Monthly Archives: September 2011

Kettle Whistle with Tell Tale Preserve Co.

Last weekend at @tomatotart‘s Intense Dark Party, I tasted a sweet, creamy Coffee Confiture from Tell Tale Preserve Company and it reminded me of what a talented guy that William Werner is! Though this venture ended due to differences with investors, it’s no doubt that what will emerge at Outfit Generic (as indicated on TTPCo’s Facebook) will be better than ever.

After I carefully spread the Coffee Confiture on a slice of soft bread and bit into this perfect blend, I was taken aback to the Kettle Whistle afternoon tea party I attended at Burritt Room back in June.

I never knew that art could be embodied in pastries, sandwiches and desserts, and served with Naivetea‘s imported Taiwanese oolong teas — well, let’s just say this was a perfect pairing.

Course One.

At 3:30 we were all let into the private room in Burritt Room and seated with our respected party. Vases with a few single lavender sprigs adorned the table and eventually course followed course (three in total), until the afternoon tea came to an end. Other nice touches included an amuse-bouche of cucumber, mint and marcona almond and a coconut-lemon-basil sorbet to complete the experience. Everything was beautifully plated and so creative.

As a parting gift, we were each given a woven satchel to take home filled with Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea and “Damn Good” granola. Perfect for the day after!

Sadly the final Kettle Whistle afternoon tea with Tell Tale Preserve Co. and Naivetea was back in August, but I have no doubt that Werner will be back soon with an even more fun, whimsical concept in no time!

Here’s to knowing we’ll see those Rebel Within’s back at the market STAT!

Click here to check out my Flickr album with all photos.

xo.

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Weekend Recap

Heyooo folks. I might be one day late, but can you blame me?! Monday was extra special with the 2012 Zagat San Francisco Restaurant Guide Launch at Park Tavern with Google! Let’s briefly review my twenty-something meanderings from a weekend out and about in San Francisco!

Friday

  • Don’t: Rickhouse. I love Rickhouse, but it’s absolutely impossible to grab a seat, let alone a drink in the bar after work on a Friday. It’s packed! Their cocktails are top-notch, so I’d recommend going on off-peak hours.
  • Do: Otis Lounge. 2 for 1 drink specials from 5pm to 8pm. Need I say more? Take a seat downstairs at one of the lounge tables, check out the scene and admire the peacock accents at this hidden spot on Maiden Lane.
  • Bruce Hill’s Zero Zero in SoMa: OBSESSED! Start your meal with a punch bowl. All of the food was amazing: Pork and Veal Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Fonduta, Fontina Stuffed Arancini [balls] with Black Garlic Aioli, Ricotta Doughnut [balls] (are we noticing a theme here? tehehehe), Rigatoni with Piquillo Peppers, Pancetta and Ricotta Salata, and Fillmore Pizza with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Leeks, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Pecorino and Fontina. BTW I saw this pizza on 7×7’s Top 50 Vegetarian/Vegas Dishes To Try Before You Die. Oh yeah, and did I mention they have soft-serve ice cream? Get the vanilla topped with De Vero Olive Oil and Sea Salt.

From top left: Arancini, Meatballs, Rigatoni and Fillmore Pizza

From left: punch bowl, vanilla soft serve, ricotta doughnuts

Saturday

  • San Francisco Public Library: awesome way to save money on those books! I don’t know about you, but I don’t like keep my fiction books after I am done so as long as you can finish them during your rental period (or at least remember to renew).
  • Figs topped with bacon and goat brie cheese are simply divine, as I experienced at Sabrina of @thetomatotart‘s Intense Dark Party.
  • Chris Cosentino’s Incanto in Noe Valley: Eating for the first time at Incanto, I knew I was in for something special. And that something special began in the form of Ibérico di bellota lardo and Asian pears. I almost didn’t feel bad that I was eating pure, unadulterated fat. Then followed was a crazy special: Truffled Uni Sformato and Sweetbreads alla Puttanesca. My tastebuds could not believe what they were experiencing! So much decadence, and only in the first three dishes.
  • Then we moved on to the Spaghettini with Sardinian cured tuna heart, egg yolk and parsley. Simply amazing: the saltiness of the cured heart and the yolk added another layer of complexity to the dish. After that was the Pork Belly with cabbage, apples, rose geranium and pickled mustard seeds. Is it healthy to eat this much fat? Probably not. Does it bother me? Not in the least.

From top left: lardon, sweetbreads, spaghettini, truffled uni sformato

From top left: Mystery Flight! Guess your wines! Pork belly and delicious bread plate. I know it's just bread. Don't judge!

