Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dinner at the Ritz Carlton Dining Room, San Francisco, CA

We hadn't really eaten all day and on a whim decided to see if we could get reservations someplace nice, where we could get dressed up. We ended up getting on the waiting list at the Ritz Carlton and someone luckily cancelled. Althought it wasn't quite as good as last time, it was still excellent. We ordered the nine course tasting menu and most of the dishes were different than last time. We were very tempted to order the Salt and Pepper tasting menu, which featured a different salt and pepper in each dish. We correctly assumed that some of these dishes would be included in the nine course tasting menu.

Fennel Soup (gift from the chef)
This soup was smooth and had a strong fennel flavor. Alexis' fennel soup tastes quite similar, but it not as smooth.

Diver Scallop with Baby Turnip, Blood Orange Reduction and Citrus Salt (another gift from the chef)
This was good, but not special. The turnip was completely unnecessary.

Spinach Rizzoles (another gift from the chef)
These tiny pff pastries filled with what tasted like creamed spinach were so good. Crunchy and light tasting.

Sea Urchin Panna Cotta (another gift from the chef)
We had this last time and it was the same. It was good, but it didn't taste too strongly of sea urchin.

Butterbean Soup with Croutons
The soup was ok, but the croutons were amazing. We are not totally sure how they got the croutons to remain crunchy despite being submerged in hot soup, but it was a great juxaposition.

White Asparagus Veloute with Caviar and Oyster
This cold soup was subtley flavored and the caviar was a nice added texture and flavor.

Dungeonesse Crab Claw with Spot Prawn Sashimi and Pink Peppercorns
This came from the Salt and Pepper tasting menu and was fresh and tasty.

Spot Prawn Sashimi with Gelee and Fresh Wasabi
This very simple dish was incredibly well composed. The sweetness of the gelee and the nose burning bite of the fresh wasabi created quite a treat for the tastebuds. Fresh wasabi is a true delight.

Fried Shrimp Heads with 2 Salts
We had these last time as well and they were good, but not special.

Black Bass with Coconut Curry and Meyer Lemon Sauce
The sauce was poured directly over the fish. Once you eat the fish the waiter removes the perforated plate to reveal a surprise underneath.

Crab Ravioli
And the surprise revealed was a wonderfully fat fresh crab ravioli that had been drenched in the remaining curry sauce that was poured over the black bass.

Salmon with Albacore and Caviar
Good, but not memorable.

Lobster with English Peas and a Carrot Reduction
The sweetness of the peas and carrot sauce brought out the natural sweetness of the lobster meat.

Lobster with Diakon, Onion and Pork Belly in a Sweet and Sour Reduction
Good, but a little too sweet and not enough salty.

Seared Foie Gras with Stewed Huckleberries
The tartness of berries always adds a great contrast to the rich flavor and texture of foie gras.

Foie Gras au Torchon
The tart fruit compote and salad with sun dried grape tomatos were a nice contract to the smooth, fatty, foie gras.

Duck Breast with Napa Cabbage
The duck was succulent, so much so that we forgot to take a picture until we were half finished.

Paillard with Pickled Vegetables
This was nothing special. But we didn't expect it to be, as the chicken dish in a tasting menu is always the least interesting for some reason.

Veal Cheeks with Gnocchi and Baby Asparagus
This was one of the best dishes of the night. These cheeks were melt-in-your-mouth tender and yet had a nice, crispy crust. The baby asparagus were perfectly cooked as well.

Filet Mignon with Bone Marrow
Also a stellar dish, the copious bone marrow made Giao very, very happy.

Cheese Plate
This course was, oddly, not included. Even though we were full we couldn't resist. The cheeses were Herbiette (a nice smooth goat), Gorgonzola Prelibato (very subtle with the strong flavors at the end rather than on the tip of your tongue), Scumadic (very dry, almost like powder in your mouth) and Marzolino Rosso del Chianti (very white in color but not much going on flavor-wise).

Tangerine Sorbet

Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet with Orange Segments

Carrot Ice Cream with Coconut Panna Cotta and Pineapple Cardamom Sauce
Giao liked it, but Alexis thought it tasted too much like a pina colada--as taste she does not enjoy.

Chocolate Cake with Praline, Coffee Ice Cream and Cola Foam
This was very, very yummy. The praline had a nice saltiness to it.

Petit Fours
Lemon Cheese Cake, Macaroon, Brownie and Caramel Truffle (and lolipops, which we brought back for a friend). The truffle was the only standout.
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Friday, April 28, 2006

Lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, San Francisco, CA

Another lunch catered in from California Pizza Kitchen...

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
Too sweet.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Also too sweet.

Cobb Salad
With the expection of the inclusion of beets, this salad was actually pretty good. Lots of goodies and the lettuce was fresh.

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Breakfast at Home

Chupaqueso with Salami, Avocado, Yogurt and Salsa
This was the worst chupaqueso ever. I used quality cheddar cheese and it just did not work well at all. The cheese never gained the internal structure that usually enables easy flipping and it tasted burnt, even though it didn't look it. Usually I just use crappy "mexican blend" preshredded cheese from Costco and it works MUCH better. So much for quality ingredients...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dinner at Home

Shrimp and Noodles
This was a quick dinner made with the remaining ingredients we had left in the house after having not been grocery shopping for 2 weeks.

