Saturday, February 20, 2010
Come one, come all! It is this time of year again. Well, this will be my first time out in Miami and to attend the South Beach Wine and Food Festival from Feb. 25th - Feb. 28th. I have had an awesome time these past few months hitting up Wine and Food Festivals all around. Thanks to the wonderful sponsorship of Food Network for the Sobe Food Fest! There are many wondrous events set in motion. Although a lot of tickets are sold out, if you are around and want to check out any open events then go to http://www.sobefest.com/ or even just to browse. A lot of the events are on the beautiful beaches of Miami.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I am all about the deals around town. Why not spend smart? I love to eat good food, try out new places, and without breaking the bank. Ms. Lin had planned out a night of Happy Hour-ing around town. We were flexible on time and the night was young. Our first stop was Circolo. They offer Happy Hour Tuesday – Friday from 5 to 7 PM in the bar and lounge area only. It had been raining on and off but that cannot stop us. Parking was not too hard since it was early and Circolo is located a ways away from the crowds. It was definitely the most happening place around that area. Since we were only there for Happy Hour, we just sat down around the lounge area. The place is very dimly lit like a club. There was a very hip and posh feel as we can look through beaded slits into the dining area where the kitchen is clearly visible. Our server was very friendly. We started the night off with some drinks. As many of you know, I don’t like to drink alcohol but I thought it would be nice to start off the night with a bang. They had a few drinks on the list. I wanted to try their mmmmmmojito! for $7 because they offered some interesting fruit flavors. Sadly they didn’t have the guava anymore and I decided to go with the Lychee flavor as a safe choice. Ms. Lin chose the Leblon Calpirinha’s Lychee. At first I thought we were going to share the drink so I was a bit caught off guard that she ordered a drink since I would not be able to finish it. If you like strong alcoholic drinks, then this is the right place for you. The HH price was definitely worth it for the potency. At least you know they aren’t skimping on you, although… sadly I wished they did. lol Still, I recommend them for their drinks. To make things easier for our server, not because we are greedy O=), we told her that we wanted one of everything on the HH menu except the oysters. They offer Chilled Oysters with Margarita Ice for $1 each. What a great deal! The oysters were big and had a good amount of Margarita Ice on top. This has been a popular new trend to add more unique flavors and a twist to your everyday oyster. If you are looking for delicious oysters and variety, then you need to check out Hog Island at the Ferry Building. If you are looking for oysters at a good price and to try something new, then Circolo’s HH would be just right for you. The Orange-Chipotle Glazed Pork Ribs weren’t bad, $5 for 6 pieces. I couldn’t really taste the Chipotle flavor. It reminded me of Peking Pork Chop that most Cantonese restaurants serve. Still I liked the flavor and the meat was tender. Ms. Lin wasn’t that big of a fan so I was able to consume most of this appetizer. They offer 2 Grilled Hanger Steak Butter Lettuce Cups for $6. The steaks were nicely cooked and looked very succulent. As for the components, there were marinated cucumbers inside to help give the dish more flavor. I felt this fell just a little flat because lettuce is so rich and full of water that it tends to drown out other flavors. They probably needed just a bit more flavor to overcome the lettuce. I am sure the steak would be good by itself but together as a whole didn’t accomplish the flavor palate they were probably aiming for. One thing on the menu that caught my eye was the Crispy Free-Range Chicken Lollipops 3 pieces for $5. How can you not like meat on a stick that tries to sound like candy? O=9 Alas, it really is just chicken with the bone sticking out. I enjoyed the flavors and the tenderness of the meat. It was good juicy fried chicken. Ms. Lin was not that into it so I had the extra piece as well. For $4 you get 2 pieces of their Tempura Fish Tacos. There were a lot of interesting flavors mish-meshed into one. It was a very cultural taco. They were trying to mix a variety of Asian flavors some Mexican flavors, then to up the ante with crumbled goat cheese on top. Be sure to eat it while it is hot so that the fish batter doesn’t get soggy sitting out. Sadly that night they had ran out of the Atkins Ranch Lamb Sliders. So the last appetizer is the Angry Black Tiger Shrimp, $5 for 4 pieces. The shrimps were a good size and had a nice kick. They laid atop a bed of vegetables that would balance out the spices. The taste reminded me of a cross between spicy barbecue, Jamaican jerk, and chipotle... if that makes any sense. O=9 Since it was spicy and had a strong flavor, Ms. Lin liked this dish probably the best.
