Monday, November 5, 2007

Que lastima!

The last time I ordered a super veggie burrito at Taqueria Cancun (the one at 19th and Mission) I was sorely disappointed. The tortilla was dry and flavorless, there were very few beans, and the avocado was nearly non-existent (abundant avocados being one of my primary attractions to Cancun). This was about two months ago.

Kara had a similar experience last week. Last year I was getting consistently satisfying burritos there - fresh tortillas, lots of avocados, even melted cheese inside the burritos.

Should I just not bother anymore?

On a happier note, Papalote is definitely not a one off. We've gotten burritos there three times now, and each time I am very happy with the beans, and especially the salsa. They put fun things in the veggie burrito, like carrots and potatoes, to make it more satisfying. I've had the shrimp and prawn burritos, and I don't love them, but I think I'm just not a big fan of this burrito filling. The salsa and tortillas make up for it.

Nate ordered the super tacos, and were they ever super! Absolutely enormous (each order comes with two) and the carne asada was very tasty.

Cancun RIP (the walk to Papalote happens to be more pleasant/less noisy as well).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Not your average meatball sub.

The weather has been beautiful in San Francisco lately, making it very difficult for me to stay inside my windowless office all day. Even around Civic Center, where the wind is usually gale-force, it's been sunny and warm, perfect weather for eating and walking outside.

Yesterday I went to the Heart of the City farmer's market to grab my weekly ration of snack fruits. After I picked out my apples and raspberries, a carton of pink mushrooms caught my eye. Pink tree oyster mushrooms, said Mr. Mushroom Man. They'll turn a lovely salmon color when you cook them, but use them right away. Apparently they have a short shelf life. Also, they are smelly, I learned as I trucked them around the city in the afternoon. By the time I got home, they stunk so badly that I had to throw them away. Quel dommage.

Today I broke my rule of "trying to eat more food from home" for the millionth time to try a bahn mi from the best sandwich shop in the 'loin (according to Yelp! and SFWeekly). Saigon Sandwich, on Turk and Larkin, had a line out the door when we arrived. I took a chance on meatball, and was happily rewarded when I bit into my sub a few minutes later on the lawn in front of City Hall. Heaven. Also, for $2.50, I don't have to feel badly that I am squandering my money on lunch.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Vegetarians have all the fun.

My go-to spot for lunch lately has been Ananda Fuara, a vegetarian restaurant run by followers of the guru Sri Chimoya. This might seem like an odd choice by such an ardent proponent of all-bacon, all the time, but really, it's just comfort food. I think the best thing there is the curry and salad combo, which includes the curry of the day, basmati rice, and salad with lemon tahini dressing (if you're smart and pick the lemon tahini dressing). The servers all wear silky robes. Well, the female servers. The men wear blue t-shirts. No equality in dress here. And the ceiling has a trompe l'oeil sky, complete with puffy clouds.

Having vegetables and tofu for lunch makes me feel very virtuous. And calm. And it's a nice place to study anatomy, or read weird books about folk remedies by M.F.K. Fisher, both of which I am apt to do during lunch.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Something new.

The first food picture!

I have broken the seal, as Kara says. Perhaps there will be more to follow (this usually happens when a seal is broken).

Kara and I made these vanilla cupcakes with cherry frosting in honor of S, bride-to-be. The cake was a bit of a disaster. My mom thinks this is because I over-mixed the batter. I think it is because I took the recipe, "Happy Day Cake," out of a scary book I found in her kitchen cupboard called Happy Living - A guide for brides.

Although the aforementioned book is good for many laughs, I do not think it is good for light, fluffy, buttery cake batters.

However, the weekend in Phoenix was good for food. We had the fabled Chino Bandito, although I do not think Kara liked it as much as she pretended. And we had very small quiche and eclairs at S's wedding shower. We ate brisket under the misters at S's house, and I learned how to make a sandwich out of brisket and a bialy.

