Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beretta Restaurant

Through some great timing and a lot of luck, we were able to get into Beretta Restaurant last night. Service was perfect. Italian red wine was tasty. And the food was really, really good.

The Antipasti were the standout -- polenta with gorgonzola, eggplant caponatina with burrata, roasted cauliflower with pangratatto, capers & sage, meatballs in spicy tomato sauce, fresh sardines in olive oil & vinegar with shaved onion. And the meat antipasti sampler was divine.

The pizza --potato, rosemary, radicchio, gorgonzola dolce -- was rich and tasted good, but needed more cooking time as the dough was a bit undercooked. Risotto with goat cheese and prosciutto I thought was so-so. Though, my fellow diners felt it was very good. Admittedly, I'm picky about risotto having learned from Joyce Goldstein the mastery of this dish.

We were fortunate as I believe we sat at one of the better tables from an acoustic point of view. Even though it was at times hard to hear our conversation, the noise was off the charts in most areas of the restaurant.

Beretta, definitely worthy of a return visit.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yo, Pastrami Here!

Made this little gem over the course of the last week (cure, air dry, slow cook forever). The grass-fed beef is from Morris' Ranch out of San Juan Bautista area where we buy a quarter share every year. Not Katz Deli mind you, but I'm not having a problem choking this down. Homemade pastrami, mustard, onions. Done.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I had the privilege of attending Winefest in Hambach, Germany, located in the center of the Pfalz wine region. I met up with Erwin, a friend of my Dad's from the IBM-SAP relationship days. I could not have had better hosts. His wife Christiana, greeted me in their exquisite home high on the hill above town (see picture), with a huge selection of cakes and pastry with local fresh raspberries, strawberries and plums. Washed it all down with coffee and a walk in their terraced picture book garden, I thought this place could not get anymore perfect. Then, a looped drive to the main town of Neustadt an der Weinstr in Erwin's rock star late 60's cherry red Alpha Romeo Spider was a hoot. Erwin walked me around the sites of Neustadt which I found interesting, but honestly I couldn't wait to get back to the car! Back at the house, the wine began to flow. We had a tasty 2009 Sauvingon Blanc from a local vintner (Jochim Hilldenbrecth (sp) ). Sauvingon Blanc is a new varietal where the predominant grape is Reisling. Jochim is the elder vintner with his son (UC Davis grad) as the wine maker. Next, 5 of us walked to the Hambach village where Winefest was in full party mode. The village was decked out with 'wine gartens', an antique merry-go-round with punch card music, and German flags. Immediately, we were given two large high ball glasses with mixture of dry reisling wine with sparkling water. The tradition was to share the two glasses amongst the table of friends. Ok then -- Prost! My first thought was the reisling was going to taste watered down. Surprisingly, the concoction ended up tasting more like a zippy, refined sparkling wine. The glasses were constantly replenished too. Then a wonderful hearty meal of salad, roast pork meat, and knudel (dumplings) followed. Oh yeah, more wine and great conversation too. I left Hambach later in the evening not wanting the day to end. A clear sign of a great time!

Posted via email from Don's posterous

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Garden

In January, I attended a cool weather vegetables class at Love Apple Farm ( in Ben Lemond. Love Apple Farm is the exclusive farm to Manresa Restaurant / Chef David Kinch in the town I live, Los Gatos. The class was a birthday gift from my wife and my excitement was off the charts. As a chef and foodie, there is an immense satisfaction and inspiration gleamed from the garden. The class was great and I learned a ton. Cynthia's soil amendment formula, non-toxic pest repellents and identification, vegetables that grow in the winter, good tools, soil testing importance, watering, and how to sow seeds. Additionally, observing the Love Apple Farm grounds was worth its weight in gold. I was so inspired I added two large planter boxes to what was supposed to be path. At the end of the class, two dozen of us each left with a flat of sown seeds.

I am happy to report that last night we had the first harvest from the flat of seeds. Mustard greens that were unlike any that I've tasted before. I sauteed them in an Asian style with ginger, garlic and splash of soy. Next up for picking in the garden is a race between the purple bok choy and broccoli rabe. The rest--shelling peas, a unique spinach variety, fava beans, and small onion variety--seem to be a bit slow to get going and may not ever produce. I'm hopeful, but my patience and space constraints will be tested when it comes time to plant spring & summer vegetables.

I'll post pictures at a later time...

Friday, July 10, 2009

New addition

Yes, we are proud to welcome our wood fired oven to the family! Charred crusts, smokey flavors, melted creamy mozzarella (buffalo, of course!) and lots of fun are in our future. Here is a recent photo sampling of the fun and delicious Neapolitan pizzas.

The new addition

Into the fire

3-5 minutes until perfection

Not bad, huh?