Friday, February 28, 2014


aliment is a no frills establishment. i would consider the decor simple and crisp. the host and server were friendly and genuine. this leads me to believe that they just want the food to speak for itself (which it does)!   I thoroughly enjoyed my meal here and encourage anybody who just wants a good meal to find their way there!

fried brussel sprouts with fish sauce caramel. nori. sesame seeds.
caramelized fish sauce? really? i honestly wasn't sure what to expect with this but i figured that screwing up brussel sprouts would be a pretty hard task, so we gave it a go. lemme tell you, these guys were so tasty! the caramelized fish sauce gave it a familiar sweetness that matched well with the bitter brussel sprout leaves. surprisingly the best dish of the night! i was popping these in my mouth like they were candy!

seared diver scallops. crispy red quinoa. green thai curry. pickled shallots.
hearty portioned, well cooked, fresh scallops in earthy curry. no complaints here!

burger on brioche. bacon jam. white cheddar aioli.
the burger itself was pretty salty however it was balanced by the bun which was extra sweet. the bread almost tasted more like a hawaiian sweet roll than a buttery brioche. overall, the flavors all worked well together. the fries look to be of the kennebec variety, which usually come pretty crispy but these were almost soggy. not a problem for me, as i actually prefer soggy fries.

braised short rib. broccoli di ciccio. turnip graten
a simply good short rib dish. it's hard to go wrong with short rib.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

flour + water

Flour + Water, an Italian restaurant known for pasta and pizza (but what Italian restaurant isn't?). it's definitely on the pricier side for small plates of pasta and thin slices of pizza. while we all know that pasta dough and pizza dough is essentially just flour + water, it's almost a slap in the face deliberately noting upon entry of the restaurant that you are about to pay a hefty amount of money for something that's base is flour (cheap) and water (cheap...monetarily anyway. right now with this lack of rain California is having, it's scarcity increases it's value otherwise). still, people flock to this place (myself included) but why? welllll, because it's delicious! i can only speak for the pasta as that's all i've tried thus far but every dish i had was excellent. the pasta is masterfully crafted and cooked to a perfect al dente. dressed with varying compliments to the pastas, there's something for everybody to like.

side note: can i just say that i get that Italian restaurants want to be authentic and use the correct terminology for their pastas but seriously, it's impossible to get a good grasp on  what these words indicate. howsabout using parenthesis under the ever-so-hard-to-decipher names with words like 'ravioli-ish,' 'maggot shaped,' or 'cone shaped,' hmm? 

romanesco cappalletti with anchovies, capers and garlic
the pasta is delicate and fragile forming a pocket holding the light pillow of romanesco. you definitely have to like the unique tastes of capers and anchovies to enjoy this dish. good thing i do!

cavattelli with lamb ragu, egg yolk, mint and breadcrumbs
hearty and deep in flavor, this is a verrrry rich pasta. the mint cuts through it a bit but maybe not quite enough. the texture of the pasta itself provides for a nice chew and the breadcrumbs give it a good dash of crunch. i will say that i am not a fan of the visual element of the shape of pasta. sooooorta looks like maggots, no? 

cappellacci dei briganti with hen polpettini and puntarelle
light little cones of pasta served with hen meatballs and mushrooms. a solid, simple dish. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

1601 Kitchen & Bar

sooo you're looking for a nice place to take someone to dinner but are tired of all of the 'californian' cuisine that has taken over San Francisco? need something a little different? how about Sri Lankan? now thaaat's different, right? but i can't actually promise that you'll feel it's strayed away from the whole 'californian' thing too much. they still present dishes with that certain type of plating of which i just can't pinpoint what exaaaaactly makes it look 'californian,' but it's there. and also, to my knowledge they use pretty local and fresh ingredients with the farm to table concept. still, how many times can you say you've had Sri Lankan? i know i've never had it prior to the other day. i made reservations without really looking into the restaurant very much aside from the high rating they have on yelp. when i realized it was Sri Lankan i was unsure about how i'd receive it because i feel like embarking in a Sri Lankan meal requires a certain mood. the spices are bold and the flavors distinct so you almost have to be prepared for it. i'm happy to report that i was oh so very pleasantly surprised with my experience. the food was delicious and the spices weren't too overpowering. the ambiance was nice and the service was well paced (though they did come to refill our water a few too many times. like, it's cool if my glass is only 3/4 full, guys.). definitely find your way there if you're looking for something a little more unique! 

poached octopus with iced tomato chutney and amaranth 
yum! they prepared the octopus just right with just enough bite and no excessive chew. this was served extra cold with the tomato granita. refreshing and tasty.

