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Food Eater

We Heart Fried Chicken in Sacramento

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If you happen to be in Sacramento, be sure to stop by South and say hi to N’Gina and Ian who are RAD.

Fried Chicken Sacramento

They have just been named by the SF Chronicle as one of the Top 10 Restaurants in Sacramento!

Source: Top 10 restaurants in Sacramento

South

This new wave Southern counter-service restaurant features a full-blown menu, but I’d go for the fried chicken; puffy, light biscuits; and the creamy macaroni and cheese. Service can get backed up at peak times, but it’s open continuously, making it a prime stop for a late lunch or early dinner.

2005 11th St.; (916) 382-9772. www.weheartfriedchicken.com. Lunch and dinner 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Entries Are Now Closed for Noma Tokyo Date

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Thanks to all the hundreds and hundreds of people that sent in their applications for the Noma Tokyo Date. It has been a completely chaotic and crazy week with all of the press that this has gotten worldwide. I can’t even begin to understand what went on.

I have officially closed off the applications now. I had my coffee dates with more people than I had originally anticipated to try to keep it all fair.

I will be notifying the people that I met who will unfortunately not be going with me and also officially asking the guy if he is still game to go to Tokyo (fingers crossed)!

I respect the privacy of everyone who has taken the time to write in with such great things to say and also to the identity of my final date, so I can’t promise that you will hear much about him other than how the date went. I will, however, be happy to share details of the food and the trip and all the other great people I will be meeting with in Tokyo. It will be a real adventure!

As for the rest of the applicants if you haven’t met with me already then I apologize. I will do my best to write back to as many people who really took the time to put themselves on the line for this adventure. It has really touched my heart to know that so many great people are out there.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Desperately Seeking Noma Tokyo Dinner Date

By | Food Eater, La Vida | No Comments

MV5BMTIzMzA5NjIzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTA2NTI5._V1_SX640_SY720_‘Desperately seeking’ is actually kind of a stretch (I’m not that desperate) and a play on that good old Madonna movie.  I never really bought into the Rosanna Arquette being Madonna thing, but that is another story…  I am actually here to talk about finding a date for my birthday dinner, so read on.

 

Background

I have a dinner reservation for Noma Tokyo for my birthday in the last week of January. If you don’t know what Noma is then you are pretty much already excluded from the criteria that I am setting forth for this date, but here is a little background anyway.

Noma, currently voted the world’s best restaurant, will relocate to the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo for six  weeks, offering lunch and dinner 9 January to 14 February.  There have been 60,000 people who have applied for reservations. Note:  A reservation for 2 at Noma Tokyo recently went at auction for $4,500. – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/26/noma-restaurant-tokyo-japan

Yes, there were 60,000 people who tried to get this reservation and I am lucky enough to have secured one for two. And, sadly, I don’t have a dining companion. So I decided since I’m single and dateless on what will be my 39th birthday that I would open up the opportunity for someone to take advantage of this crazy, once in a lifetime meal and find myself a date.  Could it be you?

What’s The Deal

You will be my guest for a fabulous dinner at Noma Tokyo in the Mandarin Oriental during the last week in January 2015. This means that I will pay for your dinner and wine pairing.

You cover your airfare to Tokyo and your accommodations whilst there. Roundtrip flights from SFO as of today (Jan 09) are around $1,000.

I have my own flight and accommodations sorted.

If we get along maybe we can hang out in Tokyo a bit, but not a requirement.

About Me

sneffy

38 (going to be 39 as of meal) / 5’6 / slim shady
Likes to read, watch movies & bad TV, blog, play ukulele, go to theater and lectures, play board games, cook, hang out with bald cats, scuba dive, nerd out on gadgets, travel and eat good food.
twitter: @nerdgirl blog: www.nerdgirl.com insta: sneffyrobogeisha (beware: a lot of cat pics) linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/stephanierobesky

About You

You live in the Bay Area so we can meet up beforehand to see if it is a fit.
You are single. Like properly single. No attachments.
You are a male.
You are between 28-46.
You know how to use a fork and knife properly. Knowledge of Japanese etiquette a big plus.
You have good conversational skills.
You are easy on the eye.
You are able to make that evening & cover your flight / accommodations costs.

How This Works

You fill out the form. I narrow it down to 3 finalists and schedule a meetup – coffee probably – and then I select my date by January 16th 17th .

