Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dinner at Home

A pre-dinner snack of Roquefurt and a sharp, creamy cow cheese on rye crisps.

Red Wine Braised Oxtail with Turnips, Green Beans, Zuchinni and Fresh Chopped Cilantro
Oxtail was on sale at Costco and since I had never cooked oxtail before, I figured I'd give it a shot. From my extensive reading of oxtail recipes online I chose braising as the best as the best option to bring out the flavor of the oxtail. Braising in a red wine reduction and chicken broth for 3 hours on 350 made the oxtail tender, but not fall off the bone. The turnips became infused with the red wine flavor and they were great.

Lunch at Cesar, Berkeley, CA

We were in Berkeley this morning and decided to try to get lunch at Chez Panisse, but without a reservation, we were out of luck. However, we noticed a tapas bar right next door, Cesar, that looked rather appealing and we decided to check it out. It was a very pleasant surprise. Upon later research we discovered that it was opened by 3 former chefs of Chez Panisse, which helps to explain both the location and quality and originality of the food. The only downside was that it was pretty expensive for the amount of food on each plate.

Assorted Olives (free)

Canapé de Boquerones (Pickled Anchovies) with Crab Salad $10.75
This was truly amazing. One would never expect these ingredients to interact in the mouth they way they did. Perhaps it was the combo of the acidity of the picked anchovies and the creamy richness of the crab.

Marinated, Grilled Pork Skewers with Spiced Applesauce $9
Apples are always a classic accompaniment to pork but this was afantastic update on porkchops and applesauce.

Spanish Cheeses: Murcia al Vino, Urgèlía & Iberico $7.75
Each was delicious in its own way. One was too goaty for Giao.

Asparagus with Olive Tapenade $7
The asparagus was fresh and the tapenade nicely acidic and salty, but this was by far too expensive for 7 spears of asparagus.

Mackeral with Frisee, Capers and Meyer Lemon $9
The fish was tender and flaky, with a crispy crust and the capers and the lemon freshened up the whole dish. Very good.

Pimientos de Padrón $8.75
This dish was described as "some are hot, some are not". And it was entirely true. Giao absolutely loved these tiny fried peppers. Alexis liked them but found them a bit bitter.

Food: 2
Decor: 2
Service: 1

Health Code Violations - Down now, but you should be able to get it from here.

Breakfast at Home

More Chupaquesos, now with olives.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dinner from Eliza's Restaurant, San Francisco, CA

We had dinner with a friend who recommended Eliza's. We were not impressed. The food was Americanized and the dishes were not distinct, with a couple of exceptions.

Large Hot and Sour Soup $8
This was one of the standouts of the meal. The enoki mushrooms were a nice touch. It was a bit too gelatinous, as most hot and sour soup's are, but it was not so distracting.

Pork with Asparagus $9
Mediocre at best. Meat and veggies with brown sauce. And a bit too sweet.

Kung Pow Tofu $9
This was flavorless and oddly not spicy, despite the chiles.

Pea Sprouts with Garlic $8
Firstly, I don't know what these were, but they were NOT pea sprouts. Pea sprouts are thin and delicate and taste ever so slightly of fresh peas. These were flavorless stems of something and even tha garlic lacked flavor.

Peking Duck $12
This was actually quite good. The duck was moist and the skin was crispy and the layer of fat that generally exists between the two was thankfully missing. The standard scallions were missing, but there was a nice cabbage salad in its place.

Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: 0

Health Code Violations

Lunch from ??? , San Francisco, CA

Bad sushi ordered in at work. Since we didn't order or pay for it, we don't know how much it cost (but hopefully not much)...


Salmon Sashimi
Passable, but not good.

Hamachi Sashimi

Food: 0
Decor: N/A
Service: N/A

Breakfast at Home

Howard Tayler, writer of the excellent web-comic Schlock Mercenary, is also a low carb dieter. Inspired by his creation Chupaqueso, we varied our breakfast and cooked this version with avacadoes, salami, sour cream and tomatoes. Variants of the cheese-frying shell dishs is sure to continue.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dinner at Maya, San Francisco, CA

Part of "Dine About Town", we decided to give Maya, an upscale Mexican place, a try. The menu sounded more interesting than the food actually was. As it turned out, Giao had actually been there before. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't go there again.

Guacamole with Chips $7.50
The guacamole was decent, but lacked zip (lime or garlic or something). The chips were fried tortillas rather than store bought, which was nice.

