Diner Drivin - Part 9

HH and I made our second stop on our San Diego vacation to Blue Water Seafood (right next door to El Indio, who knew!) This was another stop on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives in our hometown that we wanted to try.

We arrived just before 11:30 AM with a line, but definitely at the right time! HH got a Hawaiian Tuna sandwich and I got tacos – shrimp and Ahi. We sat out on the enclosed patio, waited a little for our lunch but there was a sign that warned us that this was no fast food joint. Blue Water Seafood is all about fresh food, and very delicious at that!

The hunk of Ahi that was in my fish taco was unbelievable; I would have been very satisfied with just this one taco. But moving on to the shrimp taco was amazing too!

We really enjoyed our visit to this very established place with a definite following right in our own backyard. Yummy.


Diner Drivin - Part 8

HH and I are vacationing in San Diego! What a great place to visit, and we rarely do – in our hometown.

The first stop for culinary deliciousness – Hob Nob Hill. Guy Fieri covered this San Diego institution on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, but I remember it as the “ladies luncheon” place Nana used to visit with her lady friends. I think I visited it on perhaps one occasion, much to my chagrin. Why would a teenager want to visit this place that her grandmother and her friends visited after church or before a bridge tournament?!

Anyway, I thought I would give it a try. Hob Nob Hill definitely looked like I expected on the outside – a institution in uptown San Diego. On the inside, it had all the features of the ‘70’s I thought it should – wallpaper, chandeliers, heavily upholstered chairs and booths, a small counter, stainless over the kitchen and waitresses in matching “waitress” uniforms of the time with hose and tennis shoes. What surprised me was that all these expected features were fresh and updated, in a sense. The place felt very established, yet fresh and clean.

HH and I found what we wanted although I am not sure the selections were from the longtime, traditional menu from Hob Nob Hill. We picked Machaca and Huevos Rancheros – not a big surprise for us. We both enjoyed our breakfast, but it wasn’t the very best we have had although certainly acceptable. Next time perhaps I should try Eggs Benedict, that sounds much more Hob Nob Hill-like!

The wait staff was very friendly and accommodating, and I loved this sign I spotted on our way out.

Hob Nob Hill, a fresh trip down memory lane.



There have been some griddle issues at the Diner lately.

We have been using the griddle that HH had for a long time and the non-stickness pretty much was no more.

We started with a cast iron griddle that needed to be seasoned, and somehow that didn’t go so well. Plus it just wasn’t big enough, we couldn’t lay a piece of bacon across width-wise let alone that it didn’t quite cover two burners. So much for the fantastic bargain on-line.

Next we did research, hit the stores to see the griddles in person and find one that we liked. There are all kinds of griddles out there – big ones, small ones, thin ones, cheap ones, expensive ones, handled ones and the list goes on…

We settled on this one.

It is nice and big and wide like HH wanted; it has great handles, a trough to catch grease like I wanted. And it was a great price (on sale) like we both wanted.

The first thing we cooked, pancakes. Look how perfectly golden they are! We haven’t seen pancakes that beautiful at the Diner in quite a while. The pancakes are delicious. Now to find a cupboard that will hold this fantastic new piece of equipment.


Cheese Straws

 So SS have a number of things in common, besides family history. Two of them, in particular, are reading and trying new things to eat. It’s a tad bit difficult to do them together since she’s in Alabama and I’m in California, but we try.

For her birthday this year I sent her The Book Club Cookbook, and got one for myself too. Given the timing of things, we just had our first book club get-together a few days ago. We chose The Optimist’s Daughter by Eurora Welty, a wonderful southern story that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973.

We both figured out how to Skype in order to “meet,” enjoyed talking about this book and others, and snacked on Southern Cheese Straws. The cheese straws were delicious! I’m not sure they look quite as they were intended, but they tasted good. And with a glass of sweet tea, it was perfect! We are looking forward to our next book club meeting…in Alabama.