Someday, Phoenix and San Francisco will merge into one, so I can have Tartine for breakfast, Crazy Jim's and/or Miracle Mile for lunch, and then dinner at my mom's house.

Friday, September 21, 2007


That's all I have to say.

My work friend gave me a tamal to eat for my lunch today, courtesy of one of her clients. This work friend is a vegetarian, and suspected that the tamal contained pork. She was right.

This tamal was done in the Salvadorian style, wrapped in a banana leaf instead of a corn husk, then also wrapped in some kind of paper. The intense wrapping led to a very moist tamal, which seemed like a bonus at first. Then I noticed that the masa was a little chalky. But the flavor was good, so I took another bite. And I bit right into a big glob of fat. Pig fat. Not crunchy, yummy pig skin, or a little fat attached to some muscle for flavor. A big, gooey glob of fat.

I gagged. I hate it when that happens - I feel like a food wimp.

I walked to my neighbor's office to tell her the story and advertise the presence of more tamales in the fridge. Then I returned to my office and attempted to finish my lunch. No luck. Visions of fat prevented me from eating more than two bites.

I'm hungry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Raska's are gone.

Nate and I usually keep a box full of Raska's in the fridge. These are pre-packaged ounces of cream cheese in little tubs that can be brought to work to eat with a cold bagel. The breakfast of champions (when the champion in question no longer smokes cigarettes for breakfast). They are called Raska's because that is the brand. They are from Costco.

Tragically, the last Raska is gone. Empty box. Usually this is remedied by a trip to Costco, but I think our membership has expired. We certainly haven't been there in months...possibly since before our move. That box of Raska's lasted a long time.

The book I was reading on the bus this morning, called "It was probably something you ate," is making me think that I shouldn't be eating packaged cream cheese. Or anything from a store. Or a restaurant. Which is a problem, because I didn't pack my lunch today. I don't think I can survive the day on almonds and a red pepper.

Why, in San Francisco of all places, do they not have one of these "100 mile grocery stores" that my friend Ben shops at in Portland? I know, I can go to the farmer's market and get my grocery box, etc., but what is that saying when even Rainbow imports some of their stuff from Chile?

Mission number three (behind the missions of getting into UCSF and training for a triathlon): make more food at home. Try to buy most things local. Be a quasi-locavore.

Also: make my own cheese.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Michelle, denizen of the Mission, too embarrassed to speak Spanish

Ah, fruit lady and her friend, you make me so nervous. On a hot afternoon, I ride the bus home, preparing my request for fruit in Spanish, getting hungrier and more sure of myself. Then I arrive at your cart, and mumble, "Mango, please."

Yesterday was no exception. I decided on the way home that I wanted to try these elotes that everyone is carrying about, so I rehearsed my request in my head: "Quisiera un elote, por favor." I even played out the possible ways that the conversation would go, so that I would be prepared. But, as usual, when I got to the cart, I chickened out. Corn, please. If only she was alone, I would be less nervous.

Kara says that someday we will go to the fruit cart together, and she will order in Spanish first. Then I can just say, "lo mismo." Sounds like a cop-out.

On a more food-related note, the elote was not exactly what I was hoping for. It seems that there are different preparations for these goodies, but what I got was corn slathered in mucho mayo (as fruit lady's friend commented), sprinkled with cheese and powdered chile. It was delicious, but smelled rank. And really not a treat for a hot day. Maybe next time I will skip the mayo, or ask for a little bit. In Spanish.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

By special request.

A devoted reader needs to know: how did my brothers' visit go? My three brothers and their friend, Skow, visited many, many days ago, during the week of my birthday. This was also the week after the marathon and the week after the first of many post-marathon celebrations. I was tired, and sore, but strove to be a delightful host. We saw many sights, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Sutro Baths, Golden Gate Park, and Chinatown. We also went to Stinson Beach, where we expected to see sharks thrashing about in the water, eating seals and surfers, per Nate's recollections, but alas. No sharks. Most of these sights were seen in the company of Francesca, who sat on laps in the backseat of the beleaguered Pathfinder.

