Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Red Box Sushi

Had sushi with my bff way long ago and debated whether to post it or not. Alex, my bff'er said NO..he really liked the place as did I, and didn't want the word to spread. I assured him that only 2 people actually bother to even read this blog so not to worry.

I can't begin to tell you what we ordered since it was so long ago but i do remember that it was fucking GOOD. though i think this is where i lost my ID. bummer.

Anyway..the place is called Red Box Sushi and it is a teeny tiny gem of a sushi place in a sketchy part of town...but worth venturing out to. and sometimes - they have blowfish. just not when we were there. bummer.

okay, now im hungry again. did anyone watch the No Reservations, when Anthony Bourdain went to Tokyo..MAN! I love that show.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Palencia in The Castro

Finally made it out to Palencia this weekend. It's Filipino cuisine at its finest. Filipino fine dining? Kind of sounds like an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp. And not because filipino cuisine ISNT fine dining normally, but it's never been revered as a high end cuisine or a cuisine you can plate beautifully all snooty and contemporary like. But Palencia did their absolute best and executed it well.

If you are not familiar with Filipino cuisine, it has a lot of stews, deep fried stuff, braising, MEAT and fish dishes. The flavors are usually of the sour and salty variety. I would say its a mix of Spanish and Chinese influences but isn't confined to those cultures alone. The Philippines comprises of 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. There are many cultures, languages and dialects that fill up all the islands. I'm sure you will find some unexpected things like this:

But at Palencia, the dishes are milder and are catered to the non-pinoys but this by no means harm or deter from the taste & authenticity of it in any way.

I was super excited to recognize all the dishes on the menu but I was more impressed that the menu listed the actual filipino names for the dishes. I wanted everything. My mouth was watering as I went down on the list, thinking to myself - yes please, one of those, and that, oh and this too. OH, they have this!? awesome.

Charlie and I had dinner with my friend Phil and his friend Stephanie, who all came up from the South Bay. Neither Phil or Charlie have ever had Filipino food. Well, Charlie once before. Anyway, I ordered the more traditional fare - Chicken Adobo and Kare Kare (Sorry my camera was not behaving that night) and Charlie ordered the pinakbet (usually pinakbet has pork in it but they had the pescaterian option. no pork but had the bagaoong or shrimp paste).

It's hard for me to really savor Filipino food outside of my relatives cooking or Filipino parties (and boy do we have a lot of em. Always centered around food and family. Always). But it was all good. Great even, because I'm really happy that Filipino cuisine is getting out there. Palencia did a nice representation. The restaurant was only missing 2 things. 1) The large wooden fork & spoon usually displayed at everyone's abode and 2) a picture of the last supper...but then we're touching on stereotypes there. They had a blown up picture of the chef's family and it completely reminded me of my Dad's own pictures from his childhood, like this one:

Anyway, on to the food. The adobo was none like i have ever had or seen before. The sauce was more gravy like and vinegary, which i liked. I'm a sucker for vinegar. oh and salt. The Kare Kare was fair. I would have enjoyed it more if it was made more traditionaly, i.e. ox tail and beef bones with marrow, but again its catered for the non-pinoy, to entice. I would definitely HAVE to come back and try everything else. But my favorite was dessert. Yeah, I know I don't normally like sweets but dude, they had turon! It's a deep fried plantain with jack fruit wrapped in an eggroll skin and glazed with sugar (?) SO GOOD. If they only had kutsinta or palitaw or bibinka.

For four people there was plenty of food to go around - again, traditionally Filipinos always have way too much food. and thats a good thing.

I would definitely come back here (and often. since they started serving brunch! especially if they had tonsilog or bansilog, longonisa, tocino or crispy pata and banana catsup, I AM SO THERE!). It's great what Palencia is doing to and for Filipino cuisine.