I will do my best to write back to everyone that responds to let them know one way or the other by Wednesday, Jan 14th Friday, Jan 16th.

Sorry! Due to an overwhelming response, I’ve decided to extend a bit so I can make a decision and look over all the new submissions.

Get those submissions in!

How to Apply

Button Text

The more detail you give, the better.  If you don’t include a picture then you won’t be considered.

Will This Be You?

Updates To This Story

Jan 16 update
I’m coordinating coffee with the last few people. I actually decided to go for more than three since the response was so great that it was nearly impossible to select only three. My plan is to consult with friends and family tomorrow morning (Saturday) and make a decision by the evening. Thankfully I checked airfares to Tokyo and they have gone down about $50 from last week, so even though it is last minute it is doable.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is how to do the follow up to this entire story. Everyone is asking me “what’s next”? I really haven’t had a moment to sit down and hash it all out, but I hope to do updates from Tokyo and also a little bit of reflection on this week and this process in general.

Stay tuned!

Jan 13 update
I didn’t think that this was going to go as crazy as it has. I am honestly humbled by this entire experience and I haven’t even gotten to the grand finale! I have extended the deadline so I can accommodate for all the responses that have been pouring in. I will do my best to get through all of them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to respond to all of them by Friday, but I will work on it over the weekend. Everyone has been really great. There are so many awesome guys out there that it is going to be really difficult to pick just one. Thanks everyone for being supportive.

Now – more fun news…

11162913_800I have now, through a wonderful former work colleague, scored a lunch reservation at Jiro’s sushi restaurant. Yes, this Jiro. My date will be invited along to that as well although I’m not going to foot the bill. This is an optional excursion, but one that probably shouldn’t be missed.

There have been other adventures that are being planned for Tokyo that include whiskey drinking, private cooking lessons, snow monkeys (that is out of town) and secret places with the local crew. All optional, but will be pretty great.

FAQ (as they come up)

Why a guy in the Bay Area?  Why not anywhere?

Because I would like a chance to meet the person first and vet them for compatibility.  I am also looking to potentially date someone for longer than just the dinner night.  Even if a total romantic thing doesn’t happen, I thought this would be a good way to meet someone cool and have a great story to tell.

Do I need to like bald cats?

Yes.  OK, not right off the bat, but the idea of not totally hating them needs to be somewhere in his mind.

Will I be humiliated publicly for applying?

No.  I will only share info about the final date if that person agrees to it.

Didn’t I see this somewhere?

Thanks to the awesome folks at The Bold Italic (particularly Tamara Palmer) for being the first to write about my date.  Truly awesome.

There was a great segment with David Begnaud on CBS Morning News hosted by Gayle King and Charlie Rose. Wow! That was crazy! Gayle, please say hi to Oprah!

I was also on the KFOG Morning Show on Tuesday, Jan 13 to talk about the date.

And to all my friends who have shared this. Feels pretty nice to have so many cool people supporting this idea.

Making Christmas Cheesecake

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Steps in my perilous cheesecake journey. It was a bumpy ride and the crack made me cry but it recovered well.

I decided to bake a cheesecake for Christmas dinner over at Elaine and Kenny’s after being inspired by my monthly Cook’s Illustrated magazine.  I mean, it was even called Foolproof New York Cheesecake.  How could I possibly go wrong?!?

Well, I discovered that cheesecake is a tricky bitch.  I followed all of their steps to a tee, but the one point that I was completely helpless on, which is a huge step btw, was the tempreature of my oven.  The recipe calls for a 200 degree (F) oven for 3-3 1/2 hours.  Turns out that my oven never goes below 250 degrees.  I never knew this because I had never used an oven thermometer previously.  It was basically watching a slow moving train wreck happen in my oven.

When I finally removed the cheesecake from the over heated oven – 30 minutes earlier than anticipated – it looked lovely.  For about 5 minutes.  Then a crack the size of San Andreas Fault began to appear in the center.  Wah!

Thank goodness for the internets.  I did some research and found a few ways to fix a crack.  Only problem was that I would have to wait overnight for the cake to cool before I could try any of these methods which meant that for the entire evening I was convinced that my cheesecake was ruined and Christmas was going to be cancelled.

Fast forward to Christmas morning.  I unmold the cake and apart from the giant crack it looks pretty amazing.  I set to work on method #1 of fixing the crack which didn’t work for shit.  Moved on to method #2 – a sour cream topping baked onto it – and this worked perfectly.  It actually added a wonderful flavor to the cheesecake.

