Dinner at Artisan

My little sister celebrated her birthday recently and my wife and I wanted to take her somewhere special.  Back in August on our Central Coast “staycation,” we had a chance to eat at Artisan for lunch.  We both loved it and decided this would be a great place to take her on her special day.

Artisan is located in downtown Paso Robles.  The culinary team is led by Executive Chef Chris Kobayashi.  He creates seasonal menu’s using local and organic produce, even some produce from their own organic garden in Templeton.  All of the proteins at Artisan are either wild caught or sustainably farmed with no growth hormones or antibiotics.  I liked that the beef options on the menu were from grass fed cows.  Their wine list also supports  many of the great local wineries in Paso Robles.

For dinner we split a couple of appetizers, each had an entree, and ended up sharing a trio of desserts.  Everything I tasted I liked, but I would have to say that my favorite dish of the night was my wife’s rabbit porchetta.  It was the best rabbit I have ever eaten.

 

Meatballs, Ricotta Gnocchi, Piave, Guanciale

Burrata, Figs, Speck, Saba

Grass Fed Flatiron, Shallots, Fries, Cabernet Butter

Dixon Lamb Rack, Cassoulet, Lamb Sausage, Kale

Rabbit Porchetta, Carrot Risotto, Pancetta, Salsa Verde

Grasshopper Sundae, Walnut Brownie

Fig Cannoli, Mascarpone Cream, Olive Oil Gelato

Chocolate Malted Milk Cake, Rice Crispy Nougat, Rocky Road Ice Cream

Our dining experience at Artisan this time around was much like the first time we ate there.  We had a very friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable server who could answer our questions and give good menu recommendations.  We had a great meal in a comfortable atmosphere.  I definitely look forward to coming back to Artisan with friends and family to share great food, drinks, and conversation.

 

1401 Park St., Paso Robles, CA 93446     (805) 237-8638  www.artisanpasorobles.com

 

 

Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

This past weekend my wife and I were invited over to a friends house for dinner.  When we   arrived my friend and his wife had a platter full of caprese salad on skewers.  Shreds of basil sandwiched in-between grape tomatoes and tasty chunks of mozzarella cheese, with a dish of olive oil on the side to drizzle over the skewers, and finished off with cracked black pepper and salt.  It was delicious.  It also reminded me of how much I love caprese, but hardly ever eat it.

That brings me to today.  I had a luncheon at work that I had to cook for and thought a heirloom tomato caprese salad would be perfect as one of the side dishes.  I love the different colors, textures, and tastes of heirloom tomatoes, and right now heirlooms are in season.  Try this recipe for lunch, as a light dinner, or as a side.  If you can’t get heirlooms where you live then use any tomato that you enjoy.

Ingredients:

4-5 heirlooms tomatoes, try different shapes, sizes, and colors

7-8 basil leaves

1 mozzarella cheese log, 5-6 ounces

Extra Virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1.  Using a cheese slicer or dental floss, slice mozzarella into about 1/4 inch thick slices.

2.  Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices.  My slices were not that uniform, just do the best that you can.  It is still going to taste great.

3.  You can serve the salad either on a platter, or individually on plates.  Today I did them individually on salad plates.  Starting with a tomato slice, then alternating between slices of mozzarella and tomato.  I had 4 different tomatoes I was using so I just used one slice from each.

4.  Stack 3 or 4 basil leaves on top of each other, roll them up tightly, and run your knife through creating thin strips of basil.

5.  Using as little or as much basil as you want, place over the top of the tomatoes and mozzarella.

6.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Their you go, an easy and tasty salad that is perfect for the season.  Their are many variations of this that you can do as well.  I saw another website where they fried the tomatoes, or you can do like my friends did and skewer them, which is perfect for when you are having guests over.  I was even thinking of maybe adding some pine nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds next time.  However you end up eating it, enjoy.

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Thomas Hill Organics

On a recent date night my wife and I decided that we would head up to Paso Robles to a restaurant I had learned about from a colleague at work called Thomas Hill Organics.  We had spent part of our summer vacation up in Paso Robles and had some great wine and food while there, so we thought it would be nice to head back up and try out this newest recommendation.

