Wednesday, October 31, 2012

cookie towers make the world a better place


lately i've found myself face to face with chocolate chip cookies more frequently than i've ever noticed before. the other day i ate a couple of cc cookies that were clearly of the break-and-bake or squeeze-from-plastic-sleeve variety, which i am not fond of. not that they aren't delicious, but i just can't appreciate it when people bring that sort of thing to a potluck. this then got me thinking about the last time i baked cc cookies and i couldn't recall baking cc cookies that weren't the Tollhouse recipe right on the back of their semi-sweet chocolate chips, years ago. well that's a half lie. i did make the cookie dough for the bottom layer of slutty brownies, but that doesn't quite count. anyhow, this got me wanting to bake some cookies. and what better day to bake cookies than a day in which teeth cannot be saved from a journey into rottenness, Halloween! slightly crisp, with a chewy center and loaded with chocolate and walnuts. waaay better than any snickers bar i got while trick-or-treating as a kid. now, chop up that snickers bar and throw it into a cookie and then we'll talk...

chocolate chip walnut cookies


- 2 1/4 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp.
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1 c packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 c semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 c chopped walnuts


1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. in a small bowl combine flour and baking soda. set aside.
3. in a large bowl cream butter and sugars
4. add salt, vanilla and eggs to creamed ingredients and mix in
5. add flour mixture and mix until just combined
6. stir in chocolate chips and walnuts
7. roll cookie dough into 1" balls and put on baking sheets (separated by 2" between balls)
8. bake until cookies are golden around edges but soft in the center (approx 8-10 mins)
9. remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes
10. transfer cookies to wire rack to allow cool completely

...OR just shove them in your face while they're still warm because fresh baked cookies right from the oven are theeeee best!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

i just want to truly care about somebody

i just want to truly care about somebody. no holds barred. and i want the same back. it's that simple.

except that it's not really that simple.

i can't just place my care on just anybody. and in the same regard, i wouldn't wish for caringness (not an actual word but just go with it mmmkay?)  from just somebody. it'd have to be the right person. it's too bad i hold myself in such high regards. it'd be easy to fulfill the first line of this blog entry if i just didn't give a damn about who i care about, but i reserve my offerings for those deserving of it. i can't carelessly care. if that were the case then nothing holds importance.

i suppose puzzle pieces aren't meant to just be hammered together. that would be too simple.

halloween costume

Ms. Swan, Maverick, Akuma and Ken

remember when i contemplated the potential of my future self resembling Ms. Swan? well i made that the inspiration for this year's Halloween costume. we've seen little Ms. Swan and Ms. Swan herself on MADtv. but what might she look like if she were younger? she might wear a more fitting dress sans giant puffy sleeves and surely her hair would be dark. but her sense of style would likely still be lacking. 

i went out on friday night and pretty much nobody had any idea who i was until i told them. and even then some people had no idea who Ms. Swan was. only one person successfully guessed and she had to think about it throughout the night before the lightbulb turned on. oh well! at least i wasn't something generic like sexy cat. or sexy bunny. or sexy whateverthehellelseisgeneric. 

that stupid smile smirk she makes is really hard to do without laughing. i was pretty unsuccessful in executing it.

after years of battling with fireballs and hurricane kicks, Akuma and Ken have resorted to sword fighting in their older age.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"six chefs you should know"

please excuse the terribly blurry picture, as i took this at the gym after having run five miles (=not the stillest of hands)

i recently picked up the latest (i think latest....) issue of Sunset Magazine and saw this article on restaurants in Northern California. the article itself focused on the use of sustainable ingredients and the expertise on how to cook or present these ingredients. on a side page there was a mini-article on the "Six Chefs You Should Know" from Northern California. i noticed that while all of these chefs are experts in their craft as far as meticulously amplifying or highlighting specific ingredients per dish, they all also utilize molecular gastronomy in their cooking techniques. exciiiiting! i love that stuff. i do, truly, salute those that stick to a more classical way of cooking, however the use of science in the kitchen puts me in a state of awe. 

