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

So in an effort to be cultured and not spend all our time eating and shopping we visited The Scottish National Gallery.

They have an amazing collection, very varied and big enough to spend a good morning looking around but not so big that you have to pick and choose what you see.

My favourite part though was a children’s exhibition which featured two children’s books that I think are so good I am going to have to collection them for when my godchildren come to visit.

One is called Sylvia and Friends by Catherine Rayner and the drawings are just the cutest!

You can buy her books here they are proper children’s books, ones that all children need to learn, such as patience and sharing… cute!

The other series is by James Mayhew and is about a little girl called Katie who goes into paintings and has adventures within them, so not only do the readers enjoy some excitement but they can learn about great artists such as Monet and Van Gogh.

I think this is such an original idea, and the illustrations are great.

Both books had been made into an activity trail for little ones to do as they walked around the gallery, they had to look at and find particular pictures and people as they walked around and draw them… I saw lots of little girls doing Katie’s trail…

James’ blog is here and you can buy his books here

After all the walking we needed some refreshment, and on the walk to our hotel from the gallery stands The Missoni Hotel, cocktail time!

I have to say that I am not overly keen on the exterior of the hotel, it is a little bland and officey for my taste…

I really want to have afternoon tea here!

The interior however is amazing, and so Missoni.

A riot of colourful stripes with fun design touches everywhere…

The staff were all beautiful of course, and had great uniforms of Missoni striped aprons (I want one!) and tees…

Lots of room for big groups of gossiping girls…

They had tv screen showing Missoni catwalk shows…

And special Missoni kilts (love!)

I went for a cosmopolitan, a classic, and the boy had their signature cocktail…

This is an easy cocktail, great for a girls night!
35 ml vodka
15 ml triple sec
squeeze lime juice
25 ml cranberry juice
twist orange peel

Shake vodka, triple sec, lime and cranberry juice vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass, garnish with a lime wedge on the rim, and serve.



June 11, 2010

Once a month me and my girl-friends try to get together for dinner and this month it was my turn to host on what was a pretty miserable may evening.

To brighten things up I decided on a Caribbean/Hawaii theme, I made a Rastafarian curry, red coleslaw with a lime vinaigrette , jerk chicken and rice n peas, we all wore flower garlands and I decorated the room with palm trees and flowers.

This is a great idea for a party as I made all of the food during the afternoon and had nothing to do when my friends arrived, I made a big jug of mojitos, put some jungle on and we just ate and drank till we were way past full! I even cut a fresh coconut up for nibbles (as well as to add to the coleslaw)

This is a traditional Jerk recipe and should really be BBQ’d for best results however I cooked it in the oven this time and it was still very very good. This is from Eat Caribbean – Virginia Burke

This book has recipes from all over the Caribbean and South America and is amazing, many ingredients you will not find in normal supermarkets and so you may need to visit (in Bristol) St Paul’s or the Sweet Mart in Easton.

Jerk Chicken
Prep time 10 minutes… makes 2/3 cup

6 spring onions
1-3 scotch bonnets (I used normal red chilli’s this time as the girls are too into burning their lips off so if you’re not into spicy food but want to try I recommend this, or just use 1 scotch bonnet)
It is trial and error when finding out how spicy you lie jerk but I would say less is more when you’re starting out as you can add more afterwards if needed, just dab a little on your tongue when it’s done and add more if you want to.

2 tsp allspice berries or 1 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cane vinegar / white wine vinegar
1 tsp oil

Mash all together with petal and mortar and marinade your meat, discard any large pieces of spring onion before cooking
Or to be super lazy you can use a blender to make this a thick paste

Some variations of jerk have lots of little added extras, the above is the essential items but you can experiment and add bits if you, some ready-made sauces might have ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, or rum (which I might try next time!)

Even Biggs the Cat wanted some!

Rice n Peas

prep time soaking overnight + 15 minutes plus 21/2 hours cooking
serves 6-8

250g/1 cup dried red peas (red kidney beans or gungo beans) soaked overnight (or cheat and use tinned and skip the cooking part!)
375ml/1 1/2 cup coconut milk
400g/2 cups white rice
3 spring onions
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 scotch bonnet
salt and black pepper

1. Skip this step if using tinned kidney beans (I do this every time works fine)
Drain and rinse the beans, place in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and add enough water to cover them.
Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat and cook for about 2 hours or until tender, top up the water as needed.

2. Add the coconut milk, spring onions, thyme salt and pepper (to the cooked or drained tinned beans)
Add enough water so there is about 2 1/2 times as much liquid as rice and beans
(a tip from this book says that if you pop your finger into the pan make sure the liquid is 1 finger joint or 1 inch above the rice and beans, do this and the rice is perfect every time!)