All in all the prices were great and the portions were good. It’s a good place to go for Happy Hour to unwind and relax. A great find. It was a great way to start off the weekend and the night. Funny story about the strong drink, Ms. Lin and I were working hard to finish the drink. This time around Ms. Lin was not “woman” enough to finish my drink so we started a dare. I asked her if she think I could down my mojito and she believed I could. Being cunning, I asked what was in it for me. She said that she would pay for my drink if I did so. Done! I took out the ice and chugged it all down! *Gulp Gulp* P.S. Mine was the taller drink. =P I did it for the gold, literally. Hey at least I didn’t have to pay for my drink. ^_- A good time was had by all.
500 Florida St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
It has been a while since I have had the chance to come up to SF and even more rare is to be able to grab lunch in the city. I was only up in SF for a limited amount of time and I wouldn’t have many chances to try the SF Dine About Town. In fact, I only had one lunch available and we made the executive decision to go back to Asia de Cuba for their lunch deal. It’s all about the Lobster Club Sandwich. My first trip left a great impression about the food even though some of the other items was not as good as what I can get in LA. Still, I often think about making my way back so I can sink my teeth into that succulent sandwich. Alas, parking is always a nightmare so it would be very wise to utilize the public transportation that SF has to offer or just take a nice long walk if it is a sunny day! =)The price of the Lobster Club Sandwich normally is around the price of Dine About Town, $17.95, so Ms. Lin and I thought it would be a good deal to go for lunch. We were able to kill two birds with one stone, satisfy our craving and saving money. For Dine About Town they offered Mini Lobster Club Sandwiches with a choice of Jerk Fries, Black Bean and Edamame Salad, or Mixed Green Salad. They tricked us by listing on the website that it would be their signature Mojito Fries, but luckily the Jerk Fries were pretty tasty so we forgave them. There were 3 mini sandwiches stuffed with Maine Lobster Meat, Ginger-Mango Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato, and Applewood Smoked Bacon. How can you not drool from that description? They must de-shell the lobsters there themselves because they are very nice sized chunks of meat and… I found huge shells in my sandwich. Guess I am the lucky one? Somehow I am always the luckiest one in finding the needle in the haystack! Lol I had 2 huge pieces of shell in the first sandwich and I wasn’t going to say anything but I found a second piece in the next sandwich. =*( They did remake the last 2 sandwiches but I was a bit wary of eating them because it does hurt when you get poked. Still, the flavors are delicious and I always ask for more of the Ginger-Mango Mayo. The tangy flavor goes really well with the fries as well as enhances the sandwich more. I love that the bacon pieces inside are wonderfully smoky and crispy. There is a great crunch with every bite. For the pre-fixe lunch at Asia de Cuba you get an entrée, coffee or tea, and a tiny slice of their Cuban Opera Cake. It is a layered Chocolate Cake, Milk Chocolate Buttercream, and Coffee Mousse. I have been to Asia de Cuba in LA for Dine About Town and had their Cuban Opera Cake, but a full sized piece. Here they only cut a piece from the tip and I felt like there was some alcohol in the caramel. It was better in memory for me. All in all the Lobster Club Sandwich was still good, just a few minor mishaps. I still like the sandwich a lot but after my recent excursion, I might be a little more hesitant about returning any time soon. Guess I have a weak spot for lobster. O=)
Asia de Cuba
495 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
By chance I had been planning to visit Ms. Lin in SF and I got an e-mail from Foodbuzz saying that they were having an open house for food bloggers. I was super ecstatic about the coincidence and e-mailed them right away to see if I could bring Ms. Lin along for the event. They were super friendly and quick to respond. Alex was glad to have me bring a fellow food blogger along. It was a sunny day and we found parking a few blocks away up a hill. There were a few taco trucks on the way and we thought about trying them but they were gone by the time we left. =*( The Foodbuzz head quarters was a little hard to find at first as we walked by it, but we were able to find them after we turned around. There were a good amount of food bloggers and staff there. It was awesome meeting everyone. They were all so sweet and nice! I found the whole afternoon super enjoyable, almost didn't want to leave! ^_^
