Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dish | BBQ Peach Salad with Arugula & Goat Cheese

I was torn between doing a restaurant rating and/or a dish. I went to Starbelly the other night for dinner - one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the city - and they never cease to amaze me! I don't want to say too much about Starbelly as this is not a rating (5 stars hands-down!) but I had a salad with my dinner that I just had to try and duplicate. This is my attempt at recreating their incredible BBQ Peach Salad.

BBQ PEACH SALAD WITH ARUGULA & GOAT CHEESE  |  Recipe inspired by Starbelly

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium ripe peaches, halved, pitted and cut into 8 wedges per peach
2 medium ripe avocados, halved, pitted and cut into cubes or wedges
6 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1  |  Prepare grill to medium-high heat. For the dressing whisk together balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and salt, then add in olive oil until emulsified.

2  |  Place peaches on grill and cook 3-5 minutes per side or until grill marks appear. In the meantime, rinse baby arugula and pat dry with paper towels.

3  |  For salad; place arugula in a large bowl and toss with dressing until fully coated. Add goat cheese crumbles, grilled peaches, and avocado slices. Toss lightly and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Design | Mad Brew Productions

Designer Adam Hill says, "I was approached to rebrand Mad Brew Productions, a live music events company. In the initial stages of briefing I was informed that the company would be looking at branching into other offerings: Media, consisting of photography and music videos as well as Interiors offering.

The client loved the aesthetic of a traveling Victorian salesman and the concept of one entity 'wearing many hats' was used to neatly package the three brands together."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

D&D Bar Rating | Churchill

Henry and I strolled around the Castro District the other day and ended up at the new bar Churchill. Henry could not stop raving about this drink called a Red Hook which is basically like a Manhattan but slightly sweeter thanks to the tasty addition of maple syrup. It's definitely easier to throw back - not that we were chugging them - but a Manhattan can take me a solid hour to finish depending on the bar/bartender.

We went during the afternoon on a weekday so the crowd was kind of odd and not the typical Castro scene - mostly made up of young professional types that had just gotten off work - but that won't stop me from going back. The bartenders are friendly and flirty but not annoying (they even took the time to ask about Design & Dishes after hearing us talk about my recent Pear Cosmopolitan Jelly Shots) and most importantly they make real drinks that are real good! There is a chance I'll be heading to Churchill after work tonight for another round of Red Hooks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drink | Black Cherry & Orange Mango Soda/Syrup

I got the idea to make soda the other day and after doing a little research I am happy to report that it is both incredibly easy AND delicious. It's all about the syrup and after this first session I already have a few adjustments I will make on the next round... and there will definitely be a next round, or two or three.

If you're going to use fresh fruit, choose fruits that are very ripe and juicy and either put them through a juicer or puree them and press through a strainer. If you use canned or bottled juices like I did, look for juices that have very high natural juice content, and a very low sugar content. The only issue I had with my syrup is that it's a little too thick so adjustments I would make for next time would be to add either a 1/4 cup juice back in to the syrup while it's cooling or another suggestion I read was to add 1 tablespoon corn syrup to the finished syrup to help keep it smooth. 


1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup fresh fruit juice or concentrated fruit juice (the more concentrated the juice, the more intense the final flavor)

1  |  Combine the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer until the mixture is reduced by half. Taste the syrup to check the sweetness. At this point you can add different flavor extracts or herbs such as rosemary or thyme depending on the flavor of the syrup.

2  |  Store the finished syrup in a sealable glass jar or bottle in the refrigerator. To make homemade soda, simply add syrup to a glass of ice and top off with seltzer water or club soda.

Design | Armin Blasbichler

On a recent trip to Italy, London-based writer and founding editor of Domestic Sluttery, Sian Meades, had the opportunity to visit Armin Blasbichler’s home in South Tyrol.

Across South Tyrol in northern Italy, log stacks (or “musls,” as they’re known locally) sit in fields across the lush landscape. Ever since architect Armin Blasbichler was a child, he had the idea to build a house that looked just like the log stacks and let the home blend into the scenery that he had grown up with. The result is der Muslhaufen, which sits in Lüsen, not far from the Dolomites.

Photography: Ingrid Heiss. Via Design* Sponge

Design | Neiman Marcus: A Dozen Roses

A Dozen Roses, a Neiman Marcus exclusive, is a fragrance collection inspired by the emotions that only a rose can evoke.

 The fragrances are unique in that so much attention was put into the bottle design. It is an EXTREMELY visual project, reminiscent of the original perfumery days. These bottles are collector's items, with original art and a heavy gold, rose embossed cap. The labels have texture to mimic the authentic paintings.

"One founder painted the artwork, while the other, a collector, put her passion for beautiful bottles into the unique design. The bottles have labels on both sides, which is very different from the typical perfume bottle. From one side, the bottle shows a stunning rose, while from the other, you see an abstract painting. Together, the artwork creates a double entendre of feeling which explains the meaning of the fragrance within."

via The Dieline.

Monday, July 25, 2011

D&D Restaurant Rating | Hog & Rocks

I found out about Hog & Rocks when I read an article in Sunset Magazine about their top 5 restaurant choices in San Francisco that take reservations for brunch. Brunch in SF can be a big ordeal! The wait at numerous restaurants throughout the city can last up to 2 hours and depending on the atmosphere it can be anywhere from pleasantly relaxed to extremely annoying.

