Paleo Eats: 7/23/11

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Yay! It’s Saturday! Why am I so excited? ‘Cause I had a day off from cooking today!

This morning I ate a leftover chicken drumstick and a small cup of coconut milk — pre-workout protein and fat.

I decided to venture out of the comfortable and nurturing confines of the CrossFit Palo Alto women’s class and attend my first co-ed class. It wasn’t as scary as I thought. Especially since Coach Trish was leading the class and there were a bunch of nice folks in the class, including visitors Caveman Bistro and his lovely wife. If you haven’t already, check out Craig’s blog and facebook page. He’s an experienced professional CHEF (unlike yours truly) so his cave eats are delicious AND elegant.

After the workout, I refueled with leftover sous vide pork tenderloin and half a microwaved sweet potato.

Then, we dropped the kids off at my parents and headed to San Francisco for a whole day of adults-only eats.

First up, was Baby P’s full moon party at Cafe Des Amis.

At one month postpartum, our lovely friends, H & D, were beaming, smiling, and glowing.  They looked the complete opposite of Fitbomb and me — we were walking zombies up until our boys were a year old. Did I mention that they also have twin two-year-old boys? Sheeeeeeit. I bow down to them…

Our lovely lunch started with a mixed greens, plum, and goat cheese salad tossed with a Banyuls vinaigrette:

Then, I had a big plate of grilled steak (minus the frites) for my entree…

…and in place of cake, I chowed on a generous bowl of fresh berries. Delicious.

Plus, we brought home yummy organic hard-boiled red eggs as party favors!

Since we had a few hours to kill in the afternoon before dinner, Fitbomb and I went to the movies to see Captain America. It’s a fun summer flick and I especially like the part (SPOILER ALERT!) where the evil pudgy Nazi scientist is revealed as a vegetarian.

After the movie, we went to Prospect with our buddies S & J to celebrate S’s 40th birthday. S and I always marvel at how similar we are in taste, humor, and personality (except he’s much more personable than me). In other words, he’s AWESOME. ;)

Seriously — people have a hard time telling the two of us apart. See what I mean?

Uncanny.

Eating Out Paleo: Foreign Cinema (San Francisco, CA)

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It’s hard to believe that Foreign Cinema will be celebrating its 12th anniversary in September. I’ve always loved this hidden gem, tucked away in the non-gentrified part of San Francisco’s Mission District. The food’s always been spectacular and the outdoor covered courtyard is such a treat.

Now that I’ve got kids in tow, I love this place even more because they totally welcome pint-sized diners. (As long as they’re not behaving like little shits, mind you. Even their parents don’t want to eat next to those kids.)

The menu is broken up into four sections: oysters and shellfish (by the single, half-dozen, or dozen), urban picnic (shared appetizers), premieres (individual starters), and local features (entrees). The little peeps also get a special kids’ menu that features an organic veggie and fruit plate with dipping sauce, choice of entree, and homemade ice cream.

It’s relatively easy to order a Paleo-friendly meal here and they’re super accommodating if you make special requests with a BIG SMILE and a “pretty please.”

As per our M.O., Fitbomb and I shared all our dishes while the kids ordered from the kids’ menu and sampled off our plates. In case you’re wondering, M.O. in this case means “M’s orders.”

The kids got their starters first which were platters of organic veggies and berries with lemon vinaigrette dipping sauce.

Meanwhile, the big people’s appetizers included a plate of warm mixed Mediterranean olives…

…half dozen Louisiana White Prawns…

…and a wild arugula salad with shaved fennel, pecorino, green olives, and almonds.

Next up were the kids’ entrees. Big-O chowed on the steak plate (which had steak and roasted potatoes)…

…and Lil-O ate pasta and cheese. Yes, I know that’s super anti-Paleo. Knowing he’d go nuts at dinner, I made him eat scrambled eggs and spinach at lunch.

Then, the adults’ entrees arrived. We shared a plate of Llano Seco pork chop with roasted turnips and mission figs (hold the polenta)…

…and the mixed grill featuring quail, duck sausage, duck pate (hold the toast), duck breast, radicchio, apricots, and tapenade. I also requested that they hold the white bean puree on this dish.