The best part was they had lunch served there. Throughout the day they had different small events to partake as you meet the staff and other food bloggers. Ms. Lin and I chose lunch to be the most convenient time, which probably turned out to be the best. They were serving some homemade Grape and White Pepper drink. At first I thought this sounded gross and a little weird, but Alex really sold it. She said it was delicious and she was correct! It was so delicious and refreshing! I still need to make this at home because it made me a believer. Normally I am not a big fan of grapes but the combination of sweet and pepper spice was perfection. If the Greek God's Ambrosia actually existed, I'd imagine it would taste similar to this. O=9
They had Naked Lunch brought in. Ms. Lin and I had never heard of this place but it sounded interesting. I am not big on sandwiches normally but I read online that they were known for their Foie Gras Sandwich so I was hoping that is what they served that day. Alas it was not what I'd hoped for, but what they had was wonderful! To my surprise these sandwiches were to die for. They only had 2 choices, Cheese Sandwich or Chorizo Sandwich. We grabbed one of each to share and chose to eat the Cheese Sandwich first because it probably wouldn't be as good. As it turns out, this one was the best! It was filled with Chevre Cheese, a type of goat cheese, that stood out strongly from the sandwich in a great way. The cheese really enhanced the oven roasted Tomatoes, Pesto, and Spinach. Everything came together in harmony. I was so tempted to grab some more. O=9
There was only 1 Chorizo Sandwich left and we were quick to grab it. After the delectable Cheese Sandwich we were eagerly anticipating the next sandwich. It was not quite what we expected but still good. There was melted cheese inside, ironically not in the Cheese Sandwich. This was actually full of meat but I have to agree with Ms. Lin that there wasn't really any spice or kick from the chorizo. I still think they were both great sandwiches but the Cheese Sandwich was definitely the clear winner. Actually after we left everyone, Ms. Lin and I looked up Naked Lunch's number to call them for an order. Sadly, they were out of the Foie Gras Sandwich. =**( We were so disappointed and sad about not being able to continue our splendid sandwich experience. **Don't worry I made it a goal to try them out and I have been 2x O=), which I will post later**
Thanks to Foodbuzz and Naked Lunch for the great experience. It was wonderful to meet the staff behind the magic and to meet so many wonderful fellow foodies that I hope to become great pals with! ^_^
San Francisco, CA 94133
Sunday, February 14, 2010
We were shopping around at Stater Brothers today because they have a Filet Mignon deal and I wanted some delicious steak! ^_^ I thought that it would be a sweet idea to buy our Mom and Aunt a flower or something for Valentine's Day to celebrate. As we were glancing at the selections that the Stater Brothers in Laguna Woods had, a lady who works there asked us if we wanted a free balloon. We were a bit caught off guard and were like, "ummmm yah sure." It was really sweet and surprising. We both took one and were elated. It was a bit unexpected but that really perked up our mood. This turned our Valentine's and New Year Day extra special. I will definitely shop here more often now. ^_^
They have a 3-day sale and today, Valentine's Day, is the last day. I decided to pick up some Cocktail Shrimps that were on sale. Fighting the crowds to eat out is too crazy. Ms. Lin and I decided to have a laid back day. Since I was there for some delicious Filet Mignon, why not pick up other goodies for the night. The shrimp was a bit bland, but luckily we have tons of lemons and cocktail sauce to spice it up! ^_^
I wish everyone A Happy Valentine's Day and A Happy New Year!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Alright! It is time for those of you out there to brave through the LA traffic on a weekend, which means all day traffic lol, to get yourself to the LA Street Food Fest! As many of you know that one of the hottest trends these days are food trucks. Starting with Kogi, your everyday delicious Taco trucks, and onto new innovative ideas. I have also been chasing trucks and more. It is all about the fun and good eats. Preferably not the rain... lol Not sure which trucks will really show up. There are lists online, guess I can copy and paste here O=9
GOURMET FOOD TRUCKS
Sample from dozens of the city's most popular mobile food trucks including The Buttermilk Truck, Grilled Cheese Truck, Sweets Truck, Fresser's, Frysmith, Slice Truck, Flying Pig, Fishlips, Komodo, a surprise celebrity chef pop-up (Chef Ludo!!), and many more
