Wednesday, September 15
This giveaway is no closed. Thank you!
In honor of today’s posts about Kepler’s Books and Cafe Borrone, we’re doing a special giveaway just for Bay Area locals! (Apologies to my non-Bay Area readers…don’t worry, tomorrow’s giveaway will be for everyone!)
Today’s giveaway consists of the following:
- Preferred seating for you and a guest at the October 29 book event with Harold McGee, author of Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best Foods and Recipes
- A signed copy of Keys to Good Cooking, compliments of Kepler’s
- A $30 gift certificate for Cafe Borrone
Just leave a comment on this post to enter! Please post your comment by Midnight PT, Monday, Sept. 20. One randomly-selected winner will be selected and announced on Thursday, September 23. Good luck!
Thank you to Kepler’s and Cafe Borrone for a wonderful giveaway!
One more thing! If you enter this giveaway and have joined Juice in the City, make sure to mention that in your comment! If you win this giveaway, JITC will deposit $25 into your account to use towards deals!
Another Menlo Park (and, really, national) treasure is Kepler’s Books. You should click here to read the history of the bookstore. It’s fascinating and inspiring. Here are the highlights…Roy Kepler, peace activitist, opened the store in 1955. It attracted loyal customers from the start, oh, and The Grateful Dead and Joan Baez appeared/performed there regularly. There is a PBS documentary about Kepler’s and in 1990 Kepler’s was named “Bookseller of the Year” by Publisher’s Weekly. “Thanks” to the Internet, they had to close their doors in August of 2005…but after much support and investment from the community, they re-opened their doors two months later. Cool, right?
I love this place. I could spend hours browsing through the stacks and stacks of books.
They have events all the time with all kinds of amazing authors. I mean amazing. Like former-presidents-of-the-United-States amazing.
And the children’s section of the store is a little piece of heaven on earth.
We’re pretty lucky.
This might be my favorite part of the store. The Knuffle Bunnies fighting over who loves Kepler’s more.
So, there’s our bookstore. Are you in love with Menlo Park yet?
Hands down one of my favorite places in Menlo Park is Cafe Borrone. Every time I eat there I love it even more. I love the food. I love the atmosphere. I love the umbrellas. I love the chalkboard menus. I love the pretty dishes.
Last week Cafe Borrone treated us to dinner so I could write up this post. Our dinner was HEAVEN. Every last bite was scrumptious. Marina Borrone kept telling us we should call friends to come share the food with us because they were planning on bringing so much out…and, uh, yeah…Nate and I ate it all (with only a little help from the girls). So much for sharing!
Cafe Borrone has been around since 1971, first in Redwood City and now Menlo Park. The restaurant is family-owned and run by Marina, Josh (her husband who is also the chef) and Marina’s parents, who originally started the business. In fact, Josh started working here when he got out of high school, serving tables and whatnot, and is now chef!
Cafe Borrone uses almost all local ingredients (with the exception of around 5 items, such as bananas) and as much organic food as possible. Their menu changes day to day, based on what is fresh and in season. It’s a natural for lunchtime, but their breakfast food is wonderful. And dinner? Oh, dinner is too good.
Let’s take a gander at the food, shall we?
Corn fritters. I can’t begin to describe how good these are.
Beet Salad. The beets were soooooo yummy. Sweet, perfect texture. And the goat cheese on top of the greens? I didn’t know goat cheese could be so darn creamy.
Burrata. Have you ever had burrata? It’s basically fresh mozzarella stuffed with cream and curd. And it rocks. Especially topped on crostini with roasted peaches and tomatoes. Marina said they ate burrata in Italy and had to bring it to their restaurant…and now she’s seeing it in other places. That’s right, you saw it at Borrone’s first!
That was just the appetizers. How about some dinner?
Grouper BLT. Fresh line caught grouper with all kinds of bacony-tomatoey goodness surrounding it.
Steak Crostini. This was Nate’s favorite. I think mine too. But whenever I decide it’s my fave, I think about something else I ate and can’t go with a final decision. The Niman Ranch filet mignon on this crostini was cooked perfectly and tasted, well, amazing.
You have room for dessert, right? We all know I always do…
Nectarine and Blackberry Crisp.
Coconut Cream Tart.
This dog was totally judging me.
What, dog, what? You think I ate too much?
I think every single one of you reading this post needs to come visit me in Menlo Park, just so we can go to lunch at Cafe Barrone. Deal? Great! (Bonus for your trip: you get to see me pig out and get judged by snooty dogs.)
Click more to read Josh’s description of each dish. As if the pictures wouldn’t make you hungry enough.
Thank you, Cafe Borrone, for an amazing dinner…and, more importantly, for being around for everyone to enjoy!
Tuesday, September 14
This giveaway is now closed. But please keep reading to learn more about Kahe!
