Sep 08

The Perfect Summer Meal…Amami Sushi

We’ve heard about Amami Sushi for a while now, but now that we have a toddler, we just never have time to wait in lines anymore. We actually waited for a good half hour once, but had to leave. So, on one of those days I got out of work early, we decided to have dinner here at 5:00pm. Yes, I said 5:00pm. And I am so glad we did, because it was packed by 6:00pm, even if you had a reservation, I am sure it was delayed by a good half hour to an hour. Upon arrival, look at the Today’s Special Menu, or better yet, just take a photo like me and return to your seat! Haha!

We, of course, had to order the 10 piece Omakase dinner at $30.00 per person! The fish was so fresh, my only complaint is that the servers never told us what we were eating. And they are busy so you never want to stop them and ask. But as you can see, they include fresh tunas, salmons, even a baby lobster! We loved the seared options, they were very very fatty but so good! We also ordered the King Crab Remix with Scallop, Salmon and Avocado, it was a big piece and actually very refreshing after all the fatty fish, it tasted like summer! Last but not least, we also devoured the Seared Toro topped with Uni…and if you are thinking that it’s too much of a good thing, you’re probably right, but I enjoyed every bite of this damn good thing!

People always asks me, ‘What does your son eat?’. Well, he loves noodles, so we ordered him a Vegetable Udon. He actually really enjoyed it and ate all the udon and left me some vegetables to finish for him. The soup was only okay, kind of bland, but good for toddlers!

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Aug 28

A Night Out at Coqueta (A Very Late Post)

It’s been a while since we had dinner at Coqueta, in November 2013 to be exact, but you never forget some of your best meals! It was a rare date night for us and we were celebrating our wedding anniversary! To enjoy a night in San Francisco along the beautiful waterfront is always a treat in itself!  We heard rave reviews about the Spanish tapas at Coqueta so we had to try it. I requested to sit along the bar to see all the action in the busy kitchen, we love watching the creators get crafty with the dishes!

I just looked at their menu online and it looks like they still serve most of what we enjoyed that evening. I have to say that everything we had was delicious with the exception of the flan dessert. We shared everything, and yes, it was a lot of food but since it’s very seldom that we get to indulge, we had every reason to do it and this was the best place for it!

We started with the hot tapas! The Wood-Grilled Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes were smoky and the octopus was cooked with the perfect crunch! The Smoked Salmon with Queso Fresco and Truffle Honey was a tasty combination, although we’ve had better smoked salmon, it was not bad, we actually wanted the razor clams but they were out! And then the Sunny Side-Up Huevo with Shrimp, Crispy Potato and Chorizo Dressing came out and honestly, I don’t even know where to begin, blending the ingredients together was genius!

For the entree, we decided to go big, REALLY BIG! We ordered the Wood Grilled Bone-In 32oz. Natural Beef Ribeye with Moorish Pepper which is made to serve 4, and yes, our server did remind us that we would have to pay for the 4 people it serves. Wow, it was a thing of beauty when it came out and it was so damn amazing, it was the most flavorful and tender meat, and the moorish pepper sauce it was served with was excellent! We finished the ENTIRE thing! And okay, we also had some vegetables, we ordered the Vineyard Greens with Raisins and Pine Nuts and it was good, but the meat was better.

We would definitely return if we had another opportunity!

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Mar 24

Want Some Comfort Food…Go to HRD Coffee Shop

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to blog about food…unfortunately, my son keeps me very busy and tired these days. And, we don’t get to go out and enjoy meals as much as we would like. But, over the weekend, we had a chance to try HRD Coffee Shop and it was a delicious treat. We just so happened to be in the area and there was parking right in front, someone apparently paid 7 hours of parking on the space we took! WINNER!

We walked into the busy joint and luckily they had tables in the back that could accommodate us and our toddler.  Once you walk in you will be hungry, the smell of the food will immediately make you happy! We ordered the spicy Kim Chee Fried Rice with Pork, topped with a Sunny-Side Egg and the Curry Rice Plate with Fried Mahi Mahi, served with Brown Rice, Kim Chee Croquette and Wasabi Apple Coleslaw. Ummm…we were eating in silence and only spoke a few words such as “WTF? This is hella good!” The Kim Chee Fried Rice was goooood and even the spicy pork was nice and tender! The Fried Mahi Mahi was fried Katsu style, and smothering the Curry Sauce over it was perfect!

A little bit of Korean, a little bit of Japanese, we will definitely be returning to HRD for more!!!

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Sep 04

Ramen Time at Waraku

There are so many ramen joints in the Bay Area! But the one I’ve been enjoying lately is Waraku located in the Japantown in San Francisco. I’ve been there a few times and have tried the warm comforting bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen served with house made tonkotsu broth base, chashu pork, green onions, bamboo shoots, kikurage-mushrooms, bean sprouts and smoked egg! But I have to admit, I really love slurping the Tsukemen, served with a really rich and warm house made tonkotsu and fish base broth and served with all the same accompaniments as the Tonkotsu Ramen. The only difference is that you dip the ramen and accompaniments into the rich broth. And of course I also love to add the tender Braised Pork Belly, the sweet soy sauce flavor is so addicting! If you are in the area, give this place a try!

