Monday, November 29, 2010

Fruition, a gem of restaurant in Denver

The other day we had dinner at Fruition in Denver, one of our favorite restaurants.  It is a small and cozy place that only seats 50.
Meet Paul Attardi who gracefully runs the front of the restaurant.  Alex Siedel is the creative force in the kitchen.  Paul had just returned from Spain and we were comparing stories of our dining experiences in Barcelona.  One of my all time favorites places.
For months and months we have been trying to get together with Marcia
and her husband, Colman.  So we met after work on a Thursday night.  I can not remember ever meeting someone for dinner so early, 5:30!  Fruition is so popular, that was the only time we could get in unless we wanted to dine at 8:30 which was too late for a weekday.
Len and Colman started with polenta topped with a squid that had been stuffed with a hand made sausage.
I started with a sublime, melt in your mouth Braised Veal Breast Saltimboca;  hand made casarecci pasta, prosciutto, braised veal, burrata cheese and sage veal jus.  Mmmmm.
This entree is one of my all time favorites;  Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, Carnali risotta, grilled arugula and smoked duck prosciutto with a red onion marmalade.
Tonight I had an entree that has just recently been added to the repertoire, Buttermilk Fried Chicken Confit.  The chicken is served on creme fraiche whipped potatoes, haricot verts, roasted carrots and button mushrooms.
What a great meal.
Bon Appetit.

Fruition Restaurant
1313 E. Sixth Ave.
(corner of Sixth and Marion Street)
Denver, CO

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Where ever you are...
San Miguel de Allende, Denver, Scottsdale...
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and a lot of blue skies.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robin's Ceviche

The seafood is cooked by the contact from the acidity of the citrus juices.
1/2 lb. cod or a lean white-fleshed fish, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 lb. shrimp, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 - 2 jalapenos, remove the seeds and finely chop
1 large avocado, cubed

Put the cod and lime juice into a ceramic bowl, cover and marinate for two hours at room temperature or until opaque.  Refrigerated fish will not "cook" as fast.
Stir in the shrimp, onion, garlic and salt.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Drain the fish mixture to remove the excess lime juice.  Add the cilantro, ketchup and jalapenos (to taste).  Mix well.  Gently add the avocado.

I spooned the Ceviche into small little Mexican glasses that I had bought in San Miguel de Allende and served them on my round tin Corona platter along with small spoons.  When serving as a first course at the table, line martini glasses with a leaf of Bibb lettuce and top with the Ceviche.  This makes an elegant presentation.

Buon Provecho.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Reunion Party from San Miguel de Allende

Recently I went to a pot luck Reunion Fiesta for all the people that had been on my October tour to San Miguel de Allende.  Spouses were invited too.  I made Ceviche Rojo de Camarones y Cod.  Check my post out on Wednesday for the recipe.
Here is Laura (the blond) with her husband Tom (the hosts of the evening) and Dianne, she's a blinker.
Bobbi, Ronda and Matina were all on my last trip and we had such a fun time. 
My husband Len drinking a margarita that Dudley and Ronda had brought.  They made the margaritas from my recipe which they learned how to make at the cooking class that I taught on my tour out at Rancho Casa Luna.  And of course Laura, hamming it up.  What's new...
Matina is wearing a pretty butterfly (mariposa) dress with her day of the dead necklace which she bought on our trip.  She said she gets comments on it all the time when she has it on.  Dudley is standing next to Matina's husband, Amadeo.  He was very envious of all of us that had been on the trip.
Susan is about to dive into the Ceviche.  She brought a tasty salad and a large "day of the dead" bread that unfortunately I did not get a picture of.
Laura doing what she likes to do best, drinking champagne.  Phoebe is tasting a tamale that Laura picked up at Chelo's in downtown Denver.  They are the best in town; moist masa and tender chunks of pork served with a picante green chili sauce.
Laura spent hours and hours putting together a fabulous DVD of her photos, my photos and others along with music and captions.  Dudley and Ronda are settling in on the sofa for the presentation.  After watching all the fun we had, we wanted to immediately go back to San Miguel that night.  Thanks laura for putting together such a wonderful evening.  I know there will be more reunion parties to follow.
 My next tour is June 6 - 13, 2011. I am sure we will have a few characters on that trip too and it will be another great adventure.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Mexican Still Life