{I just looked up some reviews on yelp. OH MY GOD - they have the silogs (it just means something with egg. egg = eklog, so if i wanted longonisa with egg over rice, it would be called longsilog...and they have LECHON over rice - dude!!! my mouth is watering.}

Come out and take an adventure, your taste buds will thank you.
and if you want to try and make some Filipino cuisine, start here or here .


3870 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 522-18880

Menu items ordered:

Appetizer - Ukoy, Kinilaw na isda
Entrées - Chicken Adobo, Kare Kare, Pinakbet
Dessert - Halo Halo, Turon
Drinks - Calamansi juice, Melon juice

Rating: 3 1/2 salt shakers (AWESOME & creative)

{dude, blogger is doing some weird shizzle on my writing/editing. but may be its my stupid ass computer. it keeps chopping up sentences and putting it elsewhere without me knowing until i publish it}

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The House in North Beach

charlie treated amy and myself to dinner on sunday AND live jazz.

We all couldn't decide on where to eat. Should we eat somewhere where each of us haven't been before? or go to someone's particular favorite?

So I decided for everyone. Since we were all going to go to see 8 legged monster at Pearls, I suggested to eat out in North Beach. Ugh, North Beach.

For one, I really hate North Beach. Okay, I say that I hate it, but in actuality I like certain spots. So really, I hate the idea of North Beach. No no, rather - I hate the crowd that loves hanging out there. I hate hanging out there. and two, I hate hearing - "I like your tats" several times in passing. but then again, thats what i get for having a few visible tattoos. Anyway, I made us reservations at the tucked away and non italian eatery called - The House.

Asian fusion at its darn finest. even though i hate it when that term is used. its either crappy food with a dash of creativity or a pleasant surprise. thankfully we got the latter. Dude! I had no idea this place has been around for 15 years! Where have I been? Oh, right - I hate hanging out in North Beach. None the less, we decided to try as much as we could on the menu and share (because sharing is caring. this was told to me and charlie by our overly pleasant waiter on our weekend 4th of July getaway @ Fleming's Steakhouse in Palo Alto - yes, no pictures. i was on vacation).

Our server was great. pleasant, not intrusive, helpful with a touch of delight (sorry, it was the whole caring is sharing that made me say that).

As I've stated, if there is crab cake on the menu, you better fucking believe I'm ordering that shit. Scallops? that creature too. did you say hamachi? fuck yeah. we'll take one of that. SEABASS? hell yeah. too bad, its an endangered fish (only the Chilean kind though. alas, I did not ask where it came from). anyway, I would definitely come here again. we came early (6pm) and it was not crowded or noisy, but come dinner time gets full and too college bro/marina bar hip for my tastes. again, its North Beach so what do you expect?

My favorites from what we ordered were the scallops and the rare hamachi as well as the seabass. okay okay, so i didnt think too much of the crab cakes. it looked impressive though. it was shaped like a pear. had that great crispiness onthe outside but there wasn't enough of a crab flavor. BUT, it was still good. so far the best crab cake as far as taste (something different) and texture would have to be at Le Petit Robert. Don't let the yelpers deter you.

After dinner it was off to Jazz @ Pearls, to see 8 legged Monsters - some of which are charlie's friends. they are amazing. As Amy put it, there is something sexy and alluring about jazz. So take your old lady out and visit Pearls. There are other venues all around the city for some sweet sexy just have to know where to look, or get lost finding them..whatever you do, just go on and get out there. enjoy the nice weather we're having, thanks to global warming.

