Archive for November, 2011

Nov 27

New American at Bluestem Brasserie

It was a friend’s birthday and she had a big group of us for dinner at Bluestem Brasserie, a very hip space conveniently located on Yerba Buena Lane in downtown San Francisco. I had yelped the place before dinner and noticed that they had 4 out of 5 stars, which is pretty good, so I was expecting some tasty dishes. I was actually surprised that for a group of 20 guests, they allowed us to order from their a la carte menu, that was really nice, but with that option food service was a tad bit slow. They had one server for all of us, which was fine, but she was not that attentive.

My hubby and I ordered some dishes to share. We started with the Roasted Marrow Bones with red wine shallot sauce and garlic croutons and the Steak Tartare with quail egg, mache and pistachio oil. The Roasted Marrow Bones was creamy and fatty and the flavors were bold, while the Steak Tartare was fresh and light!

For our entrees, we ordered the Duck Confit served with chicories, bacon and croutons topped with a poached duck egg and the Fallon Hills Ranch Lamb Trio with roasted fairytale pumpkin and rosemary jus. The Duck Confit’s meat was cured, the outside was completely crispy and the warm accompaniments were a tasty blend of ingredients. For the Fallon Hills Ranch Lamb Trio, the only piece that tasted good was the tender rack of lamb, the other two were only okay and one was actually completely dry. The servers never let me know what I was even devouring. The sauce was sweet, and I am sure they were trying to serve it with a nice pumpkin sauce but it wasn’t really that great. My hubby could tell that I wasn’t enjoying it much as I was eating slow so he traded his Duck Confit with me. For our sides, the Macaroni and Cheese was a disappointment, I’m not sure what happened to the cheese, there really wasn’t enough, but the Brussel Sprouts with fatty lardon were not bad.

To end our meal, we shared the Sundae Bloody Sundae with Vanilla Ice Cream, Creme Chantilly, Blood Orange and Pomegranate served with Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have to say, their desserts are really delicious, this sundae was refreshing. I also tasted others desserts and they were quite creative.

Overall, I thought that Bluestem Brasserie’s starters and desserts were quite delicious. However, I was disappointed with our entrees and sides.  Not sure if I will be returning.

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Nov 27

Udon from Kijoan in Japan

My good friend was visiting Japan and brought me back some AMAZING udon that she ordered from Kijoan!  The box set came with a variety of packages of udon with flavored bases, one being a soy sauce base for hot broth and the other being the cold dipping sauce. The udon was sweet and chewy and we enjoyed the noodles slowly, especially when we were eating the last packages, they do have an expiration date so we couldn’t save them even if we wanted to! I’m not sure if they ship internationally, but if you are lucky enough to have good friends in Japan who may be willing to get this for you, I highly recommend getting this!

* Note: If you visit Kijoan’s website, it is best to google search and translate page.


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Nov 05

Ramen Parlor: Rich and Creamy

If you have waited in the long lines for Santa Ramen and Ramen Dojo, you will want to try Ramen Parlor, the third ramen joint by the same chef/owner, Kazunori Kobayashi. It couldn’t have opened at a better time, the freezing cold weather has arrived to the Bay Area and all we want is a warm bowl of hot ramen!  Then again, who am I kidding,  I would find any excuse to have ramen.  Ramen Parlor is actually only half a block from Ramen Dojo and we saw the long lines forming at Ramen Dojo.  It was a Friday night at 6:30pm, and there was NO line at Ramen Parlor, yes I repeat…no line, we were seated right away. But I must say that by 7:30pm, there was a short queue forming.

When one opens a third restaurant, you would think that it may be similar to the other two. Wrong…Ramen Parlor offers it’s own unique twist, a rich and heavier soup enhanced by the lobster oil! This location also offers more appetizers, even yakitori! However,  I am not sure if all the appetizers are offered during lunch. We ordered off their ‘Today’s Special’ menu and got the crunchy Deep Fried Chicken Cartilage and fatty Basa Fish with Garlic Butter yakitori! Yummy!

We both ordered the Ramen with Pork Flavor and Lobster Oil served with Roasted Pork, one Garlic Shrimp, Quail Egg, Green Chives, Ground Chicken, Brocollini and Black Sesame Powder.  The only difference is that I added the huge chunk of Stewed Spare Rib in mine, which was a great recommendation from a new fan! (Thanks fan!) I thought that the sweet marinated Stewed Spare Rib would have bones, but it was boneless with lots of crunchy tendons!  The soup was rich and creamy, make sure you mix the lobster oil into the base so that it doesn’t seem so oily! What can I say, the owner has done it again!

If you want light, go to Santa Ramen…if you want spicy, go to Ramen Dojo…if you want rich, go to Ramen Parlor!

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