Monday, June 30, 2008

This is a back post from my trip in SF. One day I went down to work with her in SJ so we can try some different places. Ms. Lin went to the Ocean Blue Sushi Club with Ms. BumbleBee and their other friend, which I have not decided a cute name for. Before I left, Ms. Lin wanted to take me here to try their Chirashi at lunch time. From the outside you would not think that this would be a nice restaurant. The name threw me off too, but as you walk in it looks very nice. This place must be owned by Korean people because it only recently opened and the flowers/gifts sent were all written in Korean.
There wasn't a lot of people there when we went. They have very nice Kimonos displayed on the walls and it was very well air-conditioned. Following Ms. Lin's recommendation, we both ordered the Chirashi. Their menu was generally very expensive. They have a wide variety of rolls/maki to choose from, but at a hefty price. Ms. Lin said to stick to the Chirashi because it's the best value there. Keep in mind that it's still about $20 for the lunch Chirashi.
They brought out the Miso Soup and the Wasabi Paste in the shape of a leaf. I didn't even notice until Ms. Lin pointed it out. At first I was very skeptical about the food since the name's kind of weird and the prices were so high. The service was friendly, but sometimes hard to find since there wasn't a lot of people there and they were at the other side of the restaurant.
Our Chirashi bowl was presented beautifully and filled to the brim with fresh fish and tons of different fish eggs. I've never had so many types of roe in one sitting. ^_^ Generally I don't like all types of fish eggs but the ones they served were fresh, unique, and varied in texture. There were a lot of sashimi that I do not generally eat inside, but they presented a huge variety. I liked that they had Hamachi inside. There was even Spanish Mackerel, Scallop, and more. It was a very colorful and delicate presentation. I thought it was tasty and I agree it was the best deal there considering the pricing. It's definitely the most bang for your buck.
All in all the food was good, but a little pricey. I have to give them props for the decor and the funny fact that there's a Bidet in the bathroom. It was getting late that day and they were closing down so I didn't get a chance to test out the toilet. I know this might sound weird, but they had this high-tech toilet that has a variety of functions and heated seats. If you do try this place out, be sure to get the Chirashi at Lunch time and not night time because it's probably more expensive. Don't be fooled by the name or it's strip mall surrounding. It's actually pretty descent sushi. If only it was at a decent price. I wonder how long this place will last in that location because it doesn't seem to be located in an area where people would spend so much on sushi. Still, I hope it will still be there when I come back again. ^_^

Zinc Details is the shop near SPQR. They have a wide variety of very unique items. There were so many cute items that cost you an arm and a leg, but well worth it! The people there were super friendly and sweet. They were so nice that I would go back just to visit them! All the items there were designer items with a unique twist. They carry many items from diALESSI that you find displayed in Pinkberry's. I could NOT resist leaving the store without buying something cute for home. Even though I am not working now and have no income coming in, I had to splurge for an item. Ms. Lin bought these adorable spoons that are heart shaped. Maybe ONE day she will use them. O=P lol I bought the Plastic Bunny Chasing the Carrot Paper Towel Roll. This one thing alone was over $50 and YES it's plastic! Still, it's so cute! I tried to embody the cuteness in a minute by taking photos as the bunny gets closer to the goal. It's a simple design, but cute! So imagine a full roll of paper towel between the bunny and the carrot and as the paper towel starts to run out, the bunny gets closer to the goal. Until he gets the prized carrot! Yummy! ^_^