Cheese Straws

¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1-2 tbsp ice water
¾ cups flour
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Stir the cheese and butter together. Add the ice water and blend.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and cayenne. Stir into the cheese mixture until blended. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill until very firm, at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350º. Cut the dough into four equal parts. Using your hands, on a lightly floured surface roll each piece of dough into1/4” diameter cylinders. If the tubes get to long, cut into more sections. Cut dough into straws 7 – 8” long.

Place the straws on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

When cool, store in airtight container.



Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

HH needed a treat the other day. After working 15 hours, I baked him these cookies but knew there would have to be a note attached since they are not the normal chocolate chip cookies. So I attached a note that said “Oatmeal Chocolate Chip – Quite Delicious!”

He had four and a tall glass of milk.

In case you are interested, here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325º.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, and then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl; stir into creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.



Summer Baking

When isn’t baking wonderful? HH says, “Never! When’s the next batch?”

Gotta love a man who thinks my homemade cookies are the best!


Tomatoes for Saucing

This year’s tomato harvest has already been fruitful, yielding so many delicious tomatoes of different sizes it has been hard to keep up – which is good for Friends of the Diner.

A few days ago, I harvested just the full-sized tomatoes to sauce. After removing the stems, washing, scoring the bottoms, blanching, peeling, coring, seeding and cooking for four hours this counter full of tomatoes yielded 48 ounces of sauce. Freezing was just easier than canning this time around – at least for this amount.

HH can’t wait for this to turn into dinner-in-a-bowl!


Bevilacqua Bistro Recipe

Garlic Gal was generous enough to share the recipe for her delicious lasagna. You remember the one with won ton skins instead of pasta noodles.

Since part of the “flavor” of this recipe exists in the well-seasoned notes, I’m going to try to add the recipe as she sent it to the Recipe page.

Thanks Garlic Gal!



Breakfast of Champions - At the Garlic Festival

One of the biggest challenges at the Gilroy Garlic Festival is getting a good breakfast. When you are on-site at 5 AM, with donuts and coffee arriving by 5:30 AM, you indulge a bit but by 10 AM it’s time for something more substantial.

I solved this challenge a few years ago, although I don’t always get the opportunity to have my “breakfast of champions.” This year it worked out. All it takes is a friend at Sauce City, which would be Dave, and grabbing the plain cake donut from the box of three dozen when the delivery arrives.

This year Dave brought me a plain cake donut with granulated sugar as a back-up, just in case. So after enjoying the fresh red sauce with my plain donut, there was still some sauce left so I decided to go ahead and try the plain cake with granulated sugar. Oh my gosh! A new and more delicious discovery than before!

The little sprinkle of sugar made all the difference and I have a new breakfast of champions to look forward to for next year!


2011 Gilroy Garlic Festival

This year’s Garlic Festival – great weather, wonderful breeze, awesome food with something new, lots of talk about “snarky,” time to spend with wonderful festival friends and the discovery of the Sauce Goddess (more on that in future posts.) Oh, and a little bit of work too.
Bill Strange, the official festival photographer, took a lot of great photos, he shared these with me.

Find more of Bill’s photos at billsphotography.zenfolio.com.


Reservations at the Bevi Bistro

A visit to Gilroy for the annual Garlic Festival has also turned into a reservation at the Bevi Bistro, and this year was no exception.

I got my “Any Bozo Can Cook” cookbook signed by Chef Don (his white sauce is in the book.)

Then it was time for dinner, Garlic Gal’s fabulous wonton-skin lasagna. This special lasagna has been a family favorite at the Bistro for 20+ years, and it was so delicious I had seconds! The lasagna was served with a delicious eggplant dish.

The dinner was finished off with a flourless chocolate cake; of course I had seconds of that!

One can always tell how good a meal was by how much is leftover – not much on this visit.

Garlic Gal said she would share the recipe, when I get it I’ll pass it along, a new twist on a traditional favorite definitely worth a try!