Saturday, January 28, 2006

Dinner at Ben Tre Quan, Garden Grove, CA

A pre-New Year dinner with Giao's extended family.

Whole Roasted Fish


As you can see, there were A LOT of people at this dinner. But there were also an extraordinary number of whole fish. Yum.

Lunch at Aloha J's, Temecula, CA

On our way to go avocado picking with Giao's family, we stopped at a Hawaiian place called Aloha J's. Although the menu looked somewhat promising, it didn't quite deliver.

Chicken Lettuce Cups $10
Uninteresting. This dish was served with a sweet and sour sauce and a "ponzu" that most certainly did not resemble a ponzu sauce. Both sauces were sweet, yet flavorless. Strange. Alexis' version of lettuce cups are much better.

Hot and Spicy Wings $10
These were a bit of the sweet side, but they were nice and crunchy, with no breading at all.

Ahi Tuna Poke $10
This was by far the strangest poke I have ever had. When we were reading the menu we noticed a strange dish called "Seared Ahi Sashimi". This was strange because, well, sashimi and seared are oxymoronic. In any case, we ordered the poke, only to find out that it was seared. Needless to say, it was very weird, and not that good.

Decor: 0
Service: 0
Food: 0

Breakfast from home at SFO

Since we had to be at the airport very early to go to LA, Alexis made some breakfast snacks for the road.

Deviled Eggs

Avocados in Miso/Chili Dressing

Friday, January 27, 2006

Dinner at Ame, San Francisco, CA

It was Giao's birthday, so we decided to try out Ame, a new Japanese-ish place. The decor was surprising: a pleasant mix of bright reds and organically shaped wood. Although the appetizers were hit or miss, the entrees were amazing.

“Tuna Five”: Tataki, Zuke, Tartare, Bottarga and Mojama $18.50
This dish was 5 separate bite-sized preparations of tuna. Some were familari (tataki and tartare) and others were entirely new. One was tuna cured like prosciutto and shaved very thin--it actually tasted exactly like you would expect a tuna proscuitto to taste like.

“Lissa’s Staff Meal” $18
Cuttlefish Noodles Tossed with Sea Urchin, Quail Eggs, Wasabi and Soy Sauce
The cuttlefish noodles were an interesting spin on the idea of noodle and raw okra had a pleasing crunch. The egg yoke was unecessary.

Beef and Foie Gras Ravioli $12
Although the beef overpowered the foie gras, these wanton-esque raviolis were very tasty.

Broiled Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod and Shrimp Dumplings in Shiso Broth $29.50
The fish was perfectly marinated and cooked--the fish flaked easily was was moist and the marinade was ever-so-slightly sweet. The shrimp dumplings were the best I have ever had: minced shrimp with no filler in a super-delicate wanton skin.

Red Wine Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek and Sweetbread Cutlet with Cauliflower Puree and Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce $34
The beef was earthy and robust and I have no idea how they got the puree to be so incredibly creamy. It was scrumptuous.

Black Currant Tea Crème Brulee on Tea Shortbread With Huckleberry Ice Cream $9.50
This was a sort of reinvention of the creme brulee, served on a crust but not in a dish. I could have done without the crust, but the dessert was delicious. Never before have I actually tasted the tea flavor in a tea flavored creme brulee. The berries added the tartness I was craving.

Decor: 3
Service: 1
Food: 2

Health Code Violations

Labels: , , , , ,

Lunch at Golden Flower Restaurant , San Francisco, CA

We decided to opt out of the mediocre office catering today on account of it being Giao's birthday. We needed a quick lunch and our favorite Vietnamese place is a bit too far. We tried to go someplace new, but when we got to the Golden Flower we realized we had been there before.

BBQ Pork $6.50
Always a decent choice.

Sweet and Sour Seafood Soup $8
The broth was tangy, and was a good blanket for the shrimp and bean sprouts. The pineapple made it sweet, but it would have been better if they had used fresh instead of canned.

Catfish Clay Pot
Decent, this fish is delicate in its sweet earthy sauce.
Food: 0
Service: 0
Decor: 0

Health Code Violations

Breakfast at Home

Poached Scrambled Eggs with Creamed Spinach

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dinner at Home

Leftover Lamb and Creamed Spinach

Lunch at Yank Sing, San Francisco, CA

Yank Sing is a high end Dim Sum mini-chain. The dishes cater more towards a western palate than the china town dim sum places and it is MUCH more expensive. While the dim sum at Yank Sing is good and fresh, no one should pay $35 per person for dim sum that leaves you feeling a little hungry at the end.

Deep Fried Tofu in Nori
Crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. Very good.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Grilled Scallion
Very good.

Diced Chicken Lettuce Cups

Spare Ribs
More tender than most incarnations of this dish.

Tofu Skins with Vegetables
Light and flavorful.

Pork Shu Mai
A clean tasting version of this classic.

Shrimp Dumplings
The same as everywhere...nothing special.

Fried Vegetable Dumplings
Wrapped in yam, these deep fried dumplings were pretty good.

Soup Dumplings
Filled with pork and a tablespoon or so of soup, these were very good.

