Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the best food truck from here to infinity

i think we ought to pay our respects to the pioneers of this food truck craze that's been running rampant in the Bay Area and eventually across the nation. in our youth i'm sure we've all come across a taco truck or two, right? when i was young i had no desire to get food from a roaming mobile. i didn't understand why anybody would want to eat out of a roach coach when you could sit down and eat at a taqueria or Chevy's (barf!). little did i know, the people behind taco trucks were on to something amazing. hats off to you, el Taco Truck(s) for you have paved the way for what has become upscale gourmet food trucks!

over the past few years various types of food trucks and carts have been popping up like crazy and i have become obsessed with them. i have spent lots of my time corralling people to join me at Off The Grid so that we may share bites from as many trucks as possible. i've twitter stalked trucks and drove directly to them in order to get something on that specific day's menu. one time i went to the Eat Real Festival on a saturday with friends and made my way there on sunday as well, with the excuse that my parents along with aunts and uncles would need someone there to help navigate through the mediocre and the delicious. i've stuffed my face all sorts of silly because i couldn't decide whether i wanted Chairman Bao's duck bun, banana chai fritters, Iz It's icon, or Brass Knuckle's hotdog with bonito flakes....so i had them all. it's a bit intense, i know, but what can i say? food is my passion.

i've been to a ton of different food trucks and have tried nearly everything that i've had the desire to eat so far. i've had plenty of good food and plenty of that-was-a-waste-of-money food. but today, my friends, i am here to talk about the ultimate food truck. i'm talking about 3-SUM EATS. it's hearty approachable food with a good sprinkle of umph. i mean, just check out these pictures and then take note of the nice puddle of drool you've accumulated near your keyboard.

 this sandwich is what dreams are made of!! you start off with a light toasted brioche bun spread with thoussand island (which is more like tartar, but technicalities don't matter. it was fantastic!) and add a nice amount of sprouts. underneath thtat you have a huge portobello stuffed with rich creamy mozzarella fried perfectly crisp. my GOD, it almost brought tears to my eyes!!! just be careful because upon first bite the piping hot cheese tends to squirt out and burn your hand. you can't let that cheese go to waste! no worries, pick it up and slap it back on!!
mac n cheese egg roll with fondue dipping sauce. the rich creamy goodness of mac n cheese paired with the bit of crunch from the fried wrapper is perfection.

the best breakfast sandwich you will ever have IN LIFE!!! brown sugar and rosemary coated bacon. i repeat. brown sugar. rosemary. bacon. of goodness. piled in between a homemade english muffin along with a fried egg, cheese and TRUFFLE aioli. i love my boyfriend, but i was sad that i had to share this with him. (haha!! no joke....i literally stopped typing for a minute and just stared at this picture while reminiscing about it's complexity of flavors and the joy it brought to me!)

behind this better-than-the-rest truck is Ryan Scott. i've been a fan of his for a while now. while watching an early season of Top Chef, i obviously found myself routing for the guy from SF. then i found out that he, at the time, was working with Myth and Myth Cafe. one of my first fine dining experiences was years ago at Myth. i recall it being one of the first times i'd ever thought food to be tantalizing, so naturally my support for him on the show shot up immensely. soon after Top Chef ended he partnered with Mission Beach Cafe, another restaurant that i love! i have pretty much liked every aspect of Ryan Scott's career thus far but the birth of 3-SUM EATS has put him on another level.

the best way to eat broccoli

if there's any vegetable i actually like, it's broccoli. for all of my childhood life any time i ate broccoli it was either just steamed or boiled. on very rare occasions i'd eat it tempura style at Japanese restaurants and in those circumstances broccoli almost seemed like a treat. now i'm not trying to knock my parents for making the boring kind of broccoli, but i will say that they've been missing out and were also the cause of me missing out. within the last few years of my life i've discovered roasted broccoli. i'm talking tender yet charred crisp with sea salt and a hint of heat. it's so easy and it's practically the only way i make broccoli nowadays.

cut broccoli florets into bite size pieces and put in a ziplock bag. toss with olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. transfer to a baking pan and roast in a 400 degree F oven for approx. 20 minutes. shuffle them around a bit and cook for another 5 min. or so. 

