featured, Latin Cuisine, Mexican Specialties, Seafood Specialties

Menu of the Month: Californio Tasting Dinner

The following is a small sampling of the menu items I offer. For a more extensive selection, please see the Modern Mexican menu on Tres Señoritas Gourmet, our sister site


Mexican Cheese and Cured Meats Board

Mexican Cheese Board
Grilled Chile-Lime Baby Cactus/ Queso Fresco/ Habanero Jack/ Cured Chorizo/ Panel Cheese with Guava Paste/ Cecina: cured Mexican beef (not shown)

Elote Pops: (seasonal) our version of a Mexican street food favorite, grilled, dusted with lime butter and Cotija cheese, topped with my signature Burnt Chipotle Mecca Salsa

Charred Elote Bites

Alas Locas- “crazy” chicken wings, select from Mole, Chipotle BBQ, Mexican Dry Spiced

chicken wings riNux
photo by riNux

Handmade Blue Corn Tortillas / Black Bean Hummus/ Chorizo & Wild Mushrooms (see below) or choose “Higo” de Gallo (Pico de Gallo with fresh figs) or Charred Panela Cheese & Avocado

Black Bean Hummus Chorizo Mushrooms

Tapenades / Flatbread

Poblano / Black Olive / Fig Tapenade

 Hearts of Palm Dip

Salpicon de Mariscos Mixta: “salpicon” literally translates as a “jumble”, I use crab meat and shrimp with fresh lime and chile, served on a house-made tostada


Seared Scallop/ Burnt Chipotle Mecca Salsa

Scallop Spoons


House cured Tequila-Cilantro Salmon Rosettes on Cucumber Coin



Trio of Moles

Mole Verde made with tomatillo, cilantro, romaine lettuce, pumpkin seeds, and epazote/ Blackberry Mole/ Hazelnut Mole / handmade corn tortillas made from locally-milled masa

trio of moles


Tostadita de Pollo en Mole
Blackberry mole / handmade “green” nopalito-corn tortilla / shredded chicken / Queso Cotija / plantain chip

  • blackberry-mole-small-tortilla-app

Tamal De Cazuela

Choice of Corn /Sweet Red & Poblano Chiles/ Onions / Garbanzos / Green Beans or Tinga de Pollo (Mexican chicken fricassee with Chipotle Chiles, Spanish White Onion, Cinnamon, and Spices)

tamal de cazuela from book


Eggplant en Nogada

Eggplant Nogada

Eggplant/Poblanos/Golden Raisins/Walnut with a Walnut Crema Mexicana Sauce


Halibut Plate.JPG

Grilled Chilean Sea Bass grilled in Banana Leaf / Meyer Lemon & Peruvian Orange / Pasilla & Ancho Chile Adobo


Pistachio-crusted Salmon with Pistachio Pipian
(Pipians, similar to moles, are thick sauces made with seeds, nuts, chiles and spices)
Purple Peruvian Fingerlings / shredded rainbow carrots / roasted tomatillo half


Fresh Mango Salsa / Sweet Potato Plantain Mash


Carne Enchilada Estilo Michoacán: Beef Brisket / Pasilla Chile Salsa /Tomatillos


Fig Sorbet

Spiced Fig Sorbet / Pistachio Dust


Mexican Corn Cake

Cienna’s Agave & Rum Soaked Mexican Corn Cake


featured, French

French Bistro & Provençal Specialties

I began my love affair with French cooking as a 16-year old au pair, living with a family just outside of Paris. Our family has close ties with France; with one son living in Paris, I am a frequent visitor and always updating my repertoire of French recipes! (scroll down to see additional menu selections following the sample menu).