halibut "ceviche". coconut milk and serrano chilies.
this seemed like it was salt cured. matched with the cool creamy coconut milk and heat from the serrano chilies, this was a well balanced dish. i loooooved this! 

egg hopper, Jidori egg. sambols.
this was suuuper different! it's like a crisp crepe with an egg baked (medium) inside. you mix up the sambols (carmelized onion, coconut and red chili flakes) to place on top. we cut it into three servings and sort of folded it over to make quesadilla triangles. there was something homey about this dish but also very unique and different. a definite must for something new!

lamb and pork meatballs. Sri Lankan cinnamon, cilantro-almond relish and Straus yogurt
holy yum these were good! there was just enough gamy lambness so that you knew it was a significant component to the dish but it wasn't overpowering. the almonds added another dimension to the dish with some very welcomed texture. 

sturgeon. black curry. crispy maitake mushroom. red basmati rice
cooked well and pretty tasty. this dish sort of had the least amount of "pow" but provided for a nice change in pace with all of the heavily spiced dishes. 

bavette steak with coriander and roasted shallots
a simply well cooked, flavorful steak dish. 

chocolate custard with toasted curry and coconut lace cookie
decadent and smooth. you can only really have a couple of bites. the lace cookie was a bit too crystallized for my liking but it provided for a nice end to the meal. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

pretty girl syndrome

i was watching a British movie called About Time and something in the movie was said that struck a chord with me. a mother figure asked her son's girlfriend what she didn't like about herself. in her response she said something along the lines of having appearance insecurities, to which the mother said (these are not the exact words but she essentially meant...) "that's good, because when girls are too pretty they don't develop humor or build character." dead right!!! this is sooo true!

but this is not a new concept. how many times have you heard that "she's really pretty but has nothing to say?" i've definitely had this conversation with a couple of friends before and for the record my girl friends are very pretty, have actual personalities and are hilarious. who this idea about a lack of personality or humor pertains to are those naturally overly pretty girls who nobody would ever consider less than gorgeous. you know them! those who are so undoubtedly gorgeous that their looks are universally beautiful. they're so flawless that their existence is almost unfair. but i'm going to go ahead and say that often times those who are exceptionally stunning aren't very funny and don't have a ton to say. just think about the last time you heard a Victoria Secret model or supermodel quoted as saying anything sarcastic or chuckle worthy, of real substance or even really worth your time. i know you know who i'm talking about. this is not to say they are self centered, terrible people or are even aware of how beautiful they really are. they might be the sweetest thing and just nice or fun....aaaaaand maybe a little whole lot boring. i do think that more often than not when you are blessed with such beauty, things sort of just come easy for you. if you're attractive, you multiply the attention a decently good looking person gets by...i dont know...ten(?) and you get someone who never has to try. people naturally flock to them, want to give them attention and things come just a little bit easier for people who are insanely good looking. if they don't have to say a word or have an opinion but still find themselves surrounded by people who like to be around them and make them feel good, then there's no need to develop humor or build character. a friend of mine has dubbed this 'pretty girl syndrome.'

there's an episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon is dating a super handsome guy and she realizes that when she's with him they never wait in line at the coffee shop, he's a tennis coach who is terrible at tennis yet people line up for him to teach them, and pretty much doesn't have to deal with life's small adversities because people cater to him based on his good looks. the character has no idea that his life is easy or that everybody is treating him differently because he's attractive. he's just fortunate that he doesn't have to be funny or be good at anything for people to like him. everybody else has to formulate opinions/personalities or start projecting humor to find their voice in the world. but while everybody else is developing something to make them stand out, some just sit and look pretty.

maybe you think i wrote this out of jealousy. maybe not. but i know that i would never trade being funny and decent looking for boring and stunning. looks do eventually fade but your personality is what's left to shine.

*exception to the rule: Charlize Theron, who is universally beautiful, really funny, talented, and has a great personality (this is all based on my assessment of her in interviews, of course...haha)

Friday, February 14, 2014

the thing about having a deep voice is...

the thing about having a deep voice is that you can't date anybody who has a higher voice than you, right? it's sort of like height or weight. typically women don't want to date someone shorter than them or who weighs less than them. i'm not saying this should be the case (to each their own in relationships), but i am saying that i'd bet most women would agree with the height/weight thing. it probably stems from the primal idea of protection. in case you don't get it (which i really hope you do, because if you don't then some screw might be missing upstairs), in nature typically the male is dominant and larger mainly for purposes of protecting it's pride, tribe or family from danger. if being larger and taller equates to potentially having more ability to protect then having a deeper voice naturally belongs in the same category. nobody is scared of a dolphins high pitched 'eeee's but everybody would run from a lion's roar. by that logic women i typically am turned off by someone with a higher pitched voice than i have.

