So says Sarah…

L’Appart Resto

Posted in About Food, The Bay Area by Sarah Lipoff on 06/22/2013

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I decided to treat the husband last weekend to a tasty Sunday brunch (it was Father’s Day) so booked a reservation at a restaurant right in our downtown that we’d walked by many times but hadn’t tried. For some reason we thought it was too fancy or too expensive or too this or that.

We were wrong.

L’Appart Resto is welcoming, reasonably priced, and seriously kid-friendly. From the team that opened Le Garage in Sausalito, L’Appart Resto is a comfortable bistro-style restaurant that offers small plates, fresh salads, and substantial entrées that focus on showcasing simple French classics, big flavors, and seasonal and local ingredients. And the service is amazing. We enjoyed our brunch so much we decided to head there for dinner later in the week.

Along with having a well-rounded menu for brunch/lunch and dinner, L’Appart Resto also has a tasty kid’s menu that had our mouths drooling. Our daughter enjoyed her flaky ham and cheese pastry (we did too)…

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The husband and I split the fresh melon soup studded with mint and other bright and fresh flavors…

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My husband ordered the seasonal omelette, which was filled with goat cheese and savory fresh tomato basil concassé.

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And I had soft-boiled eggs with toast points coated with decadent truffle cream.

It was amazing.

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Later in the week there was a fun function downtown that I insisted the entire family attend, so we figured we’d head to L’Appart Resto for an early dinner. And once again we had an awesome dinning experience. We ordered the child-sized Kobe burger for our daughter, which was topped with ooey-gooey French cheese.

l-appart-restoInstead of ordering entrées, the hubs and I decided to taste test with a few small plates, including a bowl of luscious asparagus cream soup, along with a delicious beet salad that was studded with pistachios and French feta cheese.

l-appart-resto-beetsaladWe followed that with soft shell crab over a melon salad with smokey dressing…

l-appart-resto-softshellcrabAnd THE BEST Kobe beef tartar topped with a fresh quail egg.

l-appart-resto-kobetartarHere’s the deal — this is a kid-friendly restaurant that has phenomenal service, but that doesn’t mean the place is running with babes if you’re considering eating there for a romantic or kid-free meal. With indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant is comfortable and welcoming. We didn’t feel rushed or pushed to try the specials or concerned our child was bothering others around us. The menu isn’t huge, but there are options for all tastes. From burgers to lobster, the prices run from $7 to $25 brunch/lunch and dinner.

Check out the menus before heading to L’Appart Resto, but both days we ate there, the specials sounded amazing — and were different (even in the same week). The most important thing? MAKE A RESERVATION.

Bon appétit!

*By the way, I wasn’t paid or bribed or enticed in any way to write this post by L’Appart Resto. I simply wanted to share my wonderful dining experience(s) at this restaurant with you. 

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Summer eats: Grilled eggplant Parmesan

Posted in About Food by Sarah Lipoff on 06/17/2013

grilled eggplant parmesan

While embracing the warmer weather, I’m also excited to dust off the grill and get outdoors for making seriously flavorful dinners (without sweating in the kitchen). But my grill had other plans, and became infested with bees and spiders over the rainy season. After bombing the interior with bug sprays, several loud screams after discovering big lurking spiders, I decided an indoor grill pan would have to do for now.

I use the grill for just about everything in warmer weather. One of our family favorites is eggplant Parmesan (here, and here), and when made on the grill, it’s a healthier and tastier meal. Make this vegetarian dinner over a gas or charcoal grill, or make anytime of year on a stove-top grill pan (like I did). Serve with crusty bread and a fresh salad for a delicious summer dinner.

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, sliced

1/4 cup salt

3 cups warm water

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (fresh is best)

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Fresh basil or spinach leaves

Directions

Slice the eggplant in rounds, cutting away the skin if desired. Fill a mixing bowl with the warm water and add the salt. Place the eggplant slices in the water and let soak for at least 20-minutes, which will remove any bitterness from the eggplant and give it a slight salty flavor.

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Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Toss the rounds in olive oil and set aside.

If using a charcoal grill, crank those coals until they are nice and hot, or set your gas grill to medium-high heat. For an indoor grill pan, heat over medium-high heat, turning on both back and front burners.

Place the slices on the grill and let sear over the heat for around three minutes. Use a tongs to carefully lift the eggplant rounds and rotate 90 degrees. Let cook for another three minutes.

Flip the rounds and let grill for three minutes. Now flip again and rotate 90 degrees. Let the eggplant hang out for a few minutes until the it is fork tender.

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Gather your favorite tomato sauce, sliced fresh mozzarella, and fresh spinach or basil leaves. Top each eggplant round with a spinach or basil leaf, a hearty spoonful of tomato sauce, and a slice of cheese. Grill until the cheese is bubbly.

grilled eggplant with sauce

Sprinkle the tops with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs, and grill for another few minutes.

Yum.

 

 

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Vacation (and what happens when there’s no WiFi)

Posted in About Life, About Me by Sarah Lipoff on 06/11/2013

We spent the week at the beach enjoying the hub’s home digs. It was the first visit for the tot, and was packed with meeting relatives, actually getting into the warmer East Coast ocean, and walking the boardwalk. Along with having someone to meet or somewhere to go the entire trip, the cool pad we stayed at wasn’t equipped with WiFi. At first I panicked. How was I going to check and see what was happening on Twitter? How to share on Facebook? I might need to see what was hot on Pinterest, catch up with celeb gossip, search for a recipe, check Twitter, update my Facebook, check my website stats, check Twitter….

Yeah.

It was awesome to have a break from it all and just be. Even though we had a bit of bad weather, the sunny days and great visits with relatives and friends made it a seriously memorable trip. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our vacation (thanks to the husband – although I did happen to snag the camera and snap a few of him too).

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And, if you’re not a relative or friend that knows where we spent our vacation, extra credit if you can name our destination in a comment below….

 

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