The BEST and funniest thing that happened during this visit was the "Great Frisbee Rescue." After Skow and Willie purchased frisbees from the Presidio SpoBa, we went to Marina Green to try them out. In the parking lot, Skow punted his frisbee, which promptly caught a gust of wind and zipped into the bay. Undaunted, Skow rushed to the car, jumped into his boardshorts, and dove into the bay after it! The bay that is 60 degrees on a good day. The bay that is filled with sharks and drowned Alcatraz escapees and rough looking waves. But the frisbee was saved.

The WORST and lamest thing that happened during this visit was the "Great Suppenkuche Switcheroo." Our house and others met at Suppenkuche for what was going to be a great feast. Closed! For renovation! Set on German food, we trucked over to Walzwerk. A poor substitution. Disappointment all around, except for the waitresses, who kept exclaiming - We have been so busy all week! Sam (I think) was kind enough to point out that Suppenkuche was closed. Poor Walzwerk.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Post-marathon laze-about

I've fallen into a degenerate state of sloth. In the two weeks since the marathon, I've had more to drink and eat than I did during the whole of training (exaggeration, I hope). This weekend was no exception.

During my birthday celebration last weekend, me and some marathon buddies pinky-swore to spend an afternoon and evening in Sonoma. This plan was made many, many times during marathon training and never happened, so we were all surprised to show up in Sonoma on Saturday afternoon. Upon arriving at Rob's fiancee's grandpa's house, we set out on a major shopping trip to Sonoma Market. We spent outrageous sums on groceries, and then trucked it all back to the house. Josh and I made a pitcher of white sangria in preparation for several hours by the pool.

Having never used a high-tech juicer before (the kind that can juice an entire peach, let's say), I assumed that the juice would fall into the clear container on the side. Instead, the pulp fell into that container, and the juice streamed out of the spigot. That I had not noticed until that point. A good start to the afternoon.

Post-swim, we started to prepare the feast. Fried zucchini flowers stuffed with feta, caprese salad, five varieties of stinky cheese with baguette, garlic olives, crackers with smoked salmon and creme fraiche, and the piece de resistance, courtesy of food-magician Josh: Georgian chicken. I think this is something of his own creation. A chicken, stuffed with carmelized onions, brown rice, cherries, pine nuts, and fennel, barbecued until crispy while being basted with cherry butter. Yes, barbecued. It was amazing.

I will also say that the zucchini flowers were better than expected. I had never made or eaten them before, but I found some at the farmer's market on Saturday morning. They are quite simple to prepare, and oh how delicious! I will be making them more often.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

An evening full of hypocrisy.

Yesterday afternoon, I was invited to a vegan bake-off. I eagerly accepted, as I like all excuses to bake and sample others' baked goods, but then I was stuck: what can I make that doesn't have eggs in it? The go-to website for dessert recipes, Orangette, was full of eggs and butter and more eggs. Google searches revealed hidden pockets of raw-foodists and vegans allergic to soy. They were no help. Back to trusty Orangette. One dessert revealed itself to need only butter, not eggs. And it seemed like I could make it in under two hours.

Now, butter is not vegan, of course, but I happened to have a box of Earth Balance Trans-Free Shortening in the fridge. I bought this one day at Trader Joe's, convinced that I was about to have a pie-baking frenzy. The frenzy never came, for good or bad, and I was left with tasteless looking blocks of fat in the refrigerator door. Make that vegan tasteless looking blocks of fat.

Nate obligingly picked up some bananas and flour (we were running low - quel horreur!) and I was ready to make Coco-Banana Bread. I made the bread, radically altering the recipe (subbed cognac for rum, shortening for butter, sweetened for unsweetened coconut, and more), and was less than pleased with the inital results.

