Thursday, August 31, 2006

five foods to try before you die

I keep seeing this meme going around all the food blogs I read. I'm not cool enough to have anyone tag me, but I'm going to do it anyway. The gist of the story is that the Traveler's Lunchbox started this meme that asks bloggers to list five things to eat before you die. It can be simple or detailed as the writer chooses. So, here's my list:

1. Chocolate. It's the most divine substance on earth.

2. Homemade Pierogies. Mr. Cupcake introduced me to the pierogi. At first it was Mrs. T's, which really isn't anything all that special. But then, I had the opportunity to try a homemade pierogi. Every year, Mr. Cupcake's mom and sisters crank out tons of these potato dumplings for Christmas eve dinner. Seriously, starch on starch, what could be better? Well, chocolate is better, but that's why it's number one.

3. Nocciola Gelato. The real stuff from Italy. Niccola is Italian for hazelnut. Take that hazelnut and turn it into gelato and it becomes my personal form of crack. During our two weeks in Italy, Mr. Cupcake and I had at least a gelato a day, though usually more. And everyday, I'd order the nicciola.

4. Green Tomato Pie. Listed as a dessert, it sounds miscategorized. We had the opportunity to try it at the Holly Hill Inn in Midway, KY. Mr. Cupcake asked our server for a dessert recommendation, and he swore by the pie, though he said most of his customers were too afraid to try it. Mr. Cupcake ordered it, and it was fantastic. It was a pie made with green tomatoes, but sweet like a dessert should be. Sadly, their menu changes every month, so we never saw it again. I was so taken by this pie, that I researched a few recipes online. I'm going to give it a whirl (if I can ever find green tomatoes out here) and blog about it.

5. A Spalding Bakery Doughnut. I am not a doughnut eater. I don't really like doughnuts. However, I've never had a doughnut like the ones at the Spalding Bakery in Lexington, KY. Even better are the ones that came straight out of the fryer. Warm and crispy on the outside, doughy in the center. It's amazing. Even more amazing is that I hear they fry them in lard. I'm pretty sure that's the source of their deliciousness. Krispy Kreme you say? I scoff at the mere suggestion!

I surprised myself. Two of my top five items came from Kentucky. I guess that's what happens when you live there for almost five years. I need more time in California because five years from now, I'm sure my list will reshape. Well, except for the chocolate part.

Now, the question is: What are your five must try foods?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

fun with ricky

Rick came into town to visit Chris, Soo and I because his airlines benefits at his new job kicked in. He was here for less than 48 hours, so we crammed in as many activites as we could. We had two must visits while Rick was here: Koi Palace and The Golden Gate Bakery. We ate dim sum at Koi Palace though this was the first time we had to wait for a table. Not a big deal; we were happy to be there. Our next destination, however, was not as sunny. We went to the Golden Gate Bakery, and sadly found this sign:

They were closed for vacation! Words cannot express our disappointment. No egg tarts. No coconut tarts. No curry. We tried hard to fight back the tears. What made matters worse was that there was someone inside. The lights were on. It was like somone was trying to play a cruel joke. So cruel.

We decided the only way to make up for it was by having dinner. We're emotional eaters. When times are tough, we seek out that bloated yet always comforting feeling.

The last time I saw my sister-in-law she told me the best place in San Francisco for Korean food is Brother's Restaurant. It's located on Geary Street. The restaurant is tiny, but it's also very popular. Unfortunately popular means having to wait. It was chaotic trying to get a number in line. There was one lady who was handing out numbers written on post it notes, but she kept disappearing. Eventually Soo caught her and we waited about half an hour before being seated.

We ordered a bunch of dishes and chose not to cook tableside. Instead, we let the restaurant prepare the BBQ for us. Though, if you prefer to cook your meat, they use the charcoal briquets.

We were offered up a pretty good mix of side dishes. My favorite was the daikon radish threads mixed with carrots (lower right). It had a nice sweet flavor.

The bul go gi (beef) was good. That's about all I can say about it because I don't really like beef. Besides, the flavor wasn't as intense as the pork. Oh the pork!

Notice how the pork bul go gi is served in a cow. This was my favorite dish of the night. The flavor was intense and also spicy. Out of the four Korean restaurants I've been to since moving to the Bay area, this version of pork bul go gi takes the cake.

Soo was particularly fond of the flounder. It was fried, but not greasy. This made for a crispy crust that complimented the white fish. The bones were still in so we had to work around them. Rick passed on the eyeball when Soo tried to give it to him.