i heart charred broccoli! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

what's left of 365

i'm sure it's become pretty evident that i've given up on Project 365. remember that? i was taking a photo a day for 365 days with the hipstamatic app on my iphone?? it sounded like an awesome project that was easy enough to do. well it turns out that it's harder to do than you would think. taking a photo a day that you actually like and don't mind posting to represent something in your life is actually quite difficult. sometimes you don't like the angle or the color combination and what you imagined doesn't come out on the first or second....or third try and nothing else intrigues you that day. what i'm trying to say is that i've given up. i really didn't want to give up but once i went to Thailand and accidentally left my iphone at home, it was hard to recover with so many days lost. then i began to forget about the project as a whole. a part of me wishes i'd contiued but a part of me is semi-relieved that i'm not constantly thinking of what i'm going to take a picture of today.

i did take some pictures that were part of that project but had yet to make it to the blog so i'll post the last batch now. but i won't place a date on them because frankly i can't remember when i took what pictures. so here they are. most of them i don't even really like, but why let them go to waste.

a rare sun shiny day at my favorite Dolores Park. i  laid in "the beach" portion of the park and soaked up some rays with a delicious sandwich from Bi-Rite.

on our way to Off The Grid, we caught the sunset behind the Golden Gate Bridge. always a beautiful sight.

delicious fries served in the cutest way at a newly discovered restaurant, Le Garage. i love this place!

remember the days when the highlight of the day was going through the car wash? wasn't that exciting??

another sun shiny day at Dolores. it's a little hard to see, but i saw this guy doing  a ton of capoeria moves that looked almost pretty.

a view of the SF skyline from Sausalito. plus a boat.

candy barrels.

hmmm yeah. not sure why i took this pic. i think the color got me.

after just barely coming back from Thailand, my job decided to put me on the graveyard shift as the lone CT tech. of course some mistakes were made and this is a note i left my supervisor for the morning after. he had to clean up my mess. jerk!



i call this one "le douche." the guy in this car cut me off coming from a straight middle lane to make a left turn. dangerous and ultra douchey. he, of course, was balding and driving a super midlife crisis type car.

well, that's that! no more project 365 pictures. i may potentially post a random pic here or there so you can look out for those! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

it gets better

everybody knows somebody gay. whether that person is out or not is another thing. but everybody knows somebody who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. i'm proud to say that i know at least one somebody in each of those categories. i hesitated for a moment there to write down "categories" because sometimes people don't want to be labeled. sometimes people want to be so politically correct that children can't sit "indian style" anymore. they now sit "criss cross apple sauce," but who's to say that apples aren't, too, offended by this manner of sitting? categories are neccessary. without them we would never have known that Africans and African Americans are more prone to Sickle Cell Anemia and that Asians have a higher risk of osteoperosis. it is important for people to know what categories they fall in to figure out what is best for them in future and in health. i digress. i'm not here to categorize anybody or separate people. i'm here to applaud the efforts of the It Gets Better cause.

has anybody seen the It Gets Better cause on tv? the cause is mostly focused on those who are gay, bi, lesbian and transgender. it sends a message to tell them that no matter what they are going through now, it eventually gets better. it's to show them that there are faces of other people out there struggling with the same thing that they are simply because of a sexual preference or a gut feeling that they are in the wrong body. there are clips of people who have been through the same thing and have come out on the other side happy and healthy. it's a voice of hope for the future, a forum for people to find others who understand. nobody should have to be faced with the hateful actions and words of those who don't understand. it's hard enough being a teenager, but being a teenager with an added layer of identity that they may not fully understand themselves while being pushed to the floor is no way to live. sadly it happens sometimes. but just know that if you can think through to your future, you know it. will. get. better. one day you'll find the courage to show the world who you are and stand proud. as long as your heart is solid and you are kind to others, smile with strength knowing that you simply are who you are and wouldn't have it any other way. you will find people who understand exactly what you've been through and you can all find peace because you've got each other. and you've got others who support you whether they are the same as you or not. there are people behind you. you may not know them. it could be any stranger on the street, but know that there are people on your side. you may not be able to stop the bullies or ignore the looks, but one day it will get better.