I arrived at the bake-off location, vegans! Not a single person participating in this debacle was a vegan. Some reformed vegans or vegetarians, one actual vegetarian, but no vegans. Confused by the rules of the contest in the absence of an obvious driving force, I was told that it was, as many things are, a long story. Involving vegan cupcakes. A gauntlet was laid down, and the bake-off was born. Not so long a story, I suppose.

Miracolo of miracolos, my bread came in second! It sunk in the middle while I cut it, becoming denser and sweeter, and the crust became crispier as it cooled. My strange shape-shifting bread lost to a peach-cherry cobbler. I happen to prefer a crisp, but the peaches were delicious. Hats off to the peach cobbler!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Marathon day approaches, and we cower in fear.

The San Francisco Marathon is July 29th, and I'm registered for the race. Finally, after six months of training and three months of injuries, I feel like I might be able to attempt this thing. My goal for the race is to finish before the course closes. And to be lucid enough post-race to enjoy a nice cold beer.

Speaking of which, Kara and I nearly had beer and cookies for dinner last night. After another long baking experiment that resulted in anticlimactic gingersnaps, we were too tired and full to contemplate dinner. Until 9pm, while watching Bridezillas!, when the Sam Adam's Summer Ale in our glasses awakened something resembling hunger. Tuna salad on toast to the rescue! Oh, to be 22 again.

Friday, July 20, 2007

How harebrained schemes begin, or Why my job blows

Two days ago, feeling particularly sickened by a deadly combination of florescent lights and rude, presumptuous clients, I sent Kara and Nate a craigslist "For Sale" posting. A mixed use building, two flats above, and a commercial space below. Perfect for living in and starting, say, a bakery. That produces primarily strawberry cupcakes.

Kara and Nate, being wise and practical, pointed out that large real-estate purchases should not coincide with going back to school. And, although it is nice to dream about becoming known for the best strawberry cupcake in the whole world, and getting rich, fat, and happy off of that, I think nursing skills are the more practical thing to acquire.

But then, I happened on an idea that really took my mind off of my reports and computer and complain-y messages: a cupcake catering business! Kara is on board, but pointed out that to make only cupcakes would be "very 90's", so we will make other desserts, too. And so the dessert trials begin. We made macaroons on Tuesday, and now I have a cookie jar full of chocolate-covered crack in the fridge. Really. They are that good. Anyone need dessert?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

so many fights, so little time

My parents were in town this weekend, which is probably the most exciting thing that has happened all month. Since visitor weekends always involve a lot of eating out, they suggested (forcefully) that I should write about these meals. Although I'm sure I won't do them justice, here are some highlights of the weekend.

On Friday, after breakfast at Tartine, we took the ferry to Angel Island. We spent the majority of our time lying on a defunct gun battery, getting sunburns (in San Francisco - mon dieu!). A small bit of time was spent eating the picnic lunch that my mother collected from the Ferry Building. Being my mother, she was wise enough to seek out the riches from Lulu Petite. Also being my mother, she packed more desserts than savory dishes. We are clearly not related.

Saturday also began with Tartine. If I could make their morning buns, I would be the Grand Ruler of the World. I'm sure this is why they exclude the recipe from their cookbook. Saturday continued with a wine soaked visit to Foreign Cinema (sans Francesca) and a windy drive to Half Moon Bay (avec Francesca, who pranced in the ocean and now smells like dead mussels). And Saturday ended with...Cortez! For Nate's birthday dinner. The food was wonderful, as usual, and I had their signature cocktail, a Cucumber Gimlet. Very refreshing. And very intoxicating, as indicated by the shenanigans that followed our pre-dinner cocktails. Lots of giggling and Mom-shushing and speculations on the occupations of fellow diners. Also a VERY loud fight about word choices. I'm sure our server was happy to be rid of us, although he was very charming and helpful.

