Saturday, June 30, 2007

lavender lemon cupcakes

The flavors are subtle, but if you know what lavender smells like, you'll be able to pick it up in the cake.

I infused cream (I didn't have whole milk on hand) with the lavender buds for the batter, and also added some lemon extract. For the frosting, I used vanilla extract with a bit of lemon extract, and then food coloring to make it lavender colored.

Cute, yeah? =)


Friday, June 29, 2007


525 Laguna St (& Hayes)
(415) 252-9289

German in Hayes Valley

I've heard a lot about this place, so finally I decided that my birthday was the right occasion to try Suppenkuche out! For those of you wondering how to pronounce it, the voice on the machine said something like "soopenkookah". Apparently it means "soup kitchen" in German.

Before the majority of the party arrived, a few of us arrived early to check out the bar. The decor was simple, with large minimally finished wooden tables and chairs, but it was appropriate for the restaurant type. Immediately I was excited about their beer selection. I love beer, but I can't say I know much about German beer (other than knowing that I like Heifeweisen). I consulted with the friendly bartender who let me have a taste of some of the five or six varieties of Heife they had on tap. I opted to go with a .5 Liter of Schneider Weiss (which was also the bartender's favorite). Jeff, on the other hand, went for the 2 Liter boot of a special Pilsner they had on tap that day. Just as a warning, the boot is pretty fragile, and they will charge your credit card $50 if you break it.

Once the entire party of 10 arrived, they were prompt about seating. If you have a party larger than 6, you should definitely call ahead to make a reservation. Since the menu had so many enticing options, we stalled for time by ordering an appetizer of potato pancakes with applesauce. As a lover of potatoes, I enjoyed these very much. It was the perfect amount of crispy on the outside, and the applesauce complemented it well. After some pondering, I ended up ordering a sauteed porkloin with mushroom sauce and spaetzle. The portion was pretty huge; I definitely couldn't finish it all. The pork was a little dry, but the mushroom sauce was flavorful. The spaetzle was a little greasy, but I enjoyed it as well. A couple of my friends ordered a cabbage roll stuffed with chicken (or sausage). I would highly recommend ordering this. The cabbage was full of flavor, and the meat was very tender. For dessert, I ordered an Apple Streudel, which was tasty enough, but nothing to write home about.

Though at first the wait staff made me nervous by mentioning that we need to be out of the restaurant by 8 to accommodate for another party, the waitress was relaxed and let us sit with another round of beers before leaving. All-in-all, it was a very pleasant and delicious experience, and I was glad to spend my 25th birthday there.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

TOP 5: food & liquor

I'm generally very healthy, but that all goes out the window at 2am after a couple of drinks when I'm starving.

1. Pizza: Pizza Orgasmica is open until 2:30am, (what?? I go to the Marina?? No, but they deliver) and Escape from NY seems to always be around whenever I'm out (Castro, Russian Hill, etc). I don't know if I'll ever be drunk enough to try this though. It would also require me to be in Philly (or would it??).

2. Pancakes: sometimes you just want breakfast in the middle of the night. There's an IHOP in the Marina (What?? The Marina again?? Fortunately Brian moved out of there. Yes!), and Bagdad Cafe is close to Cafe du Nord. Mel's is also open late, but I never like going there (I got yelled at once in the Berkeley location).

3. La Burrita & Top Dog: I don't know any hot dog places in SF (are there any?), but for the non-college-student, this Berkeley pair hits the spot after a show in the Greek (or if you happen to be in that area for any other reason).

4. Ramen: it's just the answer to everything! Chef Boyardee? It seems to go well with the magical rap stylings of Ms. Lil Mama. What better reminds you of lip gloss that's poppin than the pasta of our elementary school days?

5. Sweethearts' popcorn chicken: I haven't had this since college because boba places just do not exist in convenient locations in SF (there's a Quickly in the Castro though. Random!).


Friday, June 22, 2007

coconut tapioca with strawberries & basil lime syrup

I've been wanting to try a rendition of La Folie's tapioca for awhile now, and I finally got around to it. I didn't have enough time, so instead of making the pudding from scratch, I just used a mix and used coconut milk instead of regular milk. This was a mistake, since the vanilla flavoring in the mix is so strong that you couldn't even taste the coconut really. Oh well!

I really just wanted to see how the basil sauce played out (epicurious recipe), and it was actually really good! Strawberries and basil go really well together, so everything just complimented each other. Yum!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mitchell's Ice Cream

688 San Jose Ave (& 29th St)
(415) 648-2300

Ice Cream Shop in Noe Valley

Mitchell's is definitely a San Francisco staple. Although yelp says it's Noe Valley, it's like borderline Noe Valley/Bernal Heights (or even Glen Park according to someone else, but I think that's really stretching it - I just tagged it as all of those places kind of). Parking isn't bad since it's pretty far out, and there's also a small lot behind the place. It's also pretty accessible by public transportation - it's a decent walk from the 24th & Mission BART station, or you can MUNI it.

Expect a wait. On any given day. You can also buy their ice cream in cartons and to go.

