Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Food & Wine Pairings

What's so special about living in the Bay is that wine country is just a drive away! I love love wine, but what makes wine so great to me is what it's paired with. There are many wineries & wine bars that have a set pairing menu & I am grateful to say that I've been to a few.

Mayo Reserve Room (Kenwood) - $35 for 7 pairings! This is a steal & my favorite food pairing thus far.

arugula hearts with pomegranate (2007 chardonnay), seared scallops with mushrooms and banana creme fraiche (2007 vognier), apple sauce braised short ribs with curry guava (2007 zinfandel)

pulled pork slider with anderson valley pickles (2005 meritage), fruit ratatouille with smokey blue (2006 syrah), miso braised potato with chorizo and quail egg (2006 petite syrah), not pictured - olive oil gelato with pomegranate balsamic (2006 zinfandel port)

St. Francis (Santa Rosa)
beet salad, oxtail, mini cheeseburger, brie cheese with cream of mushroom

unfortunately, i don't remember what wines this was paired with

chocolate drizzle on chocolate brownie with port
Etude (Napa)
grilled eggplant with goat cheese, cured lemons, almonds (pinot gris, chardonnay), cured smoked sonoma rabbit (deer camp pinot, heirloom pinot), braised short rib with black currant (estate red, cabernet sauvignon), chocolate truffles 

Monday, March 21, 2011

eggs benedict!

Who doesn't like eggs benedict? Creamy poached egg oozing with rich buttery hollandaise sauce?! In the past few months, I have had some amaaaaazing eggs benedicts in San Francisco. All unique.

Zazie (Cole Valley) - The trick is to arrive early or later during brunch hours (9am-3pm). My gf & I waited ~2 hours during prime time around noon, but it was def worth the wait...especially since we were having bloody mary's & mimosas at the bar right next door.

dungenous crab with avocado

Mission Beach Cafe - Cozy, quaint restaurant. Lovely modern decor. Best to go with a smaller group (< 5) = faster seating.

wild mushroom / truffle with spinach
Ella's (Laurel Heights) - Arrive on the early side (930am) to get seated right away. Food comes out pretty quick.

chicken on cheese bisquit
The Butler & The Chef Bistro (SOMA) - Decide what you want while you're waiting so you can order right away when you are seated.

smoked salmon on olive bread
And last but not least...

my own creation - corned beef hash

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I have made an Americanized "Irish" meal for dinner. I don't know the history or story behind why people eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, nor do I know if it is even truly Irish. But since I am in America & us Americans need every reason to celebrate, why not make a wannabe Irish meal...? SO, here it is!

corned beef hash eggs benedict & Samoan spaghetti (chef boyardee canned spaghetti with corned beef hash inside)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Irving & 9th

One of my favorite streets in San Francisco is Irving & 9th in the Inner Sunset district because THREE of my favorite restaurants are there...on the same block! I never know which restaurant to go to because they are all so good, but yet so different from each other!

1) Ebisu is my go-to sushi place in the city. All of the fish are fresh & the service is very good. The workers are Japanese, including the sushi chefs. I recommend sitting at the sushi bar so you can get one-on-one service from the chefs. I always go to Tommy- he is so nice! They have traditional Japanese food and also creative Americanized rolls to share. In the past 8 years, I have never tried anything I didn't like here.

Ebisu is where I had my first "bakudan" roll (aka uni/ikura)

2) Marnee Thai (also mentioned here) has the best Thai food in the city. The chan pad poo, garlic basa, and pad see ew are my favorites. The owner, Marnee, is also a fortune-teller and if you're lucky (or un-lucky for that matter), she will come up to your table & give you a reading.

chan pad poo - pad thai with dungenous crab

3) Park Chow is a simple, casual American restaurant that has a to-die-for dinner pot roast! It's so tender, fatty, fall-off-the bone good! Whenever I have out of town guests, I take them here & they are always more than satisfied. I'm drooling just thinking about it!

Can't get enough of this pot roast!
So if you are contemplating where to eat tonight, just get yourself over to Irving & 9th where you have many options to choose from. And if you don't know which one to pick, go to all 3 & get a little bit of somethin' somethin' from each one ;)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

the Best of Thai

I first got hooked on Thai food when I moved to San Francisco 8 years ago. It is affordable & so delicious! One of my favorite restaurants is Marnee Thai in the Inner Sunset district. I always get the same dishes there - pad see ew with chicken, pad poo (pad thai with dungenous crab instead of prawns), & the garlic basa (white fish). Another great restaurant is King of Thai - this place is open late night & can actually never go wrong at any time of day!

