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California

How to Eat a Hachiya Persimmon

December 8, 2017
How to Eat a Hachiya Persimmon | FakeFoodFree.com

I feel a bit silly.

Over 5 years living in California and another persimmon season had me bewildered. 

Although persimmons exist in Kentucky and Indiana, I was never exposed to them until we moved to Brazil. Then we moved to California and every fall they seemed to overflow from bins at the supermarket, farmers markets, and farm stands. 

Intrigued by the orange color, I started buying them a couple years ago, mostly to photograph them. I even educated myself on the varieties. 

I know the flat, squatty ones are Fuyu persimmons and the more oblong are Hachiya. I eat the Fuyu, crisp and sweet. But dang it, every time I tried to eat a Hachiya, ugh, it was awful. 

So this year, I gave up. 

Then a friend visited and we happened to swing by the farmers market. 

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3 Things to Do in Irvine, California

September 8, 2016
3 Things to Do in Irvine | Travel | Fake Food Free

 

Irvine is one of those California towns that is surrounded by so many other action-packed places, that it often gets overshadowed. Drive your car a few miles and you are headed through Costa Mesa, on the beach in Newport or Laguna, or sitting in the heart of L.A. 

After visiting for the first time last March for the Women In Travel Summit, I learned that this overshadowing is most certainly undeserved. That’s why I decided to reach out to Destination Irvine when I learned that my husband’s Dave Matthews Band concert agenda would take to Irvine in August. 

The fine folks there helped us organize our weekend and as a result I have three things you must do if you find yourself there in the near future. 

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Sacramento: Seven Places to Eat and Drink

August 9, 2016
Insight Coffee Roasters, Sacramento | Food and Drink Travel | Fake Food Free

It only took a stop in one coffee shop for me to wonder why I’d not made Sacramento a higher priority on my California travel list. Things appear to be changing rapidly in this city and that means it is ticking all the boxes of a top food and drink destination.

There are coffee shops that make you want to pull out the laptop and sit a few hours, craft beer lists that represent the state’s growing number of breweries and beyond, happy hours with bites that combine comforting favorites with trendy twists, and vegetarian food that I could easily pick over a meat treat any day of the week. 

I was in Sacramento for 4 days at the end of July to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference. It was a fun few days catching up with old friends and making new ones. The conference did an excellent job of tying in so many of the wonderful foods and food companies that Sac has to offer.

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Broccoli Rabe with Brown Rice, Figs and Pecans

August 4, 2016
Broccoli Rabe with Brown Rice, Figs and Pecans Recipe | Fake Food Free

I’m preparing myself for the long road ahead. The long, hot road ahead. 

I could say that I just started thinking about fall, but that would be a lie. Thoughts of fall began for me way back in June. The truth is, I think of fall pretty much every season of the year. 

I keep reminding myself – Self, you live in the Central Valley now. In a few weeks, images of pumpkins, sweaters and warm drinks will enter all of your social media feeds. You’ll flip through them while standing in front of the air conditioner vent. It’s okay. Fall will get here. It just takes its sweet time. 

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Club Sandwich with Duck Breast, Cambozola, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Roasted Garlic

November 2, 2015

This recipe takes an ordinary sandwich and makes it worthy of an excellent wine pairing! It comes from Chad Hendrickson, Executive Chef for The Hess Collection. A special thank you to The Hess Collection for sponsoring this post. 

Club Sandwich with Duck Breast, Cambozola, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Roasted Garlic | Paired with The Hess Collection Small Block Series 2012 Napa Valley Syrah | Fake Food Free | #sponsored

Sandwiches are casual. When we don’t want to have a fancy meal or invest too much time in the kitchen, we go for a sandwich. 

They are convenient and familiar, but many lean a little towards boring and monotonous. That is, until you start considering whether the lowly sandwich could possibly pair with wine. Not just any wine, but a syrah that boasts black and blue fruits with a subtle touch of spiced vanilla and cedar. Before you know it, you have a duck breast sandwich on your hands that also happens to be layered with bacon and Cambozola cheese. 

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Four Favorites in July

July 31, 2015

Four Favorites July: A book, blog, brand and break| Fake Food Free

My Four Favorites series is back and I’m introducing a new theme to these monthly installments of my favorite finds.

