Colibri, San Francisco

August 28, 2012

Colibri was recommended to us by San Fran natives… we asked for Mexican food and they said this was the fine dining version. Since we had eaten more than our fair share of food truck fish tacos and burritos from suspicious places we thought we’d treat ourselves.

It was very old world Mexico decor… Love that.

 They start everyone off with spicy dips and tortillas.

 

And the best margaritas I have ever had. Strong too.

 And we had to order guacamole and tortilla chips… All home-made of course.

Then I ordered… Callos con crust de tortilla

Corn tortilla crusted scallops over purple Peruvian mashed potatoes and sautéed poblano pepper, cactus leaves, corn and Portobello mushrooms

Which was amazing. I do adore scallops in any form, put them in Mexican food and I am in love.

My husband ordered… Carnitas

Michoacan style marinated tender chunks of pork served with guajillo and chile de arbol salsa

What our naughty server didn’t tell us was that we probably needed sides. Although we did have chips and dips we had already been for drinks and their major margaritas fuelled us further.

Order sides!

 

We finished with some churros. We couldn’t leave without having one more lot of churros.

 Then we headed to a dive bar to drink more! See Swoon for the information.

 Colibri, San Francisco

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Once again I apologise for the silence… things are moving along at home and we might even have a kitchen in the next two weeks, I did try to photograph a new recipe last night but it did not go well so I will have to wait.

In the meantime I have a last flurry of California recommendations for you.

Starting in Sonoma, we visited here for some Vineyard visits and wine tasting and on our first night came into the town (which I loved) for a visit to this bar… 

 

After drinking wine all day my Husband wanted to have a beer (poor him right) so this was the perfect place. We sat at the bar and watched basket ball while we ate. I loved this!

 So a good menu, I had trouble deciding. Lots of American classics.

Adam went for a burger, the classic. It was great (I had to have a bite) with all the fixings. 

And their extra special truffle oil and parmesan fries… I have to say I don’t really love truffle oil some people use way too much but there were amazing. I left him to eat them though as I had my own cheese mountain to tackle.

 I had ordered very adult mac and cheese which was made with a cheddar and a parmesan and bacon.

This portion arrived, and it looked tiny. But it was the perfect size, it was really so rich so you didn’t need a huge amount and the green salad cut through and refreshed when needed.

It was brilliant.

 Healdsburg Bar and Grill – Sonoma

We went to Giovanni’s after much walking and messing about the rocks and beach in Morro Bay… 

You queue at the window and pick your order from a great choice of seafood…  

We grabbed a pitcher of beer and some wine and ordered a ton of food, this spot is great value… 

Everything is freshly cooked to order with the freshest fish, they are right by the wharf so there is no excuse really. Its simple food done well, no frills.

My fish and chips were done in small pieces, and it was probably the best I have ever had. Serious.

We also ordered a salad, a token effort but for a place that’s famous for fried food it was pretty good, all super fresh and again really simple but really fresh ingredients. That dressing was a strawberry vinegar and was amazing.

And my Husband went for the squid, and you know we have been eating this all around our trip, but this stuff was great. I left him to eat the wriggily bits all by himself but stole a little of the bit pieces… so fresh, and the batter was super light. 

You really have to watch the gulls here. There were signs everywhere telling you not to leave your food and not to feed them. We watched a gull pick up a big piece of fish and fly off while one guy went to get a drink. They are big too, if one had of come for my dinner I probably would have left them have it.

Oh yes, we also got onion rings. We were so greedy. They were also great, home made.

We sat and fell into a food coma, and drank our drinks in front of another amazing sunset.

And somehow we managed to find room for some rocky road on our way back to the hotel. Like I said… greedy. 

Nothing ground breaking and yet more fast food but Giovanni’s is great and this was one of my stand out meals in California. I do love fish and chips.

Giovanni’s – Morro Bay, California

See more on our couple of days in Morro Bay here

Beerd, Bristol

August 6, 2012

I like Beerd. A lot.

I liked everything about it, the menu, the staff (so lovely), the bar, the furniture.

It’s so colourful in here…

I love Tolix chairs… took all my willpower not to try to leave with one. They are what I want for our garden one day.

And they have booths (kind of)… my favourite.

But anyway enough about the furniture… the pizza and beer are worth the trip too…

They have a changing selection of craft beers, more than just Bath Ales, so they should always be something  new.