Last spring Nate and I went to the San Francisco Chocolate Salon. In addition to way too much decadent chocolate, we discovered Kahe Sparkling Nectar and learned that the company is based in Menlo Park!
Kahe Sparkling Nectar is a sparkling juice drink made from all natural and organic products, with no added sugar or corn syrups, but instead sweetened with stevia and xylitol, which you can read more about here. It comes in three flavors – Bing Cherry, Passionfruit and Kiwifruit. You can read more about Kahe beverages on the website, as well as all about the founders Peter and Melanie, who wanted to create a simple and delicious drink without all the unhealthy sweeteners involved.
Kahe kindly provided us with some samples, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Nate liked Bing Cherry best and my favorite was definitely Passionfruit!
Even though Kahe can only be found in Bay Area locations, this is your chance to enjoy some Kahe no matter where you live!
Kahe Sparkling Nectar is giving away a full mixed case of Kahe (24 bottles) with an old-fashioned straw dispenser (retail value $65.00). This giveaway is now closed for comments. One winner will be randomly-selected and announced on Thursday, September 23.
Big thanks to Kahe for such a refreshingly fun giveaway!
Offer from Juice in the City: Listen up SF Bay Area and Dallas/Collin County TX moms! Juice in the City is partnering with me on all the giveaways this week! If you subscribe to JITC SF Bay Area or Dallas/Collin County and leave “I’ve subscribed to JITC” in your entry comment and you happen to win this giveaway, JITC will deposit $25 into your account to use towards deals! Pretty nice, huh?
Monday, September 13
A while ago I mentioned Cafe Borrone on my blog and promptly received a thank you from the owners of Cafe Borrone and from Sarah Eisner, a blogger and mom from Menlo Park who worked on their website. Serendipity was at work and Sarah and I have since been connected in many different ways…and boy am I glad! I’ve loved watching her business-savvy mind do amazing things.
Sarah is a co-founder of Juice in the City, a website that offers spectacular local deals (at least 50% off) for fun stuff that appeals to moms. I like Juice in the City because actual moms are out there sourcing the deals and writing about why they love the local business offering the deal. In fact, I’ve purchased deals myself and have been super happy with the value and the businesses that I’ve connected with.
I’m writing about Juice in the City for several reasons:
- Sarah lives in Menlo Park and it’s Menlo Park Week on my blog, so I have to give her a shout out! I also love that the first “local” business that I’m sharing with you this week is so techy…I am in Silicon Valley, after all!
- Juice in the City is going to offer a cool “giveaway” in conjunction with my giveaways this week, so I want you to know what Juice in the City is all about before you see the giveaways!
- Juice in the City is now sourcing deals in the San Francisco Bay Area and Dallas/Collin County, TX. If you live in one of those places, you totally need to sign up to get your daily deal email.
- Juice in the City is going to be expanding to oodles of cities over the next 6 months. If you don’t live in the Bay Area or Dallas/Collin County, you can still sign up so you don’t miss out when they come to your town!
Like I said, Sarah and her business partner New York-based Philippa Smith are smart women. I love their unique take on a growing industry and think they have a lot to offer. I’m happy that Sarah is a local Menlo Park mom and that I’ve gotten a chance to work with her!
I love my town. Nate and I are so grateful that when we moved to the Bay Area, we ended up in Menlo Park. The schools are awesome, the neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are nice, and our main street is the best, with tons of local businesses and restaurants, very few chain stores and oodles of charm. There’s just a really fantastic sense of community that we are lucky to be a part of!
I want to share some of my town with you, so it’s Menlo Park Week here on This Week for Dinner. I’m excited to support a few local businesses, share a part of my daily life with you, and offer up some great giveaways (don’t worry, you don’t have to be from Menlo Park to partake!). Plus, I hope the week inspires you to go out into your own community to support and/or find your own local gems!
Without further ado, let be the first to welcome you to Menlo Park, California! I hope you enjoy your visit!
Sunday, September 12
This week is going to be a special one. I have some fun posts planned, all around one theme that I’m really excited about. Tomorrow will be the big unveil, but rest assured there will be giveaways galore and really fabulous food. Fabulous food like this…
Dying to know what that is? Be sure to check in each day this week!
Now, back to business. I need to get my menu figured out. I totally blew last week’s menu, but it’s because we ended up with a LOT more leftovers from certain meals than I was expecting. So, you know, we roll with the punches!
- Homemade pizza (and boy do I have a great new pizza flavor for you…but you have to wait for pictures before I spill the beans!)
- Bean and cheese enchiladas (I got the recipe from Cate’s previous preschool teachers, can’t WAIT to make them…and you know I’ll share, once I have pictures!)