We wound down on Sunday with homemade peach pancakes and lunch at 'WichCraft. Sad to see Mom and Dad go, but US Airways whisked them away that afternoon.

I seem to have forgotten about our dinner on Thursday night. For good reason - although the appetizers and desserts are innovative and fresh and delicious at Baraka, the entrees seem to come from a different kitchen entirely. I must remember that the next time we think we are too hungry to wait for Chez Papa or Aperto.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Clearly I have lost my own bet. Day three of "week of writing every day" and this is my second post. Well, as they say in both dieting and recovery circles, take it one day at a time. There will be an entry today.

S+O, Kara, and I went to Lo Coco's for S's birthday dinner last night. Lo Coco's generally thwarts our attempts at frequenting their establishment (like last Tuesday, when we wound up at Chez Panisse). Not last night, though. At Kara's suggestion, we decide to BYOB, and picked up a Barbera and something white from Vintage Berkeley. Two very exciting events occured before and after this Vintage Berkeley visit. Before: Pretty in Pink cupcakes from Love at First Bite. I think I have discovered their secret for the strawberry flavor. I will not divulge that here. After: Found and purchased a first edition of MFK Fisher's translation of the Physiology of Taste. !!! Nate thought I was crazy when I brought home a 60 year old book and wouldn't shut up about it. Perhaps I am.

Lo Coco's was excellent, as usual. The hostess had a bit of an attitude, as they sometimes do, but she loosened up as the night wore on. We had a green salad, insalata caprese, tortellini campagnola, linguine with meatballs, and pizza with eggplant and garlic. All fresh and well-prepared. Standouts: tortellini campagnola and the meatballs. The tortellini are bathed in a cream sauce with a touch of nutmeg. There is always a lot of sauce left on the plate after the pasta is gone, which is great, because you can soak the homemade bread in it. The meatballs have currants and pinenuts in them! They are sweet and delicious and wonderful. Sigh.

Friday, July 6, 2007

attempts to be a real blogger.

I believe that four people check this website regularly. One of them, a real blogger, tells me that I need to update my blog more frequently. As in, more than once a month. In an attempt to appease her voracious appetite for food-related nonsense, I am going to write every day for the next week. Ha. We'll see what happens.

On a happier note, two of my most favorite things came together in one dish at Garcon. Oeufs cocottes and foie gras. Eggs, baked in a ramekin with butter and cream, and some foie thrown in for good measure. Accompanied by long toast spears. Mmm. I know that Garcon tends to get mixed reviews, but for the rich things, like foie gras, and pork butt, and other fatty, dark meats and legumes, they're good. Maybe it has something to do with their proximity to my house. Boh.

Unrelated to Garcon, aside from the cost of the meals, is a spontaneous visit S+O and I made to Chez Panisse on Tuesday. One of the highlights, along with eating at 10:15 and feeling very continental, was the Vouvray we had with our first two courses. I'm not exactly sure what it was, aside from the fact that it was French (duh) and in a demi-bouteille. But it was good. Also, the goat cheese salad at CP is always great (in my limited, two visit experience). In Paris, all goat cheese salads are good, mysteriously, but that is not the case in America. Many thanks to Chez Panisse for warm creamy cheese and a well-constructed vinaigrette. Also, I have to mention the baby onions that accompanied the lamb shoulder for our main course. They were yummy.

Clearly, I am having trouble describing food, and writing in general. I think that I have florescent light poisoning. And wobbly desk syndrome. And my job is mindnumbingly boring and thankless disease.

Perhaps things will look up tomorrow.

Monday, June 18, 2007

two brief thoughts (on mojiters and salad greens)

Well-made mojitos are dangerous. On Sunday, Nate and I had lunch with my family at Chelsea's Kitchen. Nate ordered a mojito, and my dad and I followed suit due to peer pressure. By the time the server had returned to take our order (5-10 minutes), I had consumed the entire drink. She suggested another, and I agreed. It was hot out and the mojito was cool and refreshing. I could not refuse. After we finished our lunches, I suggested that we order a sundae (which also looked cool, if not refreshing). My suggestion was laughed off of the table and I was accused of having mojito-eyes. Oh, the shame.