Just like a painter, I see things through the lens of my camera in a different way. These shots that I am featuring strike me as "still life paintings." I could not have set them up or arranged them any better myself.
These lanterns were propped up in the San Rafael Church which is right next to La Parroquia in San Miguel de Allende. It was Easter week, all the pews had been shoved to one side and numerous saints were being decorated with hundreds of flowers for the procession that day. I love the the sense of order this photo takes on.
The way these glads in this simple jade colored vase was framed by the window made me think of a traditional still life painting. This was at Le Crepe in San Miguel de Allende that is just up the hill from my casa. They have wonderful salads, crepes, quiches and egg dishes.
I am certainly glad I am a photographer and not a painter with this shot. I do love the colors and textures of all those ropes.
I could not have arranged these baskets any more perfectly. The lighting was pretty spectacular too.
These carnations and statice had been placed on the floor of the San Rafael Church waiting for someone to adorn one of the Saints for the Easter procession. Again, the simplicity of it just called to me.
There's a still life around every corner is San Miguel.  I just love it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Breakfast at The Royal Palms in Scottsdale

I was in Scottsdale last week and if I want a little San Miguel de Allende fix, I head over to the Royal Palms for brunch at their restaurant, T. Cooks.
The grounds are so beautiful... blooming flowers, cascading bougain villia, stone carved fountains, beautiful tiles... This particular stone fountain that greets you when you drive in is over 250 years old.  Very similar to the fountains that I see around San Miguel.  The stone pavers, made of laja negra or black stone, are from Queretaro, Mexico dating back to 1692.
 This is the central courtyard with the original building behind it.  In 1929, Delos Cooke (Cunard Steamship executive and financier) built this as a summer retreat for he and his wife.
 I was fascinated by these old tiles that were part of a fireplace surround.
 They are definitely from the original construction!
Now for brunch. My Mom had the Mediterranean Benedict; the hollandaise sauce had a nice little kick to it and the eggs were poached perfectly.
I went for something a little more sweet than savory;  house made lemon brioche stuffed with cream cheese and T. Cooks signature orange marmalade topped with a vanilla creme anglaise and fresh berries.  It also came with a side of the house made pork sausage which was very tasty.
 We had a little visitor at the table next to us.  This Grackle (just like the birds that fly up to the jardin in San Miguel to roost at night) was helping himself to the leftovers from the previous diners.
A primitive but engaging tile mural that is on one of the patio walls.  It made me smile.
This gorgeous hand-painted mural is from Spain and original to the main building.  A figure right out of Sevilla.
I shot this from the car as I was driving through the intersection on the way to the airport.  I just love it.   The Grill next Door serving Beer, Burgers and Buns.  I may just have to try it on my next trip.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meet Remy

This is Remy, Carter and Susan's Lakeland Terrier.  I have never known a dog to be so intuitive and eager to be part of the conversation. Her vocabulary is huge.  When I mention the word ball, she cocks her head to the side.  She was sitting on one of the equipale dining chairs just listening to us talk.  She does not miss a beat.  Mention someones name that she knows, she barks, and heads to the front door looking for them to come through the door.
I have never met a dog that likes to pose for photos as much as she does.  She literally stops, sits and looks right at you when you pull out a camera.
She loves to be bathed.  Does not like to smell bad, but then, who does.  She straddled the kitchen's double bowl sink as I lathered her up, scrubbed her and then rinsed her off.  Standing still and loving it the whole time.  I toweled her off and then took the hair dryer to her.  Once done, I have never seen her so excited.  She was jumping two feet off the floor and whirling around mid air.  If only I could get that excited when I get my hair done.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A week in Scottsdale

