Monday, April 19, 2010


I'm off to Toronto this week for work and guess what...I've never been there. So when I think of Canada, I think Poutine. This recipe basically consists of fries, cheese curds and gravy. I can't believe that this recipe is not from Chicago or Wisconsin but my research says that French Canadians in Quebec are the genius behind this glutenous treat.

If you don't have access to cheese curds and you have tried to track them down at your local cheesemonger and asked around, I would not sub with anything else. You might as well skip the whole thing and do chili cheese fries instead. The curds make it.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds Idaho white potatoes, peeled and cut
  • 1/2 pound fresh cheese curd


In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the butter and flour. Stir until incorporated. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes for a dark roux. Stir in the stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Peel the potatoes and cut fries, 4 inches by 1/2-inch. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and blanch for 4 minutes. Remove, drain and cool completely. Fry the potatoes until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, mound the fries into the individual (16-ounce) disposable cups. Spoon the gravy over the fries and crumble the cheese. Serve immediately.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Boonville Hotel

It's no secret that Drew and I love Anderson Valley but after last weekend our love has reached new heights thanks to our amazing stay at The Boonville Hotel.

This hotel is the whole package: AMAZING restaurant (we'll talk more about that in a second), an uber-friendly staff, bright and remodeled guest rooms with huge bathtubs, sprawling gardens and patio seating and an awesome outdoor cat named Gus! I mean, what's not to like?

The staff at Boonville Hotel quickly reminded me of why I love the area so much. Anderson Valley looks and feels very much like Napa did 30 years ago. The community is tight and small. The focus is on farming and agriculture. Living there is a way of life and there is no traffic! However, the area is unique in its own right. The climate is great for pinot, gewurztraminer and white riesling, the valley is cooler and foggier thanks to its proximity to the ocean and there is a tremendous focus on local and sustainable farming. People that live here eat well.

It's the focus on ingredients that make Boonville Hotel's restaurant, table 128, so good. Almost everything on your plate is either from the backyard or from a neighbor. The recipes are served family-style and are focused and not complex. For $38 you can get an amazing 3-course meal and for a couple dollars more you can get 4-courses. Make sure to sample the local wines by the glass or splurge on a bottle. Ask the man in the front of the house, Marcus, for some recommendations. He also makes a mean aperitif...

Another reason to stay at the hotel...the continental breakfast. Drink some locally grown and produced apple juice, try their scones or snack on some granola or lemon bars. Oh yeah, the coffee is bomb, too. Call the hotel, pack your bags and do yourself a favor. We can't wait to go back.