I realize that small, fancy, bitter greens are hip. The more esoteric the leaves, the better. However, I do not like these salads. I eat them, and appreciate that other people enjoy them, that they are most likely better for you than baby romaine, etc. But I do not really enjoy them. The only bitter substance I truly enjoy is Campari. Secret exposed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

redemption song, part dalawa

Yesterday was a magical day in San Francisco. The kind of day that you find in Hawaii or San Diego regularly, but is so precious here. Everyone in the neighborhood was feeling it. We walked F to the park, where the hipsters were out in full force. Such is the lure of a sunny day, even for those dressed in black.

After an hour of lounging on the grass with Kara and Amy, I was itchy and needed to pee. So, we headed to my house to experiment with Mint Juleps. Much harder to perfect than the "simple" recipe makes it seem, the kitchen looked like a tornado (or a four layer cake) had gone through when we were done. After adding a lot of simple syrup to our original concoctions, they were delicious.

The day was coming to a close, but we still had enough time to sit in the backyard with our Juleps and play Boggle. Not the ideal rocking-on-a-porch-swing, Julep-drinking situation, but it worked. Talk turned to dinner and there was a heated debate. What should we show off to Amy that she cannot get in DC? What does Kuzman like to eat? Is Nate going to press the issue of Panchita's? Is Michelle going to add anything to the debate, or will she just call Nate boring and laugh?

San Tung won, as it often does. The pilgrimage began. The line was just manageable, and we were teased several times by the host about the readiness of our table. 30 minutes later we sat down.

Kim chee: Great. Always Great. Burned my mouth a little, exacerbated by the hot tea.

Martinelli's apple juice: Umm, for some reason I cannot eat at San Tung without ordering this. If you ask, I will not give a logical answer.

Steamed shrimp and leek dumplings: Chewy dough, light shrimp flavor, dunked in vinegar and chili oil. Amy says that a real man's lunch is 24 of these with two bottles of beer. I am not a real man.

Potstickers: I don't love these. But they're fried, which is a plus.

Veggie mu shu: Hoisin sauce makes everything wonderful. Also, the tree fungus is delicious. And they make their own pancakes, nice and thick.

Mongolian beef: Actually good. The beef is not battered, but is crispy nonetheless. How do they do it?

Kung pao shrimp: Eh. Brown-ish sauce.

Spinach and garlic: !!! That is all. No, not all. Wonderful and green - none of the icky too-cooked spinach astringency.

Original dry fried chicken: The piece de resistance. Words cannot describe the crunchiness of the batter or the exquisite sel et sucre sauce - but they try.

I <3 San Tung. And owls.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fried glands, take two.

Fennel and cilantro. These are the remains of the first organic vegetable box to be delivered to our household. A good idea, that. I don't think that I would have thought of buying kale at the market, but I'm happy it arrived in the box last week - tasty. But the fennel and cilantro have been the unfortunate victims of a common disease in our household. We are soo lazy, sometimes. I have excuses. New dog. Energy-sapping, soul-sucking job. It's often a lack of imagination. Perhaps the next box will fare better.

Often the outcome of a moment of extreme laziness is an unforgiveable sin. Domino's. McDonald's. Boston Market. I would go on, but then everyone would know my shame. Sometimes the outcome is a different kind of unforgiveable sin. Gluttony, I think it's called. These dinners don't happen often, but when they do, they're worth writing about. Ah, Cortez.

I know that sweetbreads are either the pancreas or thymus gland of a cow (and/or baby cow). What I do not know is how to tell which of these glands is on the plate when it comes out of the kitchen. Regardless, what came out of the kitchen at Cortez last night was very exciting. Sweetbreads and squid with onions...ooh-wee.

