Tuesday, April 23, 2013

they pranked me because they love me...or that's what i tell myself

once upon a time, exactly six days ago, i nonchalantly offered my place to some coworkers friends for a place to hang out before heading to dinner for Ruby's birthday. we ended up going back to my place for cupcakes following dinner as well but that was never the original plan. see, i had plans to head out so that i did. yep...like the worst host in the world, i left them there. but by now you all know that Natty lives with me and Edgar pretty much does part time as well, so i knew they could close up shop whenever everybody felt like leaving. as i said a blanketed "goodbye" to everybody i could see the thought process through one person's eyes. "seriously? she's leaving with us all still at her place? wtf. lame. no f*ck that." and he was either going to talk a whole lot of shit two seconds after the door shut behind me or he was going to prank me. yeah, i could see that all in his beady little eyes...behind glasses. 

i didn't return home until two days later after a swing shift at work. at 12:30 am, to my surprise, i found my bed turned around to face the window. alone in the middle of the night, i'll admit that initially it stunned me and i freaked out for a moment wondering if somebody had broken in. but i very quickly realized that nothing else had been moved and that the culprits must be my asshole friends. then i got a little irritated because how in the world was i supposed to corral four or five people together to get my bed back in place? my roommates and i are barely ever home at the same time, so this seemed like an impossibility. OR, i was just being dramatic. but overall, it was a pretty good prank...especially considering that when i got up in the middle of the night for a tinkle and i walked back into my room, all i saw was blackness and feared crashing into the headboard. 

BUT!! but...i got an accidental advanced prank back at Tan, which probably ended up being far more funny than moving my bed. remember that Tan is deathly afraid of mice? well, i've dog-sat a few dogs and one of them chewed off the tail of a stuffed animal and conveniently left it under my bed. it's been there for months but i've never had the desire to crawl under there to get it. turns out it was for good reason! when they moved my bed over and unveiled the tail, Tan, thinking it was a mouse, jumped and ran out of the room pushing Muri out of the way. haha!! so does this mean i win? i think so! 

after texting them in the middle of the night that they were all dicks, they sent me these photos. haha!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Morimoto Napa

i've always been a Morimoto fan. but maybe i'm biased because from the moment i first saw him on the original version of Iron Chef i thought that he and my dad resembled each other. naturally i rooted for (in eccentric Japanese version's host voice) Masaharu Morimoto! my parents and i always said that if we happen to have a reason to go to Philadelphia, we would visit his restaurant there. lucky for us he opened Morimoto Napa a couple of years ago. i first went when it was brand spankin' new. i tried to omakase (tasting menu) because what better way to experience a restaurant than explore the chef's best offerings? let me tell you, it. was. awesome! this time around, with faith that the rest of the menu would be pretty damn delicious, i was able to explore some interesting, fun things.

toro tartare
the most famous Morimoto dish! tartare with nori, fresh wasabi, sour cream, chives, guacamole and rice crackers. also on the side was house made soy sauce. i looooove this dish. it's interactive and you can make it whatever you want. i personally like a little bit of each of the accoutrements with the toro.

Morimoto sashimi
seared toro, salmon, eel, tuna, hamachi 
red pepper, yellow pepper, arugula, yuzu and some sweet sauce
another fun, interactive dish. the use of pipettes for the sauces is a really cute idea, don't you think? some of these i ate as a whole and some i ate layer by layer with various sauces. 

on top: nori, daikon, guacamole, roe, mushroom, sun dried tomato

oh toro
market price for this once single piece was $16 so we just split this loner. it was oh so fatty yet light. mMmmm!!! 

i'm not a huge dumpling fan, but damn were these spot on! the wrapper was light and had just enough chew or bite to it. the pork inside was also very light and was super juicy. the dumplings were pan fried in a brown butter and some other goodness so that it had a nice crisp to it. the salad consisted of pig ears (yum!), peanuts, beansprouts, carrots and a whole mess of other good stuff to cut the richness.

uni carbonara
oh good lord this was absolutely the best thing i've eaten in a while. i love me a good carbonara. an uni carbonara? even better! uni noodles (with the perfect amount of bite. cooked to perfection!) with uni sauce, bacon, peas, and a quail egg yolk tucked nicely underneath that sliver of fresh uni. i die! i could have ordered a couple of those for my meal and been perfectly happy.

ice cream sandwiches
green tea and white chocolate, cardamom banana dark chocolate, sesame milk chocolate
the ice cream in these sandwiches were super creamy and the cookie to ice cream ratio was just right. the consistency of the cookie made it so that when you bit into the sandwich your lap wasn't met with ice cream that has squeezed out from the other end. my favorite was the sesame milk chocolate.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