3. Drop in the whole pepper and bring to the boil
Immediately cover the pot and turn down the heat down to its lowest point
Allow the rice to steam slowly for about 25-30 minutes, do not open the pot or stir the rice during this process or it will become sticky when finished all the liquid should be absorbed and the rice tender

4. Remove the pepper, spring onions and the thyme sprig fluff the rice and serve

I will post the Rastafarian curry and coleslaw recipes soon because they were also YUM!

Cocktails in the City

June 11, 2010

Another mini-post from London… After tea we went to a cool little bar off Oxford Street called Match

It had a naughty theme…

I had an amazing little cocktail called Nicola 6…

I have added a picture of the menu so you can try yourself, you will need an american style champagne glass for the this look!

Hayley had the classic Mojito!

There are many, many ways to make a mojito but the classic version is make from white rum (I would substitute with Havana club personally!), sugar (or sugar cane juice), fresh limes, sparking water/soda and fresh mint leaves and is served as a long cocktail. First add the lime juice to the sugar, then the mint leaves and crush together, I use my pestle. Then add rum and ice… easy… apart from the effort of juicing limes which is hard on the wrists.

For 1 glass; 2 parts rum 1 part lime juice Soda water to the top 10 mint leaves + 1 sprig for decoration 1 tsp sugar 1 lime wedge

A May Wedding

June 11, 2010

Over the May bank holiday I went to see two friends get married in Bristol, it was such a nice relaxed day with so many cute touches that I had to share…

They tied the knot in the Council House on College Green, we sat in councillors seats, there were even microphones (although there were not working, we did check), and the aisle was strewn with rose petals…

The bride looked stunning in a fifties homage outfit, complete with pillbox hat style facinator and veil, peep toes platforms and a Dior new look style strapless dress, the Groom wore a smart single breasted suit with a pink tie to match his button-hole and the brides bouquet

I loved how it looked when she sat with the black petticoat popping out…

The brides bouquet was a small hand tie of pink and white roses

The bridemaids were a highlight as well, all in little black dresses, halterneck also in the Dior new look style, with little kitten heels with bows (bows are an obsession of mine at the moment)

The dresses all had a little waist belt to match the brides dress and show off those tiny waists

A halterneck and gorgeous fifties style hair

And the present from the happy couple? A Tiffany necklace, lucky girls!

The story behind the necklaces comes from the proposal, which is a good ones, boys if you’re listening this is a tough one to beat…

So Paul and Caroline are in New York on holiday and they take a walk up Fifth Avenue where they come across Tiffany’s, where he takes her up to the engagement ring room and asks her to marry him…

well done Paul!

The wedding breakfast and reception was held at Goldbrick House, an amazing building on park Street that used to be a jewellers, until the current owners gutted the building and built a cafe bar (ground floor), restaurant (first floor), with a champagne bar (second floor front) and lots of mini rooms dotted up and around such as the library where people could sit or dance or eat or drink.

There is also a roof terrace overlooking the rooftops and although it was a bit of a grey day it didn’t rain and on arrival we all went up there for the welcome drinks of Pimms or elderflower presse

And I adore the chandeliers and the art…

The wedding breakfast was in the restaurant and because of the restaurant space there cannot be a top table as such, the Bride and Groom and their family all sat together but there were just lots of big tables which added to the informal and relaxed atmosphere

The tables were gorgeous, strewn with black and white petals and pink diamonds!

With bread ready for the starving guests (we did have to walk up the big hill after all!) and we got stuck straight into the wine, I’m afraid I didn’t write down what we drank but it was very good, the red was a Malbec which the Boy loved

And we all had cameras on our table so the couple get photos of everyone

They even had cider, a must for a Bristol wedding

The Menu…

I had the beef…

The Boy had smoked salmon… this was strange, as I always go for fish and he for beef but I am glad I picked the beef, it was so pink it just melted!

I had the chicken… with pomme Anna…

The salmon looked good though, love the presentation

Chocolate shortbread

Sticky toffee

I have the Pannacotta… a favourite but one I have not attempted to make myself yet!

The cake was a mountain of chocolate cupcakes with pink and white icing and edible flowers, I took mine home and ate it for breakfast the next day, it was goooooooooood

Another bridesmaid highlight was their speech, they spoke about the bride instead of having a father-of-the-bride speech which was really nice.

Caroline had a childhood friend, a uni friend and a grown up friend, people from every stage of her life who gave really funny and heartfelt speeches

Another cool touch was that for the toast while we all had a glass of the traditional champagne Caroline’s table of uni buddies had a shot of sambuca!

Then the party started… with the first dance…

Then later more food to keep us all going… Mini fish and chips, bacon rolls and mini quiches, a really fun touch and just what you want after a few cocktails!

The cocktails are very good at Goldbrick, I had an espresso martini first to wake me up after dinner…

then I found something very special that has become my all time favourite drink that I have ever had anywhere (it was that good)… the Spiced cucumber martini, not too sweet or strong and really refreshing go and try it.

Thanks for the lovely day you two!