Thomas Hill Organics is a market-bistro and wine bar.  They serve organic produce from their farm as well featuring wines from the Central Coast.  They work with local producers for their grass and well fed beef, lamb, free range organic poultry, fish, as well as their bread from local bakers.

Thomas Hill Organics offers menu’s that change weekly, as well as with the seasons.  My wife and I really like this.  It is fun to eat seasonally and I think that it keeps restaurants fresh and exciting.  I like the anticipation of seeing what new dishes will be on a menu each time I come.

I was also very impressed by their wine and beer list. It featured a very nice variety of local wines and beers with very reasonable prices.  We had a great bottle that was a Rhone blend from Tablas Creek Winery that we both enjoyed quite a bit.

For dinner we started out with some wine, then split an appetizer, a salad, an entree, and a dessert and that seemed to fill us both up plenty.

A Rhone blend from Tablas Creek called Patelin de Tablas composed of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Counoise. Had a great balance of spice and fruit.

Ahi Tuna Tataki, English Cucumber, Sunflower Sprouts, Avocado, Ponzu, Wakame

Grilled Shrimp Skewers, Purple Rice, Peanut Vinaigrette, Pluots and Sprouted Mung Beans, Strawberries, Sweet Thai Chili, Mint, Basil, Cilantro

Roasted Duck Breast, Purple Rice, Baby Bok Choy, Green Onion and Ginger Relish, Pickled Pears, Fried Egg

Tres Leche Cake

Overall Thomas Hill Organics is a restaurant that I have no problem recommending.  The staff was knowledgeable and friendly, the restaurant was comfortable and inviting, and most importantly the food was good.

To learn more about Thomas Hill Organics you can find them on the web at www.thomashillorganics.com.

Also, if you would like to learn more about Tablas Creek Vineyard and their wine you can find them at www.tablascreek.com.

 

Langer’s Delicatessan-Restaurant

Langer’s Deli opened in 1947 by Al and Jean Langer.  It has gone from its humble beginnings of a restaurant with only 12 seats, to a James Beard award winning restaurant and an L.A. landmark.  This past year Langer’s celebrated its 65th anniversary, quite an accomplishment, especially in L.A.  Langer’s is now run by Al and Jean’s son Norm Langer, his wife Jeannette, and their daughter Trisha.

Langer’s Deli has been a restaurant that I have been wanting to go to for a very long time.  I first read about Langer’s on the website eater.com as one of L.A.’s top 38 restaurants a couple years ago.  Lately I keep hearing Max Kellerman talk about Langer’s and their #19 pastrami sandwich.  If you are not familiar with Max Kellerman he has a daytime talk radio show on 710 espn radio called Max and Marcellus.  I listen to this on my lunch break to get my Lakers talk fix, and during that time he goes into great detail about how great the  #19 at Langer’s is.  I finally decided the next time I am down in L.A. I am going to stop at Langer’s and see what this #19 is all about.

Last week the opportunity finally presented itself.  My wife was in Newport Beach visiting a friend, so I figured after I picked her up we could go eat there on the way home.

We arrived at Langer’s right in the heart of the afternoon lunch rush.  Their was a bit of a line to get in, but it moved fast.  I loved the feel inside of Langer’s.  It was very comfortable and casual, felt like an old school diner.

The #19. Pastrami, Swiss cheese and cole slaw Russian style dressing. Delicious.

I ordered the #19 and my wife ordered the #44, and we split a plate of french fries.  Both sandwiches were delicious.

The #44. Hot pastrami, sauerkraut, and nippy cheese grilled on rye.

We both really enjoyed Langer’s.  This is a restaurant I will go back to many times I am sure.  It is the kind of place where you would become a regular if it was close enough to home.  Friendly, comfortable, and delicious.

Another great thing about Langer’s is that they have curbside service.  If you are in a rush and don’t have time to eat inside, just give them a call and they will have your food ready and deliver it to you in your car.

You can visit Langer’s at:

704 South Alvarado Street

Los Angeles, CA  90057

Or call them at (213) 483-8050

Also check them out at www.langersdeli.com