Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Killer Keller Quiche

Like that alliteration? So do I.

Last weekend was the bridal shower for Tu, one of my best friends from HS, and I made the food. The main attraction was this quiche, except that I used mushrooms in addition to the leeks and roquefort. It really isn't as difficult/time-consuming as seriouseats makes it out to be. If you've made a pie or tart dough before, it's basically the same thing. I used a springform since I didn't have any pans that were deep enough, and it turned out just dandy. Definitely the hit!

Other things I made that might sound familiar:
- Pasta with roasted asparagus, lemon, shaved gruyere, soft-boiled eggs, and caramelized onions (as inspired by laiola)
- Cassoulet
- Strawberries and blackberries tossed in basil lime syrup (man I love that stuff!)
- Chocolate ganache drizzled with olive oil & fleur de sel (as inspired by laiola again and michael laiskonis)


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eye on the Pies: The Ultimate SF yuppie power lunch.

2901 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Kathy and I took a break from our job in the FIDI (that’s Financial District for those of you not in the know) to grab some pies in the Mission. I donned my North Face Fleece and converses (typical SF yuppie) and Kathy wore her tapered pants and flats (typical SF hipster) and we hopped on the BART.

Located a few blocks from the 24th and Mission stop is Mission Pie. This place is hippie heaven. The pies are made from local ingredients by local underprivileged youth. Every piece of furniture in the establishment is made from recycled materials, including the compostable bag I was given for my to-go order.

Mission Pie offers a limited selection of pies that are sold whole or by the slice. Kathy and I tried the Pear Ginger pie and Banana Cream pie. The PG pie was excellent, light and refreshing. Kathy is usually a ginger-hater, but this pie managed to win her over. The BC pie met all the expectations of the traditional BC pie, but not worth writing home about (as opposed to the BC pie at Liberty CafĂ©…which is bomb-diggity).

We also went to a local taqueria (La Taqueria) for tacos. I was skeptical at first, as the tables were dirty but I guess that’s how they roll. Def. another place I’d go back to. They had this white milky looking drink that was cinnamon flavored, it looked delicious.*

And of course, we went to Philz coffee. My #1 favorite coffee place (#2 is Blue Bottle). I won’t go on about Philz, as I came off like a crack addict in a previous coffee review. But y’all should try it if you can!

* Please refer to the recent episode of Check Please


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring = Asparagus

You know it's spring when you see asparagus EVERYWHERE - all over menus, farmer's markets, every other post on Tastespotting....

Pictured: simple dinner - lots of garlic, shallots, asparagus, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon tossed in whole wheat pasta


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fierce Hot Mess

This weekend was RIDICULOUSLY hot! I think Saturday was almost 90 in Berkeley, and SF wasn't much cooler. Times like these are rare (I think 2007 there were maybe 2 or 3 days in the entire year that were comparable in SF), so I spent the entire weekend outdoors and sweaty... definitely a hot mess.

Here's what was on the menu this weekend:

- First time at Herbivore
- First time at Genova Delicatessen
- Homemade butternut squash lasagna
- Late night run to CJ's
- Cherry Blossom Festival

So Mike works near Shattuck, where the new Berkeley Herbivore opened a little while ago. Now after my experience at Cafe Gratitude, I wasn't exactly jumping to try this place, but I soon noticed a ton of locations popping up in the city. Mike and his friends went and said it was pretty decent, so I thought I'd give it a try instead of my usual salad fix at Intermezzo. I got the wasabi soba noodles which were ok, but Mike's shawarma was actually really really good. Their soy chicken was quite tasty (who knows if it's actually good for you though since there are probably a lot of preservatives and chemicals in there), and I'd say it was comparable to, but not better than, a normal meat shawarma. I would go back for sure, and maybe try their other middle eastern inspired dishes.

Saturday we intended to take it easy, but ended up stuffing our faces with Genova Delicatessen. Erina had been lauding this place for awhile now, so we decided to give it a try. It's in the Temescal area off of Telegraph, in the Walgreens plaza across the street from Bakesale Betty. The line was ridiculous, but we passed the time by ogling the hordes of meat in their display cases. I ordered specialty sandwich #2, which was prosciutto, anchovies, and mozzarella, and it was pretty amazing (pictured below). Mike's Genova salami mix was a little disappointing, but there are so many choices we'll have to come again. One yelp review said their cucumber salad was really good, but it was way too sweet for our tastes.

We also had the privilege of enjoying Erina's home-cooking! Among other things, she made this really light and tasty butternut squash lasagna, using a bechemel that didn't require THAT much butter and low-fat mozzarella, so it wasn't that unhealthy =)

Mike has also been craving Carl's Jr.'s Cap'n Crunch shake, which sounds disgusting to me, so we made a quick run. Man, watching the lady make it made me really uneasy! It was basically a vanilla soft-serve, some kind of brown syrup (flavoring? who knows!), and actual Cap'n Crunch cereal, all blended up. It wasn't bad, but I didn't want to take more than a sip. Mike, on the other hand, drank it all and even saved some to put in his cereal later on. Yes, he is gross.

Today I met up with friends at the Cherry Blossom Festival. It's continuing next weekend, but who knows how the weather will be (rain on Wednesday??) so a ton of people were out. I went a few years ago and got more traditional food like takoyaki and stuff like that, but this time I just really wanted ribs, so we waited in the 30+ min (I might be exaggerating) line for them. I'd been craving BBQ all weekend!

I think I'm more tan now, but it'll probably fade in a few days once SF returns to 50 degree weather =P


Monday, April 07, 2008


2031 Chestnut (& Fillmore)
(415) 346-5641

Spanish tapas in the Marina (!)

Note: I think I'm going to stop with the rating... it just doesn't feel right anymore!

This tapas restaurant is in the heart of the Marina - not my favorite place, but I will go there for good food. We tried a LOT of food (thanks to Jen's very generous friend!), and there were definitely some standouts.

Braised beef cheeks w/ roasted cauliflower and a honey (?) raisin sauce - the beef was like butter (the only other time I've felt that way about beef was at French Laundry)
Asparagus - it was really quite perfect, with a bit of sweetness

Other notable dishes:
Lamb hearts & livers - I'm not really a liver person, but the combination was pretty good
Charcuterie - headcheese (my first time - not as gross as what I imagined), ham (really really good - comparable to prosciutto), pork confit, sausage
Chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon - the others had a problem with the balance (too much date), but I still liked it. bacon = you can't go wrong
House-made Ricotta
Cod cheeks

Headcheese, smelt, and the lamb hearts/liver

Other dishes we tried:
Piglet w/ pea shoot tendrils and quince aioli
Bread & chocolate w/ sea salt + olive oil
Fromage blanc cheesecake w/ blood orange marmalade & sesame tuile
Fried smelt


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Leftover Lemons = Lemon Meringue Cake

I had some leftover lemons & oranges from the wedding, so I decided to put them to use before they went bad. I used a ricotta cake recipe, but I used butter + creme fraiche instead, which worked out ok. I couldn't get a hold of the Tartine recipe, so I just kind of improvised with what I had. Result is whatevs! Not bad, not mind-blowing. I don't know what to do with it now. Anyone hungry?

Btw, isn't this lemon just... so utterly perfect? Creation is so amazing! More pics after the jump!

Lemon curd filling - The middle dark line is from the bottom of a half, not a different filling

Meringue a little too baked, but it's alll riiiight