July 2008 Archives

Halibut Bean Salad.jpgI've been wanting to put something like this on the menu for a long time.  It's a variation on a meal that I would frequently see folks eating in Portugal- poached fish, lots of olive oil, freshly cooked veggies and eggs. This meal is so simple, yet when it's sourced right and with very fresh ingredients, it's delicious- and healthy. 

We're poaching and chilling Alaskan Halibut (our favorite white fish) and serving it over heirloom beans that are grown just up the road at Pacific Star Gardens.  Local dried beans have been hard to find so when I discovered them by accident at the farm I bought all they had without any idea what I'd do with them (this type of purchase happens very often with me).  I cooked some off and tried them and wow!  So much flavor and wonderful texture-  never thought there would be such a difference in dried beans- Now I understand why UC Davis is working so hard to preserve these heirloom varieties. 

On tasting these wonderful beans the rest of the plate came together easily- the poached, chilled halibut, the olive oil, the hard-cooked local eggs, lots of parsley, sweet onion, and a little avocado and heirloom tomatoes for color and texture.

Can't think of a better meal to eat during these hot summer days.


"The Best Coffee I've Had in The US"

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Blue Bottle.jpg"The best coffee I've had in the US" is what one customer told us recently after finishing his meal with a shot of our Blue Bottle espresso.  The customer was part of a larger group of foreigners that were in town on business with the university. 

I totally agree, so I'll tell you the story about how we were lucky enough to partner with Blue Bottle and why their coffee is so special. 

I remember vividly how I was blown away by an espresso I was served at a gelato shop in Coral Gables, Florida several years ago (the shop no longer exists).  It was thick, smooth and chocolatey- it was mind-blowing.  It was an Italian coffee (Danesi) from Rome.  Years later I was searching for a coffee partner for Tucos- I knew I wanted something as mind-blowing as that espresso I had been served in Florida.  There was a little shop at the Ferry Building (Frog Hollow) that served me a similarly mind-blowing coffee that was from a start-up, local roaster called Blue Bottle (Frog Hollow no longer serves Blue Bottle).  I called James Freeman, the owner, and scheduled a visit.  I brought him a can of that Italian Danesi that I had fallen in love with and he knew exactly what I was looking for- Blue Bottle's Roman Blend- fudgy thick, smooth, and wonderfully chocolately- it's even more delicious than the Danesi I remember.


So what's Blue Bottle's secret?  Like a great chef, James has it in his blood.  He sees, tastes, smells, roasts, and blends coffee beans in ways that only a few people on this planet can.  He goes for over-the-top in flavor and texture.  He believes that coffee should taste like coffee and not charcoal so he roasts them to medium roast.  He also believes that coffee, like any other food, is best when it's fresh- freshly roasted, freshly ground, freshly made.  The proof is in the cup.  Come check it out for yourself at Tucos- it's the best coffee you'll have in the US.

Future Chefs Visit Tucos!

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Victoria and Sonoma.jpgFuture chefs Victoria and Sonoma spent an afternoon with us recently.  We began the day shopping for produce and meeting the farmers at the Davis Farmers' Market, continued on to Tucos for some pastry lessons and transforming a few of the nectarines we purchased into delicious nectarine tarts, and finished by eating them on the patio with a scoop of freshly made vanilla ice cream.  Need we say more?  We wish these two talented, future chefs all the best of luck in their culinary endevours and thank you so much for the visit.  The staff and farmers really enjoyed meeting you.

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