Friday, July 30, 2004

Sushi Groove South July 29

Thursday night on the town! We met for an early dinner before heading to the Asian Art Museum (5$ on Thursday nights!). We sat at the sushi bar at Sushi Groove South on Folsom between 11th and 12th. We had been there once before, for my birthday actually, and had been to Sushi Groove on Hyde street prior to that. Our dinner at the one on Hyde was incredible - rivaling Ebisu (one of our top 5's of the city) and that lead us to try Sushi Groove South because there is easier parking.

After last night's meal I think if we are going to pay $5+ for nigiri and $6 or $7 for rolls, it's worth it to go Ebisu. Or try Sushi Groove again.

Dinner was good but not mind-blowing like Ebisu. We started with chicken/scallion yakitori which came nothing close to our "Chicken on Skewers" and seaweed salad with red chili flakes that was both sweet and spicy. For sushi we ordered a Jungle Roll (yellowtail and papaya), Dynamite Roll (spicy tuna), Eggplant Nigiri, Salmon Nigiri and Bonita Nigiri. The Jungle Roll was quite bland, the salmon was decent as was the bonita and the eggplant and Dynamite Roll were the highlights.

Ruth Ann asked if we rate things like bathrooms in our restaurant reviews. While we don't always, I'll tell ya that Sushi Groove South has heated toilet seats in the women's room - one of the best parts of the entire meal!!! Hmmm, maybe that it sums it up right there!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Incanto July 25

We had been trying to arrange a time to hang out with Sarah and Sante outside of Slow Club. Sure we love seeing them at the restaurant but they are always hard at work and it is always busy, busy, busy there! What better than to meet them at a SF Chronicle top 100 restaurant that we have never been to, and where Sante knows the chef and sous-chef!!

Incanto is an italian restaurant within walking distance to our house on Church and Duncan. The restaurant is known for curing its own meat, and an extensive wine list. I think Patricia Unterman in San Francisco Food Lover's Guide described the food as Delfina-like and the wine list as Bacar-like.

We met Sarah and Sante at 8pm; the restaurant staff was anxiously awaiting the "Sante party". Chris, the chef, was not there but the sous-chef Tracy was. She came to our table to say hello and we asked her about her favorites on the menu.

Incanto offers many wines by the glass, 1/2 liter and 2.5 ounces, as well as different wine tasting flights. We decided, with the help of our waiter, to customize our own flight opting for 3 different 1/2 liters throughout the night. We started off with a white Fiano Donnaluna - very light and non-descript - perfect while we waited for appetizers.

We ordered three appetizers for the table. It was clear that we would be tasting each other's dishes all night - Sante the curious chef needing to taste as many things as possible on the menu, and the rest of us as a reward for deciding on a main dish; the decision was easier knowing we would be able to lean over to taste our second, third and fourth choices from the menu.

We started with the Grilled Beef Heart, Grilled Peach and Tuna Confit and Tracy sent over a special Antipasto platter as well. This was my first time tasting beef heart; the meat was a little tough with a very strong almost overpowering beefy, gamey flavor. It was good and well-balanced with the potato, onion, garlic "salsa" it was served with. The Grilled Peach was incredible - warm and sweet with pickled red onion served with gorgonzola. My favorite appetizer was probably the tuna which was served with red onions, nicoise olives, cherry tomatoes and borlotti beans drizzled with olive oil. This wasn't unlike the tuna white bean salad I make though the olives, cherry tomatoes and premium tuna made this a far superior tasting dish. While I would not order cured calf liver, porchetta and mortadella myself, I did try everything on the Antipasto platter. The homemade mustard, pickled carrots and greens and roasted garlic were excellent, the calf liver much too strong for me, and the porchetta and mortadella very tasty. (Don't ask what it is made of, just eat it was my motto of the night).

Wine number 2 was our favorite of the evening a juicy and medium bodied Costera. That 1/2 liter seemed to go fast and before long we were on our third wine, much richer and full-bodied, almost too much so for me. (I can't remember which one it was right now). 