if you actually know me then you know that i pretty much sound like a dude. like, when i was a kid and i answered the phone (side note: land lines! once upon a time they actually existed in homes, for anybody in the semi-near future that accidentally stumbles upon this post and only has cell phones!) people would respond with "Jeremy?" and when he answered they'd ask "Regina?". but to be fair, Jeremy did sound like a four year old girl until he was twelve. or if i see a spider and scream "aaaahhh!!" it almost sounds like a sarcastic scream because my voice is incapable of reaching levels of intensity. anyhow, my voice is pretty damn deep and it just seems weird to date anybody who's octave level is like a soprano compared to my baritone (except i hope i don't actually sound baritone. what's a tad above baritone?? maybe i'm that. haha). like, if we are ever doing a duet of "One Sweet Day" and it's only natural that you take the Mariah Carey role and i take the role of all of the Boyz II Men, then it's probably not going to work out between us. i don't want to sound like the masculine one while you sound effeminate.

the other day i went on a 'date' with a guy and upon his "hi, Regina," i heard the pitch of his higher-than-my voice and immediately thought "aww damnit! well that's that!" and maaaybe he had some effeminate qualities to boot, which is probably more the reason for the turnoff. now of course if he were damn near perfect otherwise or there was an actual spark, it wouldn't be a deal breaker but he clearly wasn't so i'll chalk it up to the frequency of his tone.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

that time my brother got married in Maui...

view from our room at sunset! it was awesome waking up to the sound of waves and the smell of sunshine (it's a thing, okay?)

once upon a time (just last sunday) my brother got married in Maui to the wonderful Laura. so as not to bore you with loads of text i'll just provide mostly captioned pictures to document the good times! 

after a fairly long, nourishmentless flight i demanded suggested that we find Geste Shrimp Truck to fill ourselves with something ultra Hawaiian. Maui isn't as plentiful with shrimp trucks as Oahu is so i made it a point to make it out to what is known as the best one in Maui. surprisingly my grandma really liked it!

in front, the spicy pineapple shrimp. in the back is the combo with hotdog and shrimp scampi. all served with rice and crab mac salad. a fattening good meal to start the trip off right!

on our way up to Lahaina we stopped by Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop to pick up a few chocolate macadamia nut pies to share with people. i left with a coconut cream pie and banana cream pie too because vacation is always the appropriate time to splurge, right? we ate it all over the next few days with no regrets.

most of the guests were arriving on friday so we decided to make reservations at Star Noodle. this restaurant was made famous with Chef Sheldon Simeon's association and his season on Top Chef. when we got there we were informed that he'd already sold the restaurant and isn't associated anymore. the food was good and i liked the aesthetic of the place but i wouldn't say it was worth the half an hour drive from where we were staying (Kihei). nonetheless, it was definitely on my list to check mark so i'm glad we got to go. 

my dad, mom, grandma, Laura's mom, Kelly

Patrick, Stephanie, Jason, Melissa

Crystal, Yang Yang, Jake, Laura, Jeremy, myself

Darrick, John, Danica, little Camille

garlic noodles. simple. good. nothing to write home about.

a signature dish, steamed pork buns. delish!

brussel sprouts with bacon and kimchee. nothing special here.

hapa ramen, another signature dish. good ramen but nothing amazing.

chicken karaage. bland even with the dipping sauce. this needed to be seasoned. 

saturday morning started off with a 1 1/2 hr drive up to the Haleakala for the sunrise. this is something i was told that you have to do when in Maui. it is pretty breathtaking seeing the sun rise from above the clouds!

all of the people lined up to see the view


here it comes! 
while the sun was rising this woman started singing some native sounding song. then she told us some facts (weather, time, natural landmarks) and announced that "this is your sunrise!"


rain is frequent in Maui and the sun is a constant, providing for lots of rainbow sightings. it's faint, but there's some double rainbow action going on here!

after an early rehearsal at the wedding site, we went to Kihei Cafe for a hearty breakfast, which seems like the only type of breakfast Hawaii offers. loco moco, portugese sausage fried rice, banana macadamia nut pancakes. 