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Jul 17

Umami Burger…A Little More Gourmet to Your Burger

Last weekend we had a late lunch and decided that we really wanted a burger, a real juicy burger! So, we decided to finally try Umami Burger. I’ve seen quite a few people checking in to this place so I had a feeling it was going to be good. We went to the Palo Alto location, and we were there quite late, it was probably 2:00pm on a Sunday.  We were very lucky we didn’t have to wait cause right after we were seated, we noticed a line!

We shared the very crispy Thin Fries served with the tender braised short rib and house gravy. I really liked the fries and house gravy, the short rib was okay, but nothing to write home about.  For the burgers, we decided on the Original and the Truffle Burger, both medium rare. The Original was served with shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp and Umami ketchup. There was a lot of flavors to this one, somehow the flavors reminded me of Chinese barbecue pork bun flavors!  The Truffle Burger served with house-made truffle cheese and truffle glaze was so damn good though, I loved the hint of truffle flavors.  The plus about both was the meat for the burgers, they were definitely plump and juicy, and they really did make them medium rare. The buns were even good, with just a little sweetness and fluff. The only downside is that they’re not cheap, and the order doesn’t come with anything (not even a pickle!) besides what you see below.

Even though it’s a bit overpriced, I’ve already decided that the next time I visit, I will have the Manly Burger…until next time..

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Jul 02

Skool: A Seafood Gem

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Apr 02

House of Pancakes…Chinese Pancakes That Is…

After reading about this place, I had to bring my family to test it out! House of Pancakes does not serve your typical American pancakes, it serves warm crispy and fried flavorful Chinese pancakes with marinated meat. It’s a very small restaurant so be aware that there may be a wait.

We tried three different pancakes: the Pork Pancake, the Sesame Pancake with Beef and the Beef Roll Pancake! All three were very different and very good! The meat for the Pork Pancake was juicy and flavorful, while the meat for the Beef Pancakes were a sweet soy sauce flavor. The pancakes were crispy and fried perfectly!

We also shared Lamb Potstickers, Lamb Skewers, Fresh Cucumbers and the Hand Pulled Noodles with Mustard Green and Pork. Okay, if you like lamb, you will like the juicy and not so gamey Lamb Potstickers. The Lamb Skewers had a nice spice but a bit gamey and on the drier side.  The cucumbers served with soy sauce and sesame oil were just a way for us to have vegetables, but they weren’t that great. I do have to say, although the broth for the Hand Pulled Noodles with Mustard Green and Pork was very light, I enjoyed it after having fried pancakes and other pan fried dishes. If you want more soup flavor, just add the hot sauce! The fresh hand pulled noodles were chewy and doughy at the same time, I really enjoyed the texture!

We read a few mixed reviews before getting there, but we had a good experience, enjoyed the food and would definitely go back!

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Feb 06

Must Go Pläj…

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to go on a dinner date, but for my birthday this year, a foodie friend of mine recommended Pläj and said that it was one of the best meals she’s had in a long time. Well, since she put it that way, I knew we had to try it out! I’ve never had Scandinavian food before so I can’t compare it to anything, but…it was surely creative, colorful and deelicious! Located inside the Inn at the Opera is the unexpected hidden gem Pläj.  We were welcomed into the warm, dimly lit and traditional looking restaurant with our nice host and then met our friendly server Ashley who explained the menu to us.

We really didn’t know what to expect, but started with the Organic beet root, black summer truffle, Sausalito Springs watercress, hazelnuts and västerbotten cheese. This salad was dressed with beet root, and if you are a beet fan like me, you will love this dish! All the ingredients smelled and tasted so good together. From the very small slice of delicate truffle to the crunchy hazelnut, it was such a great mix and unique salad dish.

We then enjoyed the popular Krondill Poached Lobster Skagen with white fish caviar, horseradish, avocado and chili. The fresh sweet lobster and crunchy caviar was surrounded by a sea of light lobster flavored foam.  We also had the House Cured Atlantic Salmon Gravlax served with spicy Swedish mustard, dill puree and lemon crème fraiche. Wow, this salmon was cured perfectly and consisted of such wonderful flavors.  Just a dab of the complementary sauces went a long way since I really wanted to enjoy the flavors of the salmon.

For the entrees, we shared the Berkshire Pork Belly served with Swedish mash, brussel sprouts and mustard greens. The tender lightly flavored pork belly was good, but we were even more impressed by the Swedish mash with mustard, which I heard them said were carrots and turnips. The Saddle of Venison served with chipollini onions, chantarelle, rainbow chard, Scandinavian gratin and Juniper berry jus was flavorful too! The venison was very tender, I never knew such lean meat could taste so good! Both of these entree dishes had such great accompaniments and sauces!