Nino ordered the braised chicken with mushrooms; not surprising since his test of restaurants is often judged by how well they do chicken and panna cotta, if they have it on the menu. He was disappointed and the table agreed - the chicken itself was tasty but the sauce and mushrooms were much too salty and overpowered the entire dish. Sante ordered the king salmon baked in a fig leaf with lemon cucumbers. Nino and I agree that this was the best dish - the fish was very moist and flavorful, and I enjoyed the crisp lemon cucumbers. Sarah ordered the hankerchief pasta with pork ragu and a egg on top - which I didn't try but I think she enjoyed it. I opted for the spaghetti with local squid - homemade pasta with squid ink served with borlotti beans, cherry tomatoes and garlic. I ordered this in part because it sounded so interesting and would provide more tasting choices at the table - it was very tasty.

There had been a big debate at the table over who should order the whole roasted fish, a Thai snapper. Tracy said this was her favorite, and it sounded like Sante was very interested in trying it. No one ordered it given the other choices from the menu but Tracy sent one over anyway for the table, along with sauteed heirloom eggplants. I really enjoyed the fish - white and somewhat firm served with delicious spicy Walla Walla onions. The eggplant was outstanding.

Three desserts arrived at the table - Nino's panna cotta that was the highlight of his meal, Sante and Sarah's chocolate boudini - rich, not too sweet warm chocolate pudding and a fruit crostata that was excellent.

We rolled out of there around 11pm, happy and full. Nino was less impressed with Incanto than I was. The highlights for me were the tuna appetizer, egpplant, whole fish, walla walla onions, king salmon and the fruit crostata. I would definitely recommend this restaurant - especially for wine lovers! 

Monday, July 26, 2004

Farmer's Market July 24

Highlights: Summer Tian

Saturday morning we were up early and decided to make a mad dash to the Bernal Heights Farmer's Market at Alemany. We were in a bit of rush because we had to be at Tonia's to carpool down to Filoli Gardens.

The market is an amazing find - I can't believe it took us a year to check it out. There was one long row of stands on either side, with heaps of fresh, cheap produce. There seemed to be less organic produce than at the Ferry Building but tons of variety, with more asian and ethnic vegetables available. Also, prices were much less than the Ferry Building. We bought Early Girl Tomatoes (75 cents/lb), okra (1.50/lb), red/green peppers (5 for $1), thai eggplant, thai chilis, japanese eggplant (5 for $1), nectarines, basil, melon ($1) and white diamond strawberries. We didn't have time to buy more but everything looked incredible - heirloom tomatoes, so many varieties of chilis and eggplants, peaches and nectarines, eggs and fish! The fish stand sells whole fish, live crab ($4/crab!!), scallops, shrimp and more. There was seabass, snapper, pompano, and fish I have never heard of and totally cheap!

We also had breakfast at the market. We grabbed hot vegetable pies from this really nice vendor who also sold us rosemary bread and cinnamon sticks. His other pastries looked good too and included sweet potato tarts. My vegetable pie was delicious - stuffed with rice, onions, mushroom and spinach. Nino's was not as good - stuffed with potatoes and carrots. We also passed some other bakery vendors, tamale cart, indian bakery items - many choices for our next visit.

The market is open on Saturday 6am-6pm!

I had offered to make dinner and bring it over to Matt and Ruth Ann's new house. With all the fresh vegetables, I found a recipe for a "Summer Tian" by Deborah Madison. The tian which is a french casserole, was layered tomatoes, zucchini (from Steve Ross' garden) and tomatoes with thin slices of garlic and lemon wedges hidden in the layers and sprinked with basil (dried and fresh), tarragon, salt, pepper and olive oil.  The original recipe called for thyme and marjoram which I didn't have. The tian was cooked for about 45 minutes on 400 covered, and then 10 minutes uncovered. I basted the vegetables with their own juice a couple of times in between.  When the vegetables were soft I pulled it out, poured the juice into a saucepan, boiled it down to a much thicker sauce and then poured it back over the vegetables. We ate atop  the toasted rosemary bread and it was a big hit!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Steve Ross' Halibut Marinade

Steve, a colleague from work, recommended this to me. Will let you know when I try it!