San Diego with the Divas

"the Divas?" you ask? who are the Divas? well, let me tell you! the Divas consist of myself, Jerilyn and Lia (in the pictures) and Ciara. we all went through x-ray school together and from the first day of school we hit it off. it was just oh so very easy to hang out with these girls. we spent four solid 8 hour days together each week during our first year in school. that's a lot of time to get to know each other. within our first week of school  all four of us were called in to the teachers office for talking/laughing too much during class and from that point on i knew we were going to be more than just classmates. even though we called ourselves "the Divas," i would never consider any of us to have diva-esque qualities. every single day i've spent with these girls have been hysterical. we are so stupid and silly. from weekend trips to San Diego and Santa Cruz to just sitting on a couch, every. single. time. we are together it's so. much. fun! we've seen each other through serious triumphs and tragedies and have an irreplaceable bond. though i probably see these girls maaaaybe three times a year nowadays, it's never awkward and it feels like we haven't skipped a beat. 

it's been five years since our last trip to San Diego, after we graduated from x-ray school and we were due for another round. during the day we chilled hard. i'm talking naps in cabanas and movies in our hotel room. the first night was our dress up night in the Gaslamp district and the second night was supposed to be bars in the Pacific Beach area but it turned out to be more clubby than that. especially considering hiphop isn't quite as easy to find in SD. there was a lot of "oots oots" music going on and i am so not down with that. but fun times were had nonetheless. 

dinner at Monello before heading to Stingaree

coconut cake goodness

at Johnny V's, and later to PB Bar & Grill

love, LOVE these girls! 

had an amazing weekend with these two! let's not wait another five years for the next trip!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Marjie took me out for an ultra belated birthday dinner at Luce last night. over the course of nearly three hours we indulged in the eight course tasting menu. the weather in SF is doing a good job of representing the beginning of spring, so it was fitting that the menu has been switched to their spring tasting menu recently. everything we had represented the season well. it started off with light and almost refreshing dishes and carried on to heavier dishes (though they were still quite light compared to what you might consider they'd offer for their winter menu). i was impressed with the meal and think that Luce is absolutely worthy of the Michelin star.

thanks, Marjamer, for a lovely dinner and hilarious conversation!

amuse bouche: fennel, peas and i can't remember what else
earthy and light. a nice refreshing start to the meal.

chilled prawns, lightly marinated. with blood orange, saffron and winter radishes
super citrusy and light. a great representation of a spring dish.

first of the season asparagus, meyer lemon, quinoa, brown butter and sorrel

crispy sweetbreads, quail egg, new potato, truffle and mustard
you can't see the sweetbreads nor the egg hiding underneath these thin layers of truffled crisp potatoes, but they're there. this was an intro into the more savory dishes of the night. a nicely rich and creamy dish.

beets and buttermilk with savory granola
a palate cleanser into the main courses. the other beets were heavily pickled and brought a punch of sour to the dish. 

butter poached lobster, peas and ricotta agnolotti
sweet sweet lobster cooked just right with slightly underdone peas (purposeful i would assume) and creamy little pasta pockets to round out the dish.

roasted squab and leg confit. onions done three ways, cauliflower and medjool dates
the breast was cooked perfectly and the leg confit was just what i expected. the sweet date puree complimented the slightly gamy meat well.

papaya and carrot sorbet
a refreshing palate cleanser before dessert

strawberry and chambord opera cake with thyme sorbet
the sorbet was suuuuuper thymey and almost overpowering without the opera cake. but of course it was meant to be eaten together. the pairing played off of each other nicely.

mini strawberry and basil and salted caramel macarons

Saturday, April 6, 2013

slow cooker cabernet short ribs

holy cow (maybe minus the "holy" and amp up the "cow") these slow cooker short ribs with cabernet sauce are yummersons! i know, "yummersons" is super dorky but it is what it is. deal with it! i'm learning more and more that slow cooker recipes really are the way to go. set it and forget it. yes please! all you've done this morning is throw some ingredients into a cooker, plugged that bad boy in, and voila(!) you come home and dinner is practically served, thanks to you and all that thinking ahead you did.