Sunday

  • North Beach: There are so many fun shops in NB to hit up! Lola, Alla Prima Fine Lingerie and Craig Fonarow Photography were just a few that I admired while strolling Grant and Columbus Streets. After you’ve had your fill of browsing and window shopping, take some gelato into Washington Square Park and enjoy watching the dogs and families!
  • La Mar on the Embarcadero: Always a winner; Cebiche Clásico and the Grilled Chicken Skewer with fried potatoes and Peruvian corn. Tip: spoon the juice or “leche de tigre” from the cebiche onto the rice. You’ll be glad you did.

Monday

  • Gary Danko: “My advice: check your ego at the door” upon receipt of his award
  • Tim Zagat: “Study the service numbers…we’re essentially giving you a free market study [with Zagat]”
  • Tim Zagat “we’re handing our baby over to a great company…Google with local, maps, street view…it’ll be the perfect fit with Zagat.”

Bad pic I know, but the man himself.

I finally had the opportunity to try some light bites from Park Tavern and they were delicious! Especially loved the Fried Oyster “Caesar” Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Pork Belly bites. Also, the Deviled Eggs with bacon was a tasty bite. I  can’t wait to check it out for dinner!

I hope you all had a fab weekend as well! Xo.

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Las Vegas: Jaleo, Raku & Vesper Bar

So I realized that I never wrote anything about the food or drink sitch after my trip to Las Vegas. Whoops!

To save room on this blog (and because I had so many photos), I decided to simply post my iPhone 4 photos to my Flicker album titled Las Vegas: Jaleo, Raku & Vesper Bar.

Jaleo, a Spanish tapas restaurant by José Andrés, is located in The Cosmopolitan. Jaleo offers a large menu, so good luck selecting from the list of numerous, delicious tapas! One thing I always love doing is asking the diners next to you what they would recommend. In fact, this is how my co-worker and I earned a free dinner! Vegas, there must be something in the water….

After Jaleo, we headed over to Vesper Bar where we indulged in James Bond’s drink of choice. I love the menu, which states: “At Vesper, we pay homage to the lost art of the cocktail craft”. And that they do well.

The next evening, we decided to go off the strip to Raku, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant. All of the dishes, from the hot and cold appetizers to the skewers from the Robata Grill, were fantastic. The Agedashi Tofu dish was my surprise favorite of the evening! Tip: if you go with a big appetite, be sure to order ample selections from the Robata Grill menu — they come with 2-3 pieces per order.

Well, that’s all for Vegas — as I said, go check out the Flickr album for pics!

xo.

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Seattle: The Waterfront

On the weekend I was in Seattle with the weather being as fabulous as it was, the waterfront was such a sight to behold. It had cheesy restaurants and souvenir shops, a big arcade and of course, piers for the boats and cruise ships.

The ferry and Space Needle in the background!

Since Saturday was my day for sightseeing, I decided to use my Seattle CityPass for an Argosy Harbor Cruise. On this one-hour cruise around the harbor, I learned a bit about Seattle’s history and soaked up the rays from the decks of the boat. I didn’t know that this was such a busy port city! They receive goods from our friends in Japan and China, and distribute them across the United States. As our guide, Robby, put it – it’s the greenest way to ship imports. Watching the actual process of the cranes unloading the big barges and loading up the trucks was one of the best parts of the tour.

The biiiig cranes that unload the shipping barges

After the cruise, I walked about 5 minutes to the Seattle Aquarium. This aquarium packed a big punch into a space that spanned two full buildings. I saw cute little seahorses, an array of sea urchins, watched the fish and harbor seals swim above me and even touched some of the marine life – creepy!

While there were little ones running around me and strollers abound, this was a fun stop as a grown-up to indulge my inner child and bring back memories of my first visit to an aquarium. Touching the starfish, sea cucumbers and sea urchins was the best part!

Adorable sea horses

Fun facts: Puget Sound Hall’s heating and cooling system operates 25% more efficiently and the entire aquarium’s green practices include recycling, composting, solar water heating and feeding sustainable seafood to the marine animals. It’s always encouraging to see these positive steps forward and makes you feel better about supporting organizations like these. Thumbs up!

Beautiful pink sea urchins: sea strawberry, strawberry anemone, short red gorgonian

Check out more photos on my Flickr album of the Harbor Cruise and the Aquarium here.

Xo.

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Seattle: The Underground Tour

The Underground Tour was one that I learned about while doing product research for my trip to Seattle. This amusing tour of Seattle’s underground sidewalks and former store fronts was a lesson in the founding fathers’ perseverance for this city to survive!

