Eating Out Paleo: Steak Out (Mountain View, CA)

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Do you know how hard it is to find a burger joint down on the Peninsula that serves local, 100% grass fed beef? Steak Out, a casual burger and steak joint located on Castro Street, the main drag in Mountain View, finally fills that void.

Ambience here is totally lacking — it’s a no frills beer garden where you order your grub and grog at the counter. After you find a seat on the large outdoor patio or at the few tables inside, your food is brought to you.

Fitbomb and I wandered here for lunch today and got a couple of bun-less burgers to eat al fresco.

I ordered the Jammin’ burger ($9.50) + extra patty ($4.00) and it came with house-made sweet bacon jam (yes, it has sugar in it), gruyere cheese, tomato, and pickles…

…and Fitbomb ordered a Roswell ($9.50) + an additional patty ($4.00) which came with bacon, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, and red onions. He asked for the BBQ sauce on the side.

Nope, there ain’t no lettuce on the burgers but you can add it on for $0.50. The beef was juicy, well-seasoned, and cooked the way we ordered it (medium-rare). We both enjoyed our meal but we wish they offered more add-ons. I would’ve loved to add avocado to my burger but it’s not an option — even though it comes standard on their turkey burger.

Some people may think paying $13.50 for a double-burger is kinda steep but quality beef ain’t cheap. We’ll definitely be back!

Eating Out Paleo: Martins West (Redwood City, CA)

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Wow! Could it be? Yes, Virginia, there is a good, reasonably priced restaurant in the ‘burbs and its name is Martins West.

Martins West is a gastropub, “a public house that specializes in serving high quality food.” Executive chef Michael Dotson, formerly of PlumpJack Cafe and Evvia Estiatorio, has designed a menu of Scottish-inspired shared plates that are all made with market-driven, local ingredients. The nosh is delicious and every dish is less than $20. 

Although we were tempted to take a gluten-laden detour (Scotch eggs! Rarebit! Lamb tongue butty!), we stayed on the Paleo straight-and-narrow tonight.

We shared a wild arugula salad with sweet and sour Sebastopol apples, fried shallots, and pistachio…

…house-made braised oxtail terrine…

…Tunisian spiced lamb…

…grilled octopus with potatoes, french beans, and salsa verde…

…toasted green and yellow pole beans…

…fried Brussels sprouts…

…pork belly with chili pepper ragout and brown turkey fig…

…and bavette steak with chanterelles, corn, black salt, and sauce bearnaise.

All four of us enjoyed the nosh and can’t wait to return to try new items on the seasonally-changing menu! 

Eating Out Paleo: Jar Restaurant (Los Angeles, CA)

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I love Jar Restaurant, Suzanne Tracht’s delicious, extremely Paleo-friendly chophouse in Los Angeles. The setting’s swanky yet relaxed so it was the perfect spot for a bunch of virtual friends to bond and become real ones. 

Okay, the previous sentence was super cheesy (and dairy’s bad per Dr. Pedro Bastos) but it’s appropriate. Without a doubt, the best part of AHS11 has been connecting face to face with awesome folks. 

Let’s get back to the food…

I hate to admit that when I first ate at Jar a few years ago, I was PISSED that the sides came separately and the menu was so meat-centric. How dare they charge me extra for some mashed potatoes! I’m entitled to those carbs, dang it! 

Oh, silly Nom Nom.

Now that I’m an elightened cavegirl, I’m so thankful you can order a scrumptious and satisfying Paleo meal here without jumping through hoops. The menu is divided into starters, proteins, and sides and you assemble your favorite combination. The grilled meats are fantastic but Suzanne Tracht is legendary for her braises and they aren’t to be missed.

So what did Fitbomb and I order?

We started with crab deviled eggs…

… and Maine lobster cocktail with mango, harissa, lemongrass, and ginger.

The tastiness continued with a giant, fork-tender pork leg shank braised with apples and Calvados…

…and their deservedly legendary pot roast with carrots and caramelized onions.

You can’t have your meat without your veggies, so we also shared plates of braised Brussels sprouts…

…and long-cooked black kale.

Everything was remarkably delicious. Jar just might be my favorite caveman-compatible restaurant in Hell-Ay!

Eating Out: Animal Restaurant (Los Angeles, CA)

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Animal Restaurant is Jon Shook and Vinnie Dotolo’s gem of a restaurant in Los Angeles. They serve a variety of animal parts from a wide spectrum of species and all the dishes are at once creative yet comforting.

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Henry and I came here tonight with Melissa & Dallas (of Whole9), Melicious (of The Clothes Make The Girl) and Dave. Together, we ordered two-thirds of the entire menu — even doubles (sliders!) and triples (marrow!) of certain dishes. We were all on a mass gain protocol.