Big-O observed that the roasted quail was sitting “criss-cross applesauce” on the plate. He was right; it was totally chillaxing on the plate with legs crossed — until we devoured it.

The kids finished their meals with a small bowl of ice cream while the adults just groaned and held our bellies. Dinner was delicious and it was wonderful dining outside under the clear tarp, overcast skies and heat lamps. Don’t forget this is San Francisco — a naturally air-conditioned city 10 months out of the year!

I love eating out in the city, and it’s wonderful sharing the experience with my kids. Total bliss.

Paleo Eats: 7/12/11

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Today was my last day off before heading back to work for a week of nightshifts, so I wanted to make the most of it.

Before heading to the women’s class at CrossFit Palo Alto this morning, my better half fried me a savory coconut pancake that I topped with cherry tomatoes and avocado.

I had such a fun time in class! The workout (kettlebell swings, sumo deadlift high pulls, and plenty of running) kicked my ass as usual, but the other girls in the class are incredibly encouraging and inspiring. I’ve guzzled the CrossFit Kool-Aid…

As soon as I got home, I quickly ate my post workout meal, which consisted of a nuked sweet potato and a small portion of roast beef. If you’re still debating between refueling with post-workout shake (wha-?) or meat and tubers (yay!) look no further than this great post by The Lazy Caveman.

For lunch, I reheated the last of the slow-roasted pork shoulder, grilled summer squash, and grilled portobello mushrooms in the fridge:

I added some cherry tomatoes and a squirt of lime juice — and as soon as I put down the camera, this plate of food was gone. Yes, I’ve been putting cherry tomatoes on everything, but I love them and I’m so happy they’re in season again. My heart really breaks for those of you sensitive to night shades.

I got the munchies again at 3:00 p.m., so I ate some baby carrots with Aubergine dip, coconut flakes, and a few macadamia nuts.

Then, the kids and I took the train up to San Francisco to meet Fitbomb for dinner. Big-O and I used to make this trip every other Tuesday (the night before I’d start work), but these days we only make it up once every couple of months. Dragging two kids up to the city ain’t easy, though I have to admit that it’s less challenging now that Lil-O’s a little older.

Originally, we were going to eat at Marlowe, but it was all booked for the night. So we opted for Plan B: one of our old favorites, Foreign CinemaOur dinner outside in the covered courtyard was awesome.

After our bellies were full, Big-O turned to me and said, “Mommy, I’m going to move back to San Francisco when I’m older.”

“Yes, honey, it’s one of the coolest places on earth.”

If only finding street parking was less of a hassle…

Paleo Eats: 7/7/11

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I’m back in stay-at-home-mommy mode since I’m off night shifts for a week. Mad props to moms and dads who do this full-time. I swear, my work week at the hospital is a walk in the park compared to my week “off.”

Case in point — this morning we were hustling to get out of the house at breakneck speed so I didn’t have a chance to eat breakfast. Yes, I realize that I just posted about making hard-boiled eggs your go-to emergency protein in situations just like this but I had a brain fart and forgot to grab some. D’oh!

As a result, my first meal of the day was at lunchtime. Lil-O and I met my parents for lunch at Shalizaar, an airy, upscale Persian restaurant in Belmont. I dictated where we were eating because I’m a food nazi and I love me some grilled meats.

We started our meal with complimentary baskets of flatbread (which I didn’t touch) and Sabzi (fresh herbs, red radish, feta cheese, and walnuts).

Since it was our first time at the restaurant, I demanded we decided to split everything family-style.

We ordered Kashk-e-Bademian (pureed eggplant and garlic topped with sauteed mint and kashk)….

…a combination kabob platter for two with game hen, lamb chops, and koobideh…

…and a side of stewed lamb shank.

Mountains of well-seasoned, perfectly cooked meat make me happy so we’ll definitely be back.

At around 3:00 p.m., I was hankering for a snack so I noshed on some baby carrots dipped in Aubergine dip, slices of roast beef, and coconut flakes.

For dinner, I grabbed some frozen pre-cooked sous vide chicken thighs and plopped them in the SousVide Supreme…

roasted broccoli and garlic cloves tossed in bacon grease…

…and steamed a batch of garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes.

