Sunday, November 8, 2009

My blog is on the MOVE!

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Monday, November 2, 2009

#100 Completed! Complete a 1000+ piece jigsaw puzzle

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Unfortunately, this puzzle ended up being 999 pieces instead of 1000, but I'm still crossing this off my list! Luckily, someone at one of our vacation rental properties left this puzzle when they were visiting. I was half way through when I noticed, in the tiniest writing ever, that the top of the box said "one piece missing." Darn!! What to do? I rationalized that it was still technically a 1000 piece puzzle, it just lacked one piece and I would definitely know where the piece went. So there!

I hadn't done a puzzle since I was a child and never one with so many pieces to it. I was naive to think that it could be completed in one night. 4 nights, 7 hours and 18 minutes later...success! Though this was challenging, it was also extremely relaxing. You don't find too many opportunities where you can concentrate on just one thing and let everything else go. That was worth every minute!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

#108 Completed! Own an award winning restaurant

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The Michelin Guide is a highly respected guide that recognizes exceptional restaurants. The book boasts such restaurants as The French Laundry in Napa Valley and Per Se in Manhattan. I knew that the 2010 Michelin Guide was supposed to be released on October 20th and I was holding my breath. Typically, they notify the included restaurants a couple of weeks beforehand and it was October 15th and we hadn't heard a word. Last year they sent us the good news by FedEx, so every time the truck would stop out front of our place, Sugo Trattoria , I crossed my fingers, but much to my dismay, they usually were dropping off supplies to Peet's Coffee next door. My hopes plummeted when we were dining at a local restaurant who was also included in last years issue. The owner said he had received his inclusion notice 2 weeks prior. Bam! Crushed. I was utterly surprised when I check the mail 5 days later and there was our Michelin award (I don't check the mail often, why bother when it's always bills). I guess with the state of the economy
they had to downgrade to Parcel Post instead of FedEx.

I am so proud that the hard work has paid off by being recognized by a guide that is so well respected.

Monday, October 26, 2009

#26 Eat at 500 memorable restaurants

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Restaurant #117 is Bungalow 44 in Mill Valley, CA.

We arrived without reservations on a Saturday night at about 8:30pm. The place was lively and full, we waited about 15 minutes for a table. Not bad for a Saturday night. Our table faced the crowded bar, where attractive couples and singles were more interested in conversations than their libations. This was definitely an upper class clientele, that had the cars and style to prove it.

Our waitress had to wiggle through the masses to get to our table, but she took it all in stride and had the most spectacular smile through the whole meal.

What I ate and how I liked it:

Steak Tartare Filet Mignon, Gruyere Cheese Sandwiches 12.50 A-
This appetizer was one we are thinking about stealing for our restaurant, with a couple of alterations. There were so many capers, they definitely overpowered the fresh Filet, which I could understand if you weren't using such a quality meat.

Chicken Paillard Lemon, Herbs, Arugula, Feta 16.95 B
I could have easily made this dish on my BBQ. It was simply marinated (oil, S&P and oregano) chicken thrown on the grill & put on a plate. A tad uninspired for the atmosphere of this restaurant.

Prosciutto & Gorgonzola Flatbread, Arugula, Caramalized Onions 11.50 A
This could have quite possibly been the thinnest crust I have ever had! I would be curious to know how they executed this dish. It was a nice appetizer portion flatbread.

When we left, 1 1/2 hours later, the same faces were seated at the bar. We decided that we would return, but probably just for drinks, if we could find a seat!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#56 Cook Every Dish From One Cookbook

The cookbook: A16 Food + Wine

Recipe #1 (not in any particular order): Croccante (an Italian almond cookie)

The day I received my cookbook in the mail, a customer called to order the Italian Cookie Platter from our catering menu. This was the perfect opportunity to get the ball rolling (in this case it's a cookie dough ball). There are several different types of Croccante, most recipes you'll find online are for the ones that are similar to a brittle. The one in A16 includes flour so turns out more of a crispy cookie. I'm pretty sure its illegal for me to put the actual recipe in my blog, so I will refrain (I guess you'll have to buy the cookbook). Giada, from the Food Network, does have a great brittle style recipe called Hazelnut Crunch, they are tasty too.

Let me start by saying that baking is not my forte, the measurements have to be too exact for my liking. I'd rather saute, sear, braise, or even grill. But, I do have the ability to read and follow directions (oh, my kindergarten teacher would be so proud). These cookies were super simple & ended up looking very similar to the one in the book. I only have one complaint: Why do recipes always say "bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown." In my experience cookies are never ready in 12 minutes and golden brown is closer to 20 or 25.