I'm usually not a fan of the slimy noodle dish, but this was pretty good. If you like chap chae, you'll probably like this version.

This was the soup that kept us from ordering the family meal. The family meal comes with mandu (dumpling) soup. We might have been better off with the mandu soup. The tofu soup was a bit bland compared to some of the other versions I've tried.

Our last dish was the Combination Jun Platter. It was a mix of seafood and vegetables. I don't know what was in the batter, but the mushroom I had was a little too soft and greasy for my taste. Besides, by the time this dish came out, I was already full. We have a tendency to order way too much when we go out. Our new rule of thumb is to order as many dishes as there are people and no more. It's great in theory, but I'm not sure if it'll really work for us.

Our total came to about $82 before tax and tip. Everyone was pleased with the meal. I took the leftovers to Mr. Cupcake who was stuck on call. He loves Korean food, but everytime we go, it seems he's on call. I told him I'd take him because this is definitely the best Korean food I've had in the Bay area thus far. Oh, and one tip: we heard that you can call in ahead and get a number. It might make the wait bearable in those peak times.

Come back again soon Rick!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

sunshine

Mr. Cupcake and I just saw "Little Miss Sunshine". It's the funniest movie I've seen in awhile and definitely worth seeing. There's lots of dysfunction and quirky character development. Even Mr. Cupcake liked it. Go see it!

This whole working thing is cramping my blogging style. I should be able to get back on track soon and write about something interesting. Rick is coming on Friday, and all we do is eat when he's here. Soon I say!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

caribbean in the bay

On Friday, Mr. Cupcake and I decided to do dinner and a movie. I wanted to see "Little Miss Sunshine". Since I picked the movie, Mr. Cupcake wanted to pick our dinner destination. I was fine with this except his answer for dinner was In-n-Out Burger. Now, don't get me wrong, I like In-n-Out Burger on occasion. The thing is, that's always his answer for dinner. I vetoed and told him that we were going to Back A Yard Caribbean American Grill in Menlo Park instead.

The restaurant is very tiny, but also seemingly popular. There are only four tables on the inside, so there was a steady line for people doing take out the entire time we were there. We were lucky and managed to grab a table.

I ordered the jerk chicken dinner. It came with a mix of dark and white meat chicken, salad, fried plantains, and rice and beans. The chicken varied. Some pieces were juicy and some seemed a little dry. The jerk was pretty good, but a little salty for my taste. Mr. Cupcake and I both enjoyed the plantains. They were very sweet and the texture was soft. The salad wasn't anything to write home about, and I don't like rice and beans. Mr. Cupcake on the other hand loves rice and beans. He was particularly fond of these and finished them off my plate. He really liked that they had a hint of coconut flavor to them.

I also ordered a pineapple ginger juice. It was pretty terrible and I don't recommend it. The ginger was too overpowering.

Mr. Cupcake ordered the pork ribs. The meat was incredibly tender, practically falling off the bone. Mr. Cupcake declared that these ribs were better than Kansas City BBQ. Now, being that I grew up in Kansas City, I had to inform him that was wrong. He then back tracked and said that they were maybe not as good as Arthur Bryant's. I have to admit that these ribs were quite good. As far as the rest of his meal, the french fries were fresh and the coleslaw was mayonnaisey. If his ribs had come with my plantains and rice and beans, then it would have been a perfect meal for Mr. Cupcake.

Our total bill was $23 even. The menu at Back A Yard is pretty vast. There are things like oxtail and goat. We will be back for sure. Though, we may have to settle for takeout. The place is so tiny, and getting a table is not guaranteed.

We didn't end up seeing the movie. We left Five outside the whole time we were gone, so we had to go back and let him in. He tends to get pissy when we forget about him.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

outrageous martha

Today was boring. The reason being is that I didn't have to think about finding a job. So what did I do? I sat and watched TV. I watched the end of "The View". They need to bring back that crazy bitch Star Jones. At least then I could love to hate it. Now, I just hate it. Anyway, then came the news followed by "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". Then I found "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and of course had to watch it. During which I started dreaming about chocolate which turned into I need some chocolate. Apparently I didn't need it that badly because after the movie, I watched the end of "Rudy". Together, Five and I laughed and then we cried. I heart that movie. And, no, it didn't end there. I watched two episodes of "Roseanne". I'm sorry, but the old episodes are some of the best TV ever. EVER!

