Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Posts tagged “reviews

Primal Pre-Race Dining at… Piatti Mill Valley

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A few weekends ago, Running Bum and I took a little trip to Mill Valley to poke around at some property he is interested in buying. I tagged along with him to run a race the next day. The race, the Marin Memorial 10K, is one of the fastest 10K courses in the area, but it’s still a really tough course. No PR, and I was definitely not running with “fun runners” that day.

For our pre-race meal, we dined at Piatti. And we kept it Primal. Since Piatti is one of my sponsors on cakegrrl.com and will be migrating to this site at the end of the month, I wanted to show my audience on this site what we had for dinner that evening–without touching wheat/pasta/grains/rice.

Our appetizer was the Kobe steak crudo, secret sauce, capers, and tiny arugula. The dish comes with crostini, but we politely asked the server to see if he could swap it out for something else. Instead of telling every server in the world we are Paleo, I simply just say, “we are gluten-free”, or “we are wheat-free”. Our appetizer was served, honoring our special request, with a small side Caesar salad. Perfect.

Next up, we split a chopped romaine salad with salami, chickpeas, olive, peppers, artichokes, and two cheeses. I don’t freak out about chickpeas, and enjoy them about once a month, so I love them on this salad. I ordered the dressing on the side, but to be honest, this salad has so many goodies on it, I didn’t even need dressing or my typical balsamic and olive oil blend.

For the entreés, he went for the cioppino and I the espresso crusted filet, served with bloomsdale savoy spinach, extra vegetables instead of the mashed potatoes, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, and aged balsamic. We ate everything family style, as I love to get RB’s input on things I plan to write about. (Sometimes he even writes for me!)

The cioppino is probably the best I have ever had. The chef did something magical with his addition of a small amount of sambuca to the broth. The stew was heavy on seafood and once again by request we were able to get some extra vegetables on the plate instead of the bread that is typically served with cioppino.

The espresso filet is something I liked so much, I am going to try and replicate it at home. The execution was flawless both presenation and cooking-wise (medium rare!!). I tried to share it with RB, but I think I downed most of it. 🙂

By the way, this meal is going down as one of the best since we have been together. Of course, the meal at Place Pigalle still ranks supreme, but this one rates top notch on service and food quality. It just doesn’t feel or look like a chain restaurant.

Another win was the wine we drank with our meal. Piatti has a selection of wines available on tap called Barrel-to-Table (Piatti’s revolutionary barrel-to-table wine program pours these wines through a custom tap and barrel system which eliminates oxidation and brings the wine directly to the table using the most environmentally sustainable technology – no corks, foils or bottles.) So, yes, I will take the wine hose for $1,000, Alex.

Indeed, I was intrigued, so we tried the Kemiji Pinot Noir (a Barrel-to-Table selection), because we both thought it would be the best compromise for a pairing between the cioppino and the filet–and it was! Instead of playing around with a mere glass or a 1/2 Liter, we went for the Big Gulp–a whole liter for $55. 😉

That evening, we stayed at Marin Hotel and Suites. We took advantage of an Amazon sale from a couple of weeks prior and got the room at a very steep discount. RB and I just love steep discounts. 🙂 It was a pretty good room for the price, equipped with a mini kitchen: a coffee pot, microwave, full-sized refrigerator, sink, and dining area. A bonus for me was that the room had a clock radio by the bed with an iPod dock and speakers…I took advantage of it, and plugged in my iPhone so I could blast Born and Raised. 😉

You can find Piatti Mill Valley on twitter here and the Sacramento location here. The Sacramento menu changes around, but you can typically find my favorite salad (the salad pictured above) on it. 🙂 You can find Piatti on Facebook here.

PS: At the Sacramento location, don’t miss the summer music series every Friday night (hello, live music on the patio!) and the $10 wine list on Saturdays. 🙂


Sausage Party…

Yes, it’s true. Last Sunday afternoon, I was the only girl at the party…sitting at a table with 5 boys.

You see, Running Bum threw a party at his house (in honor of one of his friends on his 60th birthday).

And, a few weeks ago, the marketing people at al fresco sent me some coupons to try their product and show it to all of you.

So to help out on the food preparation, and because I sensed it was a good opportunity to try the different flavor options, I skewered up the sausages with a colorful bunch of vegetables, and we threw them on the grill.

The varieties we sampled are pictured below:

The sausage and vegetable kabobs were the perfect way to try the different flavors. The Sweet Italian sausages had a red and green bell pepper flavor, the Roasted Garlic had a more mild flavor, and our favorite, the Roasted Pepper and Asiago had a great red bell pepper flavor with just a touch of cheese. The sausages were flavorful enough on their own, so I am happy we tried them this way and not disguised in a complicated recipe.

The bonus is that each sausage is an average of 140 calories. And I am always looking for a calorie bargain.

It was fun afternoon. The party guests are all runners, and it was very entertaining to hear their stories, since I am kind of a beginner at the sport.

All the food we served was Paleo, because two of the guests besides RB and myself already follow the diet.

We also dined on pork and blueberry meatballs (recipe to come), a huge salad, and prosciutto-wrapped melon. Dessert was some 80% chocolate and bacon-wrapped dates. RB and I really love to entertain and cook for others!

To learn more about al fresco, you can find them on Facebook here, and you can follow them on twitter here.


Updated: Tanka Bars: Ain’t no Bull, It’s Buffalo!

Mmm… meat candy. That’s how I would describe the Tanka Bar. It’s a jerky-type bar made of buffalo and dried cranberries. Flavor-wise, it’s got a sweet and savory combination that I really love.

I also love the small amount of ingredients used to make them: Buffalo, Dried Cranberries (cranberries, sugar), Water, Salt & less than 2% of Flavorings, Red Pepper, Granulated Garlic, Granulated Onion, Lactic Acid Starter Culture.

They are surprisingly low calorie, and make a great breakfast or afternoon snack. They are small and compact, and perfect to pack on a camping or hiking trip.

Tanka…What a funny little name. What does it mean? From the Tanka website: “In Lakota, Tanka means large or great. It changes depending on how it is used when spoken. What Tanka means to me is a little different. When I see people doing good for themselves and their families, that is Tanka.

When I see people saying good words and backing it up with good actions — when there is no separation in someone’s belief and their reality — that is Tanka.”

The only thing not so “Tanka” is the price of the bar. 😉 They retail for about $3 apiece. However, if you use the promo code CAVEGRRL during checkout when you shop the Tanka store, you’ll get 15% off on REGULARLY-priced items. The code is not valid on specials and is good until June 30th!

You can follow Tanka Bar on twitter here and find them on Facebook here.