lucky for me (not so lucky for my wallet), over the past year i've been able to enjoy dinners at three of the six restaurants listed, CommisCommonwealth, and the Restaurant at Meadowood. all very good, by the way.  the other three have been on my list for quite some time now. especially Saison. for that, i need an occasion. hmm good thing my birthday is coming up! friends, if you love me, you will feed me. at Saison. and leave with an empty pocket, but a heart full of love! because if you're taking me to Saison, i'm loving you forever! (see how i just put an exclamation point on that, tricking you into thinking this is a good idea) Coi and Atelier Crenn will hopefully be check marked sometime within the span of the next year but for now my focus is to get to Saison. 

errr...and La Folie. and Masas. (both which are more classic). oh and Sons & Daughters. truthfully, it's a neverending list and i will likely never be completely satiated. while tackling Northern California, in the back of my mind are still AlineaJoel Robuchon, and many others within the US. le sigh....

Friday, October 26, 2012

go ahead and tell me i'm on the bandwagon...

i don't. give a. f*ck!

i can't understand people who hate on people who just want to join in on the fun. is it so bad that people want to feel excited as well? quite honestly i don't give that much a shit about baseball in a general sense. but the fact that there is so much hype surrounding a piece of San Francisco, a city that i absolutely love in it's entirety, it makes me want to cheer them on. sure, i only go to their games on occasion and sure, i only own a Giants jacket and an old t-shirt i was given in high school, but it doesn't mean that i'm not allowed to root for a team that represents the greatest city that ever was. i don't claim them as "my" team or pretend like i even know who each of the players are. seriously, if anything most of my focus is on Brandon Crawford solely because he's the hottest one. but you know what i love? i love the comradery and sense of community this (and 2010's) World Series has brought to the city. i love being around people who are rooting for the same thing or have the same current interest. i love being surrounded by this intense energy!

so, with that said.... Kris and i went early to Lucky Strike to secure a table for us and some friends to watch Game 2 of the World Series. can i just say...that was a lot of f*cking fun! my throat hurts, my liver ain't happy, but damn was that energy amazing! two of two games are ours and it's definitely something to talk about. 

there were more old friends and new friends there this night, but these are the only pictures i have...
kris, me, and natasha

Mickey and myself

"Special Friends"
 one of my most favorite people on this planet!


i love seeing these lights shine bright. it's an indication that for a few specific hours, the people being blinded by them inside that stadium are all there to share an experience (series games or not).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

introducing Yuna

so the other day my cousin and i went to the Great American Music Hall to see a soulful artist she likes named Allen Stone. he's pretty great. an odd looking white guy with funky taste in clothing and an awesome voice. and while he headlined the show and killed it with the crowd, my favorite act of the night was a Malaysian woman named Yuna. within the first two lyric lines to  her song, Lullabies, i knew i liked her. her voice is so soothing and easy. her music is something i can listen to daily. in fact, it's all i've listened to since i saw her on sunday. also, she's super cute and fashionable. when i went up to her booth to buy the cd, i could tell she was pretty humble and just genuinely happy to be doing what she loves. apparently she's big in Malaysia already but is trying to make it here in America. i'm so in love with her. like seriously. nearly obsessed. how much? obsessed enough that the other day i watched a youtube video of her doing a tutorial on how to put on head wraps in Malaysian. you think i'm kidding, but i'm not. she's amazing. so, please take the time to listen to her music and see if you enjoy her as much as i do.

discovering new music with my "hot shit" cousin

this should make you fall in love with her pretty hard. she does Frank Ocean's Thinkin Bout You.

she also does her own version of Nirvana's Come As You Are.

are you googly eyed yet? well here's one of her own songs. i love it!!! this is Decorate.