now although i fully support this cause for everything that it is, i think that it can be applied to anybody that is struggling. whether it is a teenager made fun of for being a "four eyes" or someone who has been in a relationship involving domestic violence, if they find the strength (which everybody has) to find help or find real friends, it will get better. everybody can find somebody to support them. it's about seeking that support. i know that my life has been mostly easy compared to many, but it doesn't mean i don't understand where hurt comes from. it doesn't mean that i don't know what empathy feels like. when i saw the It Gets Better clip it brought some tears to my eyes. i can only imagine what it was like for the people that i personally know who have struggled with being "different" in their younger years. hopefully It Gets Better makes a difference in people's lives. scratch that. i know it's going to make a difference. i stand up to applaud the people behind the cause.

thai noodles with peanut sauce

on a hot day when you want something light and almost refreshing for dinner, make this thai peanut sauce noodle dish. it's substantial enough yet isn't heavy and can be served cold or at room temperature. peanut sauce is pretty much great on anything. well, maybe not anything, but many things. i could probably eat it on it's own. 

thai peanut sauce noodles
adapted from this recipe

peanut sauce:
- 1 1/2 c peanut butter (i used chunky)
- 1/2 c coconut milk
- 3 tbs water
- 3 tbs fresh lime juice
- 3 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tbs hot sauce (i used sriracha)
- 1 tbs grated ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced

-combine all ingredients and stir until fully blended. cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving so that the flavors can blend together.

note: this recipe makes a LOT of peanut sauce. whatever you don't use can be freezed and enjoyed later. 

- 1/2 lb spaghetti
- about 24 shrimp
- 1 cucumber
- 1 carrot
- salt and pepper
-garlic powder
- oil
-1/2 lime
-peanut sauce 

1. make peanut sauce
2. cook spaghetti in boiling water with some salt until al dente or cooked to your liking.
3. drain pasta and set aside to cool.
4. peel cucumber and slice in to very thin slices (about 1-2" length). set aside. 
5. peel carrot and slice in to very thin slices.  (about 1-2" length)(i don't like raw crunchy carrots so i used my peeler to just make very very thin pieces of carrot) set aside.
6. cook the shrimp on medium high heat until all of the gray turns pink. don't forget to season it with salt, pepper and garlic powder or fresh garlic.
7. combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl just before serving. (if you do, the pasta will soak up all of the moisture from the sauce and it'll be a dry mess of a dish.)

    • directions: 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Napa foodstravaganza!!!

i'm about to sound pretentious, and i'm sorry. but....Kim and i are foodies. sometimes people think of themselves as foodies but they really are just posing wishfully. just because you like food isn't qualifying enough. just because you eat a lot doesn't mean jack. a foodie to me is somebody who knows food. if you don't know what a bearnaise sauce is or know that there are such things as purple potatoes (not yams) or white asparagus, then you are not a foodie. if you do not actively seek new restaurants or interesting foods, you aren't a foodie. if you have no idea who Thomas Keller is or have no interest in watching Top Chef, then you haven't reached the threshold throwing you in to foodiedom. if you aren't willing to pay $15 for an amazing appetizer that is the size of a silver dollar, then the value of your dollar is different than the value of mine. as i said, Kim and i are foodies.

so this past sunday we decided to have a Napa foodstravaganza/girl date. we were going to get brunch, massages, and dinner and fill the inbetween times with seeking other delicious things. sounds like a good way to spend a weekend to me. you guys are going to think i'm making this up when i go through all of the things Kim and i ate on sunday. it's kind of ridiculous. i don't even know how i put away so much food. seriously. my mouth may as well be a vacuum of morsels.

we started our day with a quick stop off at Model Bakery to see if they still had any of their famous giant english muffins but sadly they were already out. we then headed to our reservations at Ad Hoc for brunch but upon entering the restaurant, we noticed that the menu for the day was classic eggs benedicts, green beans with almonds and chocolate mousse. none of that was particularly appealing to us so we opted to leave and find a different place to have brunch/lunch. we got to Bouchon just as they were opening and luckily were seated immediately outside on that sun shiny day.

