Friday, December 31, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The Ninth Day

On the ninth day of christmas, my true love gave to me:

Nine french macarons

In this picture: Macarons from Bouchon in Napa Valley, CA.
Unlike the macaroons that are made of coconut, french macarons are cookies traditionally made with an almond flour, whipped egg whites, sugar, and flavorings, sandwiched with light, delicate buttercream in the middle.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Our foodie kids have come up with their own top 10 recommendations for 2010.
Following is their top 10 list for burgers:

10. Gott's Roadside (AKA Taylor's Refresher)
Napa, CA & San Francisco, CA

Various locations

Los Angeles, CA

Various Locations

Toluca Lake, CA

Eagle Rock, CA

Eagle Rock, CA

3. Dinky Diner
Clarksburg, CA

Sacramento, CA

Various Locations

In this photo: Cheeseburger from Five Guys in Elk Grove, CA.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The Eighth Day

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eight s'more lollipops

In this photo: S'more lollipops from Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates.
Made with Ginger Elizabeth's own house-made graham cracker and vanilla bean marshmallow, this decadent snack is a favorite in our household. Make to sure to call ahead, because these bittersweet chocolate-dipped goodies aren't made everyday and once they are gone, they're gone. You'll have to wait to get...s'more.

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates
1801 L Street, Suite 60
Sacramento, CA

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lillie Belle Farms Handmade Chocolates | Central Point, OR

According to a recent posting on Yahoo's news blog, The Lookout, there's a new sheriff in town when it comes to the hottest chili pepper in the world. Developed by Gerald Fowler of the Chili Pepper Company in Cumbria, England, it's said that the Naga Viper chili pepper is so hot, its effects can be felt for "an hour after taking a bite, and you just don't want to talk to anyone or do anything." Aptly put, given that the Naga Viper clocks in at 1,359,000 heat units on the Scoville scale and outdistances the previous champ, the noted Ghost Chili (a.k.a. Bhut Jolokia), by more than 400,000 heat units. To put it another way, eating one Naga Viper is equal to eating 440 jalapeno peppers. That, my friend, is HOT!!!

So, why am I bringing up heat units and spicy peppers? Well, during a recent trip to Southern Oregon, we had the pleasure (and pain) of being introduced to a very unique chocolate bar with the ominous-sounding name, Do Not Eat This! That should have been enough to keep us away, but the little devil inside urged us to break off a piece.

Now, eating the
Do Not Eat This! bar starts out simple enough as the sweetness of milk and dark chocolates coats your tongue. But that euphoric feeling fades in a hurry as the heat from three chilies -- the Aji Amarillo Chili, the Arbole
Chili, and the Ghost Chili -- kicks into gear and doesn't let up. I tried to put on a brave face, but I was soon begging for a tall glass of anything to put out the fire that reached all the way down to my core.

megamind behind this inventive confection is Jeff Shepard, a self-trained chocolatier who created his own company, Lillie Belle Chocolates
, as a way of making "people happy with my creations. To brighten their day, even if it's for only a moment, with something I made with my hands."

Jeff got his start six years ago making chocolates and other organic products out of his home. Then, as business starting booming via word of mouth at various farmers' markets and specialty stores, he and his wife, Belle, began renting commercial kitchen space at local restaurants to keep up with the demand. But even that wasn't enough, especially after they began to attract attention beyond their
Applegate Valley location.

Soon, Lillie Belle Chocolates was opened in December 2007, and what began with just four truffle flavors turned into an award-winning operation. They now offer countless varieties of flavor-packed fare such as bons bons, ganaches, and specialty bars. Even more exciting is when convention is uniquely twisted with imagination. Your choices quickly expand to include chocolate-covered pears, cayenne caramels, chocolate-covered bacon, smokey blue cheese truffles, and red velvet almonds which hits you with a bit of heat on their own.

Jeff once said, "Making chocolates is a lot of fun. I treat it like an art form. I do everything by hand, including the chocolate paintings." That's right, when visiting Lillie Belle Chocolates, take more than just a look around. Their "gallery" showcases a variety of paintings and sculptures that are not only made entirely of chocolate, but they are completely edible too.

