Friday, May 29, 2009

Salumi Cycle

On my way back from Crocker, I passed by the Boccalone bike (or salumi cycle, if you prefer that alliteration). I walked by at exactly 12:30pm and there was already a line about 30-deep. I also noticed people loitering at different corners of the intersection about 15 min before. I would've been one of them if I was in the mood for a prosciutto panini.

The bike is cute!

Photo from their twitter.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summertime Clothes (+ Food)

I usually visit New York in the fall, but I had some mileage to use up so guess where I spent Memorial Day weekend. Hanging out, eating, shopping... nothing too crazy. However, I did have one of the most memorable food-related experiences of my life, which of course will be shared on this blog. Here is a brief overview of how I spent my time.

- Biryani cart: chennai kati roll based on a seriouseats recommendation. Probably the worst kati roll I've ever had and I wish I went with my gut and got a different one.

- Shake Shack: finally! This is one of the places that I had surprisingly never been to, mostly because I've never wanted to stand in that bloody line. I endured the ridic hour-long wait despite going against the odds and got my single Shack Burger and vanilla frozen custard. The meat was very fatty and juicy, and the potato bun was really soft and chewy. However, apart from the bun I don't think it was much better than in n out. [Ice cream #1] At first I didn't understand why they called their ice cream "frozen custard," because almost all ice creams are custard-based and therefore frozen custards. However, theirs was definitely thicker and I think they just used more egg yolks or something.

- [Ice cream #2] il laboratorio del gelato: their fresh mint was perfect for the 90-degree weather, and they actually used real mint as opposed to peppermint extract, which most mint-based ice creams use.

- Ippudo: who would eat ramen on a blazing hot day? Me. When I went to Tokyo last month I thought about stopping by there (it's a chain in Japan), but I felt that I would be wasting a meal since it's here in the states. Well, I'm glad I waited because Ippudo's style, while good, just wasn't the type of ramen I like. Their broth was rich, porky, and pretty complex with deep flavor... but was just too subtle for me. Their noodles were very thin, almost like vermicelli, but still had a nice bite... but I just prefer thicker, chewier noodles. They also have pork buns in the Momofuku fashion, which were tasty.

- Momofuku noodle bar/milk bar: [Ice cream #3] I stopped by the Noodle Bar to pick up their rhubarb/shortcake/maple crumble sundae. It was great that I didn't have to wait in line to be seated or anything because you can just pick it up to go. It had a nice sweet and sour combo going on. I also finally went to the Milk Bar, which had opened right after my last visit to nyc. First of all, um what? It was not what I expected - more bar than bakery, which I guess makes sense since they're going to be changing the focus to experimental mixed drinks (according to my cousin). Their sweets are definitely all about comfort food, and the choice of movie-theater-inspired soft servce flavors were fun - the "sour gummy" was literally made from sour patch kids, and tasted exactly like it (this sample would be ice cream #4, or, the fourth time I had ice cream in one day!). But um, crack pie? It is seriously all about instant gratification - straight sugar = nasty. But, you know, that's just what some people want. The winners: corn cookie (yum!) and pistachio layered cake. Green curry banana bread had some nice heat, as well.

- Brooklyn Flea: I made it out to Fort Greene on a lovely, cooler day, and got a steak huarache from the Red Hook vendors, and the "Wang Ding" from Asia Dog. It seems like New Yorkers mostly love the Red Hook vendors since there really aren't many options for Latin American/Mexican street food, unlike CA where there's a ton.

- Di Fara: a few years ago Mike went on a pizza tour and claimed Di Fara changed his life. While it is not everyone's favorite NY-style pie, it was definitely an experience! Details and photos/vids to come later.

- Jacques Torres: while we were really looking for some ice cream sandwiches, I got a chocolate chip cookie instead since they were out. Chewy and slightly underbaked, just the way I like them.

- Le Bernardin: <3

- Ray's Candy Store: Stopped in for an egg cream. Family-run, a bit ghetto, but at $1.50 why not

- Veselka: I needed a snack so I picked up some pierogies. Their potato ones were good, but in general nothing special. I believe it's more of a late-night-fix joint anyway.

