Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beast and the Hare

Last week was a crazy and depressing week, of which I will spare you the details. Matt came out to the city on Thursday afternoon and we spent the afternoon at a cafe down the street from my place. He worked while I tirelessly tried to find a place for dinner. Can you believe that practically every fancy, semi-nice, American (new), Italian restaurant in the entire city of San Francisco is booked before 9pm on a Thursday night. Can you?
Anyways, I finally called Beast and the Hare where I left a desperate message requesting a table for two at 7. Then, I crossed my fingers and waited.
Lo and behold, they called me back an hour later to let me know that they had a table! I guess they knew I was having a bad week.

So here we go. Beast and the Hare. Not only do I now love the restaurant (located in the Mission), but their website is what drew me to them in the first place. They have a condensed menu which I love, but it's filled with amazing charcuterie, pastas, entrees, beers and wines.

We started with their house made spicy beef jerky which was on their happy hour menu. It definitely tasted of soy sauce, red chili flakes and it was very meaty. Matt and I think that they dried this in the oven because it was so dry in texture, but still very good.

Okay, get ready for this. If you're looking for a place that has the most amazing bone marrow for a great price, come here! Their bone marrow is served with grilled, crusty bread, a side of salt, and a salsa verde of shallots and parsley. I think this is the best bone marrow I've had to date. It was so flavorful--perfectly salted and the bread crumbs on top didn't hurt either. The salsa verde did a great job of cutting the richness of the fat, which was necessary by the time we got down to the third half of bone marrow.

We also got the fritto misto, which I could have done without. Although, the spicy aioli, the fried lemon slices, and the fried avocado were forces to be reckoned with. I think I prefer my lemon and avocado fried, now.

Paparadelle with bacon and english peas. So here's where the suckers for fresh pasta cave--more like fresh paparadelle obsessed, I guess. (If you haven't noticed this already, the post tomorrow will definitely point to our obsession.)

And to round it all off, vanilla panna cotta with cherry preserves. I love it, Matt was impartial to the sweetness of the cherry jam, so he would dig down deep to just get the panna cotta. But I liked the combination of the two--admittedly the cherry was probably a little bit too sweet, but the flavor was too good to pass up. We paired that with a Gwertz, which ended up not being a very good pairing because the cherry preserve was far sweeter than the wine. But the two on their own were fantastic.

If you're looking for a nice down to earth eatery--a little hipster, a taste of the Mission culture, a little fancy--try Beast and the Hare!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Strawberry Mint Sorbet

Today was a good day. Kona and I woke up bright and early to get groomed (a dog grooming to be exact). This is the face of a happily groomed akita, but a less than enthused model.

If you look closely in the background you'll see a box. What could it be? The ole' reliable ice cream maker! Yes, today I dusted of the darned thing and decided to make something out of the 4lbs box of strawberries I bought from the grocery store earlier this week. The weather wasn't exactly ideal for something frosty, but the weather can't stand between me and my ice cream (or sorbet).

This is my own recipe and it's just to give you a foundation for a strawberry sorbet. I'm enjoying a large scoop as we speak! I couldn't resist but to scoop myself a taste before popping it in the freezer for a final set. This is an incredibly easy recipe, everything other than the measurements of the strawberries really just depends on how sweet your strawberries are and how much you like mint. So here goes.

My ice cream maker makes roughly 1 1/2 quarts of sorbet.

2lbs strawberries rinsed, remove the stems

Quarter the strawberries

You will need the juice of one lemon, two if they're rather small
Add 3-4 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar to the lemon juice and stir until dissolved, add more or less depending on how tart your strawberries are

Finely chop about 10-15 large leaves of mint you should end up with about 3 tablespoons
Throw the mint into the lemon and sugar mixture and let sit while you finish preparing the strawberries
Add a pinch of kosher salt and stir until dissolved

Throw your strawberries into a food processor and puree until smooth, I like my puree to be a little bit chunky, but it's really up to you

Follow the instructions on your ice cream maker.
For my ice cream maker, I let it start churning then pour the puree immediately in and let the ice cream maker begin to work its magic. Then, I slowly pour in the lemon juice with the chopped mint.

It takes about 15-20 minutes for my ice cream maker to turn my mixture into a smooth icy treat. So in the mean time, I usually clean up the huge mess I've made.

And voila!
The little cup of strawberry mint sorbet that I've impatiently scooped for myself.

I wonder if the tub in the freezer has frozen up enough to make a prettier scoop.
Well, there's only one way to find out.


Sunday, May 29, 2011


I watched Julie and Julia last night with my mom...per my suggestion, of course. To say the least it was boring and to be completely honest it was an utter waste of time--I give it a 5 yawns. I was disappointed. Despite what my friends were saying about the screen writing and despite ignoring critics' reviews, I was hopeful. So in the end, I guess it was my fault for subjecting both my mom (who fell asleep half way through) and I to the pain that is Julie & Julia.
The only three things I love about that movie:
1) Meryl Streep as Julia Child--amazing!
2) Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon--looking that up now, and try that soon
3) The white eyelet dress that "Julie" wears at her rooftop party when she serves her final dish from the cookbook--finding that dress pronto

On a brighter note, it did give me the kick in the butt I needed to blog this morning about the best tapas bar I've ever been to.

This is a tapas bar that I've been dying to tell you all about. It is in Oakland but you should know by now how I've come to adore the city...well, parts of it.

This is Barlata. For those of you who love yelping and view it as the Bible of restaurants...I'm telling you right now: don't trust the rating! Barlata is fantastic, and it's fantastic because they serve latas (carefully prepared canned seafood) just like we saw on, where else, No Reservations. Ok, that's not the ONLY reason this place is great. Every dish we've had there thus far has been an exciting burst of flavors and great pairings of textures. From the bread to the dessert to the glasses of wine (which turn out to be carafes of wine), Barlata rocks.

Olive spread with warm, soft bread

Octopus cooked for two hours with fingerling potatoes and adobo oil
This is my favorite Barlata dish to date. The octopus was incredibly tender, the potatoes absorbed all the wonderful seasonings, and hello! adobo oil. I don't think you can go wrong.

Blood sausage with baby white beans and aioli
I love the aioli, probably because it's tasted like garlic and kewpie! I don't know what they cook those beans in but I want that recipe!

