Napa Rose Cooking School

Sunday, 30 Apr 2006 | Cooking, Disneyland, Food

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Saturday, I was thrilled to have the honor of attending the very first Napa Rose Cooking School class ever. The Napa Rose is an award winning restaurant at Disneyland's Grand Californian. It was such a great experience because it was a combination of two things I really love, Disneyland and cooking.

The class was taught by Napa Rose Executive Chef, Andrew Sutton and his wonderful staff. Chef Sutton and his chefs were so friendly and informative. I can't say enough about how welcome they made all of us feel.

We learned the secrets to preparing a 4 course meal just like they serve at the Napa Rose. Our menu included the following delicious courses:

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Lobster Avocado Martini "Shaken Not Stirred" with a Mango Lime Vinaigrette

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Portabello Mushroom Cappuccino with Brandy Thyme Foam

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Blackberry Cabernet Braised Prime Beef Short Rib with a Farm House Potato Salad

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Creme Brulee with a Raspberry Conserve

We were shown a demonstration of each step in preparing the dishes by Excecutive Chef Andrew Sutton himself. I am so pleased to have practiced my knife skills and cooked in the kitchen of a fine restaurant the likes of the Napa Rose. Chef Sutton explained that he loves to cook based on the seasons, using the freshest ingredients available throughout the year. He also places importance in using organically grown foods and sustainable farmed foods. I learned a lot of new things about cooking during the class.

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After we finished with our lessons, we were rewarded by sitting down to a lunch with Chef Sutton. We were served the menu we had learned to prepare paired with selected wines to complement each course. Chef Sutton was so hospitable and interesting. I felt like I was a guest at his home for a meal.

We had an intimate group of 12 students in our group. I enjoyed meeting fellow food and Disneyland lovers. The people I met at the cooking class were fun and easy to converse with. I was the only one taking pictures while we ate lunch, so I handed out business cards to everyone so they could see my pictures online. Sometimes I feel a bit self conscious taking photos at a restaurant, but I didn't that day because everyone seemed so pleased that I would be recording memories in pictures for all to cherish. I have posted more photographs on Flickr. If any of my classmates read this, please leave a comment or drop me an email to let me know! I'd love to hear from you.

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After lunch, Eugene gave us a tour of the Napa Rose wine collection. He explained that they stock anywhere from 17 to 20 thousand bottles of wine in their cellar. The wine room has a number of notable bottles of wine on display inside its glass walls. I stayed for a bit after the class to watch the chefs prepare for dinner in their beautiful open kitchen. As parting gifts, we each received a Napa Rose apron and baseball cap. I had a wonderful time. Thank you, Andrew Sutton and staff for a memorable experience!

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Kobe Steaks with John

Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 | Cooking, Family, Food

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On Saturday, Toni and I went to my cousin John's house in Newport Coast for dinner. He just bought a very large 2-story house that overlooks Crystal Cove. It's a lovely home with a nice kitchen for cooking. Since I love to cook, I offered to make dinner. We had a great time with John, his wife Julie and daughter, Jenna, my cousin Matthew, his wife, Melinda and son, Mason. I found out Melinda is expecting a daughter soon. I'm sure she'll be gorgeous since Mason is the cutest boy ever as pictured above at his 1st birthday party with my aunt Ko Ja.

I made a 4 course meal for the 6 adults. The first course was Mixed Greens with a Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette, Candied Walnuts and thinly sliced Asian Pear slices. The 2nd course was Shrimp Scampi served with Sourdough Bread for dipping into the sauce. The 3rd course was American Raised Kobe Style New York Steak with a Balsamic Reduction and Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms in Brandy Cream Sauce. The 4th and final course was Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream with Split Banana Brulee. I served Fetzer Valley Oaks Gewurztraminer with the meal. It's an inexpensive sweet white wine I really love. I use it in the Shrimp Scampi and I think it brings out the flavor when you dirink it with the meal.

I was so busy cooking, I unfortunately didn't take any pictures of the food I prepared. Everyone loved the meal, so I was very pleased. I love to make people happy with my cooking. I think Julie enjoyed the meal the best. She loved every course. Julie and Melinda particularly liked the Banana Brulee. I make it by simply cutting a in half and splitting it. Then I put superfine sugar on it and carmelize it with a propane torch. It forms a delicious crunchy layer like Creme Brulee.

After dinner, we watched a Discovery Channel program about King Crab Fishing in Alaska. I was amazed how dangerous crab fishing can be because of the weather and turbulent seas. Apparently, on average 1 crew member dies on each fishing expedition, often falling overboard into the frigid waters. They employ special suits to help them survive, but it only buys minutes of life since the water is so cold.

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A Touch of Disney Romance

Thursday, 20 Apr 2006 | Disney

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The United States Postal Service is due to release four Art of Disney postage stamps with the theme of romance. The stamps will feature images of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Beauty and the Beast and the Lady and the Tramp.

The stamps will be officially unveiled tomorrow at Epcot's Fountain Stage at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

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Google Calendar

Tuesday, 18 Apr 2006 | Internet

I am liking Google Calender a lot since I tried their beta version last week. It looks like a promising and useful tool. I like the idea that you can access your appointments from anywhere you have internet access. Will those guys at Google ever stop coming up with cool ideas?