My cookies didn't turn out perfectly rectangular like the photo, but they were close. These cookies were delicious! I am hoping that this is an indication of how the rest of the cookbook will taste.
Total Recipes: 92
Recipes Completed: 1 (91 to go!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

#130 Watch all the Oscar Winning Movies

Oscar Winning Movies: 82
Movies Watched: 9

The last movie I watched on this list was Slumdog Millionaire and I am claiming it to be the "best movie I have ever seen". But, than again, I am definitely lacking in the film education department. I am probably a year or two behind on the hit movies. Seeing Slumdog was just a fluke. Most of the time I can't bring myself to spend $10 on a movie ticket (plus the goodies while you are there) when I can rent it in a couple of months for 4 bucks and enjoy it in the privacy of my own home. At least at home I can multi-task while viewing; laundry gets folded, emails returned and bills paid.

I'm really not looking forward to anything prior to 1980, which was making me question why I added this goal to my list at all. What's a movie without the profanity and nudity anyway? But then I realized that this bucket list was not only about achieving goals, but about trying new things to see if they might be part of the passion I am looking for.
The Oscar Winning Movies
1927-28 Wings (Best Production), Sunrise (Unique and Artistic Picture)
1928-29 The Broadway Melody (Best Production)
1929-30 All Quiet on the Western Front
1930-31 Cimarron
1931-32 Grand Hotel
1932-33 Cavalcade
1934 It Happened One Night
1935 Mutiny on the Bounty
1936 The Great Ziegfeld
1937 The Life of Emile Zola
1938 You Can't Take It With You
1939 Gone With The Wind
1940 Rebecca
1941 How Green Was My Valley
1942 Mrs. Miniver
1943 Casablanca
1944 Going My Way
1945 The Lost Weekend
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives
1947 Gentleman's Agreement
1948 Hamlet
1949 All the King's Men
1950 All About Eve
1951 An American In Paris
1952 The Greatest Show on Earth
1953 From Here to Eternity
1954 On The Waterfront
1955 Marty
1956 Around the World in 80 Days
1957 The Bridge On The River Kwai
1958 Gigi
1959 Ben-Hur
1960 The Apartment
1961 West Side Story
1962 Lawrence of Arabia
1963 Tom Jones
1964 My Fair Lady
1965 The Sound of Music
1966 A Man for All Seasons
1967 In the Heat of the Night
1968 Oliver!
1969 Midnight Cowboy
1970 Patton
1971 The French Connection
1972 The Godfather
1973 The Sting
1974 The Godfather Part II
1975 One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
1976 Rocky
1977 Annie Hall
1978 The Deer Hunter
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer
1980 Ordinary People
1981 Chariots of Fire
1982 Gandhi
1983 Terms of Endearment
1984 Amadeus
1985 Out of Africa
1986 Platoon
1987 The Last Emperor
1988 Rain Man
1989 Driving Miss Daisy
1990 Dances with Wolves
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
1992 Unforgiven
1993 Schindler's List
1994 Forrest Gump
1995 Braveheart
1996 The English Patient
1997 Titanic
1998 Shakespeare in Love
1999 American Beauty
2000 Gladiator
2001 A Beautiful Mind
2002 Chicago
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004 Million Dollar Baby
2005 Crash
2006 The Departed
2007 No Country For Old Men
2008 Slumdog Millionaire

Sunday, October 4, 2009

#19 Have my 15 minutes of fame

I am not giving up, but until I have my real "15 Minutes" of fame (all at one time), I am going to record my "mini minutes (or seconds)" of fame.

Seconds 5 & 10
Our restaurant participated in the "Taste of Petaluma", an event where people buy tickets and take them to select restaurants for samplers from their menu. Sugo Trattoria, our restaurant, made Eggplant Two Ways; Eggplant Caponata on crostini and Eggplant, Walnut, Goat Cheese ravioli. Yum! The photo was taken by a local photographer and featured on our hometown website petaluma360.c0m. Woohoo!! That should be good for at least 5 seconds.

The next 5 seconds was a video shot by Mix It Up magazine. Sugo Trattoria is going to be featured in their next magazine, unfortunately they don't have the funds to print it yet! Though, they did come by and shoot this low budget video on YouTube.

Wow...10 seconds closer to fame! HAHA
The Countdown
Minutes of Fame: 15
Time Completed: 10 seconds (14 minutes, 50 seconds to go)