Zucchini-Tomato Verrine


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Leeks with Bacon: Hard-boiled Eggs/ Vinaigrette

Coquille St. Jacques


Endive & French Country Ham Au Gratin


Mushrooms Duxelle Tartin

Onion / Goat Cheese Tartin

photo by Ruth Hartnup

Smoked Salmon / Dill-Mustard Sauce

Caviar de Aubergine: Eggplant Caviar / Toast Points

Beet Hummus

photo by katie hargrave


French Onion Tart / Anchovies and Olives

French Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese




Potage Parmentier: chilled Bodega Bay Potato-leek Soup

photo by mari

(option to serve hot and add bacon for a Soupe Poireux)

French Onion Soup





Cassoulet au Canard

photo by David Blaine
photo by David Blaine

Rancho Gordo Classic Cassoulet Beans/lamb sausage/duck leg


Cassoulet Catalan en Pistache

Rancho Gordo Classic Cassoulet Beans/ Lamb Shoulder / Pancetta / French Sausage

Sous Vide Steak Frites with Red-Wine Shallot Sauce

Filet Mignon Bordelais


Bordeaux wine / thyme / shallot sauce

Pot au Feu

photo by stu spivak

Beef shank / rump roast / root vegetables

French Country Ham

Beef Bourguignon with Haricots Verts


Coq au Vin


Homard a L’Americane / Cayenne / Garlic / Tarragon / Tomato / Cognac / White Wine


Filet de Sole a la Bretonne: Pan-sauteed / Caper-Mushroom-Shrimp-Vermouth Reduction

photo by Jeremy Keith
photo by Jeremy Keith





Arugula / Bruléed Ruby Red Grapefruit / Toasted Pine Nuts

Citrus/Agave Dressing

Organic Bay Spring Greens / Jicama / Mango
Raspberry Vinaigrette

Shaved Asparagus / Baby Carrots

Shaved Asparagus SaladRicotta salata / lemon / almonds


individual cheese plate (not mine)
photo by Larry Hoffman


Creme Brulée


Chocolate Mousse

Rose whipped cream / pistachios

photo by jamieanne
photo by jamieanne

Cherry Clafoutis

photo by Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin

Pomme Bonne Femme/ Cinnamon Mascarpone/ Coffee Salted Carmel Dulce de LecheIMG_1938 (2)


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featured, Gluten-free, Mediterranean


A menu, based on seasonally available ingredients, developed in consultation with Guest Chef Leslie Alamsha Omran, beings with Mezze- a selection of small dishes served to accompany alcoholic drinks as a course in the Middle East and Mediterranean

Scroll to bottom for sample menu


Eggplant Rolls G

Chinese eggplant/Mozzarella di Bufala/ roasted sweet red pepper/ fresh basil G

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 10.34.35 AM

Napa Valley Goat Cheese Phyllo Stacked with Crushed Olives

 Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 9.19.19 AM

White Bean  or Traditional Hummus


Beet Hummus

photo by katie hargrave
photo by katie hargrave

Grilled Pork Kebabs/ Mint-cucumber Yogurt Sauce G

Photo by kae71463
Photo by kae71463

Caviar de AubergineEggplant Caviar, Toast Points


Baba Ganoush

Mediterranean Chicken Skewers

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Leslie’s Amazing Hummus


Lamb Meatballs/ Greek Yogurt Sauce


Wild Rice with Dill and Carmelized Onions

Lamb Skewers with Walnut & Pomegranate Molasses


Pan-seared Scamorza/ Sundried Tomato Pesto/ Arugula Pesto

Scamorza Two Pestos

Fattoush: Traditional Lebanese salad of romaine lettuce, scallions, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, mint and radishes tossed with pita croutons/ Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Tzatziki Potato Salad

Baked Goat Napa Valley Cheese and Sheep’s Feta / Caramelized Onions / Fresh Figs / Toasted Pine Nuts / Rosemary / Roasted Garlic


Lamb Tagine/ Israeli Couscous with Pistachios and California Apricots

photo by Andrew Nash


Mediterranean White Fish (or Chicken) in Banana Leaves G

This recipe combines a traditional Mexican cooking technique and Mediterranean flavors, wrapping either poultry or, in this case, fish, in banana leaves with vegetables and herbs and spices, and baking it. creates a flaky, moist and flavorful fishI use the best-available, local,  sustainable-sourced white fish, olives, capers and cherry tomatoes.

