Archive for October, 2011

Oct 31

More than a Few Reasons to Eat at NOPA

It was our 2nd year anniversary and we wanted to go somewhere casual and delicious, of course. Walk into NOPA and you will feel the lofty ambiance, see the hip crowd and notice the focal point, the busy kitchen. Reservations are highly recommended and arrive early to find parking. We were lucky and sat on the mezzanine, probably a little more intimate than downstairs, and enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the hustle and bustle kitchen and noisy main dining room.

NOPA offers local, organic and sustainable products.  Everyone I know who has been to NOPA raves about it,  and when you ask about the must haves, they all say the same thing: “flatbread”, “pork chop” and  “fish”! Our server was also really friendly and helpful, he recommended a few of his favorites too.

We shared everything and started with the appetizers, the Flatbread of Potatoes, Romesco, Brussel Leaves & Crescenza and the Wilted Chicories, Bacon, Poached Egg and Jimmy Nardello Peppers. WOW for both of these starters! I can see why everyone orders the flatbread, thin and perfectly crispy on the bottom,  the potatoes were sliced like potato chips, a little nutty and a little cheesy! The warm wilted chicories dish was such a great combination, the bacon, the sweet peppers and onion with poached egg mixed together was like heaven!

For the entrees we ordered the Country Pork Chop, Butternut Squash Puree, Gold Chard & Olive Tapenade and Wood Roasted Halibut, Creamy Leeks, Yellow Finn Potatoes & Radicchio. Oh my…the pork chop was a big plump, juicy and tender pork chop- brined and grilled to perfection! The halibut was flaky, the creamy leeks sauce with the bitter radicchio blended very well together and was the perfect cream sauce for the fish, and the potatoes were super sweet!  We also ordered the Grilled Broccoli, Lemon, Anchovy & Breadcrumbs, I never knew broccoli could taste so good! We loved the sour flavors, I think it helped us with digesting all the good food!

Since the starter and entrees were so amazing, we decided to stay for coffee and dessert! We got ourselves the Johnny Cake with Brown Butter Ice Cream and Bacon Brittle and Blue Bottle Three Africans Blend served in a French press.  The cake tasted like corn bread shortbread and who can say anything bad about ice cream and bacon brittle?!  This sweet comforting delight was a great way to end the meal!

NOPA puts a whole new meaning for fresh seasonal ingredients blended into remarkable creative flavorful dishes!


Oct 30

The Best Chinese Style Roast Duck at Cheung Hing

There are times my hubby and I crave the simple Chinese style BBQ food. When we have moments like these, we head to Cheung Hing, nothing fancy, just mom-and-popish! They have two locations, one in Sunset and one in Millbrae, and both of them serve delicious BBQ items! I ate a lot of Chinese style BBQ pork and duck growing up, my parents always bought something for dinner, at least once a week! I still remember the first time I brought home a roast duck from Cheung Hing, my parents LOVED it!!! I admit it, I had Cheung Hing’s phone number saved on my mobile phone back in the days when I couldn’t just google their number on my phone.

So yes, I had to get my favorite Roast Duck and Wonton with Lai Fun Soup Noodles! The Wontons are not that great, but the Roast Duck is always roasted to perfection, sweet and addicting! My hubby got himself a big plate of Roast Duck and Roast Pork over Rice, both meat items were sooo good! And since I was super hungry, we also ordered the Fried Tofu Stuffed with Pork and Fish Paste!

Next time, we will have to buy a Roast Duck for my mom, she wants to enjoy it with some steamed buns at home!



Oct 25

Flour + Water

My debate was whether or not to blog about Flour + Water, I really don’t like writing badly about restaurants. And usually when I don’t like them, I just don’t write about them. But due to the hype, I just had to.

I got there at 5:00pm to wait in line, doors open at 5:30pm but there was already a long line! So here I am, ready to be impressed, I mean, how else can a restaurant be so popular, they must be good right? They do take reservations, but from my understanding, they only take a maximum of reservations so that there’s seating for walk-in’s as well. Lucky for us, we made it in for the first seating and were seated on the communal table. The staff was super nice and quick.

There were five of us so we decided to order family style which was our server’s suggestion. We ordered appetizers, pastas, pizzas and dessert.

For the appetizers, we ordered the Smoked duck breast with pine nut, currant, parsnip & watercress and the Cured Sardines with cauliflower, turnips, young carrots & crispy kale. When we got our order, we were thankful that there were exactly 5 pieces of duck and 5 pieces of sardines. The smoked duck was flavorful but the sardines were only okay.

Since they were known for their home made pasta, we ordered the Cappellacci dei Briganti with rabbit polpettine & red Russian kale, Farro Strozzapreti with braised pork, caramelized radicchio & star anise and the Celery Root Tortelli with brown butter, balsamico & walnuts. The pasta was good although I thought that my pieces of Cappellacci dei Briganti pasta were still a little bit hard. With that being said, the rabbit and braised pork were very tasty. I think that out of the three, my favorite pasta was the Celery Root Tortelli. But again, for $17.00 a plate of pasta, they were rather small. We also ordered a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts with guanciale & preserved lemon, it was okay as well.

From their Italian wood-fired oven, we had the Salsiccia Pizza with rabe, sausage, montasio, caramelized onions & an egg on top and the Funghi Pizza with sunchokes, chanterelles, fontina, thyme & horseradish gremolata. The Salsiccia’s ingredients were good, I’m glad we added the egg, but I didn’t think that the bottom was crispy enough, it was a bit soggy. The Funghi was just plain dry.

For the dessert, they were only serving two so we got one of each. The Chocolate Budino with espresso caramel cream & sea salt and Olive Oil & Thyme Cake. Okay, the Chocolate Budino was really good, the sea salt definitely enhanced the flavors of the espresso caramel cream. It was probably my favorite thing for the meal. But the Olive Oil & Thyme Cake was a bit dry.

Overall, I was really disappointed, maybe my expectations were too high. I walked in hoping for one of the best Italian meals, and walked out feeling like I just got ripped off.  Sorry Flour + Water, I really wanted to like you!