Christmas was saved and the cheesecake was served with raspberries on top.  It was delicious.  Actually quite perfect.

But will I ever make cheesecake again?  It might be awhile before that happens after my PTSD from this one.

Blue Apron review

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There has been a recent influx of meal delivery services popping up on the webs. When I say meal delivery, I don’t mean the pre-cooked / ready meals like Sprig or Munchery (of which I should review as well), I am talking about services that deliver the ingredients for one to actually prep and cook their own meals at home. It appears that the top contenders in this market currently are Blue Apron, Plated, HelloFresh and Forage (coming soon).

I recently tried out Blue Apron to see what it was like and I turned out to be pleasantly surprised!

Background

Blue Apron is a subscription service where you can pick a day of the week (Tue-Sat) to deliver ingredients to make 3 meals for 2-4 people.  The meals are pre-determined each week, so there is no flexibility if you don’t like the menu other than to cancel that week’s delivery.  You do have the option to select vegetarian or opt out of certain types of meat/seafood.

Pricing is $9.99 per meal / per person which is pretty reasonable.

My_account_-_Blue_Apron

Plan Options

Delivery

Delivery went seamlessly.  I’m lucky because I can buzz people into my apartment lobby remotely, so the delivery guy just left the box next to my front door.

I do have to say that the packaging is very professional looking, but the box is HUGE.  Ridiculously big.  Plus there is a shit ton of insulation and ice packs inside.  Whilst I do appreciate keeping my food cold and fresh, the effort to clear out and recycle all of this material is way too much.

I was so shocked at how much extra packaging was in the box that I had to google how to recycle it and print the instructions to make sure I got it right.  Blue Apron do say that “packaging is made from post-consumer waste and much of it is recyclable”.  I feel like there has to be some way to optimize this packaging so I don’t have to break everything down every single time and feel like an asshole to the environment every week.

The Meals – Prepping, Cooking, Eating

I love cooking.  I hate shopping for ingredients.  The reason I hate trying out new recipes is because I hate having to purchase every single ingredient to make a meal.  Like buying an entire 5lb bag of rice and a bottle of rice vinegar to make sushi rice and then it sits there forever wasting away until I throw it out.  Or when I prep for a new recipe and then realize halfway through that I forgot some obscure key ingredient and either run out to shop to get it or do without and potentially ruin my meal.

Blue Apron solves all of these issues.

No longer do I need to worry about the ingredients.  Or ending up with too much of something that I will never use again.  The waste on the food front is cut significantly.  I don’t have to worry about forgetting something key.  I don’t have to worry about buying a bag of celery when I only needed one celery stick.  And as an added bonus, everything is pre-measured so I’m not sitting there figuring out exact quantities.

I love it!  I can finally focus on what I love doing and that is cooking.

Recipes

Recipe Cards

The recipes have actually been interesting.  At first I thought that some of them were a bit simple and stupid, but after reflecting I realize that I would never have thought to make some of them.  It literally would never occur to me to whip up a BLT.  I also kind of like that I don’t have an option and I have to cook what they send me.  It has given me the opportunity to try things out that I wouldn’t have picked out from my typical recipe repertoire.

The recipe sheets that Blue Apron includes are really great.  They are printed on high-quality glossy paper that allows you to get spill stuff on them without getting damaged. The images are clear and beautiful with some nice tips. They are easy to follow and one thing I really appreciate is Blue Apron goes out of their way to optimize the clean up.  Whenever possible they try to utilize a one pan approach and tell you to wipe out the pan and reuse it.

My wishlist on the recipe sheet is that I wish it would have an estimated prep / cooking time, nutritional values and recommended equipment. And I wish they made the left margin a little big wider so I could holepunch and put them into a three-ring binder to save.

Prepping

The prep work is pretty simple.  I like that everything is done mise en place with the recipe so once you start cooking it is smooth sailing like a cooking show.  I would recommend that one have some ramekins on hand to feel like a professional.  There hasn’t been anything that requires any special equipment other than a pan, mixing bowls, a knife and a baking sheet so most home cooks (even bachelors) should be covered.

The little knick-knacks bag is nicely packaged in a brown paper bag with all the extras that you need during cooking.