The House
12 30 Grant (@ Columbus)
San Francisco
(415) 986-8612

Menu items ordered:

Appetizer - Crab Cake, Seared Scallops, Deep Fired Salmon Roll with Chinese hot mustard
Entrées - Grilled Sea Bass with Garlic Ginger Soy, Seared Hamachi (rare) atop chinese greens with California Roll
Dessert - Coconut Creme Brulee with Passion fruit puree
Wine - half bottle of Chardonnay (or some white wine..i cant remember)

Rating: 4 salt shakers (pretty fucking tasty)

{whats the deal with the salt shakers? in case you didnt know, im kind of a salt fiend. hell i even got a prison (homemade) tattoo salt shaker. what, don't believe me? check it. yeah, we also happen to love seafood. i'll post the prime rib romp soon.}

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Le Petit Robert in Russian Hill

i was an idiot and didnt bring my camera, so i had to use my camera phone. i know, lame. amy and i headed for another one of our dates and since we found ourselves in russian hill (i had to stop by charlies place to feed his plants. one of them actually bloomed. i had seen it have this strange pod thing and well now those pod things opened up and bloomed. it had these awesome flowers. they were weird, which is what made them awesome. they were velvety, and almost ake plastic/wax mini flowers, but again, they were velvety) decided to try one scattered up and down polk street.

out of three places along polk we decided on Le Petit Robert, since both of us have a soft spot for french cuisine (sadly, our fave french spot is now closed). we were of course, a little apprehensive, but i was starving.

we ordered a carafe of a cotes du rhone (one of my favorite types of red wine. the other is a malbec) and they served us bread and the usual oil and balsamic vinegar dippity do (they slice the bread from this huge donut shaped bread thats off to the side in the back). we decided on the crab cake as a starter. oh my god, i have never tasted such a crab cake. it was so fucking good. the flavors, the texture, all from one bite. it wasnt served like 2 little crab cakes that you would normally see or even taste. it had unique flavors and just the consistency was spot on. it was a top of these almost dandelion weed like greens and mandarin sliced oranges. it was such a great combination. usually crab cakes can be a bit mushy on the inside because its made up of mostly a "salad" by mixing the meat of the crab with some if not lots of mayo or a kind of creole remoulade sauce. this one was not mushy. it kept its shape after each dip in it, not mushy at all and crisp on the outside. i would definitely order this again (and again).

amy ordered the sea scallops (it was that or the rabbit risotto, but she couldnt decide. funny thing was, i had just made seared scallops as an appetizer for our dinner only a couple of days ago). it looked and smelled amazing. garlicy and obviously rich. yum. i had a wee bite and it was great. i secretly wanted more, but i behaved myself.

i ordered the seabass (i know, weird i didnt order bloody meat) atop warmed spinach with grilled asparagus and a vingeratte dressing. usually fish is arranged skin side down. it was served skin side up, and to my astonishment it was a plentiful portion. it was good, a little too much dressing/sauce on the spinach as well as the fish, but you know what, it was all fucking tasty. scrumdiddly indeed.

sad thing about this place is, they didnt get such great reviews on yelp. i say poppycock. i had a great time. the service was prompt and not intrusive, only a little weird when she didnt ask me if i wanted to take my food to go (okay, so i am trying to watch my portions and ate only half. SHUT UP. suffice to say, i ate it when i got home. it was too good not to) and they didnt serve sugar with our coffee oh and i found a dead tiny fly swimming in the soap dish in the bathroom. oh no! poppycock, again. i would definitely come back here. my only problem would be, i would probably order the exact same thing. perhaps 2 of the crab cake, next time. but then again, i have a feeling they change their menu.

Until next time..which will probably be @ Palencia over in the castro. It's supposedly an upscale filipino joint...hmmm, im skeptical. i miss my grandmas cooking and so they have to live up to a lot, especially if i am going to shell out a lot of money for adobo or something.

*I know I was supposed to put the post up of House of Prime Rib...but i got lazy. this was more relevant.