Since A16 and SPQR are sister restaurants and I thought A16 was not bad, we decided to check out SPQR. Ms. Lin had wanted to try this place since it's highly rated. Maybe we had too high of an expectation? I thought this place was WAY OVERRATED! It's really interesting how one restaurant can be so much better than the other when they do serve some similar items! @_@ Arrive early if you don't have reservations so you don't have to wait long. SPQR is a lot smaller than A16. We arrived early and shopped around... and bought something very expensive that I do not need. O=9
The food here was not very good, but the service was very very friendly. It was much better than A16. Ms. Lin ordered red wine and didn't like the taste, the server brought different red wines for her to try until she found one that she'd like. I felt really bad about it and commented that I liked my Moscato d'Asti! ^_^ Yay, I caused less trouble!
At SPQR they have a bunch of Antipasti to choose from. They are $8 each, 3 for $21, or 5 for $32. Since we always want to try everything possible, of course we chose 5. I will start by commenting on the only one I liked. We ordered the Bay Scallops with Meyer Lemon. What I really loved about this dish was the FRIED Meyer lemon pieces among the fried scallops. As I have mentioned time and time again, anything fried gets bonus points. I have never had a battered and fried lemon. I also don't like Meyer lemons but they did it in a way where I loved it, which is why I really like this antipasti. It was simple and tasty with a nice texture.
Sorry to rain on the parade, but the rest of the antipasti we chose was horrendous! Ms. Lin read that the Chicken Livers were a crowd favorite and she has to try it. I warned her before she ordered it that she would eat this ALONE. The most I would do is take a nibble. It was not that good. The portions were generous, but this was bad news for Ms. Lin. I felt so bad for her having to eat the whole plate of liver that she didn't quite like. Then again, I warned her. ^_^
We both like sweetbreads so we ordered Sweetbreads with Celery, Garlic, Lemon, and Oregano. It was not the type of sweetbread I am use to, so I stopped eating it shortly. I tried to shove as much down without gagging, but unfortunately for Ms. Lin I gave up. She had to eat most of this plate as well. Poor Ms. Lin! Darn the Asian within us that can't waste food! The sweetbread was flavorless and the celery flavor was overpowering, which made me nauseous.
One dish I wanted was the Lobster Brodo with Shrimp, Spigarello Greens, and Ceci Beans. I was mislead when reading this dish. It was just a dish of tiny shrimp in a lobster broth that was very salty and overpowering. If you dip the bread it will lower the salty taste. I actually tried to eat most of this dish since it was my fault, but of course Ms. Lin helped a lot since I don't eat beans.
We also ordered the Grilled Pork Ribs with Fennel and Rosemary. Most of the time I can tolerate any dish full of meat, but this fell short. It was bland, dry, and a little tough. Overall all the antipasti dishes were disappointing except the fried Meyer lemon and scallops. After we got all our food, Ms. Lin's eyes started wondering over to other tables. We should have ordered the Mozzarella sticks, even though it's not really worth the price. What we ordered was so bad, we both regretted not ordering that dish. **sob sob**
Luckily for me the main course was not bad tasting or I would have gone starving for the night. Ms. Lin was very full after the antipasti since I barely touched them. We ordered the Heritage Pork Saltimbocca with Giardiniera. The presentation was lacking and the meat seemed a little dry, but looks are deceiving. This dish was actually decent, probably because it tasted much better than the antipasti.
All in all the food was extremely disappointing, but the service was very nice and much better than A16. Food wise, I would try A16 again but the service was very bad. They should switch the servers at SPQR and A16 would be perfect! ^_- The food here at SPQR are definitely not worth the effort or try, although I loved a store nearby where I spent a fortune! ^_^