Green and Red Salsa (free)
Deep, earthy flavors and nice heat.

Chile Dusted, Fried Calamari with Napa Cabbage and Baby Arugula Salad in a Chipotle-Blood Orange Reduction $9

Quite good. The calamari was crisp, yet tender and the slightly sweet salad added a fresh crunch. I didn't really taste the chile though.

Creamy Roasted Corn Soup with Huitlacoche Dumpling $8.50
Too sweet and too thick. More of a puree than a soup. The dumpling's flavor was also masked by the strong corn flavor.

Pyramid of Grilled Hanger Steak with Vine-Ripened Grilled Tomatoes, Sautéed Onions, Black Bean Puree, Chile de Arbol Vinaigrette, Fresh Guacamole and Crispy Tortilla Strips $18.50
This turned out better than expected, although I could have done without the black bean puree. The steak was cooked medium-rare, as I asked for and the vinagrette was a nice touch.

Lobster & Shrimp Marinated in Achiote Paste with Roasted Corn Puree, Watercress~Avocado~Tomato Salad, Chile de Arbol Vinaigrette, Chile Habanero and Chive Rouille $25

Not enough shrimp or lobster for the price. The sauce was a bit strange and the seefood a bit tough. The corn puree left something to be desired.

Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: 1

Health Code Violations

Lunch at Work


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dinner at Home

Pan Fried Chicken Thighs in a Mustard Seed and Garlic Rub with Grilled Asparagus
I never much likes asparagus as a kid, but I think it may have had more to do with the texture than the taste. Aspargus grilled on the George Forman has a sweet note and tender texture.

Lunch from Yee's Restaurant and Cheung Yuen Dim Sum, San Francisco, CA

We had limited leftovers and a hankering for BBQ pork and roasted duck, so we meandered into China Town until we saw a place with some appetizing ducks hanging in the window. We found Yee's, which was good, and cheap too. It only cost $7 for 1/2 pound of BBQ pork and a 1/2 of a duck.

BBQ Pork
Tender, a bit sweet and not too fatty.

Roasted Duck
Good duck sauce, meaty and flavorful. Above average, especially for the price.

Leftover chicken, zuchinni, tomato sauce and cheese bake.

Pork Shu Mai from Cheung Yeun $2.40 for 6
Disgusting. The worst shu mai we've ever had. They were a bit grey, but we decided to try them anyway. We shouldn't have. They tasted of old grease and were tough with hard gross bits inside.

Yee's Restaurant
Food: 1
Decor: 0
Service: N/A

Health Code Violations

Cheung Yuen Dim Sum
Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: N/A

Health Code Violations

Breakfast at Home

The scrambled poached eggs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dinner at Home

Leftovers, salmon from Sunday night.

Lunch at Work

Leftover Whole Fried Shrimp and Beef with Brocolli from Marina Grocery.

Leftover Pad Thai
It was definitely better with a spritz of lime, which we forgot to bring.

Breakfast at Home

The usual, Bacon and Fried Eggs.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dinner at Home

Caprese Salad
Fresh mozerella, tomatos and basil with balsamic and olive oil.

Shredded Chicken and Zuchinni Baked in Homemade Tomato Sauce, Topped with Melted Cheese and Fresh Basil

Raspberries with Freshly Whipped Cream

Breakfast at Home

The usual, Bacon and Fried Eggs.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Dinner at Home

Miso/Chili/Lime Glazed Salmon

Mixed Greens with Avocado, Red Onion, Tomato and Balsamic Vinagrette

Raspberries with Freshly Whipped Cream and Shaved (low-carb) Chocolate

Lunch from Zante's Pizza and Indian Cuisine, San Francisco, CA

Food from Zante's again.

Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer and Aloo Gobi (sans aloo)
The saag and the CTM were passable, but the gobi (cauliflower) was not good at all.

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Lunch from Marina Deli, San Mateo

We got take out from the Marina Grocery Store while the boys watched football.

Beef with Brocolli $5
Standard with brown sauce.

Tofu, Turnip and Pepper Salad $3.25
Very good. Simple ingredients and flavors that meld well together.

Roasted Duck $9
Would have been better if warm.

BBQ Pork $6
I could live on BBQ pork and this version was a good composition of meat and fat.

Whole Deep Fried Shrimp $10
Very good, and the shell is soft enough to eat, if you want to.

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