Gilroy Garlic Festival 2010

The festival is about the people. Meet some of my Festival friends.

Sauce City featuring Dave (right).

Utilities 3, Clyde
– Clyde and his wife Lois travel all the way from Gila Bend, AZ each year to volunteer at the Festival and make things happen!

Some of the Pyro Chefs in Gourmet Alley, including William (right) one of the youngest members of the exclusive Pyro Chef team.

By the way, I got to savor a non-menu delicacy and one of my favorites this year, with the help of Clyde. A bowl of freshly made marinara sauce with a plain cake donut to soak up the sauce! It’s really delicious and worth a try…


Dinner at the Bevi Bistro

The Gilroy Garlic Festival now includes an invitation to the very exclusive Bevi Bistro - very exciting! Each year as homage to the Festival the hostess of the Bevi Bistro, Garlic Gal, creates a “mantle of art.” This year it is simple and elegant, based on the 2010 poster.

In the kitchen of the Bistro, there is a fabulous cookbook collection that is housed right next to one of the best looking butcher blocks I have ever seen.

On the evening’s menu was brick chicken on the grill, green beans, bread and a refreshing salad. It was all so delightful.

Thank you Garlic Gal and Chef Don for the home-spun Garlic Festival preview!


Los Pericos

Ahhh, Los Pericos in beautiful downtown Gilroy. I get to visit Los Pericos maybe once a year, during the Garlic Festival. This year, I wanted to be sure to share the experience…

The first time I experienced Los Pericos was because LL offered to bring breakfast one morning to the Festival. She brought chorizo burritos from Los Pericos. This burrito was the best breakfast burrito I ever had. Unfortunately, Los Pericos doesn’t open until 9:30 AM and the opportunity for breakfast has not happened since.

I was able to have a bean and cheese burrito for lunch the other day, which was great. And here’s LL showing off her carne asada burrito – both so delicious!


Taiwan Tastes

So I’m back in San Jose, on my pre-Garlic Festival visit, and of course Donna and I stop at Taiwan Restaurant in Willow Glen.

We enjoyed crispy Fried Wontons, surprisingly savory Money Bags, sweet and crispy Honey Walnut Shrimp, and Broccoli and Cashews (we had to have some vegetables). We were stuffed and had enough left over for lunch the next day.

Then a surprise arrived, Donna’s sister-in-law Terry (one of the hostesses) sent over Taiwan’s Fried Bananas with chocolate sauce. They were crunchy and light outside, yet creamy and sweet inside – so delicious! We each had one, and since I hadn’t sampled these before I took a picture for the Diner, which I normally would not write about but it was different this time…

Donna and I were talking about HH’s surprise of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and contemplated more fried bananas, when two young ladies and their mom approached our table. The girls said they were curious and wanted to ask (I was sure they were going to talk to Donna something, she knows everyone in San Jose!)…was I a food critic? They saw me taking the picture and just wondered. Oh my gosh! No, I said, and I explained about Holly’s Diner, my trips to San Jose, Honey Walnut Shrimp. What a surprise! Maybe I would have some new guests stop by the Diner!

On our way out, we stopped by their table to see what they were having. Samantha, Madeline and their Mom were having Broccoli Beef, Chicken Chow Mein and Green Been Chicken – it all looked wonderful. We talked about Julie & Julia, the movie and the book and the inspiration for Holly’s Diner.

So here’s a “shout out” to Samantha and Madeline - thanks for stopping by the table and being curious, what a compliment; keep enjoying the Taiwan; and stop by the Diner any time, its open 24 hours a day!


Homegrown Tomatoes - 2010 Season

Look at these tomatoes! Cheeseburgers were the special at the Diner last night in order to accommodate the tomatoes. And the bumper crop has just begun!


Audrey's Birthday at the Diner

Miss Audrey turned nine on July 11. She celebrated by going to Disneyland, enjoying breakfast with the Characters, including Mickey Mouse waffles made by Minnie (according to Fairy Godmother in blue from Sleeping Beauty).