Printed from COOKS.COM
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. minced lemon zest
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. finely chopped tarragon
2 tbsp. finely chopped chives or scallions
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
+ salt
6 1/2 lb. halibut steaks or fillets
Garnish: lemon slices and tarragon sprigs

[Steve: I adjusted the quantities of the ingredients "to taste" and added salt. Poured some of the marinate on top of the fish after flipping it and it stayed there until serving.]

Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, tarragon, and chives in a small mixing bowl slowly whisk in the olive oil until well blended. Add the pepper to taste for seasoning.
Arrange the fish pieces in a large, shallow glass dish. Pour the marinade over, coating all the pieces evenly. Marinate 1/2 to 2 hours.

Prepare barbecue for medium heat grilling. Grill about 3 inches from flame for 5-7 minutes per side or until done. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

St-Donat Feasts July 16-18

Nino and I headed to Montreal and then St-Donat for a weekend of relaxing, swimming, reading, drinking and surprise, surprise ... gorging!
Liane, Brenda and Carol Wiseman came over for a BBQ Friday night. Mum made chicken and shrimp brochettes with peppers marinated in a sesame vinaigrette - very tasty. Carol made Greek salad which was excellent though she claimed her oregano was dead and the taste of the salad wasn't quite right. We had white rice mixed with some curry and fresh peas too. For dessert we had angel food cake with strawberry/rhubarb sauce and Liane and Brenda brought these amazing little meditteranean cookies from Nocochi. We opened a Lake Sonoma Winery Old Vine Zinfandel that was fabulous - sweeter than most zins but just great.
Challah french toast for breakfast Saturday morning!
Lunch was famous Montreal "party sandwiches" and "flying saucers" - grilled smoked meat, turkey, salami sandwhiches on rye bread using antique Toas-Tite sandwich makers. (I just bought on EBay!!) 
Dinner Saturday night was a complete feast. We bought a tomato/garlic focaccia at Boulangerie St-Donat that we ate with some salad. Dad bought 4 huge lobsters (!) and we were able to do a side by side comparison of steaming versus microwaving (!!). I had read an article in the Chronicle about microwaving lobsters and in fact, the Chronicle was right - microwaving was better! The steamed lobster was good but a little tough - perhaps steamed a little too long. The microwaved was less tough and seemed to be a little tastier. Other bonus of microwave is less mess! The lobster was good, but comparing it to the steamed crab we had a few weeks ago - I'd choose the crab. Maybe it has something to do with the freshness? For dessert we had apple cranberry pie from the Boulangerie with vanilla yogurt  and some port.
Sunday lunch Mum invited a hoard of people for buffet lunch. Highlight was Mum's famous pickled salmon and great rose (don't know which one) that Gail brought us!
Sunday dinner - Carol was back this time with shrimp cocktail, and delicious grilled veggies. We had burgers, hot dogs, veal chops on the BBQ with baked potatoes. Carol's veggies were so tasty - peppers and eggplant brushed with oil and Herbes de Province. The best way to do baked potatoes is definitely in the oven (or toaster oven) - Yukon golds in 400 degrees for 40minutes to 1 hour.
Monday lunch we stopped at Santropol for a quick bite. We had suggestions from Liane and Dena for other fun places but we just didn't have time. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Honey Seared Salmon July 14

Donna Milnes came over for dinner and Nino decided he needed to fulfill is salmon craving. I didn't take much to convince me since King Salmon is in season right now.

I stopped at Whole Foods and got a great looking piece of fish ($10.99/lb). Nino followed a super easy, incredibly tasty recipe from Donna Hay's "Off the Shelf". He cut the salmon into 3/4 inch slivers, soaked the fish in honey and black pepper for a few minutes and then seared the fish about 1 minute each side on high with just a little but of oil. This was so tasty - sweet from the honey and then a little spicy from the pepper.