AUTHENTIC LA STREET FOOD
Sample dozens of authentic street food delicacies including pambazos from Antojitos de Abuelita, acaraje from Sabor de Bahia, Mama Koh's Korean chicken wings and much more
BREED STREET FOOD FAIR
Sample street food vendors from East LA's Breed Street scene including Rodolfo's Barbacoa, Hello Lupe's Pancakes and Antojitos Carmen
SPECIAL STREET FOOD FEST SAMPLING MENUS
Enjoy sampling and try as much as you want! All of our food vendors are offering specially priced $1 - $5 tasting menus and day-of-event-only items, just for you!
It sounds like it can be an awesome event and a lot of fun. Lots of foodies will be out there so get their early! Too bad they are all sold out of VIP tix but their are tix at the door for $5.
The $5 entry gets you access and a free drink (your choice, adult or otherwise). So bring cash too, to be safe. The full event details will be below for anyone interested. If you have nothing specific or special planned tomorrow, 2/13/10, then head on up to LA to have all the trucks come to you versus you trying to hunt them down! ^_^
LA Street Food Fest
February 13, 2010 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
LA Center Studios
500 S Beaudry Ave @ 6Th
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, February 11, 2010
It was pouring that night, 1/17/10. I was starting to regret that I came out with Ms. Lin to East Bay. Do I really want to trudge around in this horrid weather? Was there really any places worth this pain? If you read my review of Grégoire before, you'd know I would say no... but I actually liked Cheeseboard Pizza. They are very reminiscent of Arizmendi. There is only one type of pizza made a day and that's the only choice you get. When we arrived there was a line outside the door and the rain was coming down but luckily the line was moving very fast. There is a small fridge on the right side where they have a few selections of drinks to choose from and I immediately grabbed the Orangina as Ms. Lin tried a Ginger soda. **blech** lol They had a live band playing and the place was PACKED! There was either a person standing in any open space or people were crunched up around the tables. The place is small and there was limited seating but everyone seemed like they were having tons of fun. Ms. Lin and I just stood and ate our pizza by the water. Got to make do with what you can get.
That night the pizza available was an Asiago Cheese and Eggplant Pizza. Many of you might not know but Ms. Lin disdains eggplant so I was thinking that this will turn out interesting. She ate it and enjoyed it. I actually found the oil they glistened on top of the pizza to be extremely fragrant and the pizza was very tasty. Everything from smell to taste came together nicely. We both enjoyed that they gave you a big slice of pizza with a smaller cute slice on top. The pizza on the cheese was delicious and flavorful. I thought the pizza had just the right amount of seasoning and saltiness. Once I found the station with the Parmesan cheese to add on, it got even better. O=)
All in all the pizza was great and for a great price. It is just simple goodness. I could see why this place would be a hot spot for locals and college students. Normally I hate crowded places or waiting in lines, but this place had a great energy flow. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the people there were friendly. Would I drive all the way to East Bay just for this, heck no... but the next time I am in the area I will definitely keep in mind to come try some other yummy pizza creations and to pick myself up some more Orangina. Mmmm. Speaking of which, I need to go buy some and stock up at home! lol If you are in the Berkeley area and hankering for a snack, be sure to drop by here. ^_-
1512 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
Monday, February 8, 2010
Ms. Lin and I rarely head over to East Bay but if we do, we have to make the most of it. Sadly, it was a rainy night and cold! (1/17/10) This was our second stop of the night. I want to start with the bad before we get to the good so this post will go first. Ms. Lin had done some research on what to try as we made our way to Berkeley. At first I was a bit excited to try Grégoire because it was suppose to be a French Bistro, or so I thought! It was very close to the Cheeseboard Pizza that was our first stop. Still, in the rain it is not fun especially when it is windy. As we walk up to this place, I notice that this is really a tiny hole in the wall. I am not kidding too. When Ms. Lin said that it would be small and hard to find seating, boy was she not kidding! There was probably less than 5 seats/stools inside and there were only 2 tables outside. It didn't help that half the table was exposed in the rain. They have one small menu displayed by the door and it was a little hard to squeeze by and read but eventually I was able to look at it. I didn't really think there was anything that sounded unique or great on the menu that I would like to try. It was a bit disappointing and I was looking forward to the meal too! =*( If you can't tell already, this will not be a happy review. lol