If you can imagine it...the streets now start at the SECOND floor of this building!

The tour began in Doc Maynard’s Public House, a 1890s saloon, with a 20-minute introduction to Seattle’s history. Tours run every hour and you can actually grab a drink at the bar and bring it in for the intro. It was here that we learned how Seattle was founded. In a nutshell, the United States was giving chunks of land away for free to young men who moved to the Pacific Northwest — “Go West ye young lads!!”

Well, if it isn't Doc himself!

Seattle was named after Chief Seattle (shocker), who guided the young bucks to the land that the city sits on today. However the land was too close to sea level and when the townspeople tried to fix this by pouring saw dust into the muddy roads, well – let’s just say the streets closely resembled a consistency of oatmeal.

It smells all musty down here!

This lead to issues with the sewer system and waste disposal – along the tour there were many references to the original “Crappers” that were sent over from England. Finally the city decided to start over and build on top of the streets and store fronts, however while they were building, the existing businesses continued to operate until the project was complete. This underground area was actually condemned due to disease and infestation until a man named Bill Speidel spearheaded the preservation of Pioneer Square and founded The Underground Tour of Seattle.

Seattle..way back in the day.

After the intro, we were split into smaller groups with individual tour guides who took us down into these still-intact former streets and store fronts, now turned “Seattle’s underground”. It was pretty amazing to see  photographs of what the city used to look like and gawk at all of the disposed wares. There were things like bed frames, crappers (he he), signs and furniture just strewn all about!

Excuse me...I think you dropped something.

In total, we walked through three different underground sections, while learning about Seattle’s sordid history from our playful guide – her sense of humor really made the tour so memorable! We ended the tour in Rogue’s Gallery, where you could pick up a copy of Speidel’s book entitles “Sons of Profits”, which peels back Seattle’s dirty historical layers, or purchase other gag gifts.

I have no clue what this is...but it looks old...and somewhat important.

If you are ever in Seattle, YOU NEED to take this tour! I recommend booking ahead by clicking here, because the tour sells out – and hey, it’s worth that extra $2.50 surcharge!

Check out the rest of my pictures in my Flickr album.

In the meantime, I will be searching for a San Francisco equivalent…

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Labor Day Weekend Recap

Of course my Labor Day Saturday began with a trip to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. The first stop for breakfast: 4505 Meats. I went for the rather modest Bacon Maple Breakfast Sandwich with maple sausage, gruyere cheese, cress and nasturtium greens, and a runny fried egg. There’s just something about that buttery, seedy bun that makes me all warm inside.

4505 Meats' Breakfast Sandwich

I just had to get a pic of myself trying to take a bite of @thedapperdiner’s massive double double 4505 Burger with Frankaroni, a patty of fried mac ‘n cheese and 4505 house-made uncured hot dog.

If only I could unhinge my jaw...

One thing I love about the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is the samples – I tried an Asian Pear from Frog Hollow Farm that was just so sweet and divine, Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and some baba ganoush from Marin Gourmet. After Chicken and Beef Korean Tacos (2 for $6) from Namu, it was off to La Mar for a Pisco Sour and Lafitte for the 1st of 30 days of Caipirinhas.

Korean Tacos with seasoned rice, daikon & kimchee salsa, kimchee remoulade, housemade teriyaki sauce on seaweed. Yes, I did eat the spilled over filling with my fingers. It was that good!

Cocktails galore! From top left: cucumber caipirinha, heirloom and pisco sour

@thedapperdiner and @carinaost got the Scallop and Pork Hot Dog with spicy pickles, stone fruit mustarda and skinny pomme frites, of which I had to steal a taste. My second drink at Lafitte was the Heirloom, made with Swans Neck Vodka, Averna, Prado Pastis, tomato and herbs. This drink seriously tasted like an heirloom tomato salad – it even had a nice salty bite to it.

Leave it to the Dissident Chef to come up with a Scallop and Pork hot dog!

How could I top this morning/afternoon? A Giants game with the parents. Sadly the Giants lost this one to the D-backs, but I was able to get in on the Sheboygan Bratwurst Stand and some garlic fries, natch. At the games, you must skip the plain ‘ole hot dogs and go straight for the big honkin’ Sheboygan topped with grilled onions and sauerkraut! You’ll be glad you did. Oh and make sure you have extra powerful gum/mints for those garlic fries.

My giiiiiant Sheboygan and the parentals in front of the park!

Since the Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is ending on September 6th, a girlfriend and I tried to hit up the museum on Sunday – but beware: apparently the tickets for these kinds of exhibits sell out! After attempting to get our culture on in the MoMA store, we decided to stroll up Geary and stop in the free galleries that decorate the street.