-2 packages konnyaku noodles
-1 package kelp noodles
-1 package konnyaku squid
-1 lb shrimp, shelled
-1 lb spinach
-1 can baby corn, but in thirds
-1/2 onion, thinly sliced
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tb chili garlic sauce
-1 can chicken stock
-2 tb fish sauce
-1 tb soy sauce
-1 tb vinager
-1 packet splenda
-1/4 cup cooking sake

Saute the garlic and onions in the chili garlic sauce and soy sauce. Add the sake to deglaze the pan. Add the rest of ingredients (except shrimp and spinach). Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the shrimp and spinach and simmer for 3 minutes. Serve.

Lunch from Specialty's and Safeway, San Francisco, CA

Another catered in lunch, this time from Specialty's. Speciality's is a sandwich place that people seem to love, but it is really just a sub par sandwich on soggy bread. We don't eat sandwiches anyway, so we had this chef's salad, which was also not so good.

Chef's Salad
Ingredients were not so fresh and this salad was just not flavorful.

We opted to get some supplemental food from Safeway:
Fried Chicken
Salty, but good.

Chicken Wings
Spicy, but a little soggy.
Health Code Violations

Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Eggs.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dinner at Home

Baked Salmon with Avocado, Tomato and Basil Salad
This samlon was baked for 12ish minutes on 375 (until medium rare). It was sprinkled with capers, salt, pepper and lemon juice. The salad is simply, an avocado, a large, ripe tomato and a handful of roughly chopped basil sprinkled with balsamic, salt and pepper.

Lunch from Chevy's, San Francisco, CA

Alexis had a doctor's appt. around lunchtime so she ate some leftover chicken and sesame noodles.

Having never eaten at Chevy's (an always scoffing at it), and only having eaten takeout from it once, I've got to say it is growing on me as a catered in lunch option.

Shrimp Fajitas (sans tortilla)
The shrimp were not overdone, which is just about all you can ask for. They did seem a little MSG-y though.

A little sweet, but pretty good.

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Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Eggs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dinner at Work

Arugula Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

-1/2 cup mayo
-1/2 cup yogurt, plain
-1 tb dill
-1 tb worcestershire
-1 tb lemon juice
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
-1 tb dried parsley
-1 tb dried oregano

Leftover Meatballs with Vodka Cream Sauce

Lunch from Maharani, San Francisco, CA

Another catered in lunch from work. I must say, Indian food definitely lends itself to delivery much better than any other type of food.

A bit too sweet.

Tandoori Mixed Grill of Salmon, Shrimp and Chicken, Chicken Curry and Naan
The tandoori mixed grill was quite nice, the naan was just standard.
Food: 1
Decor: NA
Service: NA
No Website
Health Code Violations

Breakfast at Home

Spinach, Salami and Green Onion Scramble

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dinner from Zante's, San Francisco, CA

Giao had dinner at work from Zante's. Alexis just ate chicken wings at home.

Saag Paneer
Bad picture, good saag.

Chicken Tikka Masala
Good flavor, but for some reason the sauce is always very watery from Zante's.

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Lunch from ..., San Francisco, CA

Another catered in lunch...crappy Chinese food. But, you know, crappy Chinese food has a special place in our hearts.

Green Beans with Garlic, Shrimp with Water Chesnuts, Egg Roll and Beef with Onions
Not great, but certainly edible.

Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Eggs.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dinner at Home

Cream of Spinach and Turnip Soup
This was salted perfectly...unfortunately we left it out all night and had to toss it the next day.

-2 lbs spinach, washed
-2 small turnips, roughly chopped
-6 cans broth
-1 can water
-1 onion, roughly chopped
-10 cloves garlic, peels
-1 cup cream

Sautee onions, garlic and turnip in a bit of olive oil until beginning to carmelized. Add stock and water and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add spinach and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree and stir in cream. Serve.

Serves 10.

Green Salad with Balsamic Vinagrette

Meatballs--in their pre-baked state.

1 lb gound beef
1 lb ground pork
1/2 cup flax seed, ground
1 cup parmasean cheese
2 eggs
2 handfuls of parsley, finely chopped
1 tb black pepper
2 tb garlic powder
1 ts salt

Mix ingredients thoroughly and form into 1 inch balls. Fry over medium heat in a bit of olive oil until browned on all sides and set aside.

Meatballs in Vodka Cream Sauce
Sautee the meatballs in a few tb of olive oil until browned and cooked through. Set aside.

-4 cans chopped tomatos (with juice)
-10 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 cup vodka
-1 cup plain Greek yogurt
-1 large handfuls basil, roughly chopped
-1 onion, roughly chopped
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 ts marjoram
-1 tb oregano

In a sauce pot sautee the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add the tomatos, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and marjoram. Simmer for 45 minutes. Puree. Add the vodka and reduce by 1/4. Thoroughly mix in the yogurt. Combine the meatballs and sauce in the large pan in which you cooked the meatballs. Heat through. Serve and sprinkle with a bit of remaining chopped basil.

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