First off we got the Crispy Potato Puffs that apparently was highly recommended. Ms. Lin asked if they could give us these first if they came out first and they did. It was piping hot and fresh. For $4.50 you get a decent amount and the boxes they use are so adorable! Sadly, the food didn't reflect the packaging in my opinion. The dipping sauce they provided was a honey mustard grain that didn't really compliment the potato puffs at all. I felt they were a bit bland and fell flat. Personally I can probably make better and more flavorful potato puffs. Add a bit of cheese and some more seasonings.... Mmmmm. Here, not so much. I barely ate this and left the rest for Ms. Lin to eat. She didn't think they were that bad and I explained my reasoning. Hey if she thought they were decent then she could have it all. O=9 Maybe I am spoiled by yummy food in LA, personally I'd rather have Porto's potato balls. After tasting this, I didn't have much hope for the main dish.
For the main course we ordered the Gruyere and Prosciutto stuffed Chicken Breast wrapped in Puff Pastry served with Onion Jus. Doesn't that sound delish on paper? Well I thought so but this really was nothing but a glorified Hot Pocket! lol Ms. Lin could see where I was coming from. It looks like a regular Hot Pocket in many ways. Taste, well for the price... I'd rather eat Hot Pockets. O=9 There really wasn't much flavor this dish. The chicken was decently cooked in tenderness but bland, followed by more items to wash out the taste. Normally I am a huge cheese fan but I found the funk of the Gruyere to be a bit on the nauseating side. My motto with cheese usually is the stinkier the better, but the taste of the cheese was a bit on the rancid side for me. I was trying to pawn off everything to Ms. Lin the whole night and she knew. The only thing that made the meal passable was that I had an Orangina with me to help wash it down. Thank you Orangina! lol O=P
All in all I was let down by this place. Maybe I was expecting too much from this tiny hole in the wall? I thought the place looked cute and quaint from the outside. You can watch the chef cook from the window. I don't think she is the proprietor but she was doing all the work in a small space. Got to give her credit for working it. Still, I was underwhelmed and the rain didn't help. Thank goodness I was really smart in convincing Ms. Lin to just order the 2 items that seemed decent and not order a bunch just to try. I have gotten a lot smarter about food these days. Try some, then order more and not to be greedy is my new motto. These are words to live by these days. I feel like a lot of these highly rated or hyped about places are really just so-so or sub-par. Even though I am very adventurous in finding new conquests, I sure have hit a lot of bumps along the way. What I suffer through for the craft. lol To leave things on a positive note, the boxes are super duper cute! Love the design! lol
2109 Cedar Street
Berkeley, CA 94709-1567
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I am doing a rush post on The Bazaar because they are not going to serve brunch anymore apparently. This past weekend, 2/6/10, I was up at Burumun's place and she invited me to join her brunch. Since I have never been to The Bazaar I was eager to go and it seems like I would be able to try their brunch menu before it is gone. Burumun told me that it would end on 2/13/10. I might try to go again with Ms. Lin when she comes back this weekend. We will see. O=9 The restaurant is located inside the SLS Hotel in LA. Valet parking is $12 so if you can find street parking and it isn't raining take it. We joked about how the money she spent on valet could have bought another breakfast dish! lol They have a really unique decor inside. There seems to be a bar area that had a vibrant light amongst the dark decor. They have very unique paintings and artwork all around. It even looked like there was a display area of art to right, away from the dining area. As we were led to the dining area the decor was a lot different. They have a counter area opposite to the outside seating area. Everything was nice and had an elegant feel.