Kim and i have similar tastes and have an unspoken understanding that everything we were going to eat for the day was going to be shared between us so that we could taste the maximum amount of dishes that our stomachs could stomach. we decided to get a few appetizers and every single one of them was fan-friggin-tastic.

we started off with the salmon rillette known to America by way of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. fresh salmon and smoked salmon mixed and topped with clarified butter, left to sit so the flavors meld together. the buttery crostini was a perfect pairing and after five minutes of receiving the dish, a server came out and brought us more crostini without us asking. it's little touches like that that make a restaurant exceptional.

next was the beignets de brandade. think cod fritters lightly fried until perfectly crisp, served with sun dried tomatoes and fried sage. the tomatoes were just right, cutting through the richness with some acid. this was probably my favorite dish of the day. it was inventive and pretty perfect.

pork belly with white asparagus and frisee topped with a confit egg yolk. the pork belly was tender and slightly sweet and the egg yolk was rich and fun to pop open!!

lobster bisque served with a lobster beignet. the "beignet" was pretty much full of lobster, lightly breaded and deep fried. the texture of the soup was just right and the flavor was exploding. there are mushrooms hidden in there somewhere.

finally i can say that i have eaten at all three of Thomas Keller's restaurants on Washington St. mini life goal achieved!! 

after lunch we headed over to check out the Ox Bow Market. Kim had never been and i wanted her to see what i can only describe as a mini Ferry Building. we got some Ritual coffee because it's damn good stuff.

mocha. not in the slightest bit sweet. it doesn't need anything. it's fantastic on it's own.

right after we left Bouchon, i called Fatted Calf to see if they were going to have any of their porchetta cooked for that day. the guy informed me that it'd be ready by 1pm, so after we got our coffee, we went to Fatted Calf to pick up some porchetta to take home. if you've ever had Roli Roti's porchetta sandwich at the Ferry Building farmers market and love it, you will fall even harder in love with the porchetta at Fatted Calf. i don't know what it is but it's effing amazing stuff. there's a Fatted Calf in SF, however they don't have a kitchen to cook the porchetta there fresh. trust me, if you're ever in Napa pick up some porchetta and a loaf of crusty bread from Model Bakery and you'll be happy. Kim and i each got a pound of porchetta to go. (it was just as amazing the next day)

looks gross, tastes SO good. don't doubt me.

it was time for our massages and they were good. but really there's no room in this post to talk about massages. onward! more food!

we had a few hours to kill before our 7:15pm reservations for Bottega and found our way to Sift, a cupcake shop. i had never heard of this place, but it boasts winning Cupcake Wars on Food Network so i figured it must be good. they have flavors such as pink champagne, limonatta, and car bomb. but when we bit in to the cupcakes we were disappointed. it wasn't even worth taking two bites of. the cake was really dense and not that moist, and the overall appearance was very homemade. i couldn't believe they won Cupcake Wars.

lemon berry cooler and cookies and cream

not satisfied with the cupcakes we had just thrown away, we decided to satisfy our sweet tooths by splitting a strawberry rhubarb macaroon we'd picked up from Bouchon earlier in the day. i'm not sure if it's the special of the day or if they have this flavor seasonally but it was fan-friggin-tastic! it was light and airy with a nice crumble and was filled with not just the traditional filling but with jam as well. i was never a fan of macaroons but after eating that one i think i became one. i couldn't believe how good it was. because we had time to kill, we went back to Bouchon Bakery and i picked up a few more macaroons to take home. 
strawberry rhubarb, pistachio and espresso

look at the size of this monster!! 

although we'd spent the whole day eating, we somehow left plenty of room for dinner. when i eat out with Kim, it's awesome because 1) she's good company and great conversation, 2) i don't feel like a jerk for wanting to order one of every course, forcing the other person to feel obligated to pay more if we split the bill, and 3) as previously mentioned, we already know we're sharing everything and have similar taste. 

while waiting anxiously in their patio area we both combed the menu while matching reviews on our Yelp apps to see which dishes were our best bet. there were a couple of dishes that we'd already known about and a couple that we weren't intending on getting but changed our mind when it came down to business. by the time we sat down for dinner we were ready to recite our order. 

