Monday, February 28, 2011

BEST sandwiches

Sandwiches are a huge craze these days. Many people are getting out there to make the biggest, bestest, & tastiest ones. There are many delicious sandwich places in San Francisco, California. I say "places" because some of them are literally hole-in-the-walls, food trucks, cafes, sit-down restaurants. Regardless of where they are served, my favorites are the ones that have a unique flare, something that not just the girl next door has. Check it:

Roli Roti - Porchetta sandwich: crispy skin pork, curly cress, onion marmalade, sea salt, meat juices 
Saigon Sandwich - Vietnamese chicken sandwich, pickled veggies, creamy mayo sauce (?)

Lou's Cafe - breakfast sandwich: egg, cheese, bacon or ham, hashbrowns on ciabatta bread, special garlic spread

Other favorites in the Bay Area, California include:
  • Little Lucca combo: mortadella, provolone, salami, special garlic sauce (South San Francisco, CA).
  • Alco's Famous Market: you make your own sandwich - full meat, cheese, veggie, & condiment bar. If you guess the price of your sandwich correctly, you get it FREE (Novato, CA)!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Favorite Munchies in SLO

San Luis Obispo in California is known as being a huge "college town." It is located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They have a really cute downtown with many boutiques, bars, wineries, and most importantly, restaurants! Everything is pretty much walking distance or within a few miles driving distance. Here are some of my favorites from SLO:

Clam Chowder from Splash Cafe - daily special bread bowls of the day - unfortunately, they were out already at 7:30pm!

Tri Tip Sandwich from Firestone Grill - long line during prime time but so worth the wait!

Crab Cakes from Steamers in Pismo Beach - also, very good "award-winning" clam chowder. However, service is horrible here so I wouldn't recommend it even though the food was pretty good.

Rasberry Salad from Nucci's - delicious thin crust pizza too.

And last but not least...
Bubblegum from Bubblegum Alley - just joking!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

All-you-can-eat CRAB!

For the past 3 years, I've been going to the Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest in Santa Rosa, California, where they have all you can eat appetizers, wine, and most importantly, CRAB! There are many crab feeds in the west coast, especially the Bay Area. However, this one is outstanding because of the ~50 wine/food vendors during the "pre-party," silent AND live auctions, and clam chowder & salad served during crab time. Oh, and on top of that, this year they even had Casino Night with blackjack, roulette, craps, and poker tables. All proceeds go to the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. I highly recommend this event!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's what's inside that counts

Besides for solely judging food, there are other factors that definitely play into eateries & my decision of whether to go back or not. And customer service is THAT determining factor. It rates higher & even more important than how the food tastes. Kind of like how even though looks are important, personality matters most in a relationship: food definitely must be good & tasty, but customer service makes or breaks that relationship for me towards that food I'm eating. Make sense?

For example, I love Pearl's Phat Burgers in Mill Valley, CA especially since it's convenient & right across the street from where I work. I frequented the place often...until yesterday. At lunch, I called in my order using the take-out menu I got awhile ago. When I went to pick up my order, it was nearly $3 more than what I was expecting. I immediately grabbed a take-out menu sitting on their counter to see if the prices were the same as mine...and they were! So I confronted the cashier & before I could even speak, as if he knew what I was going to say already, he told me the prices had changed, but did not offer me an apology, honor the old pricing, nothing. I left annoyed & felt like I just got ripped off. I mean, if you changed your prices, why would you still keep the same menu which has the old prices on it?! And if customers are still ordering from that menu, the right thing would be to honor those prices for them. Please note this is not about the money, it's about the principle. Customer Service 101. Yeah, it's just a small burger joint, but they do have a relatively "large" name in the Bay Area & if they want to keep it that way, this is not the way they should run their business or treat their (loyal) customers.

There have been other restaurants that I've been to that have delicious food and I have not gone back to due to again, horrible service. So to all eateries out there, watch out how you treat your clients because just one bad break can put you in a bad reputation for the rest of your life! And if I happen to come across you, everyone I know will know! Bye, bye Pearl's!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Omakase

An omakase style Japanese meal consists of the chef's choice of food & flavor from appetizers to sushi to sashmi. At restaurants, it is a set price & usually at a very high cost. Although I've only eaten here once, Sasabune in Honolulu, Hawaii is one of my favorite restaurants that provides omakase. Their dishes are unique, fresh, & the fish is flown in from Japan daily.

The very lucky girl that I am, got the bestest Valentine's day dinner surprise ever...a HOMEMADE omakase style meal!!! Even BETTER than Sasabune! And yes, he did make ALL of it, even the sushi rice! Check it out...

Plum Wine

Tamago Appetizer

Smoked Salmon

Uni & Ikura Handroll
Hamachi Nigiri
Spicy Scallop Nigiri

Crab & Avocado Maki

Completed Dish 1

Completed Dish 2

Ready to eat!

Best Valentine's Day ever!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

pizza pizza!

You can hardly go wrong with pizza, right? Wrong! In a food nazi's world, there are many things that can go wrong - crust is too thick, cheese is not melted enough, pizza is cold, ingredients are not cooked...and that is why Trader Joes provides everything for a do-it-yourself pizza meal so you can make it exactly how you like it! And the following is how I like to do it...

