Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

To Sauce or Not To Sauce….

Is that even a question? I know that typically food tastes best in it’s purest form, but I’ll be honest: I love me a good sauce. Aioli? Spoon it on. Three types of dipping sauces call my name. Especially on eggs in the morning, I’ve been known to use an entire bottle of Green Tabasco Sauce. Don’t get me wrong — at Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s eggs didn’t need a lick of anything, but my home concoctions sometimes call out for something more.

I’m usually a fan of the aforementioned green sauce and if I absolutely HAVE to, I’ll go with regular Tabasco, Tapatio, or Sriracha. I know, call me crazy but I’ve never been a huge Sriracha fan. Crystal’s Hot Sauce is another one that hits it out of the park.

Breaking from my hot sauce rut, I was recently introduced to a few new additions for eggs that were quite heavenly…

  • Marinara Sauce – while typically relegated to the dinner table and doused on pasta, this is a great addition to scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms and spinach. We’re going for an Italian theme here, plus it’s a great way to use leftover sauce.
  • Harissa – as comparable as ketchup is to Americans, Harissa is to Moroccans. This stuff is out-of-this-world. I literally have gone through half a jar in two days! It’s the perfect kick in the morning.
  • Herb Cream Cheese – now I haven’t tried this yet, but I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks and instantly bookmarked it. Who doesn’t love cheesy, herb laden eggs? Transports you to France. Go try it for yourself!

Any other additions I failed to mention? I’d love to hear about them!

Now let’s get saucy.

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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!


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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.



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!


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Filed under Culture, Food, Restaurants, San Francisco, Things to do in sf, Tips & Tricks, Weekend Warrior

What I’ve learned about business trips

Not every twenty-something is fortunate enough to go business trips for their job. Some types of careers do not afford the luxury of travel as part of the job description – and that is completely normal! Especially in the recent economic downturn, many companies have been slashing budgets and being more frugal with their spending and expenses.

That being said, with Viator I’ve have the opportunity to take a few business trips — most notably to Las Vegas! Though it may not be the “Viva Las Vegas” or “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” approach of a leisure vacation, I quite like being there in a work mindset. Once you step off the plane, the hot air hits you and while a lot of people go to party at the nightclubs or play the poker tables, when you are there for business — well, you mean business.

Where you stay always matters, but the last two times I’ve been to Vegas I have stayed at hotels without casinos. Let me tell you, this also adds to the relaxed vibe because you don’t have to spend miles walking through the slot machines AND you aren’t subjected to the patrons’ cigarette smoke. If you are a budget-minded traveler who likes to live life on the edge, try Priceline‘s name your own price feature.

Here are some tips that I’ve learned while on the road (pun intended):

  • Take advantage of amenities. Aveda hair products, plush white robes and fresh sheets every night? Yes please!
  • Go with the flow and accept that there may be delays. ESPECIALLY when flying back to San Francisco
  • Learn to chat up others if you are a solo traveler
  • Ask for recommendations from friends on where to go in your down time — it’s a great opportunity to try new restaurants and bars
  • Carry on luggage is a MUST (if you are a chronic over-packer like me, try to change your habits!)
  • Soak in the bath. I don’t know about y’all, but I am not afforded this luxury at my apartment in San Francisco!
  • Televisions in the mirrors are an awesome invention, but might slow you down in the morning

I can’t wait to learn more tips and tricks as I start down the path to becoming a seasoned traveler. And if you are not already, than you will too!

At the end of the month, I will be going on my first solo trip to Seattle…eek! Wish me luck! If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

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Filed under Tips & Tricks, twenty-somethings, Viator

Adventure Cat Sunset Cruise

Last week my company, Viator, was fortunate to take advantage of one the “perks” of our job – we took a San Francisco Bay Sunset Catamaran Cruise with one of our suppliers, Adventure Cat. The weather has been so beautiful in San Francisco for the past few weeks and luckily this evening did not disappoint.

The company was so accommodating and the cruise was absolutely fabulous! We started with some typical safety speak from our captain, then we were off, passing by Pier 39 and the sea lions. The sun was reflecting off of the deep blue ocean as we enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Some of us braved sitting on the front of the boat to chat while we bobbed up and down across the bay. We passed close by Alcatraz Island on our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was amazing to look around and see how calm and smooth the water was.

Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge was absolutely brilliant – I’ve never seen the underside of the bridge!

Once we passed the bridge, it was time to turn around and head back. I couldn’t believe how fast the time flew by! Luckily we had a beautiful sunset at our shoulders which was the perfect end to the evening.

We even raced with some brave wind surfers!

P.s. Here’s a tip: booking with Viator, you receive 2 complimentary drinks. Booking with competitors, nada 🙂

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Filed under San Francisco, SF, Things to do in sf, Tips & Tricks, Viator

DDs, Muni, BART for NYE

The holidays are for celebrating with friends, spending time with family, and feeling that all around warmness that comes with the festivities. I’m here to tell you that you can have fun AND be safe this season! December is almost over and in about 4 days we will be celebrating the start of 2011.

Having a designated driver or alternate forms of transportation are not only important at this time of year, but they are essential year round. So don’t drink and drive!

SFMTA is offering free Muni rides on New Year’s Eve and BART will be running until 3am, so you have NO excuse for not getting home safely. NYE is a night of overindulgence — think sequin dresses, high heels, maybe too many glasses of champagne — but my message is this: be smart about getting in a car once you’ve had too much to drink.

Here is a moving, albiet graphic, video that TAC put together for it’s 20th anniversary. Disclaimer: it is very graphic.

Happy New Year!


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Movin’ On and UP

Whew – what a whirlwind month! Is it already almost October? I feel that the more time between posts, the harder it is to put pen -er- curser to paper and whip these things out! Well, not having an internet connection for the first couple weeks when you move into a place probably has a little bit to do with my lack of blog posts recently.

Anywhoo, enough excuses — time to get down to business. Topic? Moving in San Francisco. Now for those who don’t live in a big city, let me explain. There are a few things you will need to know about moving in The City by The Bay.

The old place...

1. You must figure out the parking formula for where you are moving from and moving to. This varies from place to place, but it always helps when you have a primo parking spot. My tip: before 4pm it’s much easier to find a spot — after, you may be screwed!

2. Be careful with stairs! Take it from someone who fell down the stairs multiple times, box in hand — this is no fun.

3. As I alluded to in the opening paragraph, set a Comcast (or AT&T) appointment before you move in. This always helps when getting settled in!

4. Furniture. Having furniture or having someone initiate the buying process is always nice, because it sure ain’t pleasant eating dinner in your bed.

5. Hire a moving company. No seriously, hire someone to move your s***. Your friends and family will thank you, not to mention your back will worship the bed you sleep on.

6. In the event that you do not hire a moving company, be very careful when driving a truck. “Accidentally” hitting a car or leaving your tail end out in the neighbor’s driveway doesn’t make you any friends. Nor does getting a ticket if you think DPT is feelin’ lonely.

7. Leave the drama at the door. Moving is stressful enough, without mental breakdowns and hysterical tantrums. While the blow up I had was entirely justified (I swear!) it does not help the situation. And if you clothes touch the ground, there is always a laundromat close by ready to eat your quarters.

...the new place!

Moving is an exciting time in the life of a twenty-something. It’s a time to explore a new neighborhood, break free of old patterns, and learn about yourself. It is truly a time for self-discovery — and I’m not gonna lie, I think I definitely have some OCD tendencies!

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Filed under SF, Tips & Tricks, Turbulent Twenties