As side dishes we had steamed asparagus, Chipotle Mashed Potatoes with Mango Salsa and some spinach salad with Cobb Dressing. I've been wanting to find a good Cobb dressing recipe since I sometimes get Cobb salad for lunch and the dressing is so good. I found a super easy, really easy recipe and the secret ingredient is .... Worchestire sauce. I'll post the recipe for it another day.

Dinner was excellent - the salsa was a great pairing with the potatoes, and Donna brought a Kendall Jackson chardonnay that went quite well with all the spice.

Chipotle Mashed Potatoes
- boil a bunch of potatoes (I used white new potatoes)
- mash when done
- add a tsp or so of adobo sauce from a can of Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and then chop 1/2-1 pepper. Mix in to mash - keep tasting to make sure not too spicy.
- add nonfat plain yogurt to make it creamy
- add minced garlic and salt
- balance the peppers, yogurt, garlic, salt to taste

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ananda Fuara July 12

(Nino's inaugural posting :) )

Ananda Fuara is a small vegetarian restaurant on Market @ 9th St just up the street from Zuni (one of our top in SF). We had been meaning to go for many months - our wonderful "cleaning lady" Ashonka works there during the week at lunch. Finally, this Monday, Ashonka took us there for dinner as a wedding gift - she certainly knows where our hearts lie ;).

Anyway, the most important part: the food was very tasty. They offer vegetarian and vegan fare at great prices - neither the restaurant, the staff, nor the food is presumptuous. We started with their signature Simosas. Reportedly a hit with the Indian customer, they were a hit with us; deep fried, but not dripping in oil, and delicious raisins inside. The California Pizza was yummy with an assortment of veggies making up the sauce.

I had the "Neatloaf" dinner - a faux meatloaf that was hearty and light, almost souffle like. The side of mashed potatoes with a mushroom gravy had me fooled. Karen had Dahl, which, like the simosas, was true to it's roots, without all the oil. So, after all that, Ashonka convinced us to have dessert - a slice of vegan strawberry cake, mango cake, and tea. We rolled out of there very happy and very close to bursting.

A note on the restaurant itself: it's run and staffed by followers of Sri Chinmoy, an India spiritual leader and devoted athlete. The inside of the restaurant features pictures of him with various world leaders (the Pope, Gorby, and Princess Di among others), as well as pictures of him performing spectacular feats of strength. (One the many events he and his following have include a 700+ mile walk-race, which Ashonka holds the record for.)

Beer Butt Chicken July 10

After David and Erin raved about Beer Butt Chicken we decided we had to give it a try. We used the Weber recipe and fired up the BBQ. I had also read a similar recipe that David and Erin sent us.

Well, this was definitely a learning experience for us. I made the rub, rubbed down the chicken and then proceeded to stick the chicken on a Budweiser beer, with some beer poured out. We set the chicken on an aluminum pan with some water in it to catch juices and put the pan on the grill on the side of the bbq where the burner was off since this was supposed to cook on indirect heat. Since our bbq doesn't really have a medium setting we had to guess as to what medium was.

The bird took longer to cook than I would have liked. The 4 pound bird was done in 2 hours and 20 minutes. We think now that the heat could have been higher all along, and it took longer because of the pan. The chicken was definitely super moist when done, but it seemed to lack flavor. The skin was tasty because of the rub, but somehow the flavors didn't carry through inside the bird.

I would make this again however I would turn the heat up from the start, and perhaps not use an aluminum pan. I'd also consider trying to add more flavor - maybe sticking garlic cloves or rosemary inside the beer can, or using the rub David and Erin sent, and even using hickory chips like D+E did on Sunday.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Slow Club July 9

There's nothing better than kicking back on a Friday night with amazing food and drink at Slow Club. After a long week at work (ok, it was only 4 days this week), Sante knows how to do it up right!