  • Pizza dough
  • Pizza sauce
  • Toppings: mushrooms,   arugula, panchetta
  • mozzarella / parmesan cheese
  • eggs  
  • garlic salt / garlic powder

For best results, preheat oven to 425. Flatten dough to your likeness of thickness (or thinness for me). Place in oven for 8-10 minutes to pre-cook the dough. After you take it out, you can flatten the crust even more.


Add sauce & toppings. Place back into oven for another 10-15 minutes until everything is cooked & crust is crispy (I like thin crispy crust pizzas).



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

sweeeeet spaghetti

There are many versions of spaghetti. The obvious, Italian. Then others are the sweeter styles, such as the Japanese & Filipino kind. My step-mom is from Tokyo, Japan & when I first tried her version of spaghetti, I was in loooove and could not go back to the "regular" kind (whatever that means) anymore. There are a couple secret ingredients which make it sweeter than the typical spaghetti. Unfortunately, I promised not to devulge this information.

However, not too long ago, I've gotten into another type of sweet spaghetti: a Filipino version. It first started at Jollibee which is Philippines' No. 1 fast food joint. Something about their sauce is just so scrumptious...the cheese, the hotdogs, the sweet (literally & metaphorically) goodness! I was determined to find a similar recipe & make my own! So I looked up two versions online, did a combination of both, and also added my own little touch to it.

Note:  measurements not exact, just go by taste

angel hair pasta noodles
olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 onion
1 package hotdogs
2 cloves garlic
3/4 : 1/4 tomato sauce to banana ketchup
regular ketchup
cream cheese
white sugar
salt, pepper
shredded cheese

Cook noodles according to instructions on package. In a medium sized pot, pour some olive oil and saute garlic & onions until cooked how you like. Add ground beef & simmer until cooked throughout. Add tomato sauce, banana ketchup, & regular ketchup. Mix well & let simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Add a touch of white sugar & a couple spoonfulls of cream cheese. Let it all melt into the sauce mixture. Add hotdogs & mix evenly. Salt/pepper for added taste. Top off with shredded cheese (and/or more cream cheese) in individual bowls. Enjoy the sweeeetness!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

i LOVE uni!

Sushi is another one of those foods I could eat anytime, everyday. And uni is one of those items on my list I actually crave for.

Uni is the edible part, or eggs (roe), of a sea urchin. It has a soft, creamy texture and my description of taste would be similar to the stomache/insides of a crab. It's sweet but at the same time, has a sea water/salt flavor to it too. This is what good quality uni should taste like. If it has a musky or metallic taste to it, it's probably not fresh or not of good quality. As I've been told, the best quality of uni comes from Santa Barbara or Japan. The color ranges from dark yellow to orange-ish. I believe the more orangy it is, the better.

Uni is usually eaten as a nigiri style, sashimi, or my preference, in a handroll with ikura. Some places even get creative and serve it in a shot glass with sake & quail egg, or on a spoon with tobiko, ponzu sauce, & quail egg, or even on oysters! On menus, the price will vary and even sometimes be quoted as "market price." It can range from $5-15+ for 2 peices of nigiri.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl = time to eat!

I'm not a big football fan, but when it comes to the Superbowl I get excited because Superbowl to me = lots of parties =  lots of good food!

This year I decided to make creamed corn. It's inexpensive, easy, & so delicious.

3 packages frozen white sweet corn
1 block of butter
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup half & half
cream cheese
shredded cheese
parmesan cheese
garlic salt
regular salt

Melt butter & a couple spoonfulls of cream cheese in large pot. Add sugar. Add all packages of corn & mix well until corn defrosts. Add half & half and a couple handfulls of shredded cheese. Mix well, liquid will thicken. Sprinkle garlic salt, regular salt, and pepper for taste. Remove from stove, pour into serving bowl, mix in parmesan cheese, then top off with more parmesan cheese & parsley for looks. (The picture below wasn't quite the final product, but it was right after it came off the stove).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

nooodles = looooong life

Today is Chinese New Year and eating noodles is very important to eat on this day to signify long life.

Ramen is one of my favorite type of noodles. People call me the "ramen nazi." What I look for in a good ramen is based on this order: broth, noodles, pork, toppings (egg, garlic, etc). There are many different types of ramen, which I believe are called based on what location it was originated in Japan. My favorite style is Hakata, or tonkotsu, which comes with a white creamy pork flavored broth and thin white noodles.

My dream would be to take a little bit of what's best from different ramen shops to make the perfect ramen bowl. For example, my favorite broth is from Orenchi in Santa Clara, noodle from Santouka in San Jose or Hakata Ramen in Gardena, and pork from Yotteko-Ya in Honolulu.

Hakata Ramen



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Say cheeeese!

Cheese is one of my favorite type of foods. I can eat it anytime, anywhere.

I first started getting into cheese when I moved to San Francisco for college. My good friend worked at Cowgirl Creamery located in the Ferry Building. She would bring home cheese everyday & teach me about the different types. There are 3 kinds of milks that can be used in cheese: cow, sheep, & goat. There are endless varieties of each, one of my favorites being aged gouda. I love the little crispy crystals in it.

The actual Cowgirl Creamery (where they make the cheese) is in Point Reyes. There, you can taste, take tours to learn about cheese, and see how it's actually made:

Photos by Chad D Photography