Starting with El Diablo: tequila, creme de cassis, lime, and ginger beer. Then the sweetbreads + squid. And...salad. But not boring salad. Mizuna greens and manchego. Also ravioli with mushrooms and parmesean foam. Remember Marcel from the last season of Top Chef, with the molecular gastronomy? Yeah, like that. But, as I'm sure you could not tell through the medium of TV, the foam is great. Rich, and then it disappears. A whole meal made out of foam would be a dieter's heaven. Perhaps. Not sure how the calories fit into that.

Moving on. A glass of white burgundy with crusted halibut. The standout of this dish was the super sweet onion and the way it blended with the fish and spinach. Really, not a standout, I suppose. More like a perfect combination. And although it was not my dish, I must mention the aged sirloin. Because it was. That. Good. Like a fantastic New York Strip, but smoother. More of a bite, more flavor. Atop a bed of potatoes and cheese (?) pureed beyond recognition. The forkful, followed by a sip of cabernet, was intricate and satisfying. I won't try to relay the moment in any further detail.

And, dessert. Toffee parfait inside cruchy chocolate, with popcorn ice cream and sour gelled fruit. Junk food, but pretty. With a shot of maple liquer. I wasn't driving.

And now you can see why it was so hard to come up with something to make for dinner tonight. Lit'l Smokies and pasta just aren't going to top fried glands, invertebrate seafood and liquid toffee fluff. Although I do love Lit'l Smokies.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

How to eat fried glands

Saturday night, S + O and I went to Chapeau! in the Richmond. I've wanted to try sweetbreads for several years now, and I heard they were on the menu. Also, S and I always like an excuse to drink too much wine and be driven around by O.

Ah, thymus glands. The sweetbreads at Chapeau! were fried and drizzled with a deep mushroom sauce, with some itty bitty carrots and parsnips on the side. They have an organ-y taste, but it's very light, as is their texture. We also had the foie gras, which was fantastic. Seared lightly on top of a bit of toast, with an amazing vinegar and honey sauce. It gave the foie at the General's Daughter a run for the money.

Altogether, Chapeau! gets an A+. The proprietor is charming (and was happy to see another Parisian in the form of O) and suggested a great wine to go with dinner. Embarrassingly, I cannot remember what it was, except that it was something white and a little buttery, from France. Normally, I prefer a crisper white, but it was perfect with our wide range of dishes: foie gras, sweetbreads, salmon, halibut, monkfish, and cassoulet.

Hat! - we will be back.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Who can't polish off a keg? We can't.

Yesterday, Kara and I held a fundraiser for the SF AIDS Foundation. It was not the most effective fundraiser in the history of the universe, which was mostly my fault. I must have missed class on the day that "making money" tips were handed out. I think those tips would have gone something like this:

Don't buy fancy foodstuffs and libations if you're not throwing a fancy party, where people will be inclined to donate hundreds of dollars. This seems self-evident, but not for me. I insisted upon offering a selection of fine foods - thai barbecue chicken, kefta kebabs, and baked tofu, among other things. I think they were all delicious, and I got to try my hand at some new recipes, but really...necessary? Same thing goes for the variety of beverages. Also not necessary.

Don't buy a keg if you are not absolutely, positively sure that many, many people will come to the party. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - cool and refreshing. A keg of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - catalyst for an excellent afternoon gathering. A keg of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale + not as many people as you expected - melty keg on the stairwell all week. Oops.

Well, it looks like I've only come up with two rules so far. But they are important ones, of which I will probably never take heed.