everything we had at Bottega was either really well executed or blew me away. everything. even the lemonade was noticeably fresh and perfectly tart. again, this is going to seem like an intense amount of food, and it was. don't worry, we took some home. but it was necessary to try as much as possible. you never know if or when you're going to go back to a restaurant so for me it's worth it to try a bunch of things to get a good grasp on whether you really like a place or not. and at a restaurant with a celebrity chef (Michael Chiarello) as the face of it, i'm more inclined to judge the food. 

can you believe that even olive oil that came with the bread made me smile? it had little pieces of cheese and herbs in it. i kept eating this throughout the whole meal. 

a similar egg dish was featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Salty Goodness but the original dish included pork belly. we've had pork belly plenty of times so it wasn't a big deal that it wasn't on this menu. what was absolutely a necessity to try was the egg. soft boiled so that the middle was still runny, yet deep fried with a nice crispy crunch. how exactly did they do that without overcooking the egg?? it's definitely an egg you should try. and the asparagus was really tender and had lots of natural flavor. i tend to dislike asparagus but most asparagus doesn't taste like this one does. 

polenta under a glass!!!! this was not originally something we cared to order, however upon reading reviews, it became evident that it was something we had to order and i'm so SO glad we did! excellently creamy polenta that still had texture to it, cooked so that the top layer ended up with a sort of cheesy crust (think cheese cooked on a flat top so that it's bubbling like in this photo here). then you mix in the carmelized wild mushrooms and top it with a pork jus served on the side and it's all kinds of wonderful. i really was more than pleasantly surprised by this dish. it seriously made me want to do a happy dance. i've never had a better polenta in my life and i'll be shocked if i ever find one better.

meyer lemon strozzapretti with crab and pork cracklin. the bites i had with the cracklin made the dish. without the cracklin, it was still very good but the pasta was cooked a little more al dente than i like. 

calabrian sausage and lemon ricotta tortellini with broccoli rabe and tomato pork jus. i didn't know what calabrian sausage was but apparently it's a spiced sausage. it's a lot like chorizo. surprisingly, more than anything i enjoyed the broccoli rabe most from this plate.

the short rib, which is something that i think nearly every table ordered. this is a dish that is recommended by the servers for good reason. it's perfectly tender and has good flavor. i think the only way to accurately describe it is succulent. i ate the leftovers a couple of days later and it was still just as good. 

whole fish with skin cooked crisp. served with more of that super fresh seasonal asparagus and fennel puree. there was some kind of relish on the plate that i didn't love. but the fish was seasoned well and was prepared so as not to overpower the fish with sauces or too many herbs/spices.

doesn't this molten chocolate cake with hazelnut creme anglaise look spectacular? as the server wafted the scent of luscious chocolate towards our noses, my mouth salivated in anticipation of tasting what i thought might be an exceptional molten chocolate cake. sadly we found a hair in it and told the server in hopes that he'd take it off the bill but let us keep it to eat around the hair. (yeah, we like food that much. or maybe i should just speak for myself. i would have just eaten around the hair. it's not like someone sneezed in it! go ahead and judge.) when we told him we weren't willing to wait another 30 min for a new one to bake, he took it away and brought us a plate of cookies to take home on the house. they were decent, but were not even close to being a good replacement for the molten chocolate cake. 

i love a good girl day. i couldn't have asked for a better day out with Kim! it's always best to enjoy food with people who love food themselves and can appreciate it the same way you do. next we have our annual Flag Day expensive restaurant tradition in June to look forward to! look out for a post on Cyrus, a  two Michelin star restaurant in Healdsburg. i can't wait!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

wine country century

this past Saturday was Stefan's birthday. he wanted to celebrate it by spending the day engaging in one of his favorite activities, so we signed up for the Wine Country Century. there are options to do 35k, 100k, 100m, or 200m. initially we were going to do the 100m but realized a hundred miles was a really long time to cycle for two people who haven't been cycling much lately. plus we rode WCC 100k last year and knew that it was going to be manageable.