In fact the bar snacks and drinks are worth the trip alone, if I had my way we have just ordered all of these…

We did have to order the onion rings after spotting them arrive at another table… they were so good, you have to promise to get them too okay?

And pizza, the reason we were here, it’s my husband’s favourite… he picked Salami and Roasted Chilli and I Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil.

They were proper. Mine was so rich and I wished I had given up earlier because our great waitress wrapped the last piece up for me to take home.

Cold pizza for breakfast rocks.

I highly recommend the Mozzarella pizza. It was delicious.

Goes without saying I think you should visit… and the staff really are great, friendly, attentive and knowledgable.

Beerd – St Michael’s Hill, Bristol

Our next stop after Los Angeles was Santa Barbara, the cutest town ever right on the coast, I loved it here. 

We went straight out to explore and walked the length of main street right down to the Wharf…

At the end is the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, I was on the hunt for some chowder so we made a beeline for some seats outside and watched the sunset. Apparently this is the place to go for fresh seafood too…

The cutest shack! It’s bigger than it looks.

We ordered some drinks, always necessary after a few hours drive on roads I don’t know. 

We watched other diners pick their dinner… I could never do that. I felt so sorry for the lobster. I am so very squeamish. 

We each ordered a cup of local seafood chowder with those crazy oyster crackers, I love those things. I have no idea what they are.

We also decided to try oysters… I never have, they are just not nice to look at. To be fair I didn’t try mussels until I was 18 and I love them now…

We ordered the cocktail, so an oyster with tomato and tabasco with cheese. I still couldn’t do it, I totally wimped out.

So my Husband stepped up and ate them both. 

 

I definitely think if you visit you should spent a night on the wharf, it was so typically American, the food, the drinks, the people and the stores. I loved it. 

 Santa Barbara Shellfish Company – On the wharf

 

So we ate some great sushi in Thailand and some amazing sushi in Australia, and admittedly I have never been to Japan but in LA they have taken sushi and made it their own. We ate some ridiculous sushi on our first night at Ozumo which was at the top of a mall in Santa Monica.

Mall food in the US is not our mall food… for a start it was between Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s in Santa Monica Place and it’s a food court full of proper restaurants, and due to people driving most places malls are where you start, as the parking is great.

The restaurant itself is a very glamorous place.

 We started with miso soup and edamame beans… of course…

And some deep-fried squid, again we cannot resist squid. Ever.

The sushi was so pretty… and oh so light.

We picked the house speciality first; Ozumo; which is Maine lobster, mango, jalapeno, and cilantro (coriander) wrapped in tuna with spicy sesame yuzu aioli

I loved their sashimi menu, so exotic, anything you could want was on here.

Then I picked the Shacho which was grilled unagi and cucumber roll topped with crab salad, tuna, avocado and spicy mayo with sweet soy, this was amazing. I have never seen anything like it.

And although we were pretty full at this point we had to try this; the O Rainbow which are California rolls wrapped with soy paper topped with salmon, albacore, unagi, tuna, hamachi, shrimp and spicy scallop… it looked great.

So sushi in LA rocks, it’s made to be light and is the skinny starlets food of choice for a reason, we ate tons of the stuff (and besides the fried squid) all of it was super low fat, low calorie and healthy.

Whats not to love? Now we just need Bristol to catch up!

Ozumo – Santa Monica Place, Los Angeles

My last recommendation for New Zealand… Foxglove in Wellington was somewhere we spotted on our first night in town where we had some really great food, then I insisted we came back here on our last day to drink rose on the balcony day beds.

I am so tired in this photo, no make up just my trusty hat.

 I loved the glamorous sign on the side of the building. It’s what hooked me in for sure.

All the decor is cool, the terrace outside… 

 The beautiful green tiles on the bar…

 I loved these brass lamps… hung around record shelving on the stairs.

We drank some Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough with our meal, and later drove past this very vineyard on our trip through.

We ate handcut agria chips with smoked tomato mayo, these were pretty special.

Crispy wasabi salt and pepper calamari with coriander alioli, if squid is on the menu we cannot go without, this was beautiful although we couldn’t really taste the wasabi.

These were my favourite, goats cheese and mozzarella balls centred with apple and manuka honey which you had to squeeze into the ball before you ate it. So fun.

We just ate bar bites, it was late and we had just flown in, but the full on restaurant looked amazing so book in and have a blow out meal then go and sit on the beds upstairs on the deck and look at the stars.

Perfect.

Foxglove – Wellington, New Zealand