The menu clearly states: “changes and modifications politely declined” so we just ordered everything that looked tasty, even if there were non-Paleo ingredients. Stop gasping — when it’s worth it, you indulge, then jump right back onto the Paleo bandwagon.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we ate:

Seared foie gras over a biscuit and maple sausage gravy…

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…foie gras terrine, boysenberry jam, and rose geranium gastrique…

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…grilled chicken hearts, baba ghanoush, yogurt, tomato, and flat bread…

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…chicken liver toast…

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…coconut sweetbreads, raita, mango, and tamarind…

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…shrimp and rabbit sausage spring roll, eggplant, sprouts, and grain curry…

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…marrow bone, chimichurri, and caramelized onions…

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…veal brains, vadouvan, apple sauce, and carrot…

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…crispy pig’s head, pickled vegetables, and aioli…

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…pig ear, chili, lime, and fried egg…

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…pig tails, “buffalo style,” celery, and ranch dressing…

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…barbecue pork belly sliders and slaw…

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…flat iron, artichoke hash, and truffle parmesan fondue…

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…Alaskan halibut, corn, wild fennel, cherry tomatoes, and lobster butter…

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…balsamic pork ribs, tomato & cucumber panzanella…

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…crispy rabbit legs, meyer lemon aioli, and green beans…

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…bacon chocolate crunch bar, salt and pepper ice cream…

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…and berries, vanilla custard, lavender crumble, and opal basil.

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The chow was AWESOME but the company was even better! I love nomming with adventurous eaters, especially those who are sharp, funny, and warm.

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We spent three-and-a-half hours laughing, sharing stories, and gobbling up liver, heart, sweetbreads, tail, head, and a good amount of SUGAR, GLUTEN, & DAIRY. I savored every bite ‘cause you can’t live like an animal, especially if you’re eating at Animal.

I can’t wait to return to this restaurant!

Eating Out Paleo: Prospect (San Francisco, CA)

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Prospect is the modern, edgy new restaurant from the talented team at Boulevard. Both times we’ve eaten here, we’ve waddled away stuffed and satisfied. Prospect offers modern farm-to-table fare with some more exotic touches thrown in by acclaimed executive chef Ravi Kapur.

I’m not gonna lie: The preponderance of dishes include one or more elements that’s not Paleo-approved (e.g. lentils, gluten, polenta, etc.).  Just be a big caveboy or cavegal, and ask nicely to substitute with something else. They’ll be happy to do so as long as you aren’t acting like a demanding, pushy, and entitled bee with an itch.

Fitbomb and I decided to share two salads and two entrees for dinner. Portions were so substantial that dessert didn’t even look tempting to me. 

Wanna see what we ate?

The summer salad was a refreshing mix of cucumbers, tomatoes, crispy spiced onions, sun dried tomatoes, and goat cheese…

…and the green goddess salad was a lovely pile of greens with cucumbers and avocados hidden below.

For one of our entrees, we ordered the McCormack goat mixed roast…

…which came with sauteed spinach (in place of new potatoes), coriander Greek yogurt, lamb’s quarters, roasted eggplant sesame puree, and goat jus.

We also shared the Eden Farms Berkshire pork loin chop…

…which was accompanied by sauteed spinach (in place of polenta), roasted belgian endive, and roasted nectarine.

The salads were delicious but the meats really stole my heart. It’s no secret that I love goat meat so the mixed roast platter that came piled high with sausage, chops, and belly was heaven on a plate.

Great eats and even better company (we were at Prospect with S & J) — the best way to spend an evening!

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: 7/7/11

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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!

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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Paleo Eats: 6/23/11 

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Today, all my eats were either leftovers or cooked by someone else, but I was still able to gorge on relatively clean chow.

My morning was pretty hectic – so much so that I didn’t even have a chance to fry an egg before I left the house. I broke my fast mid-morning when we got home and I reheated some broccoli slaw stir-fry and shredded rotisserie chicken.

Once the food was in my belly, we were out the door again ‘cause Big-O had a doctor’s appointment right before lunch.

After Big-O’s check-up, the two of us had a lunch date at Tootsie’s. I finally ordered the short rib sandwich without the bun and cheese and it was the scrummiest lunch I’ve eaten at a local restaurant in a long time.

The short ribs were banging – tender, flavorful, and just plain delicious. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this is my favorite lunch dish in this neck of the woods.

At dinnertime, I was able to escape to a fun girls’ night out at Calafia Cafe to wish Dr. J a fond farewell. I had a great time laughing and catching up with my CrossFitting gal pals - PLUS the food was yummy!

I ordered a tasty entree that was well-suited for a cavegirl like myself: crispy pork belly with blackberry demi glace
 (house-cured, crispy sous vide pork belly served with pureed cauliflower and
 butter braised dinosaur kale). Our cute waitress felt compelled to warn me that I was ordering a “fattier cut of meat.” BRING IT ON, sistah!

Yes, I’m aware that the demi-glace probably had flour in it but I didn’t sweat it. I enjoyed every bite.

After I got home and before turning in for the night, I rubbed a pork shoulder with a liberal amount of kosher salt and Chili Con Carne seasoning before storing it in the fridge to marinate. I’ll pop it in the oven in the morning and slow roast it all day.

That’s it for my grub! Good night!