Barbra Brady

Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

Super Sweet Blogging Award, CoC

In Cultural Musings, Playtime, Restaurant Reviews, Writings on April 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm


Maria (of Accelerated Stall) nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award ~

Maria, thanks for the nomination.  I highly recommend reading Maria’s marvelous marveling of things that go What?*&#! in the night. Or by laundromat, plane, or tuk tuk…

Fluff and Fold, or Sounds of Cambodia.

The rules to this award (for me and all nominees) are:

  1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated them
  2. Answer five super sweet questions
  3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in your blog post
  4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other bloggers
  5. Notify your nominees on their blog

Without further ado let’s roll out the questions:

1.     Cookies or Cake?

Cake. That texture, the mouth feel. Velvety cake, soft frosting, all dressed up and ready to go in your mouth…worth the price of admission of calories alone. And they have boxes.

2.     Chocolate or Vanilla?

I love Sarah Vaughan. Adore her. I could get lost in the sound of her voice… a whole weekend of Sarah is not a sliver too much. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a lost weekend with Ella Fitzgerald. Loving Ella is not mutually exclusive from savoring Sarah. Oh. Wait. I’m appealing to the wrong sense. I love chocolate ice cream. Adore it. I could have a lost…

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?

Princess cake. Marzipan, raspberry filling, soft pastry creamy stuff, all tucked in with the aforementioned velvety layers of (sponge!) cake. And it’s pretty. In pink and green.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?

When I write about sweets. I’m very visual, so I have to be sitting in front of what I’m writing about. Cue: “Princess cake” in the voice of Homer Simpson. This can make for a sticky keyboard, and my impairment (the one that requires that I see what of I write) can be a very expensive handicap. Right now I want to write about…A San Francisco Giants game with a side Gilroy Garlic Fries in the foreground.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

This is going to be the most fattening question I’ve ever answered… (See above.)

Okay, question no. 5 is going to take some time. Hopefully a few of my 13 nominees for Super Sweet Blogging will share plates of their no. 3 answers with me to help with this dessert numerology.

My 13 Super Sweet Blogging nominees highlighted in Princess Cake colors and in random flavor are:

Dan Pawlowski, The Sound of Laughter

Quillan and Angela, Toemail

 MP, Helobiae

Nicole Taylor Linehan, Wave of Beauty and Bliss

Don Gilliland, Garlic Never Sleeps

Keith Houston, Shady Characters

Laura Beghein, Laura’s Gluten Free Pantry

Chelsea Roff,

Carol Horton, Think Body Electric

The Byronic Man

Girl on the Contrary

Daedalus Howell



LaSalette: The Beginning of a Beautiful European Evening in Sonoma

In Restaurant Reviews on February 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm

LaSalette, Sonoma, California

Outdoor dining at LaSalette

It is never a stretch to imagine that you are somewhere Mediterranean when you are in fact in Sonoma, California. You are in the alluring magic of wine country, of course, but there is far more to anoint your imagination than vino and vines. There are fruit orchards, olive trees (and oil pressings), cobblestones, quaint shops, immaculate weather, and LaSalette Restaurant. (Do have a peek at their slideshow).

LaSalette happens to have been my first restaurant experience when I visited Sonoma in September, 2006 to consider a job as manager at Yoga Community. Set just off Sonoma’s town square (the Plaza) in the epitome of a courtyard, LaSalette in and of itself played into my decision to accept the job. (Yes, I know, I know). It doesn’t hurt a bit that it is just around the corner from one of Sonoma’s most exquisite places to sit on the Plaza for a glass of wine, Centre de Vine.

My recent visit was at the beginning of a lovely “evening in Paris,” courtesy of my guest and I stepping a few doors away after dinner for an amazement of a musical evening. The historic Sebastiani Theatre was hosting Rue Manouche, a breathtaking San Francisco Gypsy Jazz combo. The show was flawless, and in case you’ve yet to gather I love LaSalette, so was our meal.

The weather, another flawless offering of the evening, rendered “Inside or out?” a non-decision. We were eased right to our table for two by one of the (sorry) flawless staff. Amuse bouche appeared just as we selected our wine, and were considering reading the menu (it was a romantic date, so bothering to read a menu was not foremost on our minds). Come Sundays in winter LaSalette conjures up an insanely fragrant traditional Portuguese one-pot meal, sopas. Forget spoonable, this elixir is swoonable. Sopas are one of the reasons I moved back to Sonoma in early 2010 (after an unfortunate mis-step of moving away from this dreamboat of a town).

My companion, The Perfect Man, had a perfectly prepared Portuguese “whole fish,” and we shared flaky cod cakes and Dungeness Crab Corn Chowder. All delectable. Flavors and fragrancies of our meal and wine lent themselves well into the creation of a night to remember. Pretty much all of my meals at LaSalette have been so. The seating is comfortable, cozy, and private enough, but be sure to sit at the small bar by the wood-fired oven (most of all the cooking happens in this alchemical cavern) and chat with the chef sometime. You’ll be right at home-cooking.

Earl Grey Lavender Tea

In Restaurant Reviews, This Morning's Tea on January 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

A saving grace, in the Queen City.

Where I’ve found so, so, little to nourish an avowed Foodie.

Earl Grey Lavender tea is everywhere.

Memorial by Maple Bars

In Restaurant Reviews, This Morning's Tea on September 5, 2008 at 7:24 am


maple bar for Lori

a maple bar for Lori


This morning’s tea was special by way of both a spoonful of Intelligent Nutrients‘ agave infusion, Aphrodite, and a lovely and endearing article by my former colleague, Lori Grannis, food writer for the Missoulian, Missoula’s daily. In it, Grannis writes a memorial by maple bars of her just passed father. Their story is as sweet as those heavy-with-sugar pastries so beloved in the Pacific Northwest.

Have a cup of single malt–or black tea blend–and a breakfast treat as you read Lori’s words about her father.  “One Last Bacon Maple Bar for my Dad.”

Shine On

In Restaurant Reviews on August 21, 2008 at 9:41 am

Harvest Moon in Sonoma scened my first birthday dinner last week. First was definitely not least.

It was nothing short of magic, from discovering an astounding and affordable Alexander Valley zin by Mantra (what could go wrong with a name like that?), to a menu (small, thank you, such the way to go) graced with fresh ideas and tastes, to a just-charming-enough wait staffer named Michele (sp?), and a setting I’ll remember the rest of my days. Made this birthday (well, that plus a few other expansive occurrences) at least as memorable as the one three years ago when I said Hello to two grizzlys, 20 feet away and the beginnings of Goodbye to the man who carried bear spray in his backpack, on his back.


In Restaurant Reviews on August 19, 2008 at 11:47 pm

2008 birthday dinner #2, divinely located in Napa’s farm land, i.e., vineyards.

Farm. Food gorgeous to the eyes, nose, and buds, swells playing bocci, a bar illuminated by Dan Flavin-worthy neon, and a monitor playing The Thin Man. S’wonderful.