Cooking

Once you are done with the prep it is time to move onto the cooking portion of the program.  The fun!  The website says that each meal should take about 35 minutes to complete.  This has pretty much been true.  Following the recipes is simple enough for anyone with a tiny bit of cooking ability.  I’d suggest reading through the entire card before embarking to get some timings correct, but for the most part you’ll be ok if you simply follow along.

Eating

Blue Apron says that they source the best seasonal ingredients directly from farms, importers and family-run purveyors.  I like that.  So far the quality of the ingredients has been really fresh and tasty.

The meals that I have cooked have turned out fantastically.  Even plating has looked amazing.  And the taste has been outstanding.  I know that I am a good cook, but this has made me feel pretty proud of myself every time.  I’ve served a few of these meals for other people and they were equally impressed.  Win!

Oh and the portions sizes are darned big.  I have made a few things that were for 2 people that could have easily fed 4 people.

Examples of What I Made

farro

Scallops on farro (I modified this from original recipe)

IMG_20140909_180423

BLT with tomato avocado salad

IMG_20140904_184938

Chicken & Snow Pea-Radish Sauté

Wishlist

There are a few things that I wish Blue Apron had:

  • More economical packaging – less waste!
  • Meals for 1 – poor little me ends up cooking a lot of food.  I do my best to eat the leftovers for lunch, but I wish sometimes I could cook just one meal.

Overall

As if you couldn’t tell, I love Blue Apron.  I am shocked at how much I love them actually.  At first I had this notion in my head that these kits were somehow cheating the complexity of being a real cook.  I have since gotten over that because you still have to prep and cook these recipes, you just don’t have to deal with all the extract bullshit to source the ingredients.  I have made every meal that has been sent to me (6 so far) and I have enjoyed cooking and eating every single one.

Side note: I have tried out Plated (review coming soon), but I have gone back to Blue Apron.

I Ate Portland

By | Food Eater, Travel | No Comments

I just came back from an awesome week in Oregon.  I went out there for the XOXOFest and ended up staying a few additional days so that I could head down to Cannon Beach to have a few days of solitude.

Portland is such a great little town.  I am completely smitten by it.  Not only is it beautiful with the trees and hills surrounding it, but there are tons of great restaurants to get fat at.  We had a great time testing out a few of them.

Nostrana

This happened to be around the corner from my airbnb and was recommended by my host.  The first night I was in town I headed over there and was super impressed.  I was so impressed that I ate there a second night in a row.  Highly recommend!

What I Ate

It was “Gnocchi Thursday” so I obviously had to try out the gnocchi.  Gnocchi is a tricky one.  In the States it usually ends up being a gluttonous ball of mess that sticks in your stomach making you feel bloated and tastes a bit like paste.  This was not the case at Nostrana.  It was perfect rivaling the best Italian restaurants that I’ve eaten in (like Locanda Locatelli in London).   I had the shrimp / clam version in a butter lemon sauce.  This was the first seafood gnocchi I have ever eaten and it was delicious.

nostrana gnocchi

Following that I tried their nectarine crumble which takes a 20 minute pre-order.  Whoa.  This was mind blowing. Crispy hot and soaked in buttery goodness.  Big enough for 2 people.  Nom nom.

nectarine tart nostrana

I ended up going back to Nostrana the following evening and having a delightful salad and a shrimp ravioli.  Just as delicious.

About Nostrana

Nostrana’s menu focuses on the intensity of flavor created by cooking in the wood oven and wood-fired grill. According to Bon Appetit Magazine, “Many of the dishes offered (at Nostrana) are otherwise hard to find in this country, but are just what an Italian food connoisseur might crave.”

Cathy Whims, Nostrana’s executive chef was named James Beard’s Best Chef Northwest in 2014.

Menu changes daily.  Gnocchi Thursdays!

Be sure to book ahead as the restaurant was packed both evenings.  They have a great happy hour after 9pm with wood-fired pizza’s for $5 and a glass of wine for $4.

Nostrana
1401 SE Morrison St
Portland,OR 97214
(503) 234-2427
http://nostrana.com

Pok Pok

Pok pok spread 520

What We Ate

Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings
Half dozen fresh whole natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoo fish sauce and garlic and served with Vietnamese table salad.

If you want to make these bad boys at home here is the recipe.

Neua Naam Tok
Spicy Isaan flank steak “salad” with fish sauce, lime and chili powder dressing, shallots, lemongrss, mint, cilantro and toasted rice powder.

