Insiders Guide: Napa Valley
Check out the recent photo of me at Mustards Grill on page 67. The newest edition of the Wine Spectator magazine will be available this week, featuring their favorite insider spots (many of mine too) of Napa Valley. Available in stores soon! Wine Spectator, September 30, 2017 edition. 
Our Talented Sous Chefs
Summer is a lovely time in the valley....our gardens are bursting with produce and there is the buzz of pre-harvest in the air. When our executive chefs take a day or two off I get to  spend more time with our super sous chefs. Lately, I have spent time with Freddy at CBK, and Tom at Mustards cooking and looking at product. 
I am fortunate to have such talented sous, each with a passion for cooking and serving great food to our customers. I love working with them to share my knowledge and experience as a chef, plus it's a great deal of fun.
Recipe of the Month -
How to Build A Better Burger 
For my August recipe, I am sharing a simple but delicious way to build a better version of everyone's favorite classic, the burger. Oh how I love burgers! I don't eat them that often but when I do I like them big and juicy, cooked medium rare, with delicious toppings.  Recently John and I ate them outside on our deck and it was the perfect food for a hot summer's evening. So for August I offer the simple but delicious recipe of how to build a better burger, my way.
My Favorite Recent Visits
Speaking of sandwiches, I just stopped at the wonderful Corti Brothers gourmet grocery store in Sacramento. Started in 1947, the store offers hard-to-find food items from around the world. John and I were a bit hungry and shared a roast pork sandwich on dark rye. There must have been ½ pound of pork on super fresh bread with all the fixings. It was delicious. I loved that the sandwich came with a cookie and a mint. Nice touch.

We spent quite a while talking with Rick the store director. He told us about the process to make Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia and how Darrel Corti almost single-handedly brought the authentic Aceto to America. This is the Balsamico that you sprinkle a drop or two of on a perfectly ripe peach, over a bowl of fully ripe strawberries, or a shaving of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It is quite the exquisite eating experience.
Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
Whole Beast for August 
Jim and Michael both love BBQ and I enjoy discovering the different ways they prepare it. This month the theme at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen is BBQ and I can't wait. I am looking forward to slow cooked wood oven pork shoulder, and ribs to start off the month, followed by different birds and lamb riblets. 
Pair Off Pour All August
This month's  Pair-Off Pour-Off   (Fridays at Mustards) features Lobster Shack foods, a   favorite . We'll be serving lots of great lobster dishes like lobster gazpacho and lobster carbonara. You will also want to try one of the desserts; such as blueberry buckle, which I love saying as much as eating, and Gravenstein hand pies with maple ice cream, yum.
Happy Dog Days of Summer-stay cool and eat well.

Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

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  Cindy Pawlcyn Napa Valley
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