1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 771-7779
SPQR on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We had to complete the night by taking Tiramisu to Mochilato for dessert. Since we finished our meal late, this place was open late so we decided to stop here. Angel J introduced this place to me a long long time ago and I have been here before. The funniest part was how she told me about this place. She whipped out a card and told me exactly where it was, what it sold, why it's good, & more. I asked if this was her parent's store and she said no, then I asked if it's her friend's place and she said no. The way she talked about it, you would think she's promoting for friends & family but she was just expressing her feelings for this place! =) Silly girl!
It's a nice decor inside and there are always many choices of dessert items. I have to make this comment though, it's kind of expensive. Their shaved ice here is WAY TOO EXPENSIVE! I am Asian and I can get shaved ice, maybe not the exact same or as pretty, but for less then half the price that they sell it here. It's like $6+ for shaved ice, in my opinion that's way too much but I will give them the credit that it looks really nice. I saw that they offered some new unique Japanese desserts but they for some reason told me that they aren't making it Saturday night. That made me really sad =*( because I wanted to try the freshly made desserts.
Tiramisu decided to try the Crème Brûlée Gelato in a Waffle Cup. I must say the waffle cup looked very stale. If anyone ever goes to Ici, then you will know what a wonderfully DELICIOUS cone tastes like! ^_^ The gelato looked a little icy for my taste and I had the crème brûlée gelato inside the mochi. It was only okay in my opinion and it had a little alcoholy flavor in the gelato. I tried the Pistachio Mochi and ordered the Mango Mochi again. Personally I like the mango mochi better that's sold at 99 ranch. At least you know they use real mangoes for the mochi because it's very tart. The pistachio was a little light in flavor, I would rather have Häagen-Daz's or Ben & Jerry's Pistachio flavored ice cream. Gelato is suppose to be thicker and creamier than ice cream, but I did not feel it was here.
I agree with Tiramisu that the mochi should be thicker and not as soft. It's tasty but it easily stretches and falls off the icy gelato. The Hazelnut Mochi is very lightly flavored, you can't really taste the full richness of hazelnut. I personally love the flavor of hazelnut and I feel they need to jazz it up more to make it better. This makes me want to go out and buy some Nutella to get my hazlenut fill! ^_-All in all the place is only okay. Maybe I had too high of an expectation? I still think the best gelato I have had is in Paris! Ciao Bella in SF was pretty good too, but so far SoCal has not impressed me. When I go to Las Vegas next weekend, I will search for good gelato! I still need to post my Vegas trip in January to share the nice restaurants as I will be going there again. If yiou have a favorite gelato place around OC or LA or LV, please suggest! ^_- P.S. I will post about this eventually, but Coccilini in the Venetian was barely tolerable for gelato...blech... I let Ms. Lin and Mom have it all because the flavor was so bland.

In honor of Tiramisu's visit, I wanted to take her somewhere fun, delicious, and reasonably priced! ^_^ Chat Sum Gol fits the profile. I love my Korean BBQ at a decent price and currently I like un-marinated meats more so this place is perfect for me. Everything is brought to your table and there's a bell on the side for you to press to call a server over. They actually do have servers who speak English and they will come around to change your grill, which is something I give them props for. Most places you have to ask for this service.
They had the table set up foir us before we sat down. We went this Saturday around 7PM and they were already super busy, but we didn't have to wait long before we were seated. For the first round I decided to get everything so that Tiramisu can try everything and see which dish she liked most to order again. She did good in eating the food, but didn't make it for round 2!!! TSK TSK! We will have to build up your tolerance so that you can get more bang for the buck and have all the yummy meat around! ^_^
Be sure to ask for the Sesame Oil with Salt & Pepper. It really brings out the flavor of the un-marinated meat. I barely managed a second round because I asked for a little more meat, but instead they brought out almost a full plate. Don't worry I was able to stuff it all down! ^_- They slightly changed the marinade for the pork belly. I don't recall it ever being spicy and thick. It wasn't really that spicy, but it tasted pretty good with the pork belly.
All in all it was good food for a great place. How can you go wrong? The best part was spending time chatting with Tiramisu and it was great seeing her again! Can't wait to do it again! I will try my best to come up to LA sometime to hang out and you can meet Tofu! If I can drag him up before he leaves. Yes, Tofu is leaving California and moving back East because he is EVIL! =P I hope Tiramisu had a wonderful time and I have turned her onto loving Korean BBQ! Daisuki!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Per request of Tiramisu, this is the very sad sad sad shirt I got for free by selling my soul! I auditioned for the My Boys TV show during the Shecky's Girls Night Out Event. As I have told many of my friends, I only auditioned so I could get the free T-shirt no matter how sad and ugly it was. ^_^ I just needed it! Especially since it was free! O=)

