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January 31, 2013

Gluten Free Superbowl Snacks

January 24, 2013

Figs with Goat Cheese & Pepper Honey

Its award season aka another excuse to throw a get together and serve delicious award winning appetizers. First the Golden Globes, then the SAG Awards and the grand finale with the Oscars, with several others in between. I truly enjoy seeing all the sparkle, high fashion, and the past year's most memorable movie moments while munching on some of my favorite recipes. I made these for the first time over the holidays, and everyone loved their bite size nature and the combination of goat cheese with a drizzle of pepper honey. The recipe was very easy to make and I was able to pick up ALL of the ingredients at Trader Joe's! A tasty treat without breaking the bank! Its a WIN WIN! 

If I was casting my ballot for best appetizer these would definitely be my vote! The pepper honey drizzle almost sparkles as bright as any designer dress, a perfect addition to any award viewing party. And the winner is...


1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
12 figs (fresh is preferred, but dried work well too)
1/4 cup soft goat cheese

Mix together honey and ground pepper. Set aside. Cut each fig into quarters, stopping half way down from the bottom to lease the base intact. Gently press apart each side. Spoon 1 teaspoon of goat  cheese into the center of each fig. Arrange on a platter and drizzle with peppered honey.

January 14, 2013

A Novo New Years

I'm still reminiscing about our New Years dinner a few Mondays ago. Mark and I started a tradition in 2011 of celebrating the end of the year enjoying our last dinner at our much loved eatery- Novo. One of the main reasons we crave this appetizing San Luis Obispo restaurant and lounge is not only for the exquisite food but the atmosphere and magical dining setting. This year on New Year’s Eve we sat surrounded by sparkling white twinkle lights, warm heat lamps and an optimistic energy in the air for a new year, and a new beginning. 

I have featured Novo in the past (HERE) and enjoyed countless meals since, but our New Years feast was a notch above the rest. Novo is my gluten free heaven. All appetizers, entrees, small plates and salads are labeled ‘gfo’ meaning if requested, can be made gluten free. I finally experienced what it was like to look at the appetizer menu and have TOO many options to choose from, yes I said TOO many. Typically we opt for the Trio (cheese plate) or the lettuce wraps, although this time was different. Mark and I couldn’t decide between the avocado shrimp spring rolls, sheprard’s plate, and the chevre. We finally gave up and asked the server his opinion, who might I add, was well versed in the gluten free diet. He stated the fresh avocado-shrimp spring rolls were the most popular appetizer, so we were quickly persuaded to try the rolls. The server also stated that the ginger soy sauce (the darker of the 2 sauces) was not gluten free, only the chili sauce is gluten free. 

Another great thing about New Years Eve was that I was able to capture our wonderful night under the stars with my NEW camera Mark gave me for Christmas. After a few camera bloopers (mainly me using the wrong setting and a flash going off and alerting everyone I was taking pictures of my food), I figured out just the perfect setting. Below I documented each dish to capture just how spectacular Novo's presentation is. Access the complete dinner menu HERE

Thank you Novo for catering to the gluten free diet, being an exceptional eatery for all and continuing to make my dining experience seamless and exciting.

{Mark enjoyed a Chimay beer while I sipped on a Blueberry Lemon Drop}  

{Love the warm glow of the high lamps}

{Avocado Shrimp Spring Rolls, NOTE- only the lighter (chili sauce) is gluten free}

{I ordered the seared scallops & bok choy; diver scallops, roasted mushrooms, ginger beurre blanc, enoki mushrooms, wasabi tobiko}

{Please ignore the bread, tempting but not gluten free, check out that drink though!}

{Mark ordered the stuffed quail (also gluten free, so I stole a few bites :); roasted mushroom blend, bok choy goat cheese, butternut squash polenta, lemon sage butter}

{For dessert we shared the Negranti Ice Cream Sampler, 3 delicious flavors- Black Coffee, Raw Honey, and (my favorite) Salted Brown Sugar}

{Cheers to 2013!}