I had turned into a zombie and decided it was time to turn off the TV. But then what? Mr. Cupcake is hosting poker tomorrow night. It was time to bake something. Something chocolate. Mmmmmmm chocolate. Damn that Willy Wonka! I thought about making chocolate chip cookies because then I wouldn't have to leave for ingredients. I mean come on, I spent the first half of the day at home, why not make it a full one? Well, lucky for me, I found an old printed recipe for Outrageous Chocolate Cookies from everyone's favorite jailbird, Martha Stewart. I had most of the ingredients. I was golden.

The recipe calls for chocolate chunks, but I used Trader Joe's chips. I have nothing but love for them, so it was fine. Assembly was a snap. I baked the cookies for 12 minutes, turning halfway through and out came shiney, crackled cookies.

The cookies are incredibly rich and chocolatey. A tall glass of cold milk will compliment these very nicely. Mr. Cupcake gave these cookies an enthusiastic thumbs up. Okay, not really, but he definitely liked them. My little neighbor friend also enjoyed my Martha approved concoction. We'll see if the poker crew approves tomorrow. That is, if my neighbor friend and her friends don't eat them all by then. They like to come by and stare at Five through the screen door. Only, now they know I make cookies.


Outrageous Chocolate Cookies
Martha Stewart

Makes 2 dozen; Prep time: 20 minutes; Total time: 45 minutes
Do not bake the cookies to a crisp; they are meant to be soft and chewy. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for two to three days.

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

3. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes; with a thin metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool completely.


Note: Don't worry if the batter seems thin. It should look more like brownie batter than cookie dough.

Monday, August 14, 2006

japanese tapas

After the picnic on Friday, Soo, Chris, Yeuhi, Mr. Cupcake, and I grabbed some dinner at Yume-Ya in Sunnyvale. We originally intended to go to Saizo, but couldn't get a reservation because no one wanted to answer the phone. We opted to explore new territory and gave Yume-Ya a try.

The restaurant is a little tricky to find. Just look for the Radio Shack. There's also a Trader Joe's nearby.

When we walked in, there were three men sitting at the sushi bar, and that was it. We waited for Yeuhi to arrive, so we looked over the menu for a long time. Our waitress was eager to accommodate us, but we held out.

Chris wanted an order of gyoza. It was pretty typical. I liked that the outside was crispy, but I never get super excited for gyoza.

We ordered the Japanese style spring rolls. For some reason I assumed that the spring rolls would be fried. Keep in mind that the menu is not descriptive, so sometimes it's taking a chance. The spring rolls were different, but also very fresh and light. It was a nice contrast to the fried dishes.

The agedashi tofu was tasty. The outside had a lightly fried crust and was sauce went well. I am beginning to like tofu more and more these days.

The potato croquette may have been my favorite dish of the night. The outside was crispy and inside oozed with a smooth, slighty sweet potato filling. I'd go back just for this dish.

At this point, we ordered our main courses. Soo and I chose to order more tapas to share including another potato croquette.

Our first dish was a cucumber, seaweed, and sesame salad. It had a pickled flavor and was okay. I think I was still dreaming about having another croquette.

I'll give this dish the award for the most interesting of the night. It was deep fried lotus root stuffed with shrimp. I can't say I've had anything like it before, but I liked it in that "this is unique" way. And yes, I mean unique as in good. Not unique as in "special".

The tuna poke was right up there with the potato croquette. The tuna was spicy and garlicky. Soo liked this dish so much that she plans on ordering just a couple of pokes with some rice the next time she comes. Yes, it was that good.

Mr. Cupcake ordered the Miso-katsu dinner, which was a deep fried pork cutlet. It came with salad, miso soup, and rice. He wasn't super excited for the meal because the pork was dry. I thought it paled in comparison with some of the other dishes we ordered.

Chris ordered the Chirashi Sushi which is sushi rice with pieces of fish scattered on top. He was impressed with the quality of the fish as well as the variety.

The only downside from the experience is that we had a few issues with our server. Soo and I ordered two more dishes that never arrived. Sadly, this included that potato croquette. We were crushed that it never came. It turns out it never even made it on the ticket. It didn't end there. Yeuhi ordered oysters and out came octopus. Our server was definitely flustered, but fixed it. My only other nitpick was that we were neglected for awhile. However, part of this is probably our fault. Our server was very attentive in the beginning, but because we weren't ready, we kept sending her away. Honestly, the service has since been a distant memory because I all I can think about is how good the food was.