I highly recommend this as a cheap alternative, since all of the galleries are free AND open on Sunday! After paying a visit to Cohen Rese Gallery and the Martin Lawerence Gallery (who is holding an upcoming art auction at Stanford Court BTW), we stumbled into Christopher-Clark Fine Arts. And lucky that we did! Insider tip: they had work from Matisse, Picasso, Varya and more – and some of the pieces were actually featured in the Steins Collect exhibit.

Matisse

Picasso

Later on, I was finally able to check out Chambers Food + Drink (in the former Bambuddha Lounge space at the Phoenix Hotel). I highly recommend the Truffle & Wild Mushroom Dip with waffle chips, Panchetta Wrapped Figs with Balsamic Reduction, the Sizzling Kobe Tri-tip (it’s served on a hot stone, medium rare – so cool) and the Sea Bass with big, lovely artichokes. I had high hopes for the PB & L.T., which was basically pork belly atop rice paper filled with heirloom tomatoes and lettuce, and the Burrata Gnocci, but I would skip those. Of course dinner was followed by some dancing at 222 Hyde and some pool-playing action and jukeboxin’ at CC’s Cocktails! Both good haunts for the aforementioned activities!

Sometimes you just need a lazy day and even though Monday was absolutely AMAZING weather-wise, I was just plain old lazy! Kudos to all of you who BBQ-ed and did other fun things outdoors. I did rally myself to meet @thedapperdiner and @carinaost at Tataki South in Noe Valley, a restaurant known for its sustainable sushi. They had some *daring* (re: spicy) sushi rolls, including the Extinguisher with albacore, habanero masago and spicy aioli, and the Russian Roulette with crawfish, cucumber, asparagus, tobiko and topped with scallops. The premise of this roll is that one of the pieces is over-the-top spicy and whoever is the winner (or loser), gets the prize of a shot of nigori sake to cool the burn. Not a game for the weak of stomachs.

Creative, delicious rolls from Tataki South

Tataki South also had a great happy hour from 5pm-7pm: $4 rolls and $3.5 hot sake, yes please!

Can I get a “holla” for the staycation?! I hope y’all had a fun-filled, restful Labor Day weekend as well and happy Tuesday!

Xo.

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Seattle: Cocktail Culture

The cocktail culture in San Francisco is an institution and I shoulda known that Seattle would be close on its heels. We gotta represent on the West Coast!

Based on recommendations, I went to Bathtub Gin & Co. and Zig Zag Café. Bathtub Gin & Co. reminded me of a mini speakeasy and was located on Gin Alley. There was one bartender on deck to serve up inventive cocktails to two floors of patrons, so he certainly had his hands full. However, not enough that he couldn’t draw me a little hand-written receipt. Loved it — such a personal touch! Here I had the Sting Like A Bee with Fernet, gin and Cocci di Torino. Could he tell that I was from San Francisco? Yes. Did I mind the complimentary Fernet shot because of this? No.

After dinner, I hit up Zig Zag Café. I had heard stories about Murray, the legendary bartender who eerily remembers your name, what you drank and what day you drank that drink,  but sadly he is off to bigger and better endeavors. However I did enjoy a drink with my new companion who deemed himself “where’s Waldo meets the Hamptons”. Whatever works, right? These were two fun bars to check out in the Pike Place neighborhood!

Cocktail at Zig Zag

@tallnoe took me out to Capitol Hill, which is the equivalent of San Francisco’s Castro district. The first stop in this neighborhood was Tavern Law, where I got a Dr. Girlfriend made with gin, grapefruit, Aperol, St. Germain, lemon and lavender bitters. This was an awesome watering hole, serving good classics — and I loved how the drinks were broken down per drink type (i.e. sours, punches, etc.). You can totally tell that to bartenders focus on their craft, with tinctures, freshly squeezed juices and house made syrups.

My Girlfriend.

The next stop was Ba Bar, a new cocktail-focused bar serving Vietnamese street food. Here, I had a Caiprihnia from mixologist/bar manager Evan. I know it’s a pretty standard Brazilian drink, but it was nice and refreshing — just what I needed! Also, I thoroughly enjoyed watching House of Flying Daggers on the wall behind the bar.

Capitol Hill housed a great mix of chic bars and restaurants, including a restaurant/food truck that caught my eye at the SF Street Food Festival called Skillet Diner , so I would highly recommend hitting up this little neighborhood for some fun action with a local vibe just a short distance from the downtown/Pike Place area. I was certainly impressed by Seattle’s cocktail culture!

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