- Zenon Taverna: Greek in Astoria - sooo much food! Mmm pork meatballs and red caviar spread!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

News and Notes, Candy Edition

Check out Grace's gummy lei! I also blogged about it here.

I put together a candy table last month for an article I was writing for Project Wedding. It's finally posted on the site, so check it out! The candy was donated by Fiona's Sweet Shoppe near Union Square -- they're super cute and the staff is so sweet! I also got the flowers from Nancy Liu Chin the day I stopped by Kitchenette SF. Mikey took the photos - pretty rad, right? Now I have my very own personal photog! <3
I made the truffles, baked off the little cakes, and the pocky sticks are stuck in sugar in case you're wondering. Grace also made the polka dot print for the candy bars with her baller ppt skills.

More photos after the jump!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekend Recap

This weekend was packed and the crazy weather led to lots of activity, some food-related and some not.

Front Porch: after years of passing by (it's right next to Mitchell's) I finally went. We avoided the 40-min wait by nabbing a seat at the bar. We got a few freebies (jalapeno cornbread, tomato "tartare" crostini) during the 20min wait for the food. Fried chicken was nice and crisp, but could've used some more seasoning. I wanted to try the shrimp and grits, but I only have one stomach and had to save room for some grasshopper pie. It was nice to finally try it, but I don't really have a desire to go back.

: yes, even after polishing off the fried chicken on my own, of course I had to get some grasshopper pie! The 30+ min wait was enough to digest my dinner, anyway.

Le Cheval
(Oakland location): pretty standard Vietnamese food, very spacious and perfect for Cyn's post-graduation lunch despite the slow service. Yay you're a lawyer (almost)!

Sketch: <3

La Mar: finally gave the US version a try and had a great time. However, the original location in Lima is definitely better. As to be expected, in Lima the ingredients were just fresher, the prices were lower, and the service was better. Business was also a bit slow which was surprising, especially given their great location and the hot day!

MR: I'm over the club/bar scene and usually limit those visits to happy hours. However, my friend's friend was having a get-together here and it totally reminded me of Freemans Sporting Club, except it was a bar and not a clothing store. Definitely a boys club but I was also very much tempted to get my hair washed because it was so freaking hot!

B2B: omg so hot. My group of friends likes to run it, but it was really difficult with the temp pushing 90 at 8am and the severe lack of water stations! If you saw Dharma scientists, that was us! ("What's Dharma? Must be an Asian thing") LOVED the beaver dam on Fell.

Underdogs: post-b2b lunch and watched the beginning of the Rockets/Lakers game. Fish taco Nick's way is so satisfying!

OK back to 60-degree weather.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Umm, can you say YESSSSSSSSSS

Start it up: July 2 is a red letter date for the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It marks the premiere of a new permanent Thursday market that will focus on sustainable street food. The market will be open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the south side of the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

The theme is "sustainable street food meets the best local produce," says spokeswoman Christine Farren of CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, which operates the Ferry Plaza markets.

There will be a handful of farm stands, including Dirty Girl and Swanton Berry Farm, along with food trucks and carts that will use ingredients from market vendors. Prepared food will come from Ryan Farr's 4505 Meats, Laiola, Pizza Politana, RoliRoti and Cap'n Mike's.

via sfgate

This makes me really happy. You know where I'll be on Thursdays!

Also, as a brief update to the street food craze, I checked out the creme brulee cart, and it's actually really good! I was surprised that the burly street merchant could achieve such delicate, smooth texture ha. His broham, however, was super slow and took like 30 min to serve up 5 plates of curry. I will have to go back another time. You can also add Little Skillet to the list! The French guy with the frog legs doesn't appeal to me though. French take-out is nothing new, anyway.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Kitchenette SF

While I'm at it, I will continue my lunch posts. A few weeks ago I found myself in the Dogpatch to pick up some hydrangeas from the generous Nancy Liu Chin. I rarely venture to that neighborhood despite frequenting other parts of Potrero, so I surprised myself by remembering that Kitchenette was only a few blocks away (probably because I had written this post only a few days before).