Le Petit Robert
2300 Polk St (@Green)
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 922-8100

Menu items ordered:

Appetizer - crab cake
Entrées - Seared Sea Scallops
Grilled Sea Bass
Dessert - NONE (sad, I know since they had creme brulee, which is pretty much the only dessert i like)
Wine - Carafe of a Cotes du Rhone

Rating: 3 1/2 salt shakers (pretty fucking tasty)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

McCormick & Kuleto's @ Ghiradellis Square

amy and i went on a romantic date and used the gift certificate that we got from McCormick & Schmidt's back from our Portland trip. The restaurant in Portland gave us a $100 gift certificate to make up for the poor service we received at the time. and i am happy to say that the restaurant chain has more than redeemed themselves with our recent dining experience at their Ghiradelli location.

our server, heather, was awesome. she gave recommendations and not in a way where it felt like it was a standard restaurant recommendation. she was enthusiastic about the mussels in a curry sauce (which i regret not ordering) and also recommended the halibut cheeks. halibut cheeks? they have cheeks? enough to make a dish with? well, it was damn good and i would definitely order it again. the spring succotash (no lima beans though, apparently lima beans are a staple in succotash. what the hell is succotash anyway?) was divine especially the flavor of the cherry tomatoes. the fish cheeks had a great texture. the outer layer was crisp and tasty while the full bite awarded a soft and tender morsel. ( i think it would be a bit salty for other people's palate, but it was great for mine. i love salt!).

We also ordered a NY steak because I have never had one. seriously. it was good, but the halibut cheeks was considerably better. i guess i am more of a filet mignon fan (wrapped in bacon of course) and or a prime rib or rib eye fan. although the steak had some great juicy fat bits (my favorite!).

Oh as an appetizer we ordered the crab cakes and a bowl of clam chowder. YUMMmmm! the crab cakes were wonderful. the perfect amount of crispy outside and not greasy - could of used a bit more salt at least for me. the bed of coleslaw that it laid upon was also tasty. or i could have just been starving since i was waiting the entire day and saving myself for the nights dinner extravaganza. the clam chowder was one of the best i've had, it could be due to the bacon. not watery, not too lumpy or thick or potato-y. would have been great in a bread bowl. i was trying to pace myself but nope..couldn't manage it.

they sat us at a total date table. you had to sit next to each other on a cushioned bench as you look out into the large windows (plantation style?) onto aquatic park. we had made reservations for 7 pm, which was perfect since throughout dinner we could see the day change to night. we shared a bottle of wine and watched the sunset.

we had to order dessert, even though i am not a fan of sweets. they had this one dish called a dark chocolate bag (for two) which did not sound appealing (colostomy bag?). i really wanted a creme brulee but alas none to be found on the menu. we opted for the brioche bread pudding ( a little too, uh, wet in the middle for my taste AND too eggy. now i love me some eggs but sometimes, eggs kind of gross me out. as does bananas. bananas make me spit up. i also do not like the smell of bananas especially over ripe ones. i know, im weird.) as well as the fruit crisp because of the rhubarb. rhubarb is fascinating to me because of it's history. for a long time people had trouble making a dish with it mainly because, well people died eating it. or rather the wrong parts of it. but people kept on trying to use it and finally figured out how. only the edible parts of rhubarb are obviously sold today.

all in all, it was a great time. definitely would take a date here or your date's family to impress them? or if you really wanted to seal the deal and get some but amy totally didnt put out. what a tease. she had her very own toy to play with when she got home anyway. kidding kidding. but i pointed out that her supposed ipod charger looked a lot like a uh? AND it even says right on the package - "ADDS HOURS OF PLAY TIME" (with yourself).

Until next time...(which will be @ the house of prime rib!)

McCormick & Kuleto's Seafood Restaurant
Ghirardelli Square
900 North Point Street
San Francisco, California 94109
Restaurant: (415) 929-1730

Menu items ordered:

Appetizer - crab cakes,
bowl of clam chowder
Entrées - Wild Halibut cheeks w/ a spring succotash
NY Steak (medium rare)
Dessert - Fruit Crsip
Brioche Bread Pudding
Wine - COPPOLA Claret Diamond series

Rating: 3 1/2 salt shakers (which means, pretty awesome)