1 Pescado Pibil
Photo by Adriana Almazan Lahl from Celebraciones Mexicanas: History, Traditions and Recipes, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Mediterranean Fish Soup G

A savory seafood stock, fennel and saffron are the flavor high notes for this hearty main course soup. I use the best-available, local,  sustainable-sourced white fish fillets, topped with pita point croutons (omitted for gluten-free menu)

Roast Leg of Lamb or Grilled Baby Lamb Chops with Ladolemono G

Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 12.18.36 PM

served with

Cranberry Harissa Chutney G


Grilled Balsamic FenneG

Salmon Marbella / brown sugar/capers/olives/figs/oregano/ white wine G

served with

Israeli Toasted Couscous


Honey and Tahini Ganache with Toasted Sesame Seeds G

Toasted Almond & Bittersweet Chocolate-stuffed Baked Figs

/ mascarpone cream/ port wine syrup

Agave-soaked Orange Pound Cake

w/ toasted hazelnut crumble


Med Menu 









featured, Spanish

Tapas & Paella

Sangria not mine

Imagine the guitarist playing flamenco and your guests, sipping Pantera Rosas and a pitcher of Sangria on each table….



Tapas Assortment

Grilled Green Onions with Romanesco

Sweet Plantain on Wilted Radicchio


Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Nuts

Grilled Shishito Peppers

Grilled Calamari Salad


or make a different selection from our Tapas Menu 


Andalusian Salad

Screen shot 2015-05-05 at 1.38.20 PM

chopped cucumber / tomatoes / Spanish white onion / fresh thyme / Sherry vinegar 


all with house-roasted red peppers /sugar snap peas /saffron rice

Traditional Seafood: scallops /  shrimp / mussels / calamari


Mexican Paella: Chicken morsels /shrimp / lobster tail / housemade chorizo

Vegetarian Paella: chef’s choice depending upon season


Lemon/Rum-soaked Sponge Cake 

Fruit Soup 

Screen shot 2015-05-05 at 1.37.55 PM


featured, Modern American Cuisine, Southern Specialties


Long before I immersed myself in Italian, French, Mediterranean and Mexican cooking, I cooked at my mother’s side, learning to make what can only be called  classic American food: Roast Beef and Popovers, Brisket and Mashed Potatoes with Succotash, Chicken with Dumplings— this was the fare of my childhood. When it was clear that cooking was my calling, I began first to expand upon what I knew, and perfect some of my mother’s favorites. Here are updated versions of the dishes I was raised on! I can create special appetizers, soups, salads, entrées or desserts, or an entire menu along one of these lines. I love designing new menus and am happy to develop a meal around your tastes, just let me know what intrigues you!


(for sample menus, scroll to bottom)


Watermelon Rind Pickles
Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cups

Steak Tartare/ Black Pepper & Salt-cured Egg York / Pickled Beet / Fried Caperberry / Brown Rice Crackers

Steak Tartare


Grilled Nectarine / Buratta / Basil / Balsamic Reduction

Grilled Peach

Massaged Kale or Traditional Caesar



Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with a Peach-Red Wine Reduction

(finished with torch, below)

Searing Beef Tenderloin

Surf ‘n Turf


Chicken in Rose and Hibiscus Sauce

Screen shot 2015-04-06 at 1.40.35 PM

Sous Vide Beef Brisket with Texas Mopping Sauce

Screen shot 2014-08-31 at 10.08.25 AM
Barbecued Pork Loin with Bourbon Sauce


Savory Bread Pudding: Leek or Spinach/Artichoke or Mushroom/Parmesan

(also available gluten-free Cheddar/Thyme Cornbread Pudding)

photo by K. R. B.