Friday, June 27, 2008

When I was up in SF, a back post, Ms. Lin took me to A16 on a Monday night. They have Monday Meatball Madness where the chef experiments with fresh ingredients to create different meatballs. We had reservations and I showed up first while Ms. Lin was paying the meter. The hostess wasn't very friendly and wouldn't seat me until Ms. Lin showed up. Keep in mind we arrived as soon as they opened, which meant barely anybody was there. The interior was very clean with a modern vibe and mahogany color. If you sit at the counter you can see them prepare the food and serve you. They have very interesting long paintings of women relaxing on the walls.
We decided to order the Appetizer Meatballs. They were Prosciutto, Bay Leaf, Mozzarella, and Pork then covered in Marinara Sauce. It was tasty, but not the unique experimental meatball I was expecting. Nonetheless it was flavorful and I would definitely come back again on a Monday to try their meatballs. Almost everybody who came that night was "older" and they all ordered the meatball entrée, which has 5 meatballs instead of 3.
They brought bread to the table that were probably from the Acme Bread Co. and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It's good to save some bread to dip in the meatball sauce. Ms. Lin ordered a Taurasi to drink and I ordered the Moscato Giallo.
We ordered a Salumi/Cold Cut Sampler. It's not on their menu, but as we talked with our server she said that she could put a plate together. The 4 on the plate are La Quercia Berkshire Prosciutto, Bresaola (house-cured), Pork Liver Terrina (house-cured), and Ciccioli (house-cured). It was actually a very generous plate, of course we didn't know the price as well since it was not on the menu. I think it was worth it for the amount you get and for the fact you get to sample everything. The prosciutto was wonderful with a citrus twist. They gave an enormous amount of pork terrina and it was quite tasty with a delicate texture. It was almost too much terrina. I would definitely recommend trying the cold cuts if you like them. ^_^
Ms. Lin wanted to try one of their pastas and she chose the Cavatelli with Mussels, Cannellini Beans, Tomato, Garlic, and Basil. The dish was quite small in portion because we got the half order, but we were getting full since we ordered a lot. To show how small it is and cute, I did an extreme close up of the teensy weensy mussels atop the Cavatelli. We really loved the pasta, it was chewy and had the perfect texture. The flavor was subtle but delicious on the pasta. It reminded me of a nice cassoulet. Of course Ms. Lin had to eat all the beans since I detest them, but overall this dish was surprisingly good. I'd definitely get this again, in fact I am pondering on getting again when I go back to SF!
I wanted a dish with meat so I chose for the main course to be a Mixed Roast of Watson Farms Lamb with Radishes, Fennel, and Herbs. This came with a choice of side dish and I chose the Roasted Potatoes with Salsa Verde and Lemon. There were 3 types of lamb on the dish. A sausage, roast loin, and one rack. They were cooked nicely and lightly flavored. I don't know if they were worth the price you pay, but nonetheless good. The side dish had a strong flavor. It reminded me of the Mojito fries at Asia de Cuba. At first it tasted good, but then it became too much. I'd recommend either the meatballs or the pasta instead of this.
To finish off the night, we decided to order a dessert. We got the Chocolate Budino Tart with Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. All the desserts had a unique twist to it, so I wanted to see how it would turn out. I have never had EV olive oil on my dessert. It actually tasted pretty good, except WAY too much salt. BLECH! Everything else worked fine on the plate, but too much salt killed it for me. I liked the crust on the bottom.
All in all the food was pretty good, except a few tid bits. Still it was an overall tasty meal. The only thing I have to complain about was the service! I thought our server was a little haughty and impatient, then she got a little bit better at the end. The hostess was rude then followed by the server's bad attitude. We agreed that the only reason we left a nice tip was because of the busboys there who were very nice and attentive. It would be wrong to punish them for the server's horrible attitude. Be sure to check out this place when you are up in SF. I will probably come back when I visit SF again. ^_^