When the sides were finished, I removed and dried the flabby, anemic thighs from their packets…

…and fried them up in bacon grease.

Here’s my dinner plate:

For dessert, I ate a handful of Bing cherries and some dark chocolate.

Bonne nuit, peeps!

Paleo Eats: 7/5/11

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I know you guys are just here for the food porn so I’ll cut right to the chase. I’m easy like that…

My first meal at work was a plate of leftover zucchini spaghetti and cheater meatballs with Rao’s marinara sauce

….followed by a handful of coconut flakes.

I was hungry a couple hours later so I snacked on a Primal Pac.

For my last meal at work, I ate a leftover sous vide burger topped with a dollop of guacamole along with some sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

On my way home from work, I made a pit stop at the Milk Pail to pick up some veggies and raw Jersey milk for the kiddies. I like coming here early in the morning because it’s not swarming with people and I can take my time combing the bins and aisles for unusual items. Midday, this place is a madhouse and patrons are pushing and shoving each other to get at the cheap produce.

When I got home, I treated myself to half a bar of Guittard Nocturne 91% and went to sleep.

For dinner, I made a giant frittata with grass fed ground beef, leftover sweet potato chips, frozen chopped spinach, cherry tomatoes, coconut milk, shallots, and garlic…

…and roasted two bunches of asparagus tossed with melted coconut oil, salt, and pepper. I finished off the dish by drizzling on some aged balsamic vinegar.

Here’s my dinner plate:

After dinner I practiced double-unders and did some push presses. I wore my new weightlifting shoes which made me feel more stable when I was doing the lifts. Cute AND functional!

Then, I left for work for the LAST time this week! Yee haw!

Eating Out (Not) Paleo: Saison (San Francisco, CA)

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I LOVE going out to eat — it’s hands-down my favorite way to celebrate a special occasion. Plus, if it’s a date night without the kids, it’s even more awesome because I can be a total potty mouth (which reminds my honey of why he first fell in love with me).

Dinner dates with just my husband are few and far-between these days, so I keep a running wish list of the latest and greatest restaurants to hit the San Francisco Bay Area. At the very tip-top of my list of places to try was Saison — and for good reason: Chef Joshua Skenes is one of the most innovative and exciting chefs around these parts.

Not only was he listed as one of The Chronicle’s Rising Star Chefs of 2010 and Food & Wine’s Top 10 Chefs of 2011, but he also likes to curse as much as I do. Just last week he cooked dinner for one of my culinary idols, Jacques Pepin, and Monsieur Pepin gave him mad props.

As a result, I was super-stoked to secure a reservation for our anniversary dinner and even more ecstatic that our seats would be at the chef’s table in the kitchen!

One of my favorite meals in recent memory was our dinner at Momofuku Ko — where we got to gawk up-close as our food was being meticulously prepared — and I knew this experience would be similar: casual atmosphere, delicious and innovative cuisine, and we’d be smack-dab in the middle of kitchen stadium! 

Full disclosure: Dinner wasn’t exactly Paleo (there were some grains, sugar, legumes, soy, and dairy that popped up on our plates) but I didn’t care. Sometimes, it’s well worth it.

Enough blathering from me — pictures really are worth a thousand words, so enjoy these tantalizing shots from our dinner…

Here’s the vantage point from our seats at the chef’s table:

Our meal started with smoked Osetra caviar…

…and a small crispy flatbread topped with egg white, creme fraiche, shad roe, foraged flowers, and gold leaf.

Then, we watched as the chef in front of us composed a trio of canapés… 

…raw oyster with olive oil…

…parsnip medley with parsnip puree, salmon roe, and parsnip chip…

…and a radish stack served with a nasturtium flower.

Follow the jump for more enticing food porn!

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Dining Out Paleo: Locanda (San Francisco)

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Man, hubs and I haven’t had a date night since we went to Station 1 a few months ago. Damn those pesky kids!

