Friday, November 10, 2006

Pear, Walnut & Gorgonzola Panini

I don't often write about restaurants or other eating establishments I've been to, mostly because that's not what this blog is about and, secondly, because I'm not very good at it. Today, however, I'm making an exception because this panini and its maker deserve recognition.
A more accurate title for this post would be Melissa's "Out on a Limb" Panini. This beautiful and tasty sandwich was made especially for us at our local village coffee house, The Beachcomber Cafe; the village being Trinidad, population 354, located on the far north coast of California, where the redwoods meet the Pacific Ocean.
ith a gulp, "I'm going out on a limb!", she agreed and made us one of the best tasting paninis I've had this side of the Atlantic.


When Clay and I went into town to vote last Tuesday, we decided to stop at the Beachcomber to see what was being offered for lunch. Co-owner Melissa Zarp, her lovely face just visible to clientele from her food prep station in the back of the small kitchen, told us she was working on a special panini that wasn't yet on the menu. After hearing the list of ingredients she was thinking of sandwiching between slices of our favorite local artisan focaccia, we both volunteered on the spot to be her guinea pigs. Saying, w
First came the focaccia. Made fresh daily by local artisan bread company, Brio, it's an herb-y, yeasty, soft flat bread that Melissa cut into sandwich-sized pieces then sliced in half horizontally. Gorgonzola, bosc pear slices, chopped walnuts, finely minced red onion, a bit of mozzarella cheese and beet greens made up the filling in this sandwich, which was then toasted in a panini press. The result was heavenly. Melissa added turkey to mine which I thought was outstanding. The only thing I might suggest would be to use arugula instead of beet greens. To my mind, gorgonzola, pears and walnuts cry out for arugula. Still, this panini is a winner - beet greens and all!
Soup is made fresh daily and a wide selection of paninis are always on the menu. Hopefully, Melissa's "Out on a Limb" creation will soon follow.
Beachcomber Cafe co-owner Melissa Zarp, left, with staff person Sarah
The Beachcomber Cafe is an all-organic coffee house, located at 363 Trinity Street, across from the Trinidad School. The wide selection of organic coffees and teas, as well as the always smiling faces of the staff, make this a favorite gathering place for locals. The shelves of the glass display case, filled with delicious, locally made scones, muffins, cookies and cakes, are often bare by closing time, prompting customers to come in early to get their favorite picks.

12 comments:

sher said...

That's a killer sandwich Christine! I love pears and gorgonzola together. And the bread looks perfect. The coffee shop reminds me of Chocolot here in Davis--the one next to Central Park?

Anonymous said...

Now you envy me popping across to France and I envy you going to the Beachcomber Cafe and Chocolot in Davis. Andouille sausage in France is totally different to yours I think its made of what we call chitterlings.
Anne

christine said...

Hey Sher, I love, love, love Ciocolat in Davis! Sometimes I sneak in there for an afternoon latte and one of their really gooey, wonderful chocolate bombes. They're so decadent and calorie-laden, and delicious!
I have a photo of one somewhere in my archives. I should pull it out and post it so my friend Anne in the UK can really be jealous!

And to my old classmate Anne,
Sorry, I win in the jealousy department. Nothing can compare to being able to get on a train and be in Paris in a couple of hours. Nothing! :)

Jann said...

oh this looks so delicious! The bread, I can see that crisp crust-I agree with you as far as the arugula----That would put it over the edge!

Catherine said...

love that pear, walnut , Gorgonzola combo!

paz said...

I love the sound of this combination. Oh, how I'd love a taste. Just one little bite. ;-)

Paz

Katie said...

That looks like a fantastic sandwich! I love panini, but, usually only in Italy. I think you have found a treasure - tell Melissa she did well!

We were just discussing Andouille yesterday - here in France it's made with tripe (stomach) and, as I hate tripe I normally avoid it. It also tends to be quite course - so you really know (or not) what you are eating. I'll try this with a different sausage...chorizo maybe?..

Anonymous said...

We once bought Andouille in France not knowing what was in it and I thought it tasted a bit like a mild ham. It was only after I discovered what it was that we now avoid it. Just shows you what our minds tell us. As for Paris Christine you are definitely not going to believe this ....I have never been to Paris!!! My husband has been before he met me but says he hates cities, I think it's a cop out. I will get there one day. Maybe even to Melissa's! I did go to Brighton yesterday and my favourite place is the bagel shop and yesterday's special was grilled halloumi with sundried tomatoes and avocado now how about that. Except I had to bring my own gluten free roll but it was still gorgeous.
Anne

Mimi J. said...

Oh, that panini looks wonderful — what a trio of tastes that work so well together!

As for Paris, I wish everyone a visit. It is so layered, so mysterious, like a constant carnival with its quiet corners. My previous visits have been no longer than a few days. I hope that when I finally spend two weeks there, she (for of course, Paris is a woman!) does not disappoint me. Let's see, about 185 days left...

FarmgirlCyn said...

OH MY GOODNESS! This looks so yummy! I have thought about investing in a panini press, but hate to spend the $$ on something I would not use often. Maybe a frying pan with a foil covered rock on it??? Your Fleur de Sel mentioned earlier used to be available in our local gourmet store, but the last time I needed some, they had switched to a different brand. Glad I can find it elsewhere! Really enjoyed my visit to your blog!

christine said...

For a home made panini grill, use a cast iron grill pan or, barring that, any large cast iron pan. Put your sandwich in it and place another, smaller cast iron pan on top. That should do it. You won't get the pretty grill marks but your sandwich will flatten out and taste pretty darned good.

Lisa said...

That looks so very, very good! I've passed this on to a friend who just got a Le Creuset grill pan...