I am displeased to see no Safari support so far. I would also like to see recurring appointments allow for the last weekday of the month or the first weekend day of the month and the like. But otherwise, it's a very stable and usable beta.

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Coca-Cola BlaK

Tuesday, 11 Apr 2006 | Food

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Coca-Cola has a new beverage called Coca-Cola BlaK that's available now. It's a combination of two favorite beverages, Coca-Cola and coffee. I really like Coca-Cola and iced coffee, so maybe I'd like this too. I haven't tried it yet, but it certainly sounds interesting.

Introducing Coca-Cola BlaK, a carbonated beverage that fuses Coke effervescence with coffee essence. Every sip is an experience... to enliven your senses and welcome new possibilities. So find your muse. Find higher ground. Find your BlaK.

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Best Ice Cream Deal in Palm Springs

Tuesday, 11 Apr 2006 | Food

The best deal on a premium ice cream cone in Palm Springs can be found at Jensen's Fine Foods. Turn to the left as you walk in the front door and you'll see a small ice cream freezer stocked with numerous flavors of Dreyer's ice cream. For a mere 99 cents, you can get a scoop of the flavor of your choice in a cake or sugar cone. For larger appetites, a double scoop can be had for $1.79. Now that's a good deal on a tasty treat!

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Angels Home Season Opener

Saturday, 8 Apr 2006 | Angels, Family

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Toni, my dad and I attended the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim home season opener on Saturday night. This was the second home season opening game I've attended. There was a huge American flag unfurled in the outfield. The National Anthem was sung by American Idol contestant and Anaheim resident Lisa Tucker. A military jet flyover thrilled the fans at the end of the Star Spangled Banner.

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We ended up beating the New York Yankees 4 to 1. It was Big Bang Friday, so there was a nice fireworks show following the game. It was the first time I've been there for fireworks.

I met a very nice Yankees fan sitting next to me at the game. I He was a gentleman and pleasure to talk with. He told me he was originally from New York, but now lives in San Francisco. He was visiting Southern California on a business trip.

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Taffy's 95 Week Photo

Saturday, 8 Apr 2006 | Pets

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Taffy looks very regal perched on Toni's hands.

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Apple Boot Camp Does Windows XP

Wednesday, 5 Apr 2006 | Apple, Computers, Macintosh

Today, Apple Computer announced Boot Camp, a feature of its upcoming Leopard Mac OS X release which will allow Intel Mac users to boot Windows XP on their computers. With a bona fide Windows XP installation disc, Boot Camp will update your version of Mac OS X 10.4.6 so you can choose between Mac OS X or Windows XP by simply holding down the option key at startup. How's that for versatility?

Boot Camp is available now as a public beta from Apple's website.

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PRD is Famous!

Wednesday, 5 Apr 2006 | Flickr, Internet, Pirate Rubber Duckie

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Pirate Rubber Duckie, affectionately known as PRD, is famous! He was featured as the Yahoo! Pick for Sunday, April 2nd, 2006. Jenny, AKA ljc, thank you so much for notifying me about this. I wouldn't have known if it wasn't for you. I never dreamed he would show up on Yahoo! Picks. How cool is that?

PRD is a very petite rubber duckie who left my office in Palm Springs, California on July 11th, 2005 to travel the world, hosted by friendly folks who take pictures of his stay. He has his own Pirate Rubber Duckie Group at Flickr, where dozens of people have signed up to host him in their home towns.

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Magnolia's 1st Birthday

Tuesday, 4 Apr 2006 | Family, Friends

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Toni, Erin, my dad and I attended Magnolia's 1st birthday party on Sunday. Magnolia is the daughter of our friends In and Maureen. Magnolia is half Korean just like me. She is also a quarter Mexican and a quarter Caucasian. Since she has Korean lineage, they celebrated her birthday by dressing her up in the traditional Korean Hanbok, a brightly colored dress. In's parents provided plenty of Korean food for the occasion.

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Magnolia was given a necklace with a gold pig which signifies good luck and prosperity in Korean culture as well as a beautiful gold bracelet. Korean grandmothers are notorious for spoilling their grandchildren.

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The party was held at Maureen's parents' house. We gathered inside and on the nicely landscaped backyard. In, Maureen and Magnolia left for a trip up the coast to Monterey after the party. I was so envious because Monterey is one my very favorite places to visit. I want to plan a trip with Toni some time soon.

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As a present we gave two 8x10 photos I took of Magnolia when she was an infant. One of her mom holding her hand and one of her dad holding her foot. When Maureen opened them, she was so touched she almost started to cry. I'm so glad she found them so special.

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We also had the good fortune to see some teacher friends of Toni. John and Joann are a lovely couple who retired recently from careers at the middle school Toni previously worked for. They are both the friendliest people you could know. I always enjoy socializing with them both.

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Lois, Toni's former English Chair was also at the party. She posed for a picture after dinner with her sister Eunice to her left and her always lovable mother, Alfie in front.

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Happy 30th Birthday, Apple Computer

Saturday, 1 Apr 2006 | Apple, Computers, Macintosh

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30 years ago today, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs formed Apple Computer by debuting the Apple I in Palo Alto, California, at the Homebrew Computer Club. I've been a fan of Apple computers since their Apple II days. My first computer was an Apple IIe and my current computer is a 20-inch iMac G4.

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