Last year I am lucky to say I actually got to go to the home of thai food - Thailand! There, I got to try very authentic cuisines - some way TOO spicy, some just amazing!

However, the BEST kind of thai food is the kind that's homemade just for you by one of your thai friends! It was soooo incredibly scrumptious!

fish sauce, cucumbers

Khai Jiao - thai omelet / fried egg

I always wondered what that delish sauce was in Pad See ew!

Pad See ew - noodle dish

Pad Gra Pow - pork stir fried with thai basil


Monday, March 7, 2011

kale chips

Kale is a green leafy vegetable that most people don't know about or like because when eaten raw, it tastes bitter. However, this veggie is one of the healthiest out there with lots of nutrients & antioxidants. There are many types, but one of my favorites is the one with really curly leaves. There are so many ways you can eat kale. Personally, I have eaten it in salads, soups, but most commonly as...

Kale Chips

-one bunch kale
-olive oil
-sea salt
-brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. De-stem kale leaves by pulling them off one by one. Break into bite size pieces. Place onto pan & drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, & pepper. Mix with hands. Place in oven for 30 minutes, or until crispy. Flip pieces of kale at half-time. Take out & sprinkle with brown sugar.

Friday, March 4, 2011


An Izakaya style meal consists of many small plates shared between a larger group, kind of like "tapas" in the latin world. However, in the traditional scene of Japan, "i" means "to sit" and "sakaya" means "sake shop" = the main goal is to drink while munching on "snacks." However, in America, since we are all fatties, most people like me's first priority is to eat first and drink on the side.

I have been to many great Izakaya places in Hawaii and San Francisco. Here are some of my favs: In Hawaii - Tokkuri-Tei, Izakaya Nonbei; In San Francisco - Oyaji, Sanuki Udon, and last but not least...

Izakaya Sozai
(The food below shared between 4)

bacon wrapped mochi

hamachi sashimi

monkfish karaage


unagi (Japanese eel) with green tea salt

spicy ahi on rice cake

tonkotsu (pork) ramen

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hina Matsuri Day

Hina Matsuri Day, also known as "girl's day," is celebrated by the Japanese culture to honor all the girls in the family. Growing up in Hawaii, we usually eat Chi Chi Dango on this day, which is a sweet mochi (using rice flour). Every year my mom makes it for all of her girl friends and sisters. It is cut into thin bite size pieces. 

  • 1 pound mochiko (rice flour)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups potato starch

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the mochiko, sugar and baking powder.
  2. In a seperate bowl, mix together water, vanilla, coconut milk and red food coloring. Blend in the rice flour mixture. Pour into greased pan.
  3. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour, then cool.
  4. Take the mochi out & place onto potato starch. Cut & enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Secret Secret sushi & sashimi

So there's this little, old, hole-in-the-wall place located in the Inner Richmond district of San Francisco. I've been trying to go to for the past 3 years or so. I say trying because it is so hard to get a seat (!!) - there are only 2 seatings per night, one at 7:00pm, one at 9:30pm and only 11 chairs in the place! It's a "secret" place that not many people know about because there is no english sign near or around the restaurant. Some people know it as "no name," but the real name is Tekka.

The secret is to get here an hour before the doors open. Like me, if you arrive at 6:00pm, you will be the FIRST in line! There are a bunch of house rules that you may need to know before embarking on this adventure:

Then when 7:00pm hits, Noboru-san opens the door & it's first come, first serve to your seats. Another secret - they take orders from the right to left at the bar, so it's best to sit closer to the right side to ensure the fish you want doesn't become a "no more." The wife takes all the orders & prepares all the hot food in the back (and by "hot" food I mean hamachi kama, miso soup, salmon skin). As the sign says above, there is no teriyaki or tempura (this place is only for serious sushi-eaters). Noboru-san cuts all the fish & plates them very neatly. The old couple is super cute - atleast in their 80s/90s.

He is known for his sashimi platters. Really HUGE cuts of fish, chef's choice. Good for 2 people - $32.

salmon, tuna (2 or 3 kinds), toro, hamachi, scallop, ika, tako, Japanese cucumber, seaweed salad
Even the nigiri & handrolls are big too!

salmon skin handroll, uni nigiri (would have been bigger but he had to split what was left of the uni between last minute orderers)

All washed down with a nice warm bowl of miso soup!

Definitely well worth the wait! Will be back again Noboru-san aka No Name aka Tekka!