Service: NA
Decor: NA
Food: 1

Health Code Violations

Breakfast at Home

Today we tried a variation on the chupaqueso--this time with a fried egg and fresh basil.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dinner at Kokkari, San Francisco, CA

We often go to Kokkari, and upscale Greek place, for lunch, but had never been there for dinner. It proved much better in the later hours than it does during the day.

Grilled meatballs with tomato & green olive compote 6.75
Pretty good for a standard dish.

Crispy smelts with garlic-potato skordalia & lemon 6.5
These tiny, crispy, whole fish are great with a spritz of lemon.

Grilled lamb riblets with lemon & oregano 9.25
The riblets were tender and flavorful.

Seafood grill for two with whole fish, prawns & mussels $25.00 per person
The prawns had a lot of flavor, the whole fish was tender and great with the salty steamed greens and the mussles were also good.

Decor: 1
Service: 1
Food: 1

Health Code Violations

Lunch at Work

Leftover Lamb, Green Beans and Oxtail.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dinner at Myth, San Francisco, CA

Myth, a fairly new restaurant, is turning out to be one of the harder reservations to come by in town. We'd tried to go there many times and never quite called early enough to get a reservation. For this reason, we thought that the restaurant would be stellar. It was not. It did have it's good points (the super-fresh scallops) but it also had too many bad points (mediocre entrees, hit or miss soup). Now that we've eaten there we are thinking the reservation thing has much more to do with the atmosphere and decor than the food itself. Here are a couple of things that they did have going for them, other than the food:

-They had a great list of wines for under $25, rare at any restaurant. It was cheekily followed by a list of wines over $200.

-They passed the "still v. sparkling water test". I like still or even tap water much better than sparkling. But somehow sparkling always gets ordered. When this happens waitrons have a tendancy to forget that I am the only one at the table drinking tap/still and either fill my glass with sparkling, or don't fill it at all if the bottle is left on the table. Myth passed this test with flying colors, keeping our glasses filled with our respective drinks of choice.

-The decor was a strikingly modern spin on the 70s. Lots of wood and green/yellow stained glass. But it worked. There were also lots of cozy corner banquets where you can sit next to your date as opposed to across from and there were great booth/alcoves.

Warm Sweetbread Salad with Bacon, Sherry Vinegar, Shiitakes and Grain Mustard $12
Surprisingly good. Alexis generally does not like sweetbreads, but these were scrumptuous.

Wild Burgundy Escargots with Braised Octopus, Garlic, Pernod and Fennel Salad $12
Also delicious. The escargot were tender and juicy and the octopus was firm. All the flavors melded perfectly.

Seared Scallops with Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Potato Puree $15
The scallops were so fresh that any preparation would have been good. This preparation was nice, but I could have dealt without the glorified mashed potatos.

Scallop Bisque with Black Trumpets, Rock Shrimp and Brandy $12
The slices of the same super-fresh scallops and the rock shrimp made this dish stand out. Also, it was much thinner than a traditional bisque, which was pleasantly surprising. Without the flour filler the bisque tasted more purely of the seafood. Yum.

Cauliflower Soup with Lemongrass, Curry, Ginger and Bacon $10
Horrendous. This soup was almost unpalatable. It tasted of nothing even with the addition of a bit of salt. They should take it off the menu immediately.

Grilled Hawaiian Walu Butterfish with Salsa Verde, Pea Sprouts and Porcini Broth 20
Both of the entrees were mediocre, but this was the better of the two. The pea sprouts were cooked nicely and the fish was cooked well, but both lacked strong flavor of any kind.

Braised Beef Cheeks with Basmati Rice, Baby Beets, Carrots and Horseradish Gremolata $25
Again, fairly flavorless.

Cocoa Nib Creme Brulee with Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti $8
This was a strange rendition of a creme brulee with a very pasty consistency. The cocoa nibs were nowhere to be found, but the pomegranite kernals were a nice touch.

Spiced Apple Souffle with a Calvados Creme Anglaise $8
The souflee was actually quite tasty, but the waiter poured way too much cream in the middle.

Food: 1
Service: 2
Decor: 2

Health Code Violations

Lunch from Lightening Foods, San Francisco, CA

Spicy Chicken Caeser Salad $6.75
Both decent and standard.
Previous Post

Monday, January 23, 2006

Dinner at Home

Roasted Leg of Lamb in a Dijon Marinade
We tried using the new vacuum sealer to quickly marinate the lamb. Actually, I'm not sure if it worked or not. In any case, the meat was good.

Green Beans Sauteed with Garlic and Topped with Freshly Grated Parmasean
The toasted garlic adds a nice earthiness to the beans.

Strawberries with Freshly Whipped Cream

Lunch from Mozzarella di Bufala Pizzeria , San Francisco, CA

This was by far the best lunch the office has catered in.

Jalapeno Poppers
These were good because I could easily peel off the breading...but they were served with tomato sauce instead of hot sauce.

Grilled New York Steak with Roasted Garlic and Collard Greens
The only bad thing about this dish was that we forgot to specify how we wanted our steak cooked, so it was a bit overdone. Other than that it was very good. The whole roasted garlic was great.

The meatballs were fine...nothing special, but the breadsticks were amazing--chewy and dusted with cheese and herbs.

Food: 1
Decor: N/A
Service: N/A

Health Code Violations

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?