How do you eat your Burrito?

It’s come to my attention that now that we have been open for over 13 years (can you believe it?) we have many new customers who might not realize that how they eat their burritos tells a lot about them as a person. So helpful people that we are (we’re givers — have we mentioned that?), we’d like to share with you what you’re telling the world about yourself when…

You eat your burrito with both hands: Although possessive and controlling, you excel at making your “to go” food into a perfect aluminum foil duck.Two hands

You eat your burrito with one hand: You’re a fun-loving thrill seeker.  With a zest for life that marvels those around you, you talk  with your hands more than the average bear.

You eat your burrito with a knife and fork: To the outside world you’re the picture of reserve, but on the inside you yearn for the danger of eating with your fingers. A disproportionate number of you play the oboe. (Isn’t it a impressive that I don’t even know what an oboe is, and yet I can still tell this by watching you eat?)

You lower your face to your burrito:  You shun the limelight, but paradoxically, you delight in yelling “BINGO!” at inappropriate times. Many of you join the circus later in life.IMG_0582_2

You unwrap your burrito and pour the contents onto your plate:  This behavior is just so silly, it defies definition. But let’s try: You’re a silly, silly person.

So there you have it folks, everything you’ve ever needed to know about your burrito eating habits from trained professionals.

James’ Secret Spot: Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel, Santa Barbara

Four SeasonsIt was stressful and frustrating.  I was delegated the navigator since he was driving. There were detours and switchbacks. Between the on board navigation software, my smart phone, and an old fashioned trusty map book, we were finally on track heading home.  I was sleeping in the car, exhausted as James drove us back home from a franchise show and seminar in downtown Los Angeles.  The plan was to push all the way home all night. Imagine my surprise when I felt the car slow and I opened my eyes to a Mediterranean compound of lushness!  The grounds were overgrown in a planned way, verdant with greenery and flowers.Four Seasons from our window

James surprised me with a night at this luxurious and classic hotel in Santa Barbara.  Even though we got there late and left by 10 am to make it home in time to pick up our kids from school, it was so worth it.  A great getaway, next time we will have to plan a weekend!deluxe!

Chocolate Indulgence-Denica’s Cookies and Milk

Milk and CookiesWe were so excited to be invited to participate in the Junior League of the East Bay’s annual fundraiser at
Round Hill Country Club.  Chocolate Indulgence

There were many fine restaurants and wineries, along with the delicious spread of appetizers put on by Round Hill.  Jimmy was suited up in a tuxedo, looking quite dashing, and Isabella was charming and a great help as we served up milk and cookies for over 300 guests. Chocolate

We got a lot of love from everyone who knew the restaurant, and met some new people along the way…great night, good food, sweet chocolate, and family!Man of Mystery

Who knew a Havanese would steal our hearts!

We are truly guilty of being those people.  You know the ones, they are crazy about their dog, and treat it like a human.  I used to do the same but inside feel kindof ridiculous.  When I would go to my mom’s and she said “Say Hi to my baby Luna” (her dog!) I would humor her and greet the dog as if she were a person, while inside chuckling at the absurdity of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE dogs, and have had 1 to 2 dogs my entire life.

Until we met Lucky.  We were a content household of 2 adults, 3 young men, one mellow golden retriever named Buddy,
and one cranky yorkshire terrier named Chiquita.


We had considered adding another dog to our pack for a while, and when we saw the Havanese on Tosh.O of all places (guilty pleasure TV), we were hooked.  Researching extensively online as I tend to do, everything I read about this breed  made me want one more!  James saw a picture of this little guy on the breeders website and said “That’s my dog!”

They are called VELCRO DOGS!  I yearned for a lap dog – my golden retriever would have been happy to oblige, but his hairy shedding 150 lb body was just not conducive to sitting on me on the couch.  Now what about the Yorkie you say?  Well Chiquita has a mind of her own.  She is independent and likes it that way.  She will let you pet her, but on her terms.  She will make you come to her,  and when you bend down to pet her, she will roll onto her back, staying just out of your reach most of the time.  I will not even venture to figure her out.  Maybe in another life she was a human, and resents being a dog.

Lucky is the sweetest little dog I have ever owned, and I have had a few.  He perches on the back of the couch right on James’s neck for his naps, and follows us all around the house.   His routine in the morning is that he loves mama, he jumps up with all four feet off the ground and nibbles at my sleeve, wanting me to pick him up, just like our kids used to do when they were little.  We have even trained him to jump up into our arms!   We love that little guy!

Recipe of the Month: Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding Heaven

Think day old bread is the culinary equivalent of twice worn socks?  Think again.  Instead of tossing day old bread, whip up some delicious bread pudding.  You might never bother with fresh bread again (but please DO continue to bother with fresh socks!)
Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding Heaven
1 loaf (16 oz) firm white bread or French loaf
3 ripe but firm large bananas
4 large eggs
2 cups half and half
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard)
1. Cut bread into 1 ½ inch chunks.  Slice bananas into ½ inch slices.
2. In a large bowl, with a wire whisk, beat eggs, half and half, and sugars until blended.  Gently stir in bread, bananas, and chocolate chips to combine.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight, pressing down bread occasionally to absorb cream mixture.
3. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9 inch round springform or cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep (pan will be very full)
4. Bake bread pudding, covered loosely with foil, 35 minutes.  Uncover and bake 45 minutes or so longer, or until knife inserted in center of pudding comes out clean.  Cool pudding slightly on wire rack before serving.

Impress a chef

Sure, you call it a skillet, but why?

Our version comes from the colum (Latin for strainer)  As early as the third century, Romans used the hole riddled bowl to filter liquids, including wine.
Dutch Oven
In the 1700’s, the Dutch made such fantastic cast iron mini cauldrons that they were exported across Europe and the Americas, where Dutch settlers sold the pots door to door.  The name stuck.
The name of this soup server likely comes from the Old English word, hladan, which means to load.  We prefer the Greek version, koutala, which shares the same root as the name of a provocative dance.  An ancient tale tells of a girl attracting a man’s attention by swaying her hips as she stirred a pot.
There’s some hairsplitting over the origin of this frying pan’s name.  It comes either from the Old French word escuelete, which means little plate, or from the Latin word sculleta, meaning platter.
This flat flapjack flipper gets its name from the Latin word spatha, which means broad, flat tool or weapon.  Before they made it to the kitchen, spatulas were used as surgical and pharmaceutical tools.