The bottom line is...we made lots of money for the AIDS Foundation (our expenses standing in as our donations) and had a great afternoon drinking white sangria and eating meatballs. Rephrase: I had a great afternoon drinking white sangria and eating meatballs. I hope everyone else had fun, too.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Yesterday, I joined a posh gym. They have scented shampoo in the showers and Q-Tips on the bathroom counters. Also, TVs on most of the cardio machines and small towels near the weight machines. One of the perks that comes with the joining of this posh gym is two personal training sessions, the first of which establishes your "fitness profile." I met my trainer yesterday, and he declared that he could make me stronger than any of the other girls (his word) training for the marathon.

I fear, however, that he is going to make me change my diet. Last night, for dinner, boyfriend cooked (heated up a frozen pizza and made a salad). Not just any frozen pizza, mind you, but one from Trader Joe's, their margherita pizza. They are delicious, I think, but not exactly diet food. So what will I have to do for lazy dinners? Make plain chicken breasts? Blech. We shall see. I am meeting with the Minister of Doom after work tonight.

In response to the possible diet change, I stopped at a favorite lunch place after the gym. Oasis Grill makes delicious gyros, falafel sandwiches, and something called the Mediterranean Melt. This involves chicken and mushrooms and gooey cheese wrapped up in a lavosh with vegetables. All these sandwiches are best spicy, which the guys behind the counter know. After you order, they ask, "Spicy?" Say yes, if you know what's best for you.

Please, buff trainer man, don't take away my Mediterranean Melt.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

1.5 days worth of food

I'm turning into a junk food addict. We just had a diner lunch, courtesy of St. Francis Fountain. And McDonald's on Thursday night (don't tell anyone). I think I'll skip the McDo description and move on to the wonderful find we made a few weeks ago.

St. Francis is my idea of a perfect 1950s soda fountain, right on 24th St. Apparently, it's the oldest ice cream parlor in the city. My "club" sandwich had avocado on it instead of bacon, because not everything needs bacon (although my boyfriend would beg to differ). They use shredded iceberg on their sandwiches in lieu of the big watery chunks. How delightful. I ordered egg salad on the side, which may seem like an odd choice until you try their egg salad. It has lots of relish in it and a little red onion, along with the regular stuff; seems simple, but it's so good.

Surprisingly, this one meal has been holding me all day. That's bizarre for a Saturday, because it's a long run day. I'm training for the San Francisco marathon with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program, and this morning we ran 14 miles. Such a lengthy run generally leads to me eating a full meal every two hours. But not today, on the longest run ever. Strange.

Okay, now I'm hungry. Everything's back to normal.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

the red pearl

Last night, at the Elbo Room, I had a Pearl Pomegranate Lemonade. Sounds delicious. I like Pearl Pomegranate vodka (more than I like ordinary vodka, which is not very much). I like lemonade. I think that I would like pomegranate lemonade, if I had it. But this drink...not so much. Too sweet. And I'm pretty sure it was all vodka. Which led to a Jaeger shot, somehow. Eww.

All of the above led to one of my favorite things, which is the I-stayed-out-too-late-and-need-something-heartier-to-eat-than-a-bagel breakfast. A bacon, egg and cheese sandwich from Specialty's bakery, to be precise. With an iced latte. The kind of indulgent breakfast I can only justify after a night out. So happy now, and full of many, many crispy pieces of bacon. They must be from a special supplier of non-organic, unhealthy meat products, because they are unnaturally thin and crispy. But they are delicious.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How I plan my day.

As anyone who has ever visited me can attest, I plan my day around where I will eat. I live in San Francisco, where it is easy to eat good food all of the time, and so I have come to expect that I can have a wonderful meal every time I sit down at a table. But sometimes, wonderful meals happen on a couch, not at a table.

On Monday night, my boyfriend was nice enough to break our no-eating-out-so-that-we-can-lose-weight-and-save-money rule to pick up Manora's on the way home. Manora's makes wonderful comfort food (specifically their pad thai or red curry shrimp). Sweet, tangy, salty, savory: like the Girls Next Door (a comfort TV show). We were lucky enough to discover it while living in SOMA, and although we are farther away now, we still make the pilgrimage about once a month.