Like I said, Hog & Rocks was in Sunset Magazine's top 5 brunch spots that take reservations and they were in some pretty good company with Nopa leading the list. We made reservations for Sunday for 4 people at noon and were seated promptly but at this point I don't think reservations would have been necessary. Hog & Rocks is relatively new from what I understand and I believe it is the quirks of being new that made the experience barely sub-par for my friends and I. It had a welcoming vibe with interesting options for seating and the overall aesthetic was modern and semi-masculine with the perfect amount of sophistication. The location is to die for! It's hidden in the heart of the Mission District on 19th between Valencia and Mission.

It's an oyster bar so that's exactly what we ordered with a dozen fresh oysters coming in at $18. A perfect way to start a meal! The presentation of everything they brought us was beautiful. The only downfall was the service. Our server was great, but seemed preoccupied by the other half of the restaurant he was tending to. It started out great but by the end of our meal when the entire restaurant was almost full he was basically non-existent. From what I could tell though there were only 2 servers working the entire place so it's not enough of an issue to keep me from coming back. I would gladly go back for the $4 Cinnamon Roll with whiskey caramel glaze!

Ryan and I ended up splitting the Goetta Florentine with poached eggs, pan fried pork, spinach, hollandaise and yukon gold potatoes and the Farmer’s Market Omelette with cherry tomatoes, corn, ricotta, and yukon gold potatoes. Both options were great but I think we preferred the omelette over the florentine. The food was warm but just on the verge of going cold so the hollandaise was starting to congeal. Again, I blame this on being short staffed and having a full restaurant to feed. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to go earlier.

Oh, and maybe try something different, like the Breakfast Tacos!

Drink | Pear Cosmopolitan Jelly Shot

It all started when my friend Taylor recently asked me the question, "Do you think it's possible to make fancy jello shots?" Via Martha Stewart, I stumbled upon the somewhat incredible website The Jelly Shot Test Kitchen. Being new to the world of "fancy jelly" I decided to start relatively easy with a Pear Cosmopolitan.

PEAR COSMOPOLITAN JELLY SHOTS  |  Recipe inspired by The Jelly Shot Test Kitchen

1 cup white cranberry juice cocktail
3/4 cup pear flavored vodka
1/8 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed and strained
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup Cointreau
2 envelopes Knox gelatin (if using molds, add 1/2 envelope additional gelatin. 1/2 envelope equals about a teaspoon of gelatin powder.)
Sliced pear for garnish, if desired

1  |  Pour cranberry and lime juices into a saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soak for a few minutes. Heat on low, stirring constantly, until gelatin is fully dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in the liquors, making sure to fully incorporate. Pour into pan, and chill until set, several hours or overnight.

2  |  To serve, cut into shapes. Garnish with sliced pear, if desired. Makes 18 to 24 shots.

Design | Patricia van der Vliet by Richard Burbridge for Harper’s Bazaar US

The April 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar US pays tribute to the graphic trend by highlighting striped designs from the likes of Prada, Max Mara, Marc by Marc Jacobs and others. Starring Patricia van der Vliet lensed by Richard Burbridge, fashion editor Clare Richardson pairs color with prints for a high octane shoot.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dish | Kebabs with Cilantro-Lime Marinade

We had a BBQ at the house the other night. It was a great bunch of friends, a whole lot of wine, and way too many kebabs! Those who came early got a taste of the sirloin kebabs which I unfortunately did not photograph. I also made my new favorite dish of the summer... Roasted Corn with Manchego & Lime. It's so ridiculously delicious and really complimented the marinade I used on the kebabs. It was an all around success considering we used a propane camping grill on the back deck of our 3rd story flat with little to no light and a good 10 people to feed.


2/3 cup lime juice, from about 6 limes
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
8 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons ginger
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes

1  |  Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl.

KEBABS  |  Recipe inspired by Bon Appétit August 2005

2 pounds chicken, cut into  1 1/2-inch cubes
2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
6 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 large peaches with skin, halved, pitted, quartered and cut into 8 sections
24 pearl onions, peeled
2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cut into squares
24 cremini (brown) mushrooms
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch rounds

1  |  Place chicken and steak in separate medium glass bowls. Add 3/4 cup marinade to each and toss until coated. Chill for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.You can use left over marinade for basting.

2  |  Alternate chicken cubes, tomato halves, peach wedges, and pearl onions on skewers. Alternate steak cubes, bell pepper squares, mushrooms, and zucchini rounds on skewers.

3  |  Prepare barbecue and set at medium-high heat. Grill kebabs until slightly charred and cooked as desired, turning occasionally and basting with remaining marinade, about 8 minutes for chicken and 10 minutes for steak. Transfer kebabs to platter. 

Design | Allan Peters: Nike 6.0 Motocross

Allan Peters is a Senior Art Director from Minneapolis with over nine years of experience. His work has been recognized by Effie, AdFed, AIGA, Print, How, Davey and Rockport. He's currently making stuff for Target. This series of logos he did for Nike 6.0 Motocross is blowing my mind. 20 incredible logos! I'm only featuring 7 here, but be sure to check the rest out.