we got to Santa Rosa bright and early and were cycling by 8:20am. the first 10 minutes of the ride was cold but once my body started to heat up, the combination of the cool morning weather and my body temp was perfect. it grew warmer as the day progressed however it was never intensely hot. the weather was perfect for a day of cycling.

the WCC is probably the prettiest ride i've ever done. right at the beginning of the course you pass an area where they launch hot air balloons and that's not something you see everyday. for the rest of the course you ride along vineyards and over a couple of bridges. the course is fairly flat, which was nice for me. there are little rolling hills and one actual hill that doesn't last more than what seemed to be .75 mile or so. the surroundings are quiet and peaceful.  i felt serenity.

the Santa Rosa Cycing Club organized this event and did a great job marking the ground so that wrong turns weren't taken. their rest stop stations were awesome with fresh fruit, pb&j sandwiches, cookies, coffee, gatorade, water, chips, fig newtons, etc. there were three stops for the 100k, which seemed like one too many but i appreciate it nonetheless. at the 30 mile mark, the rest stop there had sandwiches. and i'm talking like giant sub sandwiches. at 10am, it's a little hard to stomach eating a whole sandwich but i figured i paid for it, so i may as well take advantage of it.

1:23pm, sixty-something miles later and 3 hours and 43 minutes physically in the saddle, we were done. for me, this was a perfect way to spend the day. i spent good time with my boyfriend cycling in perfect weather with beautiful surroundings. happy birthday babe!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Steph's wedding days

in high school, i had a group of girl friends that you might consider a clique. actually you would definitely call us a clique considering we even had a self proclaimed name and everything. there were a solid nine of us that always hung out and through the years these same people have remained my best friends. we'd always envisioned each of us getting married with each other as the bridesmaids and whatnot. fast forward to last weekend, the first of our girl friends got married. she had little room for bridesmaids and there was no question her sisters were going to take two of those spots. so she chose her best friend and one of us. the rest of us girls were given duties during or before the wedding, so we still felt included.

my main duty, along with Kris, was to take photos at the rehearsal ceremony, rehearsal dinner and the morning of the wedding. i'm not the worlds greatest photog. in fact i don't even really fully understand all of the settings on my dslr and don't have a great grasp on the concepts of each function. and i don't have photoshop or know how to use photoshop to help with post processing. so i got what i got and i hope that she liked at least some of them!
this is where their wedding was supposed to be held. gorgeous, isn't it???

the happy couple. steph and eddie. 
her pops, whom she has an amazing relationship with. 

gorgeous Crystal Springs

Kris. the other photographer who, too, doesn't know how to fully use all the settings on her camera. hopefully between the two of us we at least got some decent shots.

i think this pic accurately depicts their relationship. he's a goof and she pretends to think she doesn't like it sometimes, but she totally does. 

steph and the bridesmaids

eddie and the groomsmen

though it was raining and the wedding unfortunately couldn't be held outdoors in the lovely cliff side, it was still a very memorable wedding. they had a mutual friend ordained who spoke from the heart about their relationship and their love for one another. smiles and tears were everywhere and everything else was flawless. there was the cutting of the cake, the father/daughter dance, the mother/groom dance, the money dance and even the random speech by a drunk. the bridesmaids looked beautiful and the groomsmen handsome. but most of all the bride and groom were surrounded by love.

kris, me, kim and jax

the fellas and a couple of their ladies. justin, roman, pat, mike, martin, nina and jess

brandiliano and jess. they are so cute together!!

mike!! an old coworker/friend from the Old Navy days!

b and pat. riiiight.

nina and martin. are they next???

Stefan and i

le cake

the beauty and i


for the money dance we made an arrow pointing down to little Eddie, the other guy Steph married. 

Eddie and Lorraine

this guy looks like asian Elvis.

the bridesmaids and the groom. kim, trina, eddie, lorraine and jen

whoa now.

she's way awesome. one of the best people i know on this planet.

only Brandon would rip his pants whilst dropping it like it's hot on the dance floor!! haha!!

girl shot

and what's a modern wedding without PHOTO BOOTH FUN? !!!!!!!!