Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Cheese Steak Shop, Oakland, CA

10" Cheese Steak $12
This is Giao's 3 meat heart-stopper with bacon, chicken and beef.

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

The Cheese Steak Shop
3308 Lakeshore Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

Labels: , , , , ,

Lunch Buffet at Khana Peena, Oakland, CA

We were house-hunting in Rockridge and walked quite a ways on College Ave looking for lunch before we found something we had an appetite for that day: an Indian buffet.

Lunch Buffet $9.95
The chicken tikka was good, as was the naan. The chicken tikka masala was oddly flavorless. The saag was alright, but not the best around.

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

Khana Peena
5316 College Ave.
Oakland, CA 94618

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, April 18, 2008

Italian Fajitas with Green Salad

Simple salad of fresh mixed greens from our Two Small Farms box and marinated artichoke hearts dressed in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Italian fajitas sounds weird, but it was really quite tasty. Basically, we sauteed about 8 sliced chicken sausages with sliced onions, a can of diced tomatoes and some pine nuts, then used that as the fajita meat, topping with cheese, greek yogurt and hot sauce. This was all wrapped in a whole grain tortilla.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chili Ribs with Spigarella

Chili Rubbed Baby Back Ribs
We cook these in the Ron Popeil "Set it and forget it" Showtime Rotisserie Grill for exactly 38 minutes. We parboil them for 15 minutes prior, then rub them with Alexis' no-fail wet rub and in less than an hour we have succulent, spicy ribs.

The spigarella is an Italian heirloom green that is a but bitter, and stands up well to meat.

Spigarella with Pine Nuts
-1 lb spigarella
-1 handful pine nuts
-salt and pepper to taste
-juice of 1/2 lemon

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until browned. Add a bit of olive oil, then the greens and sautee until tender. Season with salt, pepper and lemon.

Labels: , , , ,

Big BLT from Specialties

Alexis smashed together the insides of the BLT between 1/2 the bread and ate what amounted to an inch thick of bacon. It was exactly what you would expect it to be. The fruit salad was not bad either. I don't know how much this cost because it was catered in at work.

Food: 0
Decor: NA
Service: NA

101 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Garlic Shrimp with Black Bean Agretti and Mushrooms

This dish was simple and quick, but I'd go easier on the garlic black bean paste next time, as the agretti was a little salty.

Garlic Shrimp
-10 cloves garlic, minced
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 lb shrimp

Sautee the garlic in a bit of olive oil until just beginning to brown. Add the shrimp and season. Cook until just done, then spritz with the lemon juice.

Black Bean Agretti
-1 lb agretti, trimmed
-1 tb garlic black bean sauce
-1 tb chili garlic sauce
-4 large mushroom caps, diced
-1/2 onion, thinly sliced

Sautee the mushroom caps in a bit of olive oil until tender. Set aside. In a large sautee pan, sautee the onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until beginning to color. Then add everything except the mushrooms and cover. Steam the agretti in this manner until tender, stirring occasionally. Serve garnished with the sauteed mushrooms.

Labels: , , , ,

Late Lunch at Town Hall, San Francisco, CA

It was our friend's birthday, so we took him out for a late lunch at Town Hall, a semi-upscale place that's home to the best burger.

Seafood Chowder $8
Smooth, creamy and chock full of seafood, we were pleasantly surprised by this soup.

Bacon Cheese Burger $13
An expensive burger, but a tasty one. Although, it wasn't as tasty as we'd remembered it. Maybe we need to do another burger survey...
Food: 2
Service: 1
Decor: 2

Town Hall
342 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Caraway Pork Chop

Super simple. Super Succulent. Full of flavor.

-2 pork chops
-1 tb caraway seeds
-1 ts salt
-1 ts pepper

Grind the caraway seeds and mix with the salt and pepper to create a dry rub. Rub the pork chops all over with the mixture. Pan fry on medium heat until done, flipping once.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 13, 2008

About the ratings

I know this post is about 30 months late, but Kristen's question in this comment prompted me to finally explain it. When the blog first started, part of what we were doing was using it as a scratchpad for our Zagat reviews. For those that only read the guide, and don't submit votes, the voting guide is as follows:

Rate each establishment on the quality of its Food, Appeal, Rooms, etc. on a scale of 0 to 3:

  • 3 - excellent
  • 2 - very good
  • 1 - good
  • 0 - fair-poor
Personally, I actually like this rating system, better than a typical 4 star (and then, if you are the Chronicle, cheat and use half stars), or a more dreadful 1-10 rating. We just don't believe a rating scale with that much granularity can be useful. You will note that it's more of a power law distribution rather than linear scale. The large majority of restaurants will end up being rated 0 or 1, with some as 2, and very precious few as a 3. I probably end up being more strict in my ratings than your average balloter, with 3 given out very miserly, for experiences that were truly transcendental.

We try to make the food rating as objective as possible, meaning that we don't factor in cost or cuisine (there is no 'it's a 3 for diner food'). While our primary impressions simply come from how the food smells and tastes, we also factor in plating and presentation (particularly for the 2 and 3s). We are probably a little biased towards complex but balanced dishes, and are a bit fanboyish for the molecular gastronomy cooking techniques.

Decor is probably the least important rating to us. As long as it passes Bourdain's bathroom test (and sometimes when it doesn't, *cough* Tu Lan *cough*), we will eat there if the food is good. Interestingly enough, this is one that Alexis and I will disagree on most often. Alexis tends to judge the decor along her own personal aesthetic which prefers clean and modern lines. I will give restaurants more leeway if the decor is focused, consistent and purposeful regardless of specific style and if they are trying to create a mood to go along with the dining experience. We are both suckers for open kitchens though.

For service, while we like and appreciate the friendly, chummy waitperson, we tend to get really blown away by the Thomas Keller school of thought: ultra professional with a preternatural ability to anticipate your needs without interrupting the dining experience. We also require servers to be knowledgeable about the food. One of my pet peeves that I've infected Alexis with is if the waiters write down the order. I really feel like if they were familiar with the menu, they shouldn't need to write it down. One test that Alexis and I inadvertently stumbled on is the sparkling water test. Alexis prefers tap, while I like sparkling, so when the waitstaff refills the water, they need to be able to distinguish. We find that it ends up being a pretty good test of the front of the house, in terms of training and teamwork, or foresight to come up with an unobtrusive way to indicate the difference.

Related Link:
Watching the Watchmen: Michelin Stars

Turkey Burgers with Carmelized Onions

Simple and satisfying. These turkey burgers were pretty healthy, especially when served with a hearty green salad.

-1 lb ground turkey
-1 tb garlic powder
-salt and pepper to taste
-sliced sharp cheddar

Mix the meat and spices thoroughly with your hands. Form into patties. Pan fry over medium heat for a few minutes on each side, until almost cooked through. Then top with the sliced cheese, cover and steam for about 1 minute, until the cheese melts.

-1 onion, thinly sliced
Sautee the onion in a bit of olive oil over low heat for about 45 minutes, until completely carmelized. Top the cheese burgers with the onions.

Labels: , , ,

New York Strip Steak with Sun Dried Tomato Agretti

This was a simple dinner made with our newfound favorite veggie, Agretti. The steak was very simply seasoned with steak seasoning and worcestershire, then pan fried to 3 minutes on each side over medium heat (for medium rare).

-1 lb agretti
-2 oz sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated
-1/2 red onion, diced
-salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onions in a little olive oil until soft, then add everything else and cover. Steam, covered, for about 5 minutes, then uncover and sautee until agretti is perfectly tender and all water has evaporated.

Labels: , ,

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