Since everything was so remarkable, we had to try a dessert. We got the Swedish Spiced Apple Pie served with house made vanilla bay leaf ice cream.  The pie was moist with a little crunch, and eating it with the vanilla bay leaf ice cream made it taste like a white powdered donut!

Pläj was a great food experience with outstanding service, creative and unexpected dishes…definitely a special restaurant for special occasions.

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Jan 29

Frances…You Complete Me…

It’s been a while since we had our dinner date, our first since our baby boy was born, at the charming and busy Frances. Who would have thought being a mom would also mean blogging about such a special restaurant 2 months later. Oh Frances, where do I even begin…everytime I mention your name, the first thing people ask is ’How did you get the reservation’? My reply, I was dealing with a crying baby in the wee hours of the morning and was able to make my reservations exactly 60 days out. And yes, I had a reminder in my calendar and reserved it online at 3:00am. And even though we had reservations for 7:30pm, we made it to the restaurant when they opened and were able to get seats at the bar facing all the action-the crazy yet organized kitchen.  We LOVED our seats since the main dining area was small and crowded. I would also like to add that we were greeted by happy and friendly Paul, who we soon realized was the wine guy of the place.

Speaking of the wine, you MUST get their house wine. I don’t usually drink, but after I tasted their house wine I wish they sold it in stores so that I could enjoy a glass at home. Their house wine is blended by Paul, the super smiley wine guy, and Marco Cappelli from Miraflores Winery.  And it is blended based on the seasonal menu ingredients selected by Chef Melissa Perello. This isn’t the only unique thing about the wine…they also charge 1 dollar per ounce. They serve the wine in a tall pitcher with measurements and anything you don’t pour into your glass, they actually take it back and won’t charge you for it!

The other special thing about this restaurant is that they feature a daily-changing menu focusing on seasonal local ingredients. So everything I’m mentioning here from 2 months ago may or may not  be on the menu. We started with the ’OMGoodness’ Applewood Smoked Bacon Beignets served with Maple Chive Creme Fraiche. What the bacon is in this thing? We couldn’t even see the bacon but the flavors were infused in it!

We then shared the Dungeness Crab Risotto with Celery Root Confit and Meyer Lemon Cream. We probably should have ordered two, one for each of us, why did we even bother sharing when we were practically licking the cream off the spoon (okay, maybe only I was). This dish featured chunks of fresh Dungeness crab and serving it with the hint of zest from the Meyer lemon cream was genius! We also ordered the Persimmon Salad with Little Gems, Castelfranco Radicchio, Toasted Walnut and Blu di Lanzo, who knew persimmons tasted so good with blue cheese?!

For the entrees, we ordered the Five-Dot Ranch Bavette Steak served with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Caramelized Sunchoke and Persillade and the Sonoma Duck Breast served with Baby Kale, Delicata Squash, Lady Apple and Cipollini Onion. There is just something about all natural meat and poultry, they just taste better, more fresh and tender. And having it seasoned and cooked to perfection doesn’t hurt too.  The chef selected the best accompaniments to serve with each dish!

Last but not least, the one dish that’s usually hard to make it to, the dessert. We were seated in front of the pastry person, we were eyeing everything she created the entire night. The one dessert that everyone kept ordering was the Chocolate Torte & Pecan Pie with Rum Caramel and Brown Butter Pecan Ice Cream. So seeing that it looked like the winner dessert for the night, we had to get one too! And yes…we were full, but we were not too full for this. There was chocolate sauce oozing out of the Chocolate Torte and it paired so well with the ice cream!

Wow Frances, you complete me, what an experience! If you want to taste ingredients for what the are, you must eat here!

This blog is dedicated to my grandpa, he passed away the day after this dinner, that’s probably the other reason why it took me so long to blog about this restaurant. Thank you grandpa, if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have this good life I have now.  As I go on with my daily life, sometimes I forget about what my grandpa has gone through, his stories always made my life look so easy. I will always remember how much you sacrificed to give this life to us, we are truly blessed and fortunate in so many ways. 

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Aug 13

Sandwiches with a Twist at Wooly Pig Cafe

We were at UCSF for a couple of days and got sick of eating the food at the hospital. While driving in the area we had noticed Wooly Pig Cafe, we weren’t sure what they served but decided to give it a try.  It’s a small comfortable neighborhood cafe serving gourmet sandwiches, coffee and dessert. Everyone who walked in after us knew the super friendly owner.

We got one of the specials, the Spicy Meatball Sandwich, and it reminded us of a Vietnamese Xiu Mai Sandwich.  I have to be honest, I am not a huge sandwich fan, but I do love hot sandwiches. And this was really good, they served good bread and it was perfectly toasted.  We really wanted to go back to try their Wooly Pig Sandwich which is their pork belly and their Open Faced Egg Sandwich, but never got a chance to. If we are ever in the area during lunch, we will definitely have to stop by for them!

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