Napa Treats

After a week in Gilroy in the pursuit of garlic, then a little time back at the Diner indulging in Tomato Season, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Napa. You might think a visit to Napa would be all about the wine, especially with “crush” going onbut for me it was all about the food.

I wanted to visit the local places so with a little help I was steered toward a few places: the Browns Valley Family Stand burger available only in the Livestock area of the Napa Town & Country Fair, the shrimp quesadilla from Taqueria Maria, and cupcakes from Sift – the 2011 Food Network Cupcake Wars Winner.

My first stop was Taqueria Maria for a chorizo breakfast burrito, not exactly what was recommended but yummy nonetheless. This burrito was filled with chorizo, rice, sour cream, guacamole, cheese wrapped in a wonderful warm flour tortilla. I started to eat only half but didn’t want the rest to go to waste so I over indulged in the whole thing!

Next, Sift Cupcakes - so, so good. I had their famous Pink Champagne cupcake which was a moist raspberry cake with delicious champagne frosting, and the Battle Royale a super moist almond cake with blueberry tequila filling and acai berry cream cheese frosting. Both were delicious, the Battle Royale was amazing!

Then it was on to the Browns Valley Family Stand at the Napa Town & Country Fair for the famous cheeeese burger. This burger was nothin’ fancy, just juicy and delicious which was perfect for a beautiful Napa weekend.

Finally, it was back to Taqueria Maria for the recommended shrimp quesadilla. This was not your ordinary quesadilla, but a more flattened burrito-type quesadilla with cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and shrimp on a grilled flour tortilla. The shrimp were large and plump, not over cooked with the just the right “bite” for a well cooked piece of shrimp.

Wow, what an introduction to Napa and not a drop of vino in sight! Maybe I’ll be able to visit again next year and add to the list of Napa Treats. I already put Dim Sum Trailer and Soscol CafĂ© on my list, who knows what other opportunities will arise by then.


Tomato Season 2012

Ah, tomato season at the Diner. Harvesting continues and due to the pursuit of garlic and a visit to the wine country, tomato canning has not yet been an option. That just means that we are serving and eating tomatoes like maniacs, and sharing with friends and friends and friends.

Here are a few of the tasty treats during Tomato Season 2012 so far:

HH grilling for tacos

Homemade Tacos and Cherry Tomato Salad

Cheeeeseburger Deluxe

I know these dishes may look a lot like dishes from past years, but if you have an abundance of tomatoes of all sizes, why would you serve much more than


The Call of Garlic

It was the annual Call of the Garlic in July. That means visiting with friends, fabulous food and a new tasty experience or two.

This year’s trip led me right back to Taiwan Restaurant with Donna in Willow Glen for Honey Walnut Shrimp. Although this year a new tasty treat was added to the menu – Crab Rangoons. Donna had never had them before, so she was a bit skeptical, but after she saw the golden deep-fried pillow bursting with a crab/cream cheese combo she was hooked! The Honey Walnut Shrimp lived up to all my expectations, and the Crab Rangoons will definitely be added to the “must have” list for next year.

Next it was the Willow Glen Wood Fired Pizza for a wonderful salad and pizza to share. The best part was visiting with Donna while sitting outside on a perfect evening in Willow Glen.

Then it was on to Gilroy Garlic Festival. Although the GGF always has great food, the best part about staying in Gilroy was eating (more than once!) at the Bevi Bistro turned Bevi Bed & Breakfast! This is a very exclusive place with just one room open to out-of-town guests, but food to die for!

The first night was homemade ravioli with baked “gravy,” that red sauce that is cooked on the stove top, rests then baked in the oven to thicken it up and turn it just a little brown. Oh My Gosh!! It almost rivals Art’s Special Sauce, but we know how legendary and revered that is. Oh, and there was a fabulous salad, amazing crusty/soft bread and a wonderful eggplant dish with red onions and all kinds of other wonderful stuff. I know there was dessert, but I can’t even remember what it was after that amazing ravioli.

The next night was leftovers, just as delicious the second time around. Maybe better because it was family-style around the kitchen table. The next night was a cool, crisp and just right Chinese chicken salad from the local bowling alley (that’s right, the bowling alley) – the perfect dish after a day in the sun in Gilroy.

When I checked out on my last morning there, I was given an entire loaf of Portuguese Sweet Bread. It was home-made and special ordered from the legion of Portuguese bakers in Gilroy – toasted and buttered, scrump-dilly-iscious!

My last night was back at Donna’s, and at 8:30 PM she talked me into a BLT with the homegrown tomatoes I had brought her. I opted for a BTT, well actually at TBT – Tomato/Bacon/Tomato. What an amazing way to finish off my mid-summer tour of the self-proclaimed Garlic Capitol of the World.