2355 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 771-2216
A16 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Before I left for SF a while back Coconut, Tofu, and I met for dinner at Cosmo's Italian Kitchen. It's right off the corner of Oso and Antonio Parkway. I have heard rumors about this place being "Cosmo Kramer's" place, Michael Richards. Personally I don't really care about who owns it or who goes there as long as the food is good. It's a very homely environment. Monday night is pasta night.
Coconut ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo, which was a little bland for my taste. It's just pasta and sauce with no meat. To me that is UNHOLY! ^_^ I need some chicken or shrimp or any type of meat to satisfy me. This definitely would not be something I would recommend.
Tofu ordered Cosmo's Homemade Ravioli with Ricotta and Spinach in a Bolognese sauce. The raviolis were over cooked and a little to soggy for my taste. I prefer it to be al dente. There wasn't anything memorable about this dish.
He also got a Side of Sausage. Tofu loves his Italian sausages and these were not one of his favorites. The ones from Costco are much better in taste. I think we were all a little disappointed with the food.
I chose the Chicken Gremolata, which is one of their specialties. It's Grilled Chicken Breast, Garlic, Fresh Tomatoes, Capers, and Herbs. Surprisingly, this was actually pretty good. In comparison to the rest of the dishes Coconut and Tofu got, mine was great! It was flavorful and tasty. I am a huge fan of capers. This definitely was the best dish of the night, but that doesn't say much looking at the other dishes.
Coconut got Tiramisu for desserts. It's Lady Fingers dipped in Espresso, then layered with Mascarpone Cheese and Chocolate. This was a little bland and flavorless in my opinion.
Tofu decided to try Spumoni. It's Black Cherry Ice Cream with Diced Red Cherries and Mixed Nuts layered with Pistachio Mousse, Rich Chocolate Sauce and Crushed Shortbread Cookies. We didn't see any shortbread cookies. The description of the dish was not what you go. I think Tofu was extremely disappointed in what he got.
All in all I think the restaurant was a let down. The service was fine, but the food was bland and not worth the time. Only the dish I ordered was tasty. Everything else was just blech. I don't think I would ever be back. There are many better Italian restaurants in MV or all of OC. Stay away from this place! Even if it is decently priced.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Got up early to have breakfast/lunch with Ms. Lin and Mom. It was a nice little get together and the best part is that I had my trusty coupon! I know Tofu's mad that he was not the one I took with the coupon, but I will try to steal MBA's coupon for him! ^_- We were in a hurry because I had to run to class in an hour, so we made a rush decision. My mom decided to get the Junior Plate with Regular Buttermilk Pancakes, 2 Sausages, and Coffee. It's the best deal because you get everything and the pancakes are good too. It has 3 small pancakes, so Ms. Lin and I shared one. The pancakes are fluffy and light. Ms. Lin said that she liked them better than the 49'er Flap Jacks.
I had the 49'er Flap Jacks the first time I was here so Ms. Lin decided to try it. Her choice was the biggest in portion. It was 3 huge thin pancakes that really resembled a crepe. They were good, but I have to agree that the buttermilk pancakes are a better way to go. I think I would rather get what my mom got if you don't have a coupon because it is the best deal!
Today I wanted to try something new, so I got the Bacon Waffle and ordered a side of Sausage Links. I felt like something saltier with meat and a side of meat! ^_- It was good and filled with tons of bacon. The waffles were good, not anything extraordinary but just plain old comfort food. I like mixing my salty foods with sweet. It's the only way to eat sausage links too, with plenty of maple syrup! =P yum yum!
All in all the food was good. The portions were generous, except my waffle was the only normal size. We saw someone with an omelet and they were HUGE. The best part is you get pancakes too. We were discussing how it would be impossible to finish it all. I think the next time I go and with a coupon, I will definitely try an omelet out! ^_^

Original Pancake House

26951 Moulton Pkwy
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
(949) 643-8591
Original Pancake House on Urbanspoon

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