Farmer’s Market Challenge: Round Two

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Some say you can have too much of a good thing, well the Piacere Farmer’s Market Challenge isn’t one of them. I could easily go each Thursday with new and exciting foodie finds for Chef Miriam to transform into a multi-course meal fit for a king.

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Barrel Tasting at Ridge Vineyards

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Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to a barrel tasting at Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino, California. Ridge is located near the top of Monte Bello Ridge up in the Santa Cruz Mountains – thus the current name of the winery, Ridge, and the name of their most special wine, Monte Bello. It was started in 1885 and made its first vintage in 1892 under the Monte Bello Winery label.

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Farmer’s Market Challenge Part 2: Main Course and Dessert – Piacere, San Carlos, CA

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Photo courtesy of Miriam Russell-Wadleigh and Piacere Restaurant.

After the viewing success of Part 1, I bet you have been loitering around your computer waiting anxiously for news of Part 2. Well, here it is! This is the second installment of our Farmer’s Market Challenge dinner drama which took place last week. This part will describe the main courses, side dishes and dessert which were just as delectable as the starters featured in Part 1.

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Farmer’s Market Challenge Part 1: Starters – Piacere, San Carlos, CA

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Photo courtesy of Chef Miriam Russell-Wadleigh and Piacere Restaurant.

When’s the last time you went into a restaurant and the chef came out to chat with you? Not once, but multiple times throughout your meal, discussing each dish – where the vegetables were grown, how they were prepared and why. When’s the last time you had some interesting vegetables or herbs that you had grown in your garden or found in a farmer’s market that you didn’t know how – or couldn’t be bothered! – to cook yourself? Did you just take them to the chef of your local restaurant and say, ‘Here, I don’t know what to do with these. Surprise me!’. It’s far from standard restaurant procedure, but it’s what happens every Thursday night throughout the summer at Piacere (Pia-chair-ay) in San Carlos, California.

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Review: Zona Rosa, San Jose, CA

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As soon as we walked into Zona Rosa in San Jose’s Rose Garden neighborhood, I was in love. It is so intimate, so welcoming and full of charm and character. We had called ahead and made a reservation — just in case it was a busy place for weekday lunches, which it proved to be — and the smiling front of house staff knew who we were as soon as we walked in and we were given a choice of where to sit. There can’t be more than eight tables in the small rectangular room, but there is also a lovely patio area with umbrellas to keep you out of the midday sun. As it was nearly 95°F we elected to sit inside and were made very comfortable in a really cute little table for two in the window.

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