Friday, October 19, 2012


got the chance to catch up with a friend over some japanese small plates at Chotto the other night. Chotto is an izakaya, which to my knowledge is a japanese restaurant serving alcohol and various small dishes to accompany the sake. my favorite izakaya so far is Izakaya Sozai, but Chotto comes in at a very close second. the food is prepared well, the ambiance is nice and modern without being pretentious, and the staff is friendly. it's a great place to take someone who is from out of town, or just to catch up with a group of friends. because the small plates are meant to be shared, it's best to go with a few people so that you may sample a variety of dishes. i went with just one person and we definitely ordered way too much food. but that's how i roll.

uni risotto
yumm!!! creamy and not overly "uni." i can't stand uni in it's raw form. the texture grosses me out and the taste isn't great. but in other forms, i love it. this was a great way to have uni.

hamachi crudo
with ponzu and lime. fresh and light. always a good dish.

sweet corn and negi (green onion) fritter. i liked this a lot. it was really earthy.

pork jowl
the cheek of the pig. the jowl here was particularly fatty. personally, i enjoyed it but the texture was too much for my friend.

bacon mochi
deep fried. dude. this was gooood!! the mochi is sliced thin, allowing the mochi to melt a little bit and get sort of gooey. this is hands down way better than the bacon mochi at Sozai.

spicy ramen
i took this pic after having taken a portion out of the bowl so it looks unappetizing. it was good but not great. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


so i'm not the type of person who accessorizes very much. at some point a year or two ago i decided that i needed to start wearing a necklace that i could just leave on at all times just to be adorned with something. i bought this little necklace from a stand at a festival in Japantown and have only really taken it off a few times during long runs (because even though it's light, when it sits up high on my neck while running, i feel like i'm not breathing quite the same. i know it's all in my head but whatever).  

so over the past year or so it became tarnished (caused by moisture). i wanted to clean it using a house supplies and tried the baking soda/aluminum foil method. to my surprise, it actually worked to some degree, though it's definitely lost any shine and isn't nearly as clean as i'd like it to be. i couldn't imagine it to work too well though because this little pendant you see is really small and has a lot of nooks and crannies. what you see above is the cleaned version, which doesn't look great. so i'm thinking it's time to look for a new necklace. 

but if you'd like to try this with utensils, other jewelry, or larger my guest. here are the steps...

1) line a glass dish of some sort with crumpled aluminum foil
2) place item(s) in dish
3) cover items in an ample amount of baking soda
4) pour boiling water over items to cover
5) the baking soda/water mixture should react with the tarnished silver. you should see little bubbles forming. this is releasing sulfuric acid.
6) gentle move the items around making sure that each part touches the aluminum foil
7) remove from dish, rinse under tap water
8) with a soft cloth, dry and buff

gross! this is from countless showers and cardio sessions.

hmm you can't really see it but bubbles were forming

this is the after shot. cleaner, but not completely. and definitely not shiny. in fact, i think it may have become more textured due to rubbing it against the foil. 

yep. time for a new necklace.

Sent Sovi

i bought a Bloomspot deal for a 6 course tasting menu ($109 for two people) at Sent Sovi in Saratoga. having already bought the deal without thoroughly looking through the reviews, i wasn't sure what to expect. but after a quick overview on Yelp, i was under the impression that the food would be mediocre. the verdict: the food was good but there wasn't anything that stood out about it. everything was cooked pretty well but there was no wow factor. also, i have a feeling that if they spruced up the ambiance of the place, it might make a difference. when you walk in, you sort of feel like you've walked into your aunt's house to have dinner, i.e., it's homey. ambiance changes everything when you're dining out. overall, it was a decent meal. we left stuffed and fulfilled, though after taxes, gratuity and the bottle of sparkling lemonade we got, the total paid was $167, which i'm not sure this meal was worth (much less had we paid full price without the Bloomspot deal). 

amuse bouche: artichoke with tuna tartar
i don't get the tuna tartar didn't taste like tuna at all. but it wasn't bad.

