Monthly Archives: December 2011

My weekend in The Mission

Anyone who knows me, knows that I avoid The Mission [District] like the plague. It’s not so much that I have negative connotations about it, I just always feel out of place and it’s not easy to get there from my house on MUNI. However, after I turned 25 I decided that I needed to start pushing myself out of my comfort zone and that included more trips to The Mission.

This neighborhood is known for the outstanding cuisine and while usually I try to hitch a ride over there, I decided to start trying BART. I know that sounds silly — I’ve lived in the city over 3 years — but it had to be done. Anyway, I spent about 75% of my time in The Mission one weekend, and it was so nice to experience all of the restaurants/coffee shops/bakeries that I always read about. And get over my fear of BART. Note to self: you must remember to tap out (seasoned riders, you know what I’m talking about).

It started with brunch at Foreign Cinema. We ordered the Persian Bloody Mary and the Caesar Bloody Mary. The Persian version was interesting with it’s unique spices, however I enjoyed the Caesar version, because it was a little thinner. Plus, who doesn’t like a floating shrimp in their drink. Then we moved on to the Huckleberry “Pop Tart”, Dungeness Crab eggs, and the Croque Madame. OMG the Croque Madame was amazing (hello, béchamel?!) and this was a nice preparation of the eggs with the Dungeness crab. Of course, had to add on the slow cooked brown sugar bacon, natch.

Caesar + Persian Bloody Marys

Huckleberry Pop Tart

Dungeness Crab Eggs

Croque Madame (photo courtesy: Donovan Unks)

mmm....brown sugar bacon

Sadly, I heard that Spork was closing, so the next day I decided to hit this Mission district restaurant up for brunch. I mean, how can you not want to try the “Inside Out” Burger? With its two patties of Marin Sun Farms grass-fed meat, slices of Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, and brioche bun sandwiched in between, you can’t go wrong. Then, there was a stop at Philz Coffee for the “Ambrosia” (a warm, sweet nutty java with a subtle finish) and on to Arizmendi Bakery for some legendary pastries.

Clockwise from top left: Bloody Hammer from 15 Romolo (prior to Spork), Spork Inside Out Burger, Spork's Interior, Fried Chicken Sandwich at Spork

More stops of the day included NOPA for amazing cocktails and some delish snacks, Irvin Lin’s Eat The Love holiday party (where I almost overdosed in sweet treats), and finally dinner at Frances at the counter. NOPA was serving some great bar snacks at reasonable prices in between service, like the Fried Brussels Sprouts, Fennel Sausage with Black Beans, and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding.

Clockwise from top left: Cocktail at NOPA, Bread Pudding from Arizmendi Bakery, Eat The Love Party, Line up at NOPA

Whew — what a weekend, but who can resist good eats and drinks? At least we know that when we push ourselves past our comfort zone, it usually always pays off. Hey, I’ve even ventured out to Oakland! Here’s proof that you can never say never.



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I did it, I did it!

I kept to my word. In my last post, I discussed food, our fascination with it, and giving back to those who aren’t fortunate to experience what we all have. So, I’m here to report that I actually did something about it.

Although it might not be until February 25th, I’ve volunteered myself to serve Saturday breakfast at Glide. Note to all of you out there: apparently the Saturday & Sunday shifts fill up fast! Here are the meal volunteer positions:

Monday – Friday Shifts
    Saturday & Sunday Shifts
Serve Breakfast: 7am – 9am

Serve Lunch: 11:30am – 2pm

Serve Dinner: 3:30pm – 5:30pm

   Serve Breakfast: 7am – 9am

Prepare Bag Dinners: 9am – 11am

Serve Lunch: 11:30am – 2pm

I also talked about donating to a cause greater than myself. Well, I’m here to report that I’ve set up monthly donations to the Bay Area Rescue Mission. Just $2.05 supplies Christmas Dinner to one person, and they expect to provide more than 144,000 meals to homeless and needy people in the Bay Area this time of year.

I did it, now you can do it to!

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Moments of Clarity

You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve been somewhat lacking with my blog activity. That has not been for lack of actual activity! A few weeks ago, I began eating a little cleaner, but before that I can count dinners at Atelier Crenn, Wayfare Tavern, another flour + water feast, AQ, and even a feature in the Wall Street Journal about a meal at Incanto.

One thing I was wondering during the break, was why do people feel the need to “brag” about their culinary endeavors? Maybe brag is the wrong word. But it’s just so interesting with Foursquare, Facebook, Instagram, Twitpic, h0w a meal is shared with so many. I will be the first to admit that I am 100% guilty — I most certainly enjoy sharing my experiences. But I feel that there is a fine line between simply sharing and going over the top.

I might get a lot of flack for saying this, but over weeks during my break, I realized that it’s just food. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy divine meals here in San Francisco and beyond, and for that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. And I hope that I continue to add to my culinary adventures. However something struck me — for all of my indulgences, there are millions of children starving out there in the world. For all of the wine and cocktails that I consume, there are people in third world countries that can’t even get clean drinking water.

So I am challenging myself to stop turning a blind eye. To donate my time and money to causes that are greater than just filling my plate. Because there is something that I am also learning: that eating is biological (weird, huh). Why do we continue to eat, even when we are full? Why do some feel they must order everything on the menu? Why is dining out a source of pride? I’m trying to figure out if it’s the city that we live in, the industry that I am in, or just the people that I associate with. Don’t get me wrong — I love my friends and acquaintances, but sometimes it sometimes feels like a one upsmanship of who’s been where, if you’ve been to the newest restaurant/bar/popup/etc. I feel a mix of guilt and pleasure when I attend an event and turn down what is offered, because a) I am proving to myself that I can say “no”, but at the same time b) there are homeless people all over, huddled in storefronts who would kill for that crabcake. Maybe this is my own first world problem realized.

Anyway, I am back to my normal eating, but these thoughts have stuck with me. Some ways I’ve planned to give back is through volunteering at Glide and pledging a certain amount of money monthly to a charity. Just $3 will serve a hot meal to someone that is less fortunate! Think about it….

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