I had a long weekend this past weekend and I was happy to finally have some time in the kitchen. I originally planned on these time consuming recipes, but I’ve been obsessed with these easy spread cookies, so that is all I ended up making! My latest version are these easy chocolate peanut butter ones, which are just five ingredients.

A while back I was really interested in trying Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter. Before realizing I could buy it from my local grocery store (which I now know you can), I bought a six pack on Amazon.

I liked the chocolate peanut butter but I’m not one to use that much peanut butter to begin with so I was suddenly stuck with all these jars. After finding recipes to use them up in, I finally got rid of all six. Only to then get another shipment six months later!!! Apparently I had done a subscription with Amazon which I completely forgot to cancel.

Top Chef Finale

When I did my Top Chef giveaway at the end of last year, I was happy to see how many other people were watching the show, so this seems like the perfect place to post my thoughts as we head into the final episode next week (which airs February 27, 2013 at 10/9 central.) I originally wanted to include a fabulous recipe that I made from one of the chefs this season (like that matcha dessert Kristen previously made), but they are all so complicated, that I didn’t have the time. If you haven’t watched this week’s episode, then you should stop reading this now as my post does discuss what happened.
bravo, top chef

After my post, Kristen really started to pull away from the pack with multiple wins. She definitely became my favorite.
top chef, season 10, seattle, kristen kish, bravo

And then came that controversial decision…

I know I don’t always agree with the judges and I didn’t necessarily expect Kristen to win the whole thing, but I was really upset with that Restaurant Wars episode, the judges decisio,n and how Kristen was eliminated. I know I wasn’t the only one since my twitter feed was full of outraged responses.

I have to admit, it took me a few weeks to get over it. I actually stopped watching the show for a while, letting the episodes sit on my TiVo. And then after a few weeks, and seeing that Kristen was still surviving in Last Chance Kitchen, I gradually got into the show again.

So now after last night, when we found out that it was indeed Kristen who made it back (which I was really impressed with), I thought it was time for another post. I also think the fact that she came back really shows how wrong the judges were to eliminate her so early since she then proceeded to beat all the other chefs that got eliminated after her, even having to go against both Josh and Lizzie at the end.

In Kristen’s absence, I’ve grown to quite like Brooke. Since she has a restaurant in LA, I definitely am thinking of checking it out sometime, though I’ll wait until all the popularity from Top Chef dies down to do so. I’m quite curious as to the food served there, especially since she made that pig ear salad in this most recent episode.

I am definitely psyched to see two women in the finale, guaranteeing a female winner this season.

As for who I think will win…

Swoon Dessert Bar just opened in San Diego and it was definitely the opening I was most anticipating after first reading about it on Eater.

First, I just adore the name. However, what really makes this place stand out are the weekend dessert flight tastings, where the desserts are plated by the chefs right in front of you. I marked the grand opening date on my calendar and immediately made my reservation for a few days later.

A la carte dessert options are available during the week, priced at a reasonable $6-7 range. On weekends, they offer a dessert flight starting at 6pm. The dessert flight menu changes each weekend. The tasting is only $16 per flight and can be split between two people (unlike most places which don’t allowing splitting and require everyone to order the same tasting).

There are individual tables as well as seating at the bar. I definitely recommend the dessert bar seating so you can watch the chefs in action and talk to them as well.  We were lucky enough to get the best seats in the house, a spot at the end of the dessert bar where you can see everything happening.

DH and I opted to share one dessert flight, order one a la carte dessert, and some teas and coffees to wash down the sweets.

Bird Rock Coffee Columbia, San Rafael

DH got a kick out of the tiny little creamer holder. He made sure I included it in my photo. The coffees and teas were also accompanied by very sweet cookies that are perfect coffee dunkers.

Amuse Bouche
Cara Cara Orange and Rosemary Sorbet/ White Chocolate Caviar/ Rosemary Shortbread

I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the orange and rosemary paired together, a combination that I didn’t think would work. The citrus notes awakened the tastebuds for our tasting.

First Course
croquembouche/ meyer lemon curd/ grains of paradise caramel

The little pastry chells were packed with a powerful lemon meyer curd. DH loves lemon flavored desserts so this really spoke to him. I enjoyed the thick caramel sauce on top.