About Pok Pok

Expect a wait.  We were lucky to get a table, but when we came out there were about 15 people sitting around waiting.  You can make a reservation for parties of 5 or more online.

A seasonally rotating menu generally focuses on the Northern Thai regions of Issan and Chiang Mai. There is also some Vietnamese crossover in this cuisine.

Andy Ricker – James Beard Best Chef 2011 – Northwest

Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 232-1387
http://www.pokpokpdx.com

Le Pigeon

FD Roundup AwardWinners LePigeon dj01 stock DarrylJames 652x521

Le Pigeon serves adventurous French-inspired food, along with a varied selection of wines in an intimate dining room on Portland’s East Burnside Street. We take reservations at our communal tables, and offer our chef’s counter for walk-ins.

What We Ate

Butter Lettuce blue cheese, chives, radish
Hey, it’s a salad.  A really good and simple salad.  No complaints here.

Foie Gras & Vadouvan Curry Terrine tomato foie gras jam, marjoram honey ratatouille escabeche
Well obviously we had to order the foie considering it is banned here in California.  Sadly, I am unable to partake too much in the consumption of foie gras due to my stomach all but rejecting it in large quantities, but I did get a taste of this and then let Scott do some real damage to it.  My only complaint – and this is more of a universal complaint – is that restaurants never give enough of that good grilled bread to go with the foie (or terrine or pate).  Two pieces is simply not enough unless you are a complete glutton who piles an entire loaf of foie onto one piece.  Other than that it was rich and decadent and delish.  Kind of difficult to fuck up foie.

Beef Cheek Bourguignon ‘2014’
Boom.  This is one of their signature dishes.  Super hearty, super yummy.  Probably better on an evening in the winter, but I don’t think that Scott minded because he ate all of it.  It was cheek on top of a garlic mashed potato.  Yum.

Rabbit bacon and beaujolais creamed corn, tomatoes, plums, thyme pistou
This was my main.  Yummy, yummy bunny.  The creamed corn was so good.  The rabbit was breaded in panko and was so darned good.  Without a doubt the best rabbit that I have ever had.

For Dessert

Crème Brûlée, german chocolate pot de crème coconut, pecans, cake
Yes.  Simple and good.

“Cream Soda Float” peach passion fruit sorbet, vanilla ice cream ricotta beignets
I was all over this one.  Loved the soda float.

Foie Gras Profiteroles caramel sauce, sea salt
Can I say that I ate this entire dish by myself?  Like a BOSS.

About Le Pigeon

Securing a reservation was fairly easy on OpenTable, but that was because I booked a month in advance.  We ended up at a communal table nonetheless, but it was still intimate enough to not be annoying.  The service was impeccable.  Our server was so kind as to take pity on me and comp the Foie Gras Profiteroles because Scooter didn’t want to have them and I did.  Love!  Everything was delish.  Highly recommended.

Le Pigeon
738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 546-8796
www.lepigeon.com

Lardo

lardo-sandwich-shop-crowne

 

What We Ate

Tuna Burger wasabi mayo, pickled red onion, avocado, butter lettuce
I didn’t even try this, but all of their sandwiches look pretty darned good.

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

Fall Kale Salad apples, candied walnuts, blue cheese, sherry vinaigrette
This salad came in a huge portion.  It was just what I needed after all that rabbit and pasta and Vietnamese…  I was pretty certain that I had hazelnuts and not walnuts, however.

Dirty Fries w/ pork scraps, marinated peppers, fried herbs and parmesan
Oh wait, I was just saying how I needed a salad to be healthy and then I go and order some dirty fries.  GOD DAMN IT.  These were so good.  I die.  I need these again and again and again.  In my mouth.

Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies honey butter
Yes.  I ordered some deep fried balls of dough.  Fuck me.  They were so good.  And the honey butter?  Even fucking better.  Seriously.  I should be from the South and a lot fatter.

About Lardo

Starting life as a food cart in SE Portland, rarely has a spot been so aptly named. Rocking an ancient charcuterie moniker that truly serves as a harbinger of things to come, Lardo is a sandwich shop that worships at the altar of bovine & swine. Using old-world techniques, contemporary flourishes and a gonzo approach, Lardo proudly celebrates its excesses. Pushing a menu that features pork drenched double burgers, a giant meatball Banh Mi, and hand-cut french fries (again) smothered in pork, Lardo also has beer. Lots of beer, actually. Rotating taps of knee-buckling craft brew greatness, backed-up with a refreshing mix of premium cocktails. Operating on both sides of the river, Lardo serves as a mecca for those seeking a uniquely smash-mouth deli experience.