For those of you who don't know, Sante is the chef at Slow Club and a friend of ours. His wife Sarah, who works there on Friday and Saturday nights, goes to school with Nino. This restaurant is tops on my list. The "kitchen" is a small open space within the restaurant which means that everything is brought in fresh daily and you can tell! The menu changes daily too. Prices are completely reasonable for this fresh California fare.

The only issue I have with the restaurant is that it isn't the place for a quiet dinner - the restaurant is always packed and often noisy. People come in for drinks at the bar, it's a cool hangout and a place to be seen, which means that it can be hard to have a conversation without having to speak loudly. This is the only drawback ...

It was great to see Sante and Sarah - they're always so nice to us when we go in there. We started our evening by ordering Mojitos - refreshing, minty drinks that we could sip like juice! Sarah brought us the Truffled Zucchini Salad to start with which she said is her favorite - thin slices of julienned zucchini, with pine nuts and ricotta salata mixed with truffle oil. Yum! I couldn't resist ordering the Summer Melon Salad too because it sounded so intersting - cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew with kalamata olives and chili vinaigrette. The salad followed Thai cooking principles - sweet, salty, spicy, sour - all combined. It was excellent.

For our main courses, Nino ordered the Grilled King Salmon which was done just perfectly with a salsa verde served with a ratatouille that had so much flavor. I ordered the Curry Scented Skate Wing after finding out that skate is a member of the ray family and the meat comes from its wings - the taste and texture is similar to scallops. The skate was a heaping portion served atop green beans, heirloom tomatoes and fingerling potatoes and everything was completely delicious. We had a glass of Viognier with dinner that we shared.

For dessert, (yes, somehow I saved just a little room for dessert) we had a peach upside-down cake with berry compote. The cake itself was light and not too sweet, but the peaches were incredibly sweet and delicious. The entire meal start to finish was epic!

We made a date to see Sante and Sarah outside the restaurant, hopefully to check out another restaurant on the Top 100 of SF list.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Karen and Nino's Top 5 SF Restaurants

OK, so if we limit the region to just San Francisco, this makes the list a little easier for us to put together since we don't have to squeeze out a restaurant to add Chez Panisse which is in Berkeley. We'll have to create another list with Top 5 BayArea, and then Top 5 International.

The list is in no particular order... I'd have to think really hard about ordering these. I wonder if Nino and I would have similar orders. Actually we'd probably have to revisit each of them to make sure we've ranked them properly

1. Gary Danko
2. Slow Club
3. Zuni Cafe
4. Delfina
5. Ebisu/Liberty Cafe

Ok, ok - we can't decide between Ebisu and Liberty Cafe. They are both wonderful neighborhood restaurants - Ebisu has the most amazing sushi (yummy tuna tataki, appetizer 2 Balls No Strike) and Liberty Cafe is just great fresh, totally reasonably priced comfort food (amazing pot pies, homemade gnocchi with fresh porcini mushrooms).

Back to the ordering, after last night's dinner (Slow Club July 9) I'm tempted to just say that Slow Club gets the number 1 spot in my books.

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa July 9

We made our standard fish tacos for dinner but spiced it up with homemade mango salsa. The fish was made with tilapia, dredged in flour, salt and cumin and then fried. Salsa recipe below. We also opened a bottle of Adobe Canyon Chardonnay which was pretty good; not as good as Belvedere Chardonnay.

Mango Salsa Recipe
2 mangoes (we used Manila)
4 tomatoes (we used yellow vine ripened this time which provided a sweeter salsa, last time we used red heirlooms - not sure which kind)
about half an onion - (we used a sweet vidalia onion)
juice of 2 limes
fresh serrano chili to taste (we used 1 pretty big red one)
cilantro to taste

Let the salsa sit and marinate for a little while so the lime juice can neutralize the chili and onion.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Banana Leaf July 7