We looked over the breakfast menu and debated about ordering the brunch tasting menu, sadly they didn't have the tasting menu that day. Since it was my first time, I was debating on ordering stuff from all over the menu. Luckily Burumun was there to order almost one of everything on the brunch menu to try. I support her reasoning that this would be our last chance, I'm a good enabler. O=9 We both got the Air Bread with Smoked Salmon. The bread is stuffed with Tzatziki Yogurt. You are suppose to eat it before the temperature of the yogurt changes. The bread was crispy and hollow, filled with the yogurt. When you bite in, a burst of flavor enhances the smoked salmon. It was good, but I am not sure about $5 a bite... but then again this is The Bazaar.
The 12 Tiny Eggs Sunny Side Up seemed very interesting. I wondered if they would be quail eggs since 12 normal eggs on a platter would be enormous. There was a funny disclaimer on the bottom that said Andy Garcia not included. Underneath the egg was grilled rice. On top of the egg was bits of bacon. The dish looked very unique and it was light in taste.
I really enjoyed the Tortilla de Patatas "New Way". It was not exactly what I thought it would be. This is also $5 each. They brought out a stone with an egg shell glued on top. At first I thought to myself, "Oh no! Why did I order this?" It was not what I imagined it to be. The description was Potato Foam, Egg 63, and Caramelized Onions. I thought this was going to be potatoes and eggs in a tortilla since it was in the title. Instead it is a smooth and extremely delectable layers of ingredients that you mix together to consume. Not sure if it was onions or potato crisps on top, but they really enhanced the smooth texture. I was mesmerized and impressed by the taste of the egg and combination of the potato foam that I am still talking about it to people. Almost got another order because it was so good, but I wanted to wait until all the dishes arrived before ordering another round. This is something I wish they would keep on their menu.
The Eggs Benedict "New Way" with a choice of Fermin Serrano Ham or Fermin Iberico Ham was good as well. When the dish came out, all I could see was the yummy ham. It made me really nostalgic for all the delicious jamon, ham, I had in San Fermin or anywhere in Spain. They actually cooked the ham and made it like bacon. For those of you who follow me, you know I am a HUGE bacon fan. Mmmm goodness. ^_^ The Brioche Toast on the bottom looked fabulous and was nicely toasted. On top was a soft poached egg and finally the piece de la resistance, two types of ham. This was probably the best dish, not including individual pieced snacks, on the breakfast side. All the components on this dish came together nicely and would still be delectable if eaten separately.
To my surprise, the Greek Yogurt Parfait with Mixed Berries was actually very tasty. The yogurt was very thick and had a subtle sweetness. I didn't have a spoon to taste it with and the thick consistency allowed me to scoop with a fork without dripping. This was like a Panna Cotta. In fact, they offer this as a dessert too so you can always get this again in the future. I actually really enjoyed the taste and texture of the yogurt. If it wasn't $12 for a small cup, I would definitely consider eating a few orders of this. They should think about selling this in containers. It would be nice to have this as a light snack or dessert every day. ^_^
One thing that caught my eye on the menu was the Foie Gras Sandwiches on Brioche buns with Quince paste. How could you ever go wrong with delicious foie gras? Sadly this was not seared foie gras but terrine style. Not sure why but this took forever to come out when all the ingredients inside should be already made. Guess they must have been making the bread or something to take most of the meal to serve this dish. There are 3 cute little sandwiches. I let Burumun have a few bites and she enjoyed it. Overall the taste and combination of ingredients were good. I thought the brioche bun was a bit on the dry side. Normally foie gras with quince is really good so I wasn't too surprised or impressed with this dish, but I am glad I ordered it to try it.