I remembered that it was in a garage of some sort, but I really didn't imagine a large warehouse space near shipping/loading areas. It almost felt like some parts of meatpacking in new york... very industrial, but in a more down-to-earth creative/craftsmanship sorta way. I digress. Food was tasty (super super buttery/oily reuben, but yummy). The menu changes daily, but I doubt I will be returning any time soon. They only operate M-F for lunch... and it's super far from Financial, and not a place I would go out of my way for. If I ever have to get more flowers, I will definitely stop by.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Just You Wait

This post is dedicated to Curtis. With all this taco-truck-fusion insanity, especially in LA, why not make a good thing better? Animal style tacos anyone?


Tuesday, May 05, 2009


As mentioned before, I went to the new Michael Mina last week. I'm not really a power-lunch type (my wallet groans when I buy $11-salads), and I usually intentionally wait for new restaurants to work out their kinks before I give them a try. My lunch here, however, was completely decided on a whim. It had just opened, was just a stone's throw from the office, and was a slightly more attractive option than chicken fingers, even as Alice's treat.

As expected, this restaurant/wine bar was more casual than its fine-dining sister. I called Friday between 10am-11am to no avail (usually reservationists get in by 10am), and when we walked into the empty restaurant at 11:45am, they said they were all booked (I later got a voicemail saying that they were having phone problems and had open reservations for lunch. Um whaat). The bar is open seating and serves full menu so we took a load off, and as expected, the place was pretty lively around 12:30pm (when normal people eat lunch).

Blah blah blah. I'm boring myself writing this post. A lot of it is because... our meal there was easily forgettable and underwhelming. The food was fine and moderately priced for a restaurant attached to such a famous name, but also as expected, portions were small but still filling enough for the average small person. Hamachi was like any other dish anywhere else, the grilled mushrooms could've come from a Foccacia kitchen, the halibut was bland, veal a bit too homemade, and the duck and agnolotti were pretty tasty. I LOOOVED the desserts at Michael Mina, so the chocolate frozen parfait-like dessert was a bit lackluster. The cherries and lemon crisp complemented the white sesame pot de creme nicely, although the crisp wasn't... crisp. Blah blah blah.

Ultimately, what saved my view of RN74 was the wine. Countless reviews anticipating its opening have gone into great detail of the sommelier's vision of the restaurant's marriage of wine and food. I am far from an oenophile, so I just told the server/bartender to give me a glass of pinot to go with my veal. It was absolutely delicious. Light and fruity, but still smooth and endlessly drinkable... I should've noted what it was actually called. Either way, this glass of wine made me a believer in RN74... as a happy hour destination. I mean, the restaurant is not even a month old and is still working things out, so what can I really say, you know? Do expect to see the head honcho himself though!


Top 10 Go-to Lunch Spots Within a 1-mile Radius of Where I Work

Last week I celebrated my four-year anniversary... with my job. WOOT. I believe my very first meal as a FiDi yuppie was at Boudin, probably a turkey avocado sandwich on a croissant. Well, times have changed and many lunches have been had. While we celebrated this depressing milestone at the recently opened RN74, a large percentage of my income in the last four years has helped sustain these businesses:

1. Foccacia: GOOD LORD, I would not be able to count the number of times I've been here. My go-to salad: spinach w/ roast chicken, kidney beans, roasted red bell peppers, and goat cheese. Go-to sandwich: wheat w/ roast chicken, pesto mayo, roasted red bell peppers, brie, onions, lettuce, tomato [toasted]. (salad and sandwich sound oddly similar) Go-to grill: ground chicken w/ grilled veggies or mac n cheese if I ignore my conscience.
2. Harvest and Rowe: split-pea soup isn't as thick as it used to be (the thicker the better), but I still get it whenever it is remotely cold.
3. Mondo Caffe: crab melt
4. Mixt Greens: maui or the bachelor. It's so expensive, but sooo convenient!
5. Go-go Sushi: usually a sashimi bowl
6. Birley's: BBQ chicken sandwich
7. Baladie: lamb/beef shawarma (Oasis Grill has a much better falafel)
8. Niji Japanese Grille: I don't know why it's spelled with an "e" at the end. Udon (cold days) or gyu-don
9. Muracci's: katsu curry when I don't care about what I'm putting into my body, or beef ramen
10. Neeto's: Expensive, heart-attack-ish, but sooo close! California club!