I met Arik for dinner in Milpitas before hockey. We went to Banana Leaf, a great Malaysian place that we've been to before. We started with the Roti Prata - flatbread to dip in curry sauce. We had the Mango Chicken and the Red Curry with tofu/vegetables as mains. The Mango Chicken was excellent, sweet and saucy served in a mango and mixed with chunks of mango, and red and green peppers. The Red Curry was also very tasty - tofu with green beans, potatoes, eggplant and okra. Actually the tofu was the fried spongy bean curd stuff which was probably the least appetizing item from the dish. I liked the Red Curry because it wasn't too creamy. We didn't order dessert but the waitress brought us homemade mango ice cream anyway. I haven't had a bad meal here - all the dishes are always so tasty.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Ruth and Matt's BBQ July 4th

We went down to Menlo Park to hang out with Matt and Ruth Ann. Matt made really yummy "tropical" chicken kabobs on the BBQ. They were seasoned like jerk chicken or caribbean flavors and then mixed with peaches, pineapples, red onion and peppers! Really great!

Monday, July 05, 2004

Thai-tanic Dinner July 3

We promised Amy and Tonia a while ago that we would show off our Thai cooking skills learned in Chiang Mai in January. (They also bought us an awesome wok for the wedding probably hoping that would get them an invitation to Thai dinner at our house all that much quicker ;-) ) Thai dinner turned into Thai extravaganza.

We started with Nino's already perfected Green Papaya Salad and Chicken Satay (done on the grill). The salad was perfect - we think what made it one of the best ever was that he used more thai chilis, balanced with the right amount of fish sauce and palm sugar. The Satay was a new recipe and turned out excellent. Marinated for 24 hours in soy, peanut butter, garlic and curry powder, we then bbq'ed them.

For main course we had Green Curry with tofu, eggplant and red pepper, fresh rice noodles stir fried with some veggies and Thai Beef Salad where we grilled the flank steak on the bbq. Curry was good. The rice noodles unfortunately were a disappointment. The noodles were bought the day before and didn't have the freshnest they needed. Because I cooked them before the guests arrived, they were a little gluey and gloppy by the time we ate them. The Beef salad was good too - probably could have sliced the beef thinner but it was very tasty ( marinated in lime juice, garlic, chili paste and mixed with tomatoes, red onions, cucumber and romaine.

For dessert, Tonia brought mango sticky rice from the Thai Kitchen recipe and it was excellent. Nino has been making this with cream, but Tonia used Lite Cocunut milk and I thought it was just perfect. She thought that next time she would cut down the sugar a little.

We had a great time hanging out with those guys and dinner was a success.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Crab night July 2

Friday night dinner at home! I was planning on making some gnocchi with mushroom sauce when Nino called from Ranch 99 (shopping for Thai dinner for Saturday) saying that they have fresh crab and should he get one. Why not? He brought home a 2 lb crab.

I remembered reading about microwaving crab in the Chronicle and dug up that recipe. The comparison was between micowaving and steaming with the latter winning the taste tests. So, with our new wok (thank you Amy and Tonia) we boiled water in the bottom of the wok, put the crab in the bamboo steamer and then covered it with the wok lid. Ten minutes cooking time (water needs to be boiling when you put in the crab) and oh my god - this was amazing. Just a little bit of lemon juice and then crab was so sweet and tender.

I still made the gnocchi. The mushroom sauce consisted of fresh garlic (Cruts' garden), fresh rosemary (thank you Rebecca and Greg) and then a handful of fresh and dried mushrooms with chicken broth. I found the rosemary just a little overpowering but the dish came out pretty well. I used some fresh shitakes in there and they were great!

We opened a bottle of Cambria's Rae Chardonnay (thank you Erin and David) and it was a perfect pairing with the crab. On the scale of home cooked meals, this one was a 10!

Friday, July 02, 2004

Firefly July 1st

Firefly has been on our list for a while - it's also on the SF top 100 of 2004. There's a mention of it in San Francisco magazine for best neighborhood dining. It was time to give it a try and we wanted to take full advantage so we went on a Thursday night because they have prix fixe for $29 - you get appetizer, entree, dessert, and coffee or tea for $29!! I really good deal.