Kickin’ Cole Slaw: Fresh corn (seasonal) / Habanero sauce

Foot Stompin’ Baked Beans: Rancho Gordo black beans stewed for 24 hours in a clay pot / bacon lardons / Chorizo / Blackstrap Molasses / piloncillo  
Herbed Butter Grilled Corn

grilled corn


Lavender Bread Pudding / Currants and Bananas Brullée /Amaretto Mascarpone

Chef Gray's Bread Puddingserved warm

see our full Dessert Menu here


Framed Menu American 2

Framed Menu American

Cocktail Party, featured

How much food do I need to serve for a Cocktail Party?

When planning food for a cocktail party, how much to serve is determined by the length of your event. (For our Bar Menu, click here). Assuming there is not main course or dinner to follow, you should figure 5-7 nibbles per guest for the first couple of hours, then 4-5 nibbles for the next couple of hours and if your event goes longer, just 3 or so bites during the final hours. You may want to switch from savory to sweet bites towards the end of your event.

If you decide to go with “Small Plates“, which are heavier than traditional appetizers, or a combination of both appetizers and small plates, you should count each small plate like you would two appetizers. We are here to help you with planning, so don’t feel you have to manage all this on your own. I am happy to suggest exactly what items and how much is optimal. Remember, some guests may want to enjoy more than one serving of a particular appetizer… I can guide you based on my experience and your guests dietary preferences.

Below is a sample menu for 35 guests for a five-hour event.

1. Beef Bourguignon Meatballs
Bite-sized versions of this French Classic
with just a souçon of Bourguignon sauce
served in a Chinese spoon


2. Pan Bagnat (Provençal) Mini -sliders
Gourmet albacore tuna with minced artichoke heart and Niçoise olives and a thin hard-boiled egg slice


Chicken Antipasto Sliders

Chicken salad with Italian Slaw with fennel and capers, topped with olives and pepperocini


3. Mushroom Duxelle Tart
Minced mushrooms sautéed in a butter-Port wine reduction in delicate puff pastry shells topped with Parmagiano Reggiano

4. Shrimp Scampi Crostini
Shrimp at sautéed in smoky bacon dripping and served on crostini of multi-grain bread seasoned with rosemary


5. Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Empanadas ‡
Hand pies, filled with puree of sweet potatoes and Napa Valley goat cheese with just a hint of chile, scallions and pecans


6. Carne Tartara de Chiapas (top photo)
Filet Mignon, diced and marinated until cooked in lime juice
with chopped onion, tomato and guajillo chiles topped with Queso Anejo

photo 2 (3)


Traditional Steak Tartare*


7. Brazil Nut-crusted Pelotita

Napa Valley goat cheese filled with Black Mission fig. Served with Pear-Tamarind-Ginger Chutney

photo 1 (4)

8. Eggplant Rolls‡
Chinese eggplant, seasoned and grilled, then wrapped around a thick slice of mozzarella, roasted sweet red pepper and fresh basil, served on a skewer

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 10.34.35 AM

9. Mexican Crab Cakes with 3 Peppers
Sweet red and yellow peppers plus mild Poblanos. Served with a chipotle aoili or Salsa Verde

Screen shot crabcakes

10. Chilled Avocado Soup Shots

Screen shot 2014-01-16 at 9.16.10 AM

11. Coconut-Mango Ceviche*
Made with chef’s choice of locally-sourced white fish. Marinated in lime juice and coconut milk, with a hint of jalepeño.

Screen shot ceviche

12. Endive Wraps with Salmon, Caviar and Cowgirl Creamery Crème Fraiche

photo 4

Sweet Bites


13. Profiteroles
14. Mango Bread Pudding Cups

* These items are served raw or undercooked, or contain (or may contain) raw or undercooked ingredients. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.