While we were sitting and waiting for the last few dishes to come out, Burumun added the Pisto. It's suppose to be a Vegetable Stew with Egg 63. The dish looked like a vegetable stir fry really with a soft poached egg on top. You are suppose to break the egg and mix the yolk thoroughly with all the vegetables. Don't know if this really counts as a stew since this wasn't a soup, it was still a mixture of cooked vegetables. The vegetables were nicely seasoned and good.
After a long long wait the Olive Oil Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Mixed Berries finally arrived. The server was surprised that we hadn't gotten some of our dishes... he obviously was not on top of things, even though it was not busy. We had to remind him that we were still missing dishes. When we ordered he told us that the pancakes taste like butter but without the fat. Boy! was he not kidding! It was super buttery in taste. Burumun even said that she felt like she would have a heart attack after eating this. After I took a bite, I could understand why. There is also some olive oil butter on top to glisten it further. The center of the pancakes was more moist and bursted with olive oil flavor. *shudders* This was a bit much for my taste, even though the pancake had a nice texture. The flavor was just too overpowering.
Last but not least, well... actually... maybe it was... My order of Buñuelos, Codfish Fritters served with Honey Alioli. The best part of this dish was the alioli sauce. I like the subtle sweetness mixed in with the garlic. They were nicely fried but the codfish was way too salty. It felt like the fish was already brined or salted and then mixed into the batter. I thought this would be a lighter dish, like shredded fish & chips, and not taste like pickled herring. Blech! This dish actually had more pieces but I wished there was less so I didn't have to eat it. I swear, they must have been killing the fish and starting from scratch on this dish since it took a ridiculously long time for it to come out. The server was shocked that it hadn't come out and he was sort of apologetic but my goodness, this really offset the whole experience. What makes it worse is that this wasn't even worth the wait. I should have got more breakfast dishes.
All in all I actually really enjoyed the food despite the few incidences. The service wasn't that great. At first he seemed friendly but it ended up being inattentive. We waited for a long time in between and it seemed like they forgot about some dishes. It was a bit unorganized. The service wasn't so bad to the point that I would not come back. In the end it is all about the food really. I do think the food here has a unique and innovative twist that is worth trying. After all the hype that some critics have given this place, I have been very skeptical about how this place would be. I will definitely be back again soon, maybe one more visit before they stop brunch. lol O=)
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Friday, February 5, 2010
So Gourmet Pigs has organized a website and a few restaurants to help out the people in Haiti. The website is called Bid and Eat. All profits will be going directly to charity and it's a great cause. The participating restaurants have donated the certificate to help out, which is very nice of them. As bidders, you get to help out a great cause and enjoy some good food so what is the harm. I myself have started randomly bidding just to help out. If you are interested in any of the restaurants or would like to help out then check out the site. I don't mind helping by promoting this charitable cause but I must put in my 2 cents that I disdain Pizzeria Ortica, which I have to post about still to explain the horridness, but other than that I say bid to your hearts content. What greater thing than to know you did something great and be rewarded at the same time? Even if there are no restaurants you want to eat at you can always bid and give it away or donate to charitable websites to help the disaster relief.
The bidding started today, 2/5/10 and will end 2/9/10. Here is a blurb copied from the site O=9 The addy is http://bidandeat.wordpress.com/ just in case you can't get the link.
About CHF International’s Efforts in Haiti:
CHF International responded to the earthquake immediately. We have a team of around 170 staff in Haiti, including many infrastructure and construction experts, who have been undertaking one of the largest USAID funded infrastructure rehabilitation and job creation programs in Haiti since 2006, and who have been responsible for repairing vital infrastructure damaged in the 2008 tropical storm season.
CHF is assisting relief efforts in the immediate aftermath, and then we will focus on the needs of the people as they transition from basic survival to recovery. This includes some of CHF’s areas of greatest expertise such as building ‘transitional shelters’; temporary homes that meet international standards where a family can live during the recovery period; helping to generate livelihoods, by employing people in the clean up of their community; and aiding reconstruction efforts by creating earthquake resistant buildings.