Lardo
1212 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 234-7786

Chef – the movie review

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This was from my review on Rotten Tomatoes:

I am in shock and awe that this film has such a high Rotten Tomatoes score (88%). Chef has one of the most boring, thinly-veiled, pointless, predictable plots that I have seen in a really long time. I had such high hopes for this movie and it was such a disappointment in so many ways.

In addition to the mind-numbingly awful plot, the use of corporate sponsorships for promoting their dumb apps made me want to stab myself in the eye. Seriously, I feel like I watched a movie about how to use Twitter and Vine more than anything else.

I left this movie feeling like I had wasted 4 hours of my life that I would never get back – and then I realized it was only 2 – that felt like an eternity stuck in a stinky food truck driving across the United States suffering every painful, plotless mile with a fat Jon Favreau.  At least it gave me time to ponder how the hell his fat (yes, I said it again), sweaty, jobless ass would ever get with Sofia Vergara or Scarlett Johansson.

The only acting creds that I can give in this movie are to John Leguizamo and Robert Downey Jr (who is randomly thrown into the plot for all of 2 minutes).

Don’t waste your time on this movie. The rest of people who are raving about it are clearly wannabe Top Chef watching foodies who think if you film someone pouring sauces on a plate of pork it is artistic or entertaining. They are wrong and lacking in more than tastebuds for their food.

***********

After watching that trailer I realize that every possibly interesting/funny bit is in that trailer.  So my advice would be to watch the trailer and save yourself the pain of sitting through the rest of the 1 hour and 58 minutes of nothingness that happens in this shit movie.

Alta Ca

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IMG_6916-2950914399-O

I’m going to try to keep this brief, but thought I’d write it up because I have the world’s worst memory about these types of things.

Had dinner last night with my trusted food compadre, Manish, at Alta Ca restaurant here in San Francisco.  Alta Ca is a relatively newish restaurant that was opened up in the odd (but growing) mid-Market twitter area.  It was started by Daniel Patterson (Coi, Plum, Haven) who took home  the Best Chef in the West at the James Beard awards as we were dining.

We had no trouble getting a reservation on Open Table for 6.30pm on a Monday night.  There were lots of slots, but I like to eat early these days so I can sleep.

The space is modern, casual and cozy.  Lots of dark woods and a nice bar is the centerpiece of the room.  There are floor to ceiling shelves covered in bottles that we were sat next to which look through onto the kitchen.

I arrived a little bit early and got started on a Cherry Jubilee which was served up in a julep cup.  Delicious and refreshing.  Kind of like a Cherry Slurpee with alcohol.  I was dying for the beef tendons which are essentially chicharonnes.  They came out in a flash and were actually crackling when they were set down.  I ate the entire serving alone before Manish arrived.  Then I ordered up the dill pickled deviled eggs.   They were just OK.  Served a little too chilled and I’m not terribly into the pickled part.  I prefer my mom’s classic deviled eggs over these new fangled ones.

beeftendon

Manish finally arrived and we ordered another serving of the beef tendons.  For dinner we went sharing style and ordered the Andante fresh buffalo milk cheese on toast with leeks and sherry.   This was again good, but nothing terribly special.

peapiergi

Then we opted for the pierogi stuffed with peas, celery root and potato.  I actually quite enjoyed this dish.  The fresh peas and the creaminess were delicious.  Calling it a pierogi was kind of a stretch as I’d go ahead and deem it a ravioli, but whatever when you are trying to be all fancy and shit.

porktrotter
The one thing that we both agree to try was the smoked pork trotter with a slow egg, brussel sprouts and mustard.  Sadly, this actually turned out to the be the biggest disappointment.  It was doused in vinegar that completely overpowered any other flavor on the plate.  I barely touched it.  Sad.

For dessert they have a bunch of ice cream so we went for two different flavors.  I went again for the cherry option.  This one might have been named the cherry jubilee now that I think of it.  Mine had dried cherries with a hard-shelled chocolate.  I enjoyed this one, but I wish that they had a more extensive dessert list.  The only other option are 3 warm chocolate chip cookies.  I’d also like to point out that from the menu it is not clear that the options are ice cream or soft serve.  They have the descriptions all sans mention of ice cream which was sort of weird.