Mitchell's is known for their "exotic" flavors, meaning Filipino flavors like ube, halo halo, etc. All of their flavors are pretty good, including the standard ones (french vanilla custard? mmmm). A lot of people like Tropical 4, but I think it's kind of boring. Their "grasshopper pie" is REALLY GOOD (mint chocolate chip + fudge + oreos), and that's coming from someone who isn't big on chocolate. They also offer ice cream sandwiches (between 2 cookies, reminiscent of Diddy Riese), shakes, and other sweet concoctions.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

lychee & black tea granita


I was at my parents' house this weekend and wanted to make something since their kitchen is so much nicer than mine, but they had hardly any ingredients to make anything and I didn't want to spend any money... but I found some cans of lychee. My mom is also a tea fanatic, so I thought why not.

I also got this idea from Sketch in Berkeley after a recent visit there (actually, I don't remember if they also used tea in theirs). It pretty much tastes exactly the same, except the lychee overpowers the tea in mine. I'll have to use more tea bags next time (I just used one).


Thursday, June 14, 2007

peach clafoutis, or I am the Best Friend Ever

So my friend asked me to make something for a morning meeting because it was his turn to bring food. I decided to make banana nut muffins (easy) and something a little less normal - clafoutis - as inspired by this class I took recently. Although clafoutis is traditionally made with cherries, I decided to use peaches because I had peach pie on the brain. That almost sounds dirty.

I didn't follow any particular recipe exactly, but kind of tweaked a conglomerate of a bunch of recipes I found via blogs/slashfood/epicurious. Pictures aren't very nice because I made this at night (finished around midnight) and I had to give it away. Thus, no natural light for nice pictures. The other is taken by a camera phone.

How does it taste? Not bad. Pretty much how it was supposed to taste (custardy). People supposedly liked it. This dessert is all about the fruit... too bad you can't see how nicely I fanned the peach slices out! It was pretty. =)


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sushi House

2375 Shoreline Dr. (@ the marina)
(510) 865-0999

Japanese in Alameda

Anyone who went to Cal has been here. Just a 10 minute drive down 880, Sushi House is the reason why people even know where Alameda is. It has definitely gone downhill over the years (portions are smaller, food is less carefully prepared, etc), but it will always hold a special place in my heart as comfort food should.

What's special about this place is the large selection of sushi rolls - many of them baked or accompanied with a special sauce. These mega rolls have caught on to most sushi restaurants, but none can beat Sushi House's. The Bay Scallop roll is by far my favorite, but almost all of them are good (another popular is the Lion King which is a California roll topped with salmon and then baked with a sauce).

Another dish I like to get here is the chirashi, which is like a sashimi salad or an open sushi roll, depending on where you are (like in San Diego, there's this place where it really is like a salad salad). At sushi house, it's just a bunch of raw fish and stuff on top of sushi rice. Since Sushi House is so popular, they are constantly getting fish, so you know it'll be fresh. Hamachi is like butter here.

If you have never been, you should eat at the restaurant at least once. It's a long wait though. You honestly would have to go at odd hours in order to avoid any wait at all. Calling ahead and getting take-out is ideal if you don't have the patience.


Monday, June 11, 2007


1539 Solano Ave. (and Neilson)
(510) 526-2542

Italian/Californian in Berkeley

I've been here twice - the most recent occasion was for 2 family birthdays a few weeks ago. The other was over a year ago, and although I never wrote my own review, I found Kevin's travbuddy review from way back then. It's quite amusing, and it definitely describes the feel of our meal that night - e.g. being the sommeliers that we are, we chose the wine based on the fact that we thought the name was cool haha.

This place is pretty small, but the mirrors that line the walls and the huge windows definitely create the illusion of more space. During my recent visit, we started with their signature portabella fritters (fried mushrooms? how can you not like that), cheese souffle with prosciutto (yum), and this minced scallop thing in a phyllo shell (don't really remember).

For entrees, my dad and I had stuffed veal (pictured) and it was incredibly good. I'm a sucker for veal, and this one did not fail. My little sister got the ravioli Kevin had last time which was eh (but a first for her! She just about ALWAYS orders chicken or whatever the most boring item on the menu is), my other sister got a risotto cake which I really liked, my mom got salmon (like my little sister, she gets salmon everywhere she goes. I don't know why though, because it tastes the same no matter where you go or how it's prepared), and the Joe got a big chunk of pork which was fatty.

Service this time was definitely more competent haha, and I think any waiter/waitress that can serve my family and still be really nice is always a trooper. Desserts were typical. No wine this time - my mom freaks out if I have more than one glass of wine because I'll "get drunk."

Note: I tagged this as a wine entry per the travbuddy review.


Monday, June 04, 2007

chocolate mousse

I know I said I didn't want this blog to do too many things, and I still want to maintain that. However, I made this yesterday and just couldn't help myself!

The mousse was incredibly rich and denser than I had imagined, even after reading the reviews. I'm not a huge chocolate person, but it was pretty good (yes, I am patting myself on the back as I type). I also made shot-glass sizes, and that was the perfect amount for me because I personally cannot eat that much chocolate.

In the picture on the right, those are just phyllo squares/triangles I made to use up the rest from the rolls I made recently. Not the best pictures, but whatever!