with no real plans for the rest of the day, i joined Darrick, Melissa and Jason on a "hike" in Iao Valley. reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations said that the views were amazing and this was a must-see type place, but i would beg to differ. the marked and paved trail could literally be walked in just a few minutes. lucky for us we did a little bit of research about the unmarked paths and decided to take one of those. the trail was slippery and muddy so we only went up for about half an hour before deciding to call it quits with failure to see anything special. i came back with a bunch of not-fun bug bites but despite it not being a great hike, we still had a good time. 

the Iao Needle

dinner at Coconuts Fish Cafe for fish tacos. these were huge and heaping with loads of mahi mahi and other fresh ingredients. 

sunday was wedding day!!

the exact moment i knew that Laura was going to be in a relationship with my brother for the long haul was Mother's Day two years ago when she joined my family for lunch even though Jeremy couldn't go.  i mean who does that unless you care to become a part of the family? not me! i'd bet not her either. but that's why i knew that she was something different for Jeremy. i already liked her a lot and thought that she was not only a cool person but also a really good match for Jerome. willing to compromise yet standing ground with her opinions, someone who understands my brother's dry, sarcastic humor, and someone who has made him an even better person, are all reasons why i think Jeremy is lucky to have found Laura. although i didn't know Laura pre-Jeremy, i would say that he offers the same things to her life as well. i am so so very happy for the two of them and am glad to call her my sister! 

awesome wedding...a beautiful sun shiny day with the ocean as a background, a ukulele player sharing sweet tunes, an intimate setting of twenty-five guests, and a simple ceremony. 
dad and Jeremy. weird pic. their heads were in the sun and their bodies in the shade.

my parents and Laura's mom

family photo pre-new addition of Laura. 

groomsmen, Jason and Darrick with Melissa. friends from SSFHS.

aaaand me too! Jeremy and i were in the same grade our whole lives so we both knew all of the same people. 

with the best man

missing John, who was getting his boutonniere placed. 

this ukulele player provided all of the music through the ceremony.

crystal and darrick

john and stephanie

jason and kelly

he criiiiiieed!!...and i called him out!....but then i cried. when i turned around and saw Jeremy's eyes constantly fluttering, i knew something was going on. c'mon! i'm his sister and i know how often he doesn't cry so it was really sweet that he was so filled with emotion in that moment. i'm pretty sure the best pic from any wedding is the look on the guy's face while the bride is walking towards him. glad i got a few of these pics!

i got a new sister, he got a new mom....and sister. that's crystal in the background (Laura's sister). 

cue "aaawwwww"

hoorah! and what a beautiful, classy, unique dress! the detail and simplicity in it was just gorgeous! but i would expect great taste from someone who won (or got runner up? i can't remember exactly) a contest for making a wedding dress out of only toilet paper and tape. 

fitting for Maui?

i had to prompt my dad to smile, not because he wasn't happy but because he just doesn't smile in photos. (note: of the eight photos he's in on this blog post he is smiling in one, on his way to almost smiling in two, and completely mugging in five. i swear he's not an angry man!)

i think Camille knows exactly what to do in front of a camera! baby smiles!

table settings. ha! they picked crappy/silly pictures of each person to put in between funny photos of themselves. 

Jerome saying "thanks" to everybody for joining them on their big day.

best man Jason giving his speech. this may or may not be right before he called Jeremy a racist. overall, a very good speech! funny, thoughtful and heartfelt!

comically acknowledging her potentially racist new husband.

Stephanie giving her very touching speech.

Melissa! i've seen her more in the span of this last month than i have in the eleven years since high school. 

sorry Jason! this is the only pic of the south city people and i can't help it that you didn't open your eyes!

later on in the evening we all went to a luau at the Feast at Lele in Lahaina. this different from your typical luau in that you are served a sit-down dinner over five courses which each represent a set of islands (hawaii, samoa, new zealand, etc.). 

they got lei'd! 

bottomless, heavily poured drinks all night long. 

the evening began with a pretty sunset, though i'd bet every sunset in Maui is beautiful.

washed out...too bad.

a couple of Laura's friends whom i've gotten to know a little bit. genuine and funny, i think Laura's scored some pretty great friends.

the Marcal family

monday morning consisted of three hours of kayaking along with a bit of snorkeling. it was a lot of fun but oh so very tiring as well. it was really awesome swimming so close to giant sea turtles, coral and random looking fish. i don't have photos due to the wetness factor. 

lunch at Eskimo Candy Seafood Market. mahi fish n' chips, coconut shrimp and ribs combo, 4 types of poke bowl. all pretty good!

malasadas at Home Maid Cafe. once you place your oder the lady behind the counter makes them fresh! 

a great trip. relaxing, fun, and just the right amount of activities! 

congrats, Laura and Jeremy! you guys rock the whole couple thing.