Overall:   The service was excellent.  The prices were ok.   The space is cute and cozy.  The food was just meh which was disappointing because the menu seems so promising.  I’d go back again for the beef tendons and cocktails for sure.  There are still a few things on the menu that I’m interested in trying and given the reputation of the group I’d give them another chance.

Another notable thing is they stay open until 2am where it is basically impossible to get food that late in SF.  I would probably enjoy the food a million times more if I were drunk… just sayin’.

Alta CA
1420 MARKET ST
SAN FRANCISCO
(415) 590-2585
INFO@ALTACA.CO
MON-FRI 11AM–2 AM
SAT-SUN 5 PM–2 AM

Animal Restaurant – LA

By | Food Eater | No Comments
Menu at Animal Restaurant

Menu at Animal Restaurant (Photo credit: Muy Yum)

Had a yummy dinner at Animal restaurant in LA last night and wanted to recap it here for my own memory’s sake.

First off, Animal is full on carnivore heaven.  Snout to tail eating going on here with a very extensive menu that is not for the faint hearted.  Don’t worry, there are also some fish dishes on the menu, but if you are vegetarian then forget about it.

I was super excited to get a reservation for dinner very easily.  A feat that would be unheard of if Animal was in San Francisco, trust me.   The decor of the place is minimalist with just wood tables and pretty baren walls.  The ambiance was a bit noisy and had a totaly random selection of music playing.  I heard Tom Petty and Kayne 808 back to back, but I enjoyed the randomness of the music.  The staff was also very attentive.  They were more than happy to show you plates when they were walking by to serve another table and tell you what it was and even the bussers were super knowledgable about the menu and ingredients.

OK onto the fun part.  The food.  Yum.

crispypighead

Crispy Pig Head

We started out with the chicken liver toast which was delicious.  Super rich liver and the bread was toasted  just  enough to be soft but crunchy and warm enough to be a perfect counterpart to the liver.  We ended up ordering two portions because it was so good.  Next up we had the market citrus, pistachio, fennel, champagne vinegar, wild herbs.  This was kind of a “let’s be healthy” sacrifice and not terribly memorable.    We saw the spicy beef tendon chip, charred onion pho dip walking by and decided to get an order.  It was basically a beef chicharrone.  I love me some pork cracklin so this was a fav of mine.  Another to die for dish was the crispy pig head, short-grain rice, bulldog sauce, soy egg.  Damn it, this was the bomb.   According to our server, the pig head was ground up and then slow cooked for 12-16 hours.  The bulldog sauce and the rice made this taste like some kind of a katsu dish.

For larger portions – which we shared because Animal is kind of like tapas meets family style – we had ricotta gnocchi, six-hour bolognese.  The gnocchi was light as a feather which is sometimes hard to find and the bolognese was delish.  Totally mouth-watering.  I even got my mostly Paleo counterpart to indulge and he was not disappointed.  For a side, we ordered the crispy brussels sprout, pancetta vinaigrette, soft egg, parmesan.  Also amazing, but by this time I was getting so full that I only had one bite of it.   For a fish dish we tried yellowtail collar, jerk spices, jicama, citrus, palm sugar.  This was a pretty big portion and the seasoning of it was really different like a sweet and spicy meets citrus.  Very good, but next time I would pass on this dish in lieu of other menu items that were far superior.  Finally, we finished off with fried rabbit legs, short grain rice, lemon pepper, sour cream gravy.  To be honest, at this point I was way too full to even appreciate the dish.  The legs were way bigger than I had expected and I could only stomach a few bites.  I think I was unable to appreciate this dish and am a little sad about it.

Overall, I had a fantastic meal and my only regret is that we ordered far too much.  The menu has so many tempting items on it that I can’t see how anyone could practice restraint at this restaurant.  I guess I will have to go back so I can hone in on the true winners!

 

sriracha – the movie

By | Food Eater, Geeky | No Comments

“Sriracha” documentary trailer from Griffin Hammond on Vimeo.

Who doesn’t love sriracha?  If you don’t then there is something really wrong with you and I should reconsider your friendship (if I even know you).  I backed this documentary on Kickstarter and even have a credit in the post roll.  Well me and like 5,000 other people, but it is still fun to see my name in lights (so to speak).

Sriracha_Festival-5

You can watch it on Vimeo on Demand for a mere $5.  So go forth and drool over it.