one evening with nothing to do, we decided to prep some stuff for these short ribs for the following day. typically you just toss some meat, seasonings and liquid of some sort into the cooker, set it to high or low and leave it for hours to cook, but this recipe requires a little more prep work than that. it's totally worth it though. we got the recipe here and pretty much followed it exactly except that we'd bought less meat. it came out wonderfully tender, flavorful, juicy and the meat practically slipped off the bone! we served it with some sauteed kale and rosemary roasted potatoes to round out the dinner. without them we'd feel like cavemen.

cabernet short ribs


- 3 1/2 lbs short ribs
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 c cabernet (we used Barefoot, like the recipe said)
- 1 c beef broth
- 3 tbs brown sugar
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tbs all purpose flour
- salt & pepper


1. heat oil in skillet over high heat
2. season short ribs with salt & pepper
3. brown short ribs in pan on all sides
4. remove short ribs from pan and place in slow cooker
5. in the same skillet, reduced to medium heat, cook shallots and diced celery until tender and translucent
6. add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes
7. stir in wine and beef broth
8. add brown sugar, salt and pepper until brown sugar has melted down
9. sprinkle in flour while constantly stirring so that it doesn't form clumps
10. bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to simmer for a few minutes.
11. pour sauce over ribs in slow cooker
12. cook on high for eight hours

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Head to Tail dinner at Incanto

i'll start by saying that if you are a Veggie (what i like to call vegetarians) and your reason for being so has anything to do with animal rights, then please do not read ahead. with that said....

guys, i had the most interesting meal of my life yesterday. but interesting in a tilt-your-head-to-one-side-and-think-"hmm...okay, i get it but i don't actually like it"-type-way. we went to Incanto for the annual Head to Tail dinner. if you don't know, Incanto is known for serving dishes specializing in parts of animals not typically eaten. this means offal. what's offal? it's the variety meats or more commonly known as internal organs and trimmings. this means things like liver, kidney, blood, intestine, etc. Head to Tail is a dinner in which each dish is made to highlight these animal parts. offal is not something i regularly eat. sure, as an asian i eat tripe and a couple other things, but i stray away from things that are too "minerally" in taste. why? because minerally = poopish. i don't think i need to elaborate about how much i prefer not to eat poopy flavored things. BUT, i thought it'd be an interesting meal to try at least once. if anybody is going to serve a finessed cut of liver or a duck blood soup, it's going to be Chris Cosentino. so here is the meal i had last night....

tripe crudo, hazelnuts and lemon
crudo, meaning raw, however "cooked" in lemon juice. the lemon and hazelnut was nice, and this dish was sort of refreshing. but the amount of chewing involved in breaking down each piece of tripe was ridiculous. i'm surprised my jaw was still intact by the end of the meal. 

duck blood soup, grilled hearts and seed quackers
hmm...this tasted exactly like you think it would. it was bloody and thick, somewhat gritty and rich. you crack the "quacker" into the soup to bring the seasoning to the dish, making it a deconstructed dish. fun in a sense. the hearts were very tender and had a little bit of smokiness to them, which was nice.

smoked liverwurst, snails, upland cress and ranch
Cosentino definitely knows what he's doing with charcuterie. if you've ever been to Boccalone at the Ferry Building, then you know that they master cured meats. this was a surprisingly light dish in that the thin slices of liverwurst weren't heavy in your stomach. the snails, which i don't typically like, weren't bad when sliced thin. 

lamb bits, asparagus, chili and pistachio
this dish was too organy. it was full of cuts of lamb liver and kidney, then topped with a lamb bottarga. ugh...too much organ! the textures and mineral/iron flavors in this dish was too much for me. i ate all of the salad elements of this dish and passed along the organ portions to someone else. whole slices of rare liver are not my idea of a good time. 

Pig Newton, chicken-chocolate cannolo & lemon lime soda
the most interesting and inventive of the dishes in my opinion. 
Pig Newtons- they took the gelatinous parts of pig ears to mix with dehydrated strawberries to make a berry preserve. then they chopped up pig ears to add a chewy texture to the center of the Pig Newton. the pastry element was cooked with pig fat. the dish wasn't very pig flavored but you could definitely feel the pig ears in your mouth.
chicken chocolate cannolo- chocolate chicken liver mousse, shell cooked in chicken fat, white chocolate and deep fried chicken skin. this piece absolutely tasted chickeny. it was super inventive and sorta awesome for what it was. 

overall, i enjoyed myself in that i can fully appreciate what they did to the organs and variety meats to make it appealing and edible. for me personally though, i would never purposely order any of those dishes again. organs just aren't my thing. i love food and trying new things but damn was that a weird meal. i'm absolutely glad that i had this experience but i don't think i'll be returning next year.