About Operation USA:
Operation USA helps communities alleviate the effects of disasters, disease and endemic poverty throughout the world by providing privately-funded relief, reconstruction and development aid. We provide material and financial assistance to grassroots organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, provide education and health services, and advocate on behalf of vulnerable people.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
As we are pulling up to 5A5 I had a feeling that I had been here before. I have been to its predecessor. The place has not changed much as the interior decor and design looks almost the exact same. Luckily it was a pretty hip and modern place to begin with. =) My companions and I talked about how the place has a retro feel with a twist. The place before 5A5 would turn this joint into a night club at night, not sure if they do this here too. This was the place that Ms. Lin chose for Dine SF. The price is $34.95 for all Dine SF. I only had enough time for one dinner and this place was it. We had actually come here for Happy Hour a few days before scoping it out. *I'll post that later O=)*
They seated us pretty fast and then the night began... service a bit slow but nowhere near as slow as the service at Bar Tartine. You can wait for the horrid tale later. I have a lot of pent up anger for that post! lol The service was a bit slower but it was fine, we just chatted away as we waited for each course comes up. First they brought us a plate of bread. One is a plain bread and the other was a Bacon bread. Needless to say my ears perked up when I heard "bacon"! ^_^ The breads were not bad and did tie me over for a little bit.
Everyone at the table ordered the Caesar Salad with Spanish White Anchovies. Even this took a while to come out. To my surprise, the lettuce were all huge leaves atop one another. I noted this to Ms. Lin and she told me that is very common these days. It is probably because I don't eat much salad so I don't know this. haha O=9 What happened to the good ole days where they chopped the vegetables for me! lol I feel that when the pieces are so big that they don't absorb any of the flavor or retain any of the dressing. The anchovies didn't quite work so well in this dish. It was a tad too vinegary. At first they were so hard to find but then towards the end I am glad there wasn't that much on the plate.
For the main course we all chose the 6 oz. New York Strip with Miso and Shishito Pesto. The cut was a bit small for my own taste but hey it is part of a deal so what can you deal. I thought the meat was nicely cooked and very tender. The natural flavor was tasty, but I did not care for the components or sauce on top. It was a bit awkward with the ginger and the pesto was a bit sweet. I guess I am more of a savory kind of gal on my steak. Still, the steak was good and I enjoyed it. Maybe one day I will come back for some of their signature steaks or the Wagyu cuts. No sides come with the Dine SF so it is recommended that you order one. Ms. Lin already planned on sharing one since she has been here before. We decided to share the Mac & Cheese that has Truffle Oil inside. The dish came out very fragrant and looked super cheesy! ^_^ yum yum! It tasted pretty good. I mean how can you go wrong with yummy cheeses and delicious truffle oil! lol
Ms. Lin and I decided to get one of each dessert so that we can try both of them out. The Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding with Malted Vanilla Ice Cream was good. It was actually a pretty good size. The bread pudding was tasty and moist. I couldn't really taste the toffee flavor as much. The other dessert was the Banana Cream Tart with Maple Crunch Candy and Maple Cream. This was a smaller portion. It was a small tart on a big plate and decorated sparsely with the minimal components. The maple candy was okay, nothing special. I enjoyed the candied bananas on the side. It reminds me of the Chinese Fried Banana a little bit since it was nicely caramelized. As for the tart, the flavor was not bad and there was a marshmallow substance under that glued it to the plate. Both desserts were good but I think I like the bread pudding more. ^_^
All in all the food was solid. I do wish that the steak was a little bit bigger, but still good. They were pretty booked for a Sunday night, which is a good sign that it is well-received or at least people desire to be there. The salad was probably my least favorite even though I really like a good Caesar Salad. Our server was pretty nice but the food did take a while to come out. Still I will be back again for Happy Hour. Wait for that post and you can see the deals they offer. ^_^
On a funny note, I just had to show our receipts. This happened a few nights ago too at this place. Whenever we say split the bill, they somehow always have a 30 cent difference! lol You got to love their math skills here! O=9
5A5 Steak Lounge
244 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94111