The four Bs. A book, a blog, a brand and a break.

These are a few things I’ve come across this month that I’ve enjoyed so much that I must share. 

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Spicy Noodle Bowl with Sausage and Greens Paired with Cultivar Rose Wine

March 24, 2015

This spicy noodle bowl is topped with turkey sausage, mustard greens and garlic. It’s vibrant flavors pair well with the 2014 Cultivar Rose that I received as part of the Cultivar Wine Bloggers!

Spicy Noodle Bowl with Sausage and Greens | Fake Food Free 

Growing up, like most people who come from the middle portion of the U.S., comfort food was defined by things like mashed potatoes, pot pies and biscuits and gravy. Heavy, nap-inducing and delicious. 

Fortunately, travel has introduced me to a few more things that define comfort food for others around the world. Feijoada in Brazil, fish and chips and pastries in Europe, but nothing can compare to noodle dishes in Southeast Asia. They have redefined comfort food for me. 

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Meyer Lemon Bourbon Winter Warmer

February 8, 2015

This Meyer lemon bourbon cocktail is the best way to get through a cold winter night! It combines the fresh flavor of seasonal citrus with warming spices and Kentucky bourbon. 

 Meyer Lemon Bourbon Winter Warmer | Fake Food Free | A warm cocktail made with spiced, fresh lemonade and Kentucky bourbon.

Let’s be clear. It’s not cold here. If I were to utter the phrase, “I’m cold,” I’m certain it would be met with a bless-her-heart chuckle and an eye roll from just about everyone Colorado and eastward. Those being pounded with snow would likely close the browser window, never to return. 

So it’s not cold, but it does get cool and there are distinct differences between winter, spring, summer and fall here in the Bay Area. Thank goodness, because I do love the four seasons. They just aren’t nearly as extreme as other places I’ve lived. 

That being said, I still love the comfort foods and drinks of winter — a steaming bowl of soup, rich pot pies, and a warm bourbon drink — just as much as a person digging out from the snow. 

We might not have freezing temps, but one thing we do have in the winter is citrus! And you are probably well aware of my love for it.

When we moved into our apartment here in 2012, I immediately purchased a small dwarf Meyer lemon tree from the local farmers market. I read up a little on growing them in pots and this tree already had a few lemons on it when I bought it so I thought, this is going to be too easy. 

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Whole Foods Gilman in Berkeley: Favorite Things

November 4, 2014

There is a new Whole Foods Market opening on Gilman in Berkeley! I had the pleasure of attending a media event last week. I learned so much and was so inspired that I had to share a recap. 

Whole Foods Market Gilman Media Tour | Fake Food Free

There are few things I enjoy more than listening to people talk about their passion for good food. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending my first media event for an opening of a new Whole Foods Market in Northern California.

I was pretty excited to get the invitation. You see, we have a bit of a healthy addiction to The North Face Outlet on Gilman. This usually leads to a Saturday of visiting someone of the great craft brew spots in the area, like the Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room. So our conversations as we drive down Gilman in Berkeley have progressed kind of like this –

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5 Favorite Lemon Recipes

September 25, 2014

Since moving to California with amazing access to citrus, I love cooking with lemon. These are a few of my favorite lemon recipes.  

5 Favorite Lemon Recipes | Fake Food Free

Our backyard is currently filled with the intoxicating aroma of citrus blossoms. It’s the part of the citrus growing process that is second only to the lemons and oranges that come several weeks later. That scent has the power to take you from a bad to a good mood in one swift sniff.

While I wait patiently for new fruit, occasionally sticking my head out the door to breath it in, the lemon tree has been kind enough to produce some stragglers throughout the entire summer. I pulled a few off the tree to photograph last week and it got me in the mood for some of my favorite lemon recipes. These five recipes are from the Fake Food Free archives and worthy of being made again year after year. (Click on the name and it will take you to the recipe.)

 

Blue Potato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Lemon Tuna and Chickpea Salad
Lemon Rosemary Thumbprints with Peach Jam
Blood Orange Bulgar Wheat Salad with Honey, Meyer Lemon and Cilantro Dressing
Kale and Pistachio Soup