I spent this last week in Scottsdale visiting my parents and my brother, Carter, and his wife, Susan.  And I can not forget to mention Remy, Carter and Susan's darling Lakeland Terrier.
After retrieving my luggage, the first thing we did was head over to Zinc Bistro in Scottsdale located in the well designed complex, Kierland Commons.  Zinc Bistro has great soups, salads, a delicious crispy duck confit sandwich and many other savory entrees... and I love the decor.
I had the Zinc Burger with truffled Gruyere cheese, tomatoes, garlic, lemon and arugala.  Ooops, my stomach got the best of me, I stopped eating to take a photo.
A side of their house fries sprinkled with marjoram, paprika and sea salt is a must.  Don't you just love the presentation. 
The next day we went to the Phoenix Art Museum which is located right in the center of downtown Phoenix. We went to see the 41st Annual Cowboy Artist of America Exhibition and Sale.  Twenty-two artist had their works on display.  The paintings by Bill Owens were definitely our favorites.  The gross sales from this exhibition came to 2.3 million dollars and a portion of that goes to the Museum.  What a great fund raiser.
We then had lunch in the Museum's restaurant, Arcadia Farms Cafe.   The food was excellent along with a nice presentation.  My Mom had their Chicken & Wild Mushroom Crepes with spinach, leeks and a herb buerre blanc sauce.  My Dad and I had the Wild Mushroom, Spinach and Leek Tart with Goat Cheese & Mozzarella along with a garden salad on the side.  I definitely will go back next time in town.
In the main lobby of the museum is this suspended sculpture, The Last Scattering Surface, by Josiah McElheny.  Made of hand-blown glass, chrome plate aluminum and electric lighting, it is the artist's interpretation of the "creation of the universe."  It was purchased in 2006 to celebrate the Museum's 50th anniversary.
The weather could not have been any nicer.  The next day we went over to the Heard Museum North (just south of Carefree) and had lunch out on their patio.
 The landscaping was spectacular.
The menu at The Cafe has a south-western theme.  I ordered their three cheese Quesadillas with roasted red peppers and caramelized onions.  Very flavourful and the flour tortillas were nice and thin.
One afternoon we drove around north of Cave Creek where my parents had a house and a lot of acreage in my high school and college days.  My Dad and I road our horses all over that area,  always with a pair of plyers and wide toothed comb in case we had to pull cholla (jumping cactus) out of the horses legs. The mountain in the background is Elephant Butte.  Carter and my Dad have hiked to the top of the nose of the butte where there is a huge Indian ruin.
The desert was so beautiful and lush. And talk the about sunsets! Viva Arizona.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Day In Guanajuato

My group and I left San Miguel de Allende after a scrumptious breakfast at our B & B, Casa Luna, to spend part of the day in Guanajuato.  The Plaza de la Paz is located in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato.  I love the Cypress growing so tall.
 The plaza features a bronze statue by Jesus F. Contreras dedicated to peace (1898). 
 The plaza is lined with some of the city's most beautiful palaces and homes.
When I am in the heart of Guanajuato, I feel like I could be in Paris or some other European capital.  The architecture is so stately.
This neoclassical building is the University of Guanajuato.  Originally is was created as the College of the Holy Trinity with the arrival of the Jesuits in 1732.  Since, it is a government run university.  Can you imagine climbing those steps every day to go to your classes. 
 Part of my group leaving Diego Rivera's boyhood home and museum.
Guanajuato is a maze of tunnels.  The city was originally built over the Guanajuato River which flowed underneath the city.  After years of flooding, engineers built a dam and redirected the river.  These dry river beds, along with some new tunnels are key to getting around the city.  I have known friends that have been lost in the tunnels for at least an hour.  They are pretty amazing.
Finally at lunch,.  Dianne is about to dive into the house cocktail made from the fruit of a cactus berry. She was being funny after we teased her about wearing her visor indoors.
After a superb lunch, Jesus and his wife, Luz the chef, bid us farewell. On to Dolores Hidalgo.  What a day we have had so far!