Our total bill before tax, tip, and alcohol was about $82 for five people. We were all surprised by the bill because the food is extremely affordable and the quality is outstanding. I didn't capture all of our dishes (bad food blogger!), so you're missing out on several more dishes. I actually liked this place better than Saizo just because I thought the variety was more appealing. Mr. Cupcake on the other hand prefers Saizo. I think this means we'll have to give each one another go to declare the ultimate champion in the intergalactic battle of the izakayas.

Oh and during our three hour dinner, the restaurant filled up. However, the three men who were sitting at the counter when we arrived, were still there when we left sharing drinks with the sushi chef.

miscellaneous non food related stuff

I guess I'm employed now. It didn't work out quite the way I wanted, but it's also not bad. I have a temporary job at a local university that goes through the end of the year. Shortly thereafter, I should have another job that is full time somewhere else. My only concern is that the job that starts later will somehow fall through since it's so far out. Here's hoping it won't. Mr. Cupcake is happy because this means Matilda (his car) gets new coils. Whatever that means.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

company picnic

I have a headache that seems to be eating my brain. Therefore, if you find this is the suckiest post ever, then you can blame the headache.

Yesterday, was Mr. Cupcake's company picnic. The theme was Alice in Wonderland, and as usual, the company went all out. We were greeted by Alice, and a guy with a clock at which point, Mr. Cupcake took off to sign up for the poker tournament, leaving me to my own devices. He eventually found his way back and we did a short loop before he had to go play poker.

As we walked, we picked up some fried mushrooms. There were also waffle fries with an array of toppings including ketchup, cheese, chili, etc.

Next to fries and mushrooms stood the mini hamburgers and veggie burgers.

There were lots of finger foods including fruit tarts (yum!), brownies, and some kind of wraps. For every stand, there were several more nearby with the same stuff.


Mr. Cupcake was not a fan of the egg salad finger sandwiches.


I think these are scones. I'm not sure because I didn't have any.


In the main dining area, there was chicken satay, pulled pork, cole slaw, beans, and some other stuff. At this point Mr. Cupcake took off and I met up with Soo and Chris. I'm becoming their third wheel since Mr. Cupcake has a tendency to disappear.

I went with a fruit cup and some pulled pork. The pork was actually pretty good. They ran out of buns early though so the pork had to be eaten with a fork. We were disappointed by the lack of buns so early, until we found a mound that was completely untouched in the poker area. We of course ate again.


Before we found the buns, we gorged ourselves on some waffle fries. Sorry, no picture. We were too busy watching the white rabbit.

A reggae band was playing near the main food area. There was also another band on the other side of the amphitheatre.

This little guy had the right idea. There was a petting zoo filled with little animals for the kids to play with. While all the cute little bunnies and goats were running away from the kids, this pig played dead. And the kids stayed away.

I was a little bummed that I missed out on the make your own sundae and all the ice cream/popsicle options. Unfortunately, I was too full and I also had to leave early to take Five to the vet. My poor cat has signs of cancer, so he his needs took precedence.

Mr. Cupcake made it to the final poker table and came in 11th. Later, he came home with a book and a dvd signed by Phil Gordan. Apparently he's a professional poker player who was also the announcer. Shows you what I know.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

baking light

For three years, I subscribed to Cooking Light Magazine. It suited me well because it was a way to shake up my normal rotation. Every month, I'd find a new issue in my mailbox filled with new recipes to try. Some recipes are now regulars and others were simply heinous. Towards the end of my subscription, I started to notice that a lot of the recipes sounded the same. It seems that they have a few base recipes that receive minor tweaks on occasion. While it was a great relationship for at least two of the three years, it was time to take a break.

I didn't have a chance to look at my last issue of the magazine until a few days ago. I found a few recipes that seemed worth trying. However, it was the Fresh Lime Chiffon Cake that caught my eye. I have been looking for healthier dessert alternatives recently. Mr. Cupcake and I have been packing on the pounds, and it's time to put an end to it. The only thing is that I'm not a fan of cutting sweets out completely because it doesn't work. I end up gorging myself on anything sweet and fatty if I try to deprive myself.

Anyway, I ended up working on a few job apps this afternoon, and decided to take a break. The fresh lime chiffon cake was calling my name.