Lillie Belle Chocolates is located in Central Point, Oregon, and is open daily to visitors whether you live in the area or just passing through. And when you do stop in, be sure to ask about their organic berry farm. It's not regularly open for visits, but should you happen to catch either Jeff or Belle behind the counter, they won't mince words or stories about their modest 2-acre establishment, especially since it provides most of the ingredients that go into their confections.

But that's another blog for another time ...

Lillie Belle Chocolates
211 North Front Street

Central Point, OR 97502


Lillie Belle Farms on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 19, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The Seventh Day

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
7 different kinds of vintage, hard-to-find, imported soda

In this photo: Plantation Style Mint Julep Soda from Galco's Soda Pop Stop. With over 500 different kinds of pops on the shelves, Galco's is the mecca for all soda pop enthusiasts.

Galco's Soda Pop Stop
5702 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Saturday, December 18, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The Sixth Day

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Six orders of chili & spaghetti size from Bob's Big Boy

In this picture: Chili & Spaghetti size from Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake, CA. Piled high with cheese and onions, this classic dish also consists of chili, noodles and a hamburger patty at the bottom. The Toluca Lake location is open 24 hours which makes this dish a great go-to meal after a long night filled with club and bar hopping.


Bob's Big Boy
4211 W. Riverside Drive
Toluca Lake, CA

Friday, December 17, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The Fifth Day

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

5 pounds of Chez Panisse House Blend from

In this picture: Pounds of coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee Company at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Blue Bottle Coffee Company is one of the best coffee we have ever had. Blue Bottle takes their roasting seriously, making only small batches at a time and using only the best certified organic coffees. Our favorite is the Chez Panisse Blend which is perfect for this time of year, going great with any holiday dessert. When visiting the city, I make sure to stop by one of their cafes so that I can grab myself a fresh cup of their New Orleans Style Iced Coffee. Mixed with sugar, milk, this chickory-laced-with-a-hint-of-chocolate-laced concoction will certainly hit the spot.

Locations (partial listing):

Blue Bottle Coffee Company
300 Webster Street
Oakland, CA

Ferry Building Marketplace, Shop #7
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA

151 Third Street, Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA

Thursday, December 16, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The Fourth Day

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Four pork belly tacos

In this picture: A pork belly soft taco from My Taco located in the Highland Park neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA. A true local gem, My Taco is a great spot to get some Mexican soul food as well as their delicious carne asada fries. If the weather is warm, make sure to order an agua fresca made fresh on premises.

My Taco
6300 York Blvd, Ste 4
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The Third Day

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Three chicken dinners from Giusti's on the Delta

In this picture: Fried chicken dinner from Giusti's. Giusti's is the oldest bar and restaurant in the California Delta. They have served the community for over 100 years, spanning four generations. All the dinners are served with fresh Puglaese bread, their famous vegetable - minestrone soup, tossed green salad with their special house dressing, olive oil & garlic garbanzo/kidney beans and a salami plate. You can reach Giusti's by car, boat and some have even arrived by helicopter!

14743 Walnut Grove - Thornton Road
Walnut Grove, CA 95690

Monday, December 13, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The Second Day

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
2 bottles of UC Davis Olive Oil

In this picture: Two bottles of the 2010 vintage of UC Davis Olive Oil.
This was UC Davis' third year of olive oil production, which began as a way to capitalize on the trees that have been part of the campus for decades. Before UCD decided to harvest these olives, the trees were considered a campus nuisance when dropping fruit turned the pavement around campus into a potential accident zones.

It is now an award winning olive oil that has been ranked as one of the best artisanal olive oils in the country. It is sold on campus and online.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

OOTK's "12 Days of Christmas" | The First Day

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
A single scoop of "Secret Breakfast" ice cream...

In this picture:
Humphry Slocombe's Secret Breakfast ice cream.
Owner Jake Godby makes this ice cream with bourbon and toasted cornflakes, including so much Jim Beam that the scoops always run soft.

Humphry Slocombe
2790 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110