- Homemade mac & cheese
- Pesto Tortellini Soup
- Eat out
Now it’s your turn! Please share your menus! And, remember what I said on Friday…don’t be afraid to share, no matter what your menu is like! They’re all helpful!
Friday, September 10
Hey friends. I had a blog post planned for today. And, uh, yeah…I think it slept in or something. (Wish I got to do that!) ANYWAY…since that post dropped the ball (certainly isn’t my fault, right?), I do have two random little things I keep forgetting to tell you. So here we go.
1. Don’t be scared to post a weekly menu. I’ve heard this many times from people…they don’t post their menu because they are scared/nervous/whatever. Know what I have to say to that? Phooey! No need to be scared. Or nervous. Or anything remotely related to that. And I honestly love ALL kinds of menus. From the fancy-dancy-uber-prepared to the we-are-eating-at-taco-bell-a-few-nights-this-week, they’re all wonderful and inspiring in their own ways! So…you have two days to psych yourself up for this week’s menu post. Go get pysching.
2. I’m still doing my Eat Less Meat challenge. I haven’t mentioned it much. But this new way of eating has become a part of our lives quite seamlessly, actually. I even recently switched to buying organic meat, which has really helped me scale back on the amount of meat I buy. And, since I’m buying less, even though the organic costs more, I’m still spending way less money on meat each week. I’m also much more thoughtful about how I use the meat I do buy and we appreciate the meat we do eat more than we used to. Bottom line…it’s been easier than I thought, and we’re happy. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here to read about my 2010 New Year’s Resolution.)
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! And, please make some of the dip I shared with you yesterday. It seriously rocks…AND it’s healthy. AND meatless. Bam! Bam! Bam! Awesome all around, wouldn’t you say?
Thursday, September 9
I am sharing a GEM with you today. My mom got this recipe for Hummus Guacamole Dip from her good friend Jenny, of Jenny’s Green Salad fame. When my mom first described it to me, I must admit I was skeptical. Hummus WITH avocados? Hmmmm….but then I had it for the first time on the Cape this summer. Oh…my…goodness. It is delicioso. The flavors blend together so nicely. And the best part? It’s super duper healthy while also tasting like a very decadent dip.
I can have this stuff for lunch with some corn chips and be all set. Well, maybe not all set…since it tends to appear for afternoon snack time, and then again at dinner! I also served this at a pool party recently and EVERYONE was asking about the dip…when it was time to go home, the giant bowl was empty. See, I know what I’m talking about.
Hummus Gaucamole Dip
From Jenny Roberts
- Two 12oz pkgs of Guacamole (Jane’s Mom’s Note: of course I NEVER use packaged Guac (she smashes up a bunch of avocados))
- 1 Pint of Hummus w/roasted garlic (or any flavor you want)
- 1 15.5oz can black beans (slightly drained)
- Chunky mild/medium salsa (about a cup)
Mix by hand and chill. Serve with whatever corn chips you like!
Several notes from Jane: Above is the original, official recipe. I’ve actually never used it because I just got it from my mom. I HAVE eaten it and it WAS fabulous. I’ve made the dip blind twice and generally just threw the ingredients together with proportions that looked about right. I believe I did the following, or something close to this. This also makes a lot less if you don’t need dip for an entire army.
- 3 avocados, smashed up
- 8 oz hummus
- 1 can black beans (drained)
- 8 oz chunky or fresh salsa
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix by hand and chill. Serve with corn chips!
Tuesday, September 7
I’m always on the lookout for easy go-to meals. While I tend to rely on my go-to recipes a little too heavily, eventually making myself totally sick of them, I’m still grateful to have these gems in my arsenal!
My latest favorite go-to meal is simple stuffed shells. No meat involved, super easy to make, and mighty delicious. It’s a little more effort than throwing together spaghetti, but not much. You just need to think ahead a bit – make sure you have the cheeses on hand, and give yourself time for baking. But, seriously, they’re easy to make. And my girls gobble them up.
Please feel free to share your own stuffed shells recipe! Here is how I’ve been making mine lately. Yum.
Simple Stuffed Shells
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
– Half box of pasta shells (about 20)
- 1 container ricotta cheese (I think they’re 16 oz – whatever is at your standard grocery store)
- A few cloves of garlic, mashed through garlic press
- About 1 tsp. salt
- A few shakes of black pepper
- A few tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- About half a jar of tomato-based pasta sauce
- Handful shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- A few handfuls shredded mozzarella cheese
Boil shells as per package directions. Drain and make sure they don’t stick to each other.
Mix together the ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and egg.
Stuff your shells, maybe about a tablespoon per shell. Use up all the filling for about 20-24 shells.
Place shells in a 9×13 baking dish, drizzle with pasta sauce (I think I used about half of a jar or so), then sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.
Bake in 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes or so.