I was a little grossed out when I started making the batter, so I took a picture. It consisted of egg yolks, oil, water, and lime zest. The recipe also called for lemon extract, but I didn't have any. I just added a little more lime.

I mixed the wet ingredients with the dry, and then folded in some stiff egg whites. I'm always paranoid that I'm going to deflate the eggs whites because I find I'm never satisfied with my folding job and therefore have a tendency to over fold. I'm sure it's all just in my head.

The filling was actually the first thing I made, but it had to sit in the fridge for three hours to stiffen up. Somehow, my finger managed to find its way into the bowl thus creating an obvious well. I did my best to cover it up the evidence when picture time rolled around.

I baked the three layers in 9" pans instead of the 8" pans that the recipe called for. The tops became very sticky as they cooled. I trimmed them a bit to get rid of the gumminess.

I frosted the cake with my Safeway Cool Whip wannabe. The recipe calls for light whipped topping, but I only had regular. It was leftover from the last time R was in town. Oh, and he's coming back in a few weeks, so I will have more tales of our glorious food binges. Anyway, I was suppose to add more lime and sugar to the frosting. I went as far as making the sugar and lime mixture and then decided to abandon ship. The cake and the filling already had strong lime flavors. I figured lime in the frosting would be overkill. The Cool Whip imposter went solo.

The cake turned out to be a lot of work. In fact, I'm not sure the effort was worth the result. The lime flavor was slightly overwhelming. I'm glad I didn't add the extra flavoring to the frosting. The cake turned out to be a bit denser than say an angel food cake, but was still spongy and light. Mr. Cupcake said he liked it, but I think he was lying. If he still reads my blog he can post his true feelings. The worst thing that can happen is I'll cry. Just kidding.

It's been an hour since I tried a slice of cake. My tongue still has a very acidic feel to it. Perhaps if I had used the lemon extract the outcome would have been better, but I'm not so sure. Besides, I don't think it's worth the number of calories. I just pasted the recipe into this post and saw that this little cake has 16 servings! Scam.

Fresh Lime Chiffon Cake
Cooking Light Magazine

Filling:
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon cake flour
2 cups sifted cake flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
2 1/2 cups fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
Fresh blueberries (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

To prepare the lime filling, combine 1 teaspoon lime rind, 1/4 cup lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk in a small bowl, stirring until blended. Cover and chill 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 325°.

To prepare cake, coat bottoms of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans); line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour.

Lightly spoon 2 cups cake flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups cake flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well combined.

Combine oil, 1/3 cup juice, 3 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon rind, lemon extract, and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add oil mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into flour mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.

Divide cake batter equally among prepared pans, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Remove wax paper from cake layers. Cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare frosting, combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons lime juice in a small glass bowl. Microwave at high for 30 seconds or until sugar dissolves. Cool completely. Fold into whipped topping.

To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of filling over cake layer. Top with second layer, remaining half of filling, and third layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish with mint, blueberries, and lime wedges, if desired. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Slice cake into wedges.

16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 290(29% from fat); FAT 9.3g (sat 2.1g,mono 4.6g,poly 2.1g); PROTEIN 5.3g; CHOLESTEROL 47mg; CALCIUM 122mg; SODIUM 218mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 44.9g

Monday, August 07, 2006

sf part deux

I attempted to escape the heat in the South Bay by visiting SK and CI in the city, but was disappointed to find out that the heat was also in San Francisco. After a late breakfast/lunch, we walked around Fisherman's Wharf, but had to retreat into the Gap for its air conditioning. Since we could only hang out in the Gap for so long, we eventually headed back to their place.

Later on, SK decided she wanted cold Korean noodle soup. Our only problem was that none of us knew where any Korean restaurants were. Instead of picking somewhere blindly, I gave my sister-in-law a call. She use to live in the Bay area and is Korean. The first place she suggested was Brothers Restaurant, but she wasn't sure if they'd have the cold noodle soup. Then she called her friend who is Korean and lives in the Bay Area. She suggested Wooden Charcoal BBQ. We ended up picking the latter because there was less chance of a wait since it's a bigger space.

Wooden Charcoal BBQ is down in the Inner Richmond district. Because we're all fairly new to the area, we were surprised by the number of Korean businesses near the restaurant. I guess it's some sort of Korea town. Brothers Restaurant was also within the vicinity.

When we arrived, we were immediately seated. The restaurant was pretty big, and there were a fair amount of open tables. The decor was pretty bland, so don't expect anything fancy if you go.

