• Posted by Califia Suntree on September 28th, 2012, 4:24 PM

    Four weeks in, I’ve eaten my way through what feels like an epic array of restaurants here in Portland, OR, but which is in fact just a weensy sliver of what this town has to offer. It’s really no wonder New York has a crush on Portland, something that is not lost on the locals. (It’s like when that one nerdy kid is beloved by the cool kids, mostly because he honestly doesn’t care if anyone likes him and he just does his thing. It’s pretty much exactly like that.) I’ve dutifully sipped Stumptown, though given the choice I’d much rather sip Heart–and if there’s one thing you have as a coffee drinker here, it’s choice. I’m sure it’s to combat SAD. My ranging included obligatory stops at Pok Pok and Salt & Straw, where the noodles and fudge sauce, respectively, did not disappoint. But here are some highlights from the first four weeks, should you decide to visit (and you should!): Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on August 6th, 2012, 3:23 PM

    Should you find yourself en route to Mammoth, Yosemite or the eastern Sierras for a long weekend of healthy, outdoorsy activities, might I suggest that, instead, you stop in Bishop, book a motel room, and stuff your face morning til night with croissants, baguettes, and flourless chocolate Sierra Mud cookies from the Great Basin Bakery. You may come home butter-soaked and chubby, instead of tanned and fit, but you will have reveled in the best croissants this side of Paris (must try: spinach and cheese, warmed up, with a mug of strong coffee), dense, perfectly chewy sourdough, and oh those dark, gooey Sierra Muds! Our Yosemite camping trip was markedly more deluxe thanks to our Great Basin treats–their mini-baguettes made for delightful cheese sandwiches, enlivened with red pepper charred over the campfire–and now, back in pastry-deficient Santa Monica, we long mournfully for those croissants. Is 267 miles too far to drive for breakfast?

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on January 25th, 2011, 12:42 PM

    Anissa Helou is a cookbook author, cooking teacher, and all around expert on the foods of her native Lebanon. She also leads once-in-a-lifetime culinary tours of the Middle East. This spring, you can join her on a tour of Damascus and Aleppo, Syria, which she leads roughly twice a year. There is no one better to explore the ancient souks and delicious traditions of the region…Save your pennies and seize the opportunity!

    When: May 9-19, 2011

    Where: Damascus and Aleppo, Syria

    The nine-night tour is $4000 per person double occupancy, which includes lodging, meals and wine, transport, entrance fees and tips (airfare not included). Go to her web site for more information or to sign up.

    includes meals, drinks with meals (ONLY WINE AND SOFT DRINKS),
    transport, entrance fees to monuments & museums, tips to the bus driver and guides, etc.

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on April 12th, 2010, 3:38 PM

    Much as I love pintxos (and I do love pintxos), sometimes you need to just sit down and eat. And sometimes you need a salad. We ate two tablecloth-and-silverware set-price meals in San Sebastian, at Bodegón Alejandro and ni neu, which, we later discovered, share the same owners. (They also claim the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Michelin-starred but recently burned-down Mugaritz). We had three memorable dishes at Bodegón Alejandro, a small cozy place we stumbled into in the Parte Vieja (given my blood sugar level, the stumbling was literal): inky arroz negro (black rice) topped with a roasted tomato stuffed with squid and swirled with some creamy sheep cheese; a bowl of plain-looking penne, scallops, shrimp and asparagus that got a whole new personality from a clear bacon broth; and a post-modern millefeuille deconstruction made of lacy sugar crisps, raisin cream and armagnac ice cream. It was like rum raisin Haagen Dazs Platinum edition. Read on… »

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