1st course:  chilled corn soup with crispy pancetta and maple
a little bit too sweet, but overall i liked this. smooth consistency. and i always like sweet and salty combos.

2nd course: dungeness crab salad with caviar and heirloom tomatoes
light, fresh and refreshing. 

3rd course: grilled branzino with kale and parsnips puree
a pretty good dish. 

4th course: lemon granita
slightly bitter, but did it's job as the palate cleanser

5th course: rack of lamb with fried green tomato
very tender lamb. slightly gamy but not a problem. the fried green tomato was really good!

6th course: almond cake with pickled peaches and pepper chantilly cream
this had an amaretto taste to it. the pickled peaches were too sour, likely because they aren't in season.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

how thoughtful...

i woke up this morning to the sun shine rather than a blaring alarm clock. already a good sign that the day is going in the right direction. soon after i went to the mailbox and saw a package for me. even more awesome! getting packages in the mail when i haven't ordered anything online is rare nowadays and makes me feel special. my friend Gabe has always been a fan of my photography, though he's aware that i'm actually pretty inadequate when it comes to using a DSLR. while i can see the image i want to capture in my head, sometimes i can't find the right settings to make it happen with the most clarity or depth or vibrance or whathaveyou. recently he's reiterated that i've got a good eye for it and a few weeks later....voila! a digital photography book comes to my door! how thoughtful, right?

man, do i have some amazing friends and people in my life in general. sure, a digital photography book doesn't seem like a huge deal to most, but to me it's the little things in this world that matter between people. the experiences you share, a mutual moment of intense laughter, or just some genuine thoughtfulness.

thanks, Gabe! that truly made my day!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Navio brunch buffet at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

anybody need a place to take their girlfriend for a nice anniversary brunch? maybe a birthday brunch? i've got the place for you! sunday brunch at the Navio at the Ritz Calrton Half Moon Bay. let me start of by telling you it's about $100/person for a buffet style brunch. and this does not include endless champagne or mimosas or anything like that. this is strictly food, presented very nicely and with high quality ingredients. many of the dishes are served individually so that what you're getting still looks appetizing. how many times have you reached the potato gratin at a buffet only to find that someone's scraped up all of the delectable top portion for themselves (greedy jerks!)? oh, and on a nice sunny day, the location is beautiful. right along the water with nice greenery. yeah, take your girlfriend. she'll thank you and then you'll thank me, mmmkay? and because i don't have a boyfriend, i took Marjie for her birthday this year. 

salmon with parsnips puree

lemon garlic shrimp

beef with potatoes and blue cheese
i loved this...even the potatoes were exceptionally flavorful

pumpkin custard with caramelized apples / fennel gazpacho 

shrimp cocktail and crab claws

three kinds of caviar with all the fixins

ahi tuna tartar

an awesome selection of cured meats, cheeses and breads.
this included duck proscuitto which was yuuuuuum! 

very fresh nigiri. 
they also had sashimi and rolls but there was too much to eat to get that stuff

chocolate mousse with caramel, lemon meringue tart, chocolate raspberry cake, tiramisu

creme brulee and a coffee eclair

various truffles
including rocher, salted caramel, pumpkin, apple, etc.

peanut butter bar
one of my favorite things there! so good! there's a little extra crisp on the bottom that you wouldn't expect. 

i likely only tried about half of the stuff there. there were also the obvious brunch eats like eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes and eggs benedict. at the seafood section there were also fresh oysters, mussels, smoked salmon, trout, etc. at the hot food section there was a roasted lamb and prime rib as well as polenta and other sides. there was a chinese section with dim sum (though as a Chinese, i couldn't imagine they'd be great so i opted not to eat any of it). and the dessert section is insane! i probably only tried about 1/3 of the desserts, if that. 