We opted for one the dinner specials. CI had convinced SK to forego the cold noodle soup even though that's what we came for. His reasoning was that we'd end up with too much food, which turned out to be true. Our dinner came with a spicy tofu soup, salad, three grilled meats, chap chae, and the usual sides. I thought the spicy tofu soup was pretty good. It was spicy and warm. The heat outside had tapered off, so the warm soup was nice.

The meat was the main event and consisted of spicy pork, chicken, and beef. We let the restaurant cook it for us. The last time we cooked our own meat, our clothes reeked from the smoke. I didn't eat any of the beef, and found the chicken to be pretty good. It was juicy and flavorful, but the real winner was the pork. The spicy marinade penetrated the meat and it was also very tender. Next time I will just stick with the pork.

The family dinner for four (CI's ex roommate joined us) excluding tip and drinks was about $62. Overall, the food was pretty good. It was higher quality than my last Korean BBQ experience. However, I will probably try some of the other restaurants in the area including Brothers Restaurant before I go back. If only there was great Korean BBQ in the South Bay. Then again, there might be; I just haven't found it yet.

So, that was my day in San Francisco. We battled the heat and ate some good food. By the end of the day, CI was lucky enough to collect a souvenir from our adventures:

Nothing says a good day like a rockin farmer's tan.

sf part une

A few weeks ago I went into the city and spent the day with SK and CI. This was during that crazy heat wave that took over the Bay Area. We don't have air conditioning in our new place, so it was a great way (or so I thought) to beat the heat. It's usually cooler up north compared to where I am. Mr. Cupcake was on call that day, so he missed out on the fun.

Our first destination was Mama's on Washington Square. It was Saturday morning around 11:30. We had anticipated a wait, and were not disappointed. The line was wrapped around the side of the building. However, we decided it wasn't that bad, and proceeded to wait. Besides, the car was parked and we had 2 hours to kill.

During our 45 minute wait, my friends and I started gawking at the people who were eating through the big windows. We have no shame. Everything looked good, so it was difficult trying to figure out what order. I eventually decided breakfast was where it was at. I was leaning towards the pancakes because of the berries, but at the last minute had a change of heart.

I went with the pain dore. It was described as sour dough bread french toast served with apples. I was a bit leary because I imaged that the french toast was going to be this huge chunk of bread, but they had widdled it down to this thin pancake like shape. I was mightily impressed with my dish. The apple slices were smothered in a rich buttery lemon sauce and topped with powdered sugar. It was heavenly.

SK was hoping to get the Cranberry, Orange, Walnut Bread French Toast served with Mixed Berries and Maple Syrup (I had previously shown her a picture from the Becks & Posh blog), but unfortunately, it wasn't available. Her backup plan was a plate of pancakes with berries. It was three big, thick pancackes topped with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. The pancakes were a little fluffier than I prefer, but still quite good. It's amazing what ripe fruit does for a dish.

CI ordered an omelet that had Italian sausage. I don't remember which one specifically, but I can tell you it was very tasty. The omelet was filled with big chunks of sausage and vegetables. I would gladly order an omelet here based on my one trial bite.

Our three dishes, 2 iced teas, and iced coffee cost $36 before tip. I can see why this place is so popular, and I do think it's worth the wait. I'm sad that there aren't any places like this in the South Bay. I feel a bit cheated on breakfast down here. Maybe I should open my own breakfast joint. Though that would require me to know how to make multiple breakfast dishes.

One tip: Mama's only takes cash. We didn't see the sign until we got up to the register, so just keep that in mind. It'd be devastating to wait in a line for so long only to be turned away just before the finish line.

My DSL is finally working, but at the expense of my house line. So don't try to call my house number for now. The good news is that I should be able to update my blog regularly again. I have a lot of things to catch up on, so inbetween my job search I'm going to post.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

do you do this?

Our friends from Kentucky left today after a week of video games, poker, and the beach. We ate most meals at home since K's meal of choice is a bowl of Special K. There was one day he didn't eat cereal for lunch and cooked up some steaks. Normal right? Well, then I noticed he then created a large pool of ketchup to go along with his steak. At first I was appalled, but then slowly found myself fascinated. So much so, that I took a picture to share with all.

I guess this is a regional thing. I was telling my friend MC (also from Kentucky) about it, and he confessed that he used to do the same thing. However, he has since switched over to A1 sauce.

Still no DSL. Ho hum.