The rides were fun, especially the Tea Cups spun by her Dad right after breakfast – maybe not our best choice of the day…

Shopping was terrific, and then it was back to Holly’s Diner for the evening’s celebration! It was a Toy Story 3 themed birthday with colorful home-baked cupcakes with clearly too much organic food coloring. The cupcakes looked great and tasted wonderful, just ignore the puddles of frosting around the cake plate!

The grilled cheese burgers by HH were delicious, and the outdoor seating was perfect.

What a way to celebrate Nine!

Fair Rewards

So, we have some catching up to do at the Diner since the end of Taste the Fun! One of the rewards - a marvelous thank you from my staff. Look at this basket!

What a treat, they made me cry! All the things I like, HH definitely was consulted on this project…crispy Asian noodles, crunchy ginger snaps, creamy York peppermint patties, the makings for homemade salsa (or fixing’s for my morning eggs), and a cocktail sipper for the end of a long six weeks.

Best of all, they all wrote me a personal note – I LOVE those! And created a recipe for the recipe card collection I did during Fair. Here’s the recipe:

A Loaf of Holly Bread
¼ cup kindness
2/3 cup compassion
1 tsp success
2 tbsp greatness
3 cups integrity

Prep time: A Lifetime
Serves: Many

Take kindness, compassion and success, and stir together gently. Add unlimited amounts of greatness. Slip in 3 cups of integrity. Knead gently and form into a firm loaf. Bake in moderate oven. Serve to any special guest.

(It makes me misty eyed reading again!)
Thank you for all the hard work,


Taste the Fun...Done

I have been looking forward to this year’s San Diego County Fair for a year. Last year when the possibility of a food theme was presented, and then confirmed, I was beside myself with excitement. Now that we are at the end, I can say it was what I should have expected in a Fair – a true rollercoaster.

The ups have been getting Alton Brown’s and Guy Fieri’s autographs in my books while they were on-site; walking into the Tour of Tastes exhibit and hearing Julia Child’s voice on the PA, a DVD of The French Chef in full glory; some amazing food samples from the demonstration kitchen from partners and staff; Sushi Jeff’s birthday, and culinary friends who made things fun; and it would not have been doable, manageable or worth it without the amazing staff who really handle everything.

The downs have been major last minute logistic challenges that changed the layout significantly (thankfully the public had no idea); staff quitting and quitting and quitting and quitting and quitting and quitting and quitting (yes, that is seven times – all personal reasons, it wasn’t because of me!) and two others I had to let go – that’s nine of the 14 I started with, I have never lost that number of employees in total in 25 years of events, let along in one Fair!; learning that the only difference between chefs and athletes…knives. There are a few egos in every bunch.

Be careful what you wish for.


Fair Food Favorites #17 - Palapa Tacos

Palapa Tacos. Palapa Tacos by the Calico Stage (or so it used to be) was my first experience with fish tacos. I was working at the Del Mar Fair (the San Diego Co. Fair’s previous moniker), and grabbing a quick and delicious fish taco from under the palapas at Palapa Tacos was very cool.

Fish tacos in San Diego are so readily available now that the charm and uniqueness of Palapa Tacos has faded some, but I remember it as my first fish taco.


Fair Food Favorites #16 - Reno's Fish & Chips

Reno’s Fish and Chips. I do like these fish and chips at the San Diego County Fair. The problem is the serving is so large that it is hard for me to function the rest of the day after eating so much!

But Reno’s daughter, Cathy and her husband Ken have helped that dilemma – they have created Surf Tacos. A small, handheld fish taco easy to eat, cost effective and it doesn’t overfill me when working those long days and “interacting” with all those fairgoers!


Fair Food Favorites #15 - Tasti Chips

Tasti Chips. Tasti Chips are simple homemade potato chips cooked in peanut oil and smothered with a cheddary cheesy sauce – so good.

I don’t remember the first time I enjoyed these, but I try to have them every year at the San Diego County Fair.


Fair Food Favorites #14 - Roxy's

Roxy’s. Roxy’s has a permanent restaurant in Encinitas, but are here during Fair. They have the delicious healthy fare we love. The Artichoke Sandwich with avocado is our favorite, DiAnne and I share so we don’t get too filled up and can enjoy something else (if we want) during the day.