The Ink & Bean Coffee Saloon and Wordshop

Want a serious space to get your creative juices flowing?  Head to the Ink & Bean Coffee Saloon and Wordshop in downtown Anaheim.  Dark wood furniture, funky lamps, vintage typewriters, fountain pens and of course great coffee!



IMG_9175 IMG_9178 IMG_9182A cool space without good coffee would be of course be meaningless.  At Ink & Bean – they brew Stumptown Roasters coffee based out of Portland Oregon.  Stumptown coffee ranks right up with Intelligensia, Blue Bottle, Ritual or name your favorite local spot.

IMG_9179 IMG_9184They also have a cool patio space and a good selection of newspapers (New York Times and Wall Street Journal) and magazines for purchase.

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Definitely a cool little spot in Anaheim!




Bavette Le Boucherie, Milwaukee

Bavette is a contemporary butcher shop / restaurant in Milwaukee that offers meat and charcuterie sourced from small local farms that raise animals on sustainable principles.

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The space is modern, clean, spacious and offers a “nose to tail” menu where the focus is to use the entire animal and therefore the butchery offers numerous offal cuts such as hearts, livers, pig trotters and the like.IMG_7645

Also available for retail purchase are artisan products ranging from crackers and sauces to pickles and wine.IMG_7646 IMG_7650 IMG_7652 IMG_7656

On a recent visit, TCG noshed on beef sliders with yogurt dressing, red peppers, pomegranate slaw and slide of pickled vegetables with tahini dressing.  The sliders were off the charts on flavor.  Let’s just say we can’t wait to sink our teeth into more of Bavette’s menu in the near future.IMG_7658 IMG_7659 IMG_7662 IMG_7663 IMG_7665Bavette is owned and operated by Karen Bell, a Milwaukee native with over 15 years culinary experience around the world.  TCG highly recommends a visit to Bavette.

Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant

This Bankers Hill neighborhood eatery is by far San Diego’s best restaurant.  We have frequented this restaurant on multiple occasions and have always been impressed with the food quality, creativity, presentation and outstanding service.  The mysterious, over sized architecturally interesting doors greet diners …

An early dinner on Saturday evening afforded the availability of the best table in the house on the outdoor patio (in my humble opinion) and the ability to get some clean shots of the contemporary yet rustic and chic empty dining space.

On the heated outdoor patio, the flower wall is the center piece of the decor and makes for an interesting vibe.

Chef and co-owner Carl Schroeder, of Market Restaurant has created a menu with creative and flavorful dishes at reasonable prices.  The focus is on local and sustainable sources for their meat, fish and produce.  Our first appetizer was seared Yellowtail with greens, sliced jalapeno, aioli and avocado atop crispy, cilantro spiced crackers. Next up a  greens salad with english peas, corn, carrots, raddish, tomatoes and fried goat cheese.  The salad had a nice crunch on the greens and the Yellowtail had intense burst of flavor on the palate with the combined ingredients of the dish.  Truly outstanding.  The wine accompaniment with the starters was a mellow Albarino.

Our main course was a Ruby Trout with cornmeal crust, purple potato, crab and greens with a mustard grain sauce.  Once again – a creative, satisfying dish with a ton of flavor.  I chose a pinot noir from Carneros to complement the meal.

Highly recommended in a city with a dearth of restaurants that consistently deliver.

The Chai Cart in San Francisco.

Meet Dennis Walker – Chai Wala, musician and just a damn nice human being.  I met Dennis manning his Chai Cart that brings the sweet, spicy, fragrant Indian tea to the masses roaming the streets of San Francisco.  He offered me a sample as I was heading to grab breakfast and coffee.  So began our conversation …

I learned that Dennis has a degree in film and media, is a musician and band leader of local Ghost Town Refugees that play “greens” music (so branded by him vs. the blues).  It is eclectic music that you can dance to?  Would like to hear it first hand sometime.  Here’s a snippet from YouTube.

Dennis is passionate about his band, traveling the world and loves talking to people.   So on to the actual product from the cart … The chai was decent but could have used a bit more spice, a little less milk and a bit more sugar.  But as I told Dennis – I am so used to my family’s chai … nothing could top that goodness.

Dennis – stop posing and let me know when The Ghost Refugees can get to your hometown of San Diego so we can catch you guys live!  See you around.

A sophisticated white wine.

Sunday night dinner was lobster pasta as the main course.  With comfort food on the table, I wanted to choose the wine accompaniment carefully to complement the dish.  I settled on Bedrock Co.’s Cuvee Karatas Sonoma County 2010 white.  Have been saving this one for a while.  Today’s meal presented the right opportunity.

Here’s why … the lobster dish called for a sauce made with avacado, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil and fresh lemon juice.  The pasta was then topped by baked lobster tail meat.  The sauce coated the linguine pasta beautifully with a creamy, lemony taste balanced with texture from a topping of sharp shaved parmigiano cheese and lemon zest.  The pasta on the plate below looks sloppy but trust me – it tasted fantastic!

Here’s my tasting notes on the sheer delightful of a wine … First and foremost, the nose was fantastic with freshness to it followed by mouth watering tropical fruit (think melon, kiwi and lychee)  with a spicy finish that was long!  It has a luxurious texture and a nice creamy body.

This wine is not readily available retail (at least in my town) but probably obtainable online.  Highly recommended!