I LOVE eating out so we were really excited to try Locanda with two of our favorite people in the world, S & J. Incidentally, our buddies are not (yet!) on the Paleo bandwagon, but we love them anyways. Plus, despite the fact that they haven’t guzzled the Kool-Aid themselves, they’re helping to spread the Paleo gospel to their friends and family. Last night, they reported that J’s pop may join the caveman cult! (Hi C! Yes, we REALLY don’t eat whole grains or beans anymore.)

Locanda is a new Roman restaurant from the lovely couple that own Delfina. S & J are longtime regulars at Delfina, so they can snag a coveted reservation during prime dining hours with just a few days notice. I’d totally hate them if we weren’t besties.

Believe it or not, Locanda is a great Paleo-friendly eating destination. As long as you steer clear of the pasta section on the daily-changing menu, there’s tons of yummy, meaty options for us cavepeople. In particular, the quinto quarto (offal!)…

…charcoal grill & specials, and the contorni sections all offer lots of tantalizing choices.

Also, they bring complimentary housemade Coppiette (Roman peppered pork jerky sticks) to the table. Oh yeah!

Here’s what hubby and I shared for dinner:

We started with poached duck egg, asparagus, bottarga, and burro nero (hold the bread crumbs)…

…and chilled tongue with salsa verde and gaeta olives.

For our mains, we shared lamb scottadito with anchovy and coriander…

…and oxtails alla vaccinara.

We also ordered three contorni to share: carrots with coriander and grapes, erbette chard with garum and pinenuts…

…and snap peas with mint and spring onion.

Dinner was fantastic and it was wonderful catching up with our pals. Coincidentally, we’d all had emotionally draining weeks prior to our dinner, so it was fun kvetching and laughing together.

I can’t wait to return to Locanda – especially if it means spending more time with S & J.

Paleo Eats: 5/28/11

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I had a fun-filled day eating clean grub, but dude — I’m tired. Here’s a quick recap of my day:

We ate brunch at Rick’s where I split a couple of protein-packed dishes with my hubby: Wteak and eggs with a side salad (hold the dressing)… 

…and a crab, avocado, tomato and onion scramble (hold the cheese).

For dinner, we hosted a Paleo meal with The Lazy CavemanR, and K. The Lazy Caveman is, of course, CrossFit Palo Alto's resident Paleo guru and personal health and wellness coach. We'd been planning to pull off an ambitiously high-concept blog-crossover meet-up, complete with cooking and science and a workout. And how could we not include our blogging 'n pork-curing pals R. & K., who were going to haul away some of our pig and turn it into salty, fatty goodness? But in the end, with our nutty schedules this week, we ended up just enjoying a low-key, casual evening of food and conversation. 

The Lazy Caveman’s in the middle of another round of the Whole30, so for tonight’s meal prep, I left the butter in the fridge and…that’s about all I had to do to adjust. It’s been a while since I finished up my own Whole30, and although my eats aren’t as super-pristine as they were back then (hello, coffee with heavy cream!), it was kind of gratifying to step back and realize that my cooking has actually stayed damned close to 100% Paleo.

I’d already made the Bo Kho last night, so I just focused on making the veggie sides and starters when we got home from brunch. I finished most of the cooking before the guests arrived, so there weren’t any stressful last minute Iron Chef hijinks.

What did I serve?

As munchies pre-dinner, I laid out some macadamia nuts, carrots, and cucumbers. I also made sous vide Turkish meatballs that were sprinkled with sumac pepper after I fried them in coconut oil.

For dinner, I assembled some portobello mushroom packets with lemon and garlic

…whipped up a batch of garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes

…broiled asparagus tossed with avocado oil, salt, and pepper…

… and sauteed baby spinach with garlic, Red Boat fish sauce, coconut aminos, and coconut vinegar.

For the main dish, I reheated the Bo Kho I made last night, and tossed some chopped cilantro on top.

Here’s my dinner plate:

For dessert, we had some berries…

…and cherries.

After dinner came the butchery. (‘Cause who doesn’t like to follow up dinner with some knives and meat?) K. (the Bacon King) helped cut up our Full of Life Farm pork belly…

…and promised to magically transform it into bacon. I’m in awe of his mad pork cooking skillz, so I also gave him our pig’s head, a bunch o’ pork fat, and some skin. Can’t wait to see what he does with it!

