-and-release fishing. You can also hike the
woodland trails of the 200-acre estate& the adjoining public wilderness.
As we always take part in the schools we offer so we are very familiar
with their programs, Dick and I will be visiting the Lodge in July of
this year and will be giving you details on our website. In the
meantime, please contact us if you are interested.
Il Falconiere in Cortona, Italy has recently earned their first Michelin
Star. They have also started producing their own wine from their
vineyards. Their weeklong culinary program is one of our very
favorites. It is in the same city where Frances Mayes wrote Under the
Tuscan Sun. Visit our website to find out more about the program.
March is a time of the year when few culinary holidays are in session
and just before people are ready to embark on their spring vacations.
So Dick and I spent this month in one of our favorite places in the
world – Santa Barbara, California. Here there is an abundance of
restaurants that are privately owned and chefs that are available to
visit with. Local produce is used in the menu and local wines are
served which makes for perfect pairings. It is always best when the
food and wine are grown in the same soil. This I learned when with Anne
Willan in France as we toured Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and Chablis.
While in Santa Barbara, we visited daily markets to purchase items for
our dinner. Shrimp and scallops were only hours from being caught in
the sea and the fruits and vegetables were picked in the early morning
Driving both north and south, we passed vineyards along side fields of
fruits and vegetables being freshly harvested at their prime to be
served within a day or two. Many of the growers now garden organically
making the food even more inviting. We were thrilled to discover that
the South American Cherimoya is now being grown in the area, a fruit we
discovered in Lima, Peru, a deliciously smooth white pulp tasting
slightly of citrus and reminding me of something between a pineapple and
Dick and I would love to share with you a few of our favorite
restaurants in Santa Barbara according to our taste and rating system.
CCCCC Rates among our top restaurants in the world
CCCC We absolutely love and would go back every time we could, well
worth a journey
CCC We would return if there was time in our schedule, worth a detour
CC Okay, but we would not make an effort to return
C We would never return.
CCCC La Super Rico
La Super Rico is a unique spot in a class by itself; like no other
dining experience you will have. Outstanding non-traditional Mexican
food is prepared before your eyes as you wait. The menu is on a
chalkboard at the front and orders are taken at the counter by the owner
as you walk in the narrow entrance. It is imperative you get there
early as during rush times the line is out the door and down the
sidewalk. No reservations! Atmosphere is casual to say the least, 4
tables in the front hall and about 20 tables under a canopy behind the
kitchen. The menu is limited with outstanding food with distinctive
flavors. This spot is truly a classic, being Julia Child’s favorite
Mexican food restaurant in Santa Barbara. Dick always orders the
specials of the day including Dover Sole tamale with a lovely cream
sauce, Calabasitis vegetarian tamale and Chili Relleno. A lady in the
kitchen makes home made white corn tortillas while a cook throws
chicken, pork, beef, chorizo, onions and peppers on the grill.
I tend to order the same every time because I love the flavors: chorizo
& melted white cheese with tortillas and the Tipo Tico taco, a special
cut of beef marinated and served with white corn tortillas. Here local
laborers, suit attired businessmen, ladies meeting for lunch,
celebrities and tourists all stand in line. The owner says he is in
this business because he loves the repeat customers and their comments
and praise for his efforts. Dick is considered a regular and is
addicted to the food.
C C C The Wine Cask
The Wine Cask was one of our favorite spots for lunch in the delightful
outdoor courtyard with the soft breezes blowing and the fragrance of the
lemon trees and jasmine. We had excellent service each time we stopped.
There is lunch and dinner service inside as well, but we preferred
outside. Among the items we sampled were: Cobb Salad with a honey
mustard dressing and large pieces of delicious blue cheese on the side.
Dick always chose the special fish of the day. His favorite was the
Halibut with risotto, asparagus, capers and baby squash with buerre
I fell in love with the Grilled Baba Ghanouj Sandwich – grilled slices
of eggplant, onions and peppers with large leaves of basil. This was
served with seasoned sweet onion rings and a spicy garlic aioli sauce.
On Friday afternoons a free glass of wine from their wine shop was
served with each lunch in the courtyard – a very special treat.
C C Citronelle
Touted as one of the best upscale restaurants in Santa Barbara, we were
disappointed. Friends from Santa Barbara accompanied us to dinner and
among the four of us, only my entrée of Osso Bucco was what we would
call worth the trip there. As we all sampled each other’s food, this is
hardly a recommendation. We can only hope it will improve with time.
The service was extremely slow and uneven. Luckily we had not seen
since last year and we had a great visit. Rarely does a dish surprise
me, but a potato stuffed with creamy mashed potatoes managed to do it.
The price was quite high for what we felt was an ordinary dining
C C C Mimosa
One we really enjoyed is Mimosa, an out of the way home owned and
operated restaurant. Is always filled with repeat clientele looking
forward to the specials or their favorites. One day we shared the daily
tarte of artichokes, bacon, onion, smoked salmon to melt in your mouth.
Cous Cous with lamb stew, arugula salad was also delicious. The bread
is fabulous. The friendly wait staff know their clients well, seating
them at their favorite tables. The simple décor of blue and yellow set
the relaxing scene.
Recipe of the Month
Roasted Eggplant Salad with Capers and Onions
Diane Kochilas from Glorious Greek Cooking
3 large eggplants
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
¼ cup small pickled capers, rinsed and drained
1 large firm tomato, skin and seeds removed and finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Roast them whole over an open flame, on
the stove or under the broiler, turning until the skins are charred on
all sides. [This may also be done on a barbeque.] Remove and cool
Have a bowl ready with the olive oil. Cut the eggplants open lengthwise
and remove as many of the seeds as possible. Scoop out the pulp and
place it in the bowl with the olive oil. Salt lightly. With a fork and
knife, cut the eggplant so that it is chunky. Add the onion, garlic,
capers, tomatoes and parsley and mix with a fork to combine well. Add
the vinegar and adjust the seasonings.
Serve with pita bread.
Ó The Glorious Foods of Greece, Diane Kochilas, William Morrow
The city of Bath in England and the Channel Islands are our next
destination. We have a list of chefs and restaurants we will be
visiting looking for new opportunities for you and will be reviewing for
you in our next newsletter.
Until next month, I wish you buon appetito, safe travels and peace.