Nino called to get a reservation about 5pm Thursday and got us in for 6:15. It's in a nice neighborhood on 24th 2 blocks west of Castro. I don't think there's even a sign on the restaurant just a looming, large firefly above the door. The restarant was bright, probably because of the time we were there, had a nice bar to eat at and wooden tables. There were tables for 2 and 4 with larger group tables in the middle.

Nino ordered the Hartford Pinot Noir and I had the Navarro Gewertraminer - both ok choices. For appetizers we ordered the scallop/shrimp potstickers which we one of the highlights of the meal - pan fried but not greasy, yummy crunch and good dipping sauce. We also had the Ahi napolean salad - layered greens, avocado, ahi and a fried chip. It was good but not stellar - somehow the fish didn't have enough flavor.

Nino ordered the seabass with miso on somen noodles. It was really light and tasty - I think I liked it better than mine. I had king salmon with lobster - lobster mushroom sauce - a little saucy and heavier than the seabass, tasty but the top of the salmon was a little too salty. The mushrooms were great ... what are "lobster mushrooms" anyway?

To finish a good decent meal I ordered the lemon pudding cake which was light and not too sweet - Nino called it refreshing. He ordered the strawberry shortcake which I thought was also light and not too sweet. Nicely presented too.

All in all a good meal. I would recommend it to people. I can see why it made the top 100 but I didn't make Karen and Nino's top 25.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Homemade Pizza Sauce June 28

OK, homemade pizza sauce is amazing. I found this recipe in Sunset magazine and it rocks. We used Trader Joe's pizza dough but I need to go back to making my own dough for truly entirely homemade pizza (ok, so I don't make my own cheese...). We made 2 pizzas for dinner - one with turkey bacon, avocado, mushrooms, grilled red pepper and onions and the other with mushrooms, grilled red pepper, zucchini, olives and red onions. The homemade pizza sauce just gives it so much flavor!

Squat and Gobble June 27

After the Gay Pride parade we walked over to the lower Haight and had lunch at Squat and Gobble. I had the tofu and veggie crepe with peanut sauce. I was hoping for something a little lighter - the crepe was greasier than I would have liked. I think of crepes as light and fluffy and this one was thicker and too greasy. The filling was tasty and quite good.

BBQ Salmon June 26th

I had a craving for salmon and we planned to stay home for the night. We bbq'ed salmon - put some rosemary, cilantro and parsley over the top and sprinked with some lemon. It may have been just a tad over done. Probably should have marinated in lemon/olive oil for a while because the flavor didn't come through all that well. We also bought the Trader Joe's garlic and herb foccacia dough that we put on the bbq. It was tasty but a little too doughy - it could have been cooked just a little longer.

Bette's Oceanview Diner June 26th

I can't beleive it took us this long to try Bette's. I've heard good things and have bought the pancake/waffle mix but this was the best breakfast I have had in the Bay Area ever! Nino had the special Californian - poached eggs with asparagus and prosciutto with lemon/butter sauce. I had the farmer's special - eggs, potatoes, onions, mushrooms all scrambled together. The eggs were incredible - so light and soft. Mine came with a scone too that was fresh baked.

Like I said - the best breakfast I've had in the Bay area - though I need to try Liberty cafe for brunch ....

The Last Supper Club - June 25th

We walked down to The Last Supper Club for dinner. We arrived around 7pm and they had empty tables. Nino had a Bellini to drink which he said was "girlie" and I had had a Mojito (ok, not as good as Thailand but decent).

For dinner, I ordered the gnocchi with veal. I had a little trouble with the menu - it felt like every entree had something I didn't like about it. Anyhow, I ordered this dish and asked them if they could make it without the ricotta which they did. The dish was super tasty - better than I thought it would be. Nino had the mahimahi and potatoes which was decent. We ordered sides of spinach and green beans and I thought each of those was delicious.

We walked to Mitchell's for dessert - I had pear sorbet which was incredible. I would say overall a great evening!