Sunday, December 27, 2009

Universal Bliss

It was so nice to be back at my favourite brunch spot with my girls. I surprised one of my best friend's there and she almost had a heart attack as she walked in the door! We were all together again, we caught up like old times and it was so nice. I celebrated with a bloody mary. I always loved their bloody mary because they make it with sake instead of vodka so it eases you into the day a little more gently. The food was great as usual. I had this amazing polenta dish, with poached eggs and beef brisket hash. The meat was a bit tough but the eggs and polenta were great. The other girls had the soft scrambled eggs which is always a favourite. Their menu changes daily but they always keep a few solid favourites on there. It was all very nostalgic for me since I used to spend the majority of my weekends there. Feels like a lifetime ago.

Universal Cafe
2814 19th Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 821-4608

Cool Coffee

When I first walked into Four Barrel it didn't feel typical San Francisco, and I wondered if there was a hipster convention going on. But after being "up and downed" by several of them as we came through the door, it all of a sudden felt very San Fran. After being away for over 2 years I really realized the difference in the people. I miss New York already. Anyway, the crowd was a bit like Ritual with a touch of New York flavour about it... or I think I should say with a dash of Williamsburg. Modern with dark metal details and yet warm with exposed wooden beams. The space is great, I really loved it. The lights are beautiful and apparently designed by a local guy. There's been a handful of these new coffee shops popping up all over San Fran and it's great to see how good they look. Oh and the coffee was great too. Watch out Blue Bottle!

Four Barrel Coffee
375 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA
415) 252-0800

The Doorway to Heaven

I know this isn't San Francisco Slop but I had to share the love. Slanted Door is still one of my favourite restaurants in the country. Ever since it moved out of the Mission years ago now it's been hugely successful and hard to get a reservation to say the least. And the food is fabulous. It's considered Vietnamese-French but it's roots are in fairly authentic recipes, like shaking beef, catfish claypot, etc. Their fresh spring rolls are among the best and we received a scallop appetizer as a gift. Their service and customer appreciation has always been impeccable. They have an amazing selection of white wines, especially nice austrian and dry german rieslings which go perfect with the food. I usually only drink red wine but here only white. The shaking beef is great and comes with a wonderful lime-pepper sauce. The caramelized shrimp and the crab vermicelli noodles are also among my classic favourites. The japanese eggplant dish is also one I can't live without. It's spicy and sweet and cooked lightly in coconut milk. Since I was with girls dessert was in order so we took our server's advice and ordered this chocolate angel food cake with homemade ice cream. It was nothing like angel cake but it was great and the ice cream blew us all away. it was salty and fantastic.

Slanted Door
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 861-8032

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Burrito Baby

This is the burrito that I have been waiting to eat for over 2 years now. I know it's pathetic but it just makes me so damn happy. It's the pescado burrito at Papalote's. The fish is cooked in wine wine and butter, and all the fixings are simple, black beans, rice and bit of salsa. I guess Papalote is a bit fancier than the rest of the typical mexican spot in the Mission so price point is a bit higher but it's the perfect thing for a special treat. I honestly haven't really had a burrito since I left SF, so this was a pretty epic moment!

Papalote Mexican Grill
3409 24th Street (near Valencia)
San Francisco, CA
(415) 970-8815

Better With Burata

I'm always a huge fan of any burata on the menu and the new restaurant in San Francisco, Beretta, has a burata option on their maragarita pizza...nice! The pizza was good but not amazing is sort of their speciality but I was actually more impressed by their small plates and sides... and dessert! We tried a few things to start but the one that stuck out for me was the saba radicchio, which was an unusual combination. I'm a huge radicchio fan but it is an acquired taste.. and I guess I could say the same for saba (mackarel)... but wonderful combination! The other thing to note is that they are way (too) proud of their cocktails, which they take very seriously. They are good but it did bother me that all 3 of our cocktails, which should have been dramatically different in taste, were all served in the same glass and had a similar texture to them... almost as if they had been beat with a wisk. The dessert we had however was AMAZING! It was olive oil ice cream and it was covered in extra virgin olive oil and finished with a nice sea salt. I'm not even a dessert person but this is for sure my kind of dessert! I did really love the interior and overall vibe of the place. We dined at their communal table which was great. I sadly did not make it to Flour & Water, but I really look forward to trying their pizza there.

1199 Valencia Street
San Francisco
(415) 695-1199

A Rare Russian Treat

We celebrated Nicole's (and another girl Anna, who is Russian's) birthdays at Rasputin in Brighton Beach for an special Russian feast! The meal, which seemed never-ending is crazy in itself, served banquet style by very Russian boys. Boris took good care of us, and the vodka was ever flowing. The food was meant to be traditional but with a fusion flair. I can't say that it was amazing but in general the whole experience was pretty amazing. It's like a feast, that turns ghetto-style Cirque De Soleil meets a Russian nightclub or discoteca. There were several performances between the main courses and dessert and then the whole place turns into a dancing club. We all got decked out in our best slutty outfits (think sequence, and fishnet stockings) and trekked it an hour from Manhattan on the train (several trains) all the way to Brighton beach. And by the way we were all in 4 inch heels... ouch! That said it was SO worth it, and I would highly recommend it for large groups (there was about 12 of us!) It's about $100 a person, for food, show etc. We brought our own vodka and I believe some was also provided. Either way straight vodka all night guarantees a huge hangover the next day.
Na zdorovia!

2670 Coney Island Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 332-8111

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Most Delightful Den

Chef Hirata took me on another amazing food adventure... for more sushi of course! He only likes the best so hard to say no to that! I was more than pleased with the fish and quality of Sushiden. It's up there in midtown and on par with the rest of those high end very Japanese sushi spots. The chef takes care of everything so we are getting the best of the best that night. I even got a special toro maki surprise. We started with chawan-mushi, which is also one of my favourites, it's an egg custard with seafood and mushrooms carefully cooked inside. It's a delicate dish that I've heard is very difficult to make. It's so special and this one had small chestnuts hidden inside! We drank wonderful shotchu and enjoyed some great desserts. One was tempura ice cream and the other (my favourite) a shiso sorbet. It's so refreshing and really cleanses the palette after all the amazing fish. It's my idea of a happy ending!

19 E 49th St (& Madison Ave)
New York , NY

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Halumi Heaven

One morning we ended up deep in the lower east side, on the edge of Chinatown, where we found a great little Israeli café / restaurant. We always LOVE the "shashuka" at Hummus place so we were super excited to try this new version of it. Instead of roasted peppers it was made with only tomatoes (better on my stomach :) but had the same AMAZING halumi cheese! I swear it's one of my favourite cheeses. I just found out recently that halumi is actually sheep's cheese. The texture and taste is so unique and amazing.

Cafe Petisco

189 East Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 387-0366

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dim Sum Club

A few of us NY girls got the great idea to start a dim sum club. We meet once a month and eat dim sum together. (although to tell you the truth I probably eat dim sum every weekend ;) and in this weekend's case twice! (don't tell anyone) This way we ensure to see each other every month and catch up on all the news and gossip! Miya-chan chose the spot, Jing Fong in Chinatown. I had never been here but had heard all about it. It's really fun, with a huge escalator that takes you up to a massive banquet floor which is decked out in true Chinese decor! The food was good but not amazing. It's definitely more for the experience than the food. We enjoyed many things but what stuck out were these yellow dumplings, which were filled with sweet egg custard.

Jing Fong
18 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY
(212) 964-5256