Buried Treasure, Restaurant Style- The Grill’s “Forest Mushroom Ravioli with Homemade Almond Pesto”

Ever notice how some of the most scrumptious little food spots are tucked away in some obscure spot? The best food always is.

We have been hitting this spot known simply as “The Grill” for years. Brothers Henry and Edwin Bautista and their crew do a fabulous job at packing the parking lot of a tiny strip mall behind the Sorrento Valley Coaster station. Good luck trying to get to it and our favorite coffee shop, Zumbar. And you know what? It pleases me to no end that the difficulty of successfully navigating your arrival to this place is directly proportional to the deliciousness of these two joints. That’s how The Universe of Great Food works. I figure that only really interested people will try to find their way here… consider it equivalent to buried truffle that only the most persistent dogs and pigs can locate.

Albondigas from The Grill…

On Wednesdays, The Grill serves a home made Albondigas Soup- Mexican Meatball Soup. They make a mean bowl of Albondigas and if I’m eating lunch with The Husband on a Wednesday, this is our spot. I love soup.

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Mushroom Ravioli with Almond Pesto

But I’m also the knucklehead who, back in January, announced that I would be doing something new every day in 2015. So, instead of my favorite soup I tried a different dish off the specials board- “Forest Mushroom Ravioli with Homemade Pesto.” The pasta was great, not blown out with over cooking. The ravioli’s stuffing is just right for the amount of pasta and full of a really lovely minced portobello mushroom. Homemade pesto took the stage, however, and I’ve enjoyed enough good pesto over the years that I could tell that they weren’t using pine nuts, but for the life of me, couldn’t tell what they used instead. Henry is nice- he didn’t torture me by withholding the info- he shared the almond secret. It would have driven me nuts trying to figure it out (ha- nuts… see what I did? LOL!)

Really, I can’t say how glad I am that I’m sticking to trying new things. I can’t tell if it has been more rewarding or more delicious… maybe both? There is still a lot more to 2015. Here’s to rut-busting!

What's on the menu, Henry and Edwin?
What’s on the menu, Henry and Edwin?

Home Made Cherry Almond Granola with Chia and Pine Nuts- So Good!

FitChickSD.com
FitChickSD.com

The Husband found a super-delicious bag of granola being sold at the bike shop recently- Fit Chick may be pricy, but is definitely worth every penny. It’s delicious. Click the picture (swiped from the Fit Chick web site) to connect with ordering info if you are so inclined…

I’ve been meaning to try a granola recipe that I found and squirreled away on Pinterest, and now I have a great model to imitate- I used a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, tweaked the ratios to make a smaller batch, and added chia seeds and pine nuts to come close to the Fit Chick bag o’ goodness.

Here’s how it went down…

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Ingredients…

Cherry Almond Granola

makes just over 4 cups

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole almonds, chopped roughly
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Mix together the first seven ingredients (syrup through the oils). Mix in the oats, almonds, pine nuts and chia seeds. Press into a 13″ x 18″ half sheet baking pan (or a cookie sheet) and bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Watch that the granola doesn’t get too browned! Let cool slightly, break into chunks, mix in the cup of dried cherries and try to keep yourself from eating it all in one sitting.

 

Patted into pan...
Patted into pan… I’d leave the cherries out until after it has baked, next time.
Finished granola.
Finished granola.

This was another “Holy Yum” recipe. If I were to rank it, it would be worthy of an 11 out of 10, à la Spinal Tap.

 

11/18/17 Update: I’ve continued to make and share this awesome recipe, and started adding 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom. Wow, is that a great addition! Another change I’ve made in the recipe is to increase the coconut and canola oil from 1 1/2 tablespoon, each, to two tablespoons, each. I think it needed a bit more of the oil to help keep everything together. And I also realize now that when you bake dried fruit in a granola, the fruit turns into little tough rocks. That’s not good. I’ve learned to mix the fruit in at the end!