oh, and the service here is great. plus, if you tell them it's someone's birthday they send them home with a box of chocolates. if you tell them it's your anniversary they line your table with rose petals. cute, no? i only know the second one because the folks sitting near us were obviously celebrating their love. anyhow, enjoy! and when your girlfriend is ecstatic because her boyfriend found such a nice place to take her, remember that it was my idea! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

i've got a date with my honey bear

about a month ago i started to feel odd. just not good. i described it as "weird" to people because i wasn't sure what it was exactly. my voice was cracking and raspier than normal and i felt tired and just not great. but i never get sick. like. ever. typically i get the first signs of sickness such as a slightly sore throat and mild fatigue but it never escalates to a full blown body-aches-dying-in-bed type sickness (though i've experienced that maybe twice in my life). soon after i felt better but my normal voice never came back. i figured i'd just let my immune system take care of it but it's been over a month now and it's still the same. for all i know i'm growing a cyst on my vocal cords like Adele. in her world it's a big deal. in mine, nobody really cares (except me, of course). anyhow, now my throat is sore and i think i could potentially be actually coming down with something. so to remedy that, i've decided to have a date with a honey bear (along with some lemon and warm water). i imagine that over the next few days i'm likely going to finish the whole squeeze bottle of honey and hopefully i'll feel better and my voice will go back to it's lesser version of rasp. but i did the calorie count on that and one bottle of honey is almost a thousand calories! one THOUSAND!! i would prefer to spend one thousand calories on a juicy burger with garlic fries but i suppose a properly functioning vocal box is probably more important.

Monday, October 8, 2012

State Bird Provisions

aaaahhh State Bird Provisions. in every sense of the word, it's awesome! from the concept and the ambiance to the food itself, it's a fantastic experience. this restaurant is quintessentially "Californian" in that the dishes are conceptualized based on seasonal ingredients, fusion cuisine, and interesting combinations of flavors, tastes and textures that aren't always standard. i mean, Bon Apetit named it the #1 new restaurant in America so they've got to be doing something right.

over a year ago, during one of my frequent walks through the Western Addition in SF i noticed that a restaurant was taking shape on Fillmore St. i had no idea what it was but became quickly intrigued when i saw that they were a "cart and tray service restaurant." what does this mean? it means small plates served in a manner like dim sum is traditionally served. people walk around with carts or trays carrying the various dishes for the night and you decide on the spot whether  you want it or not. often times you read a description of a dish on a menu and it doesn't sound appealing. but when the dishes are presented to you in this manner, you immediately ignite the visual sensory as well as the smell sensory. then they describe the dish and you can't help but want every dish that passes by, though ordering every dish is pretty impossible because nobody could ingest twenty or so dishes in one sitting. 

this is what i was fortunately able to consume:

ciccioli with chantrelle mushrooms and cocoa nib cracker
not sure how to describe this but the umami of this dish was balanced out by a nice sour element.

duck liver mousse with almond biscuit
oh shit, guys! miss foie gras since the ban? well this will cure you from your withdrawls! so creamy and savory! and the almond biscuits were good as well. i saved my last biscuit and slab of duck liver mousse for my last perfect bite of the meal.

salmon tartare with egg
a good dish. nothing amazing, but still very good.

sweet corn and garlic chive pancakes with Mt. Tam
mMmmm. i love corncakes. with whole pieces of corn in a pancake, there was no way this wasn't going to be good!

pork belly kimchi
pretty much exactly what you would think this would taste like. my least favorite dish of the night, though it was still good.

garlic bread with burrata
yeah, the same one i had at the SF Street Food Fest. garlicky good! creamy and chewy. all great elements.

glazed pork ribs with swiss chard
good pork ribs, but nothing amazing. 

ground cherries
didn't know what these were. the woman described them to taste like gooseberries, which i've never had. they just sold them raw, as is, but i've never had them before so i wanted to try them.

this is the inside. some of them were sweet like candy and some were almost tomatoey like a tomatillo.

double chocolate pudding, pistachio crunch and passion fruit
chocolate pudding and passion fruit pudding. they put the seeds of the passion fruit over the pudding, giving it a nice texture.

thanks, Mickey, for joining me in this experience!!