See how happy I look? Just imagine my jubilation when the bacon is ready to eat!

Paleo Eats: 5/25/11

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Last night of work! I was beginning to think it would never come…

For my first meal of the shift, I downed some leftover spigarello and shredded carrot stir-fry mixed with roasted chicken. 

Later, I ate a package of spicy grass fed jerky chews.

And for my last meal at work, I had some leftover braised thai green curry and green beans.

After my shift ended, I had two hours to kill at the hospital before I had to meet my mother-in-law for her oncology appointment. I dragged myself to my car, reclined the seat and tried to conk out for a nap, but no luck. My paranoia kept me awake; I kept imagining that passers-by would think I was: (1) a homeless person who lived in her car; (2) dead; or (3) both. Plus, the sun was too damn bright. It needs a dimmer switch, I tell you.

At the oncology appointment, the docs and I FINALLY convinced my MIL that she needs to consume more meat to keep her blood counts and energy levels high. I’d like to think it was my super-persuasive arguments and powers of logic — but in reality, I think I guilted her into it because I broke down crying out of sheer exhaustion and frustration. Classy, I know.

Never underestimate the power of a grown woman’s sobs.

After the appointment, I drove home and ate a small Primal Pac before diving headfirst into bed for a short catnap.

When I woke up, I groggily made myself a couple of chicken lettuce tacos with leftover roast chicken tossed with Primavera salsa and topped with store-bought guacamole.

Then, I spent the rest of the afternoon shuttling the kids between kung fu practice and the final T-ball game of the season.

I was too tired to make dinner in the evening, so hubby picked up take-out at Anatolian Kitchen.

We split an order of babaganoush…

…and a mixed combo grill (extra veggies, no rice).

I can’t wait for the day to end. Time to get some sleep! 

Paleo Eats: 5/22/11

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Yay! It’s my hump day at work!

My first meal at work was some leftover Asian almond chicken salad.

Since I was still hungry and wanted something sweet, I ate a small Primal Pac.

Speaking of portable Paleo treats, I ordered a ton of goodies from Steve’s Original that I can’t wait to try. It’s really wonderful that 15% of all proceeds go to benefit Steve’s Club, a national program that gives at-risk youth discounted/complimentary access to CrossFit affiliates across the country. Yes, I know I spend a ton of money on Paleo snacks but at least this time my moola is benefiting a worthwhile organization.

Before leaving for home, I chowed on a fegatelli from Fatted Calf Charcuterie.

This stick of pork-y goodness is a little Corsican-style air-dried salami made with pastured pork, organic garlic, red wine, spices, and salt. 

When I got home, I seasoned and formed some sous vide Turkish slider burgers

…and stuck them into the freezer. I’m going to vacuum seal these tomorrow when they’re frozen solid and dunk them in the water oven later this week.

As a special treat before bedtime, I savored some coconut butter and half a Guittard Nocturne 91% cacao bar. My boys wanted some chocolate, too, so I gave them a couple squares from a  Scarffen Berger 82% cacao bar. I took a nibble of their chocolate and found it too sweet. Whaaa? I guess I’ve finally tamed the sugar monster.

After I woke up, we all headed to a kiddie birthday party at Han Sung BBQ. Yay! Korean barbecue meat buffet! Yes, there’s soy, sugar, and vegetable oil in most of the preparations but I’m okay with indulging once in a while – especially if we’re celebrating the 1st birthday of one of my favorite little girls!

Here’s my dinner plate piled high with meat, veggies, and kimchee:

When we got home, I was ready to take a catnap since I woke up a little earlier than normal. Instead I headed to the hospital early because my mother-in-law called to let us know that she was spiking a fever. Uh oh. 

Before meeting her in the emergency department, I swung by Phil’z Coffee to grab a small cup of Anesthesia to the Upside with heavy cream to give me a jolt of energy.

Wow. This was my virgin cup of Phil’z and it was DELICIOUS! I think I’m hooked.

Luckily, my mother-in-law was in and out of the ED super fast and sent home. A HUGE thanks to Cousin G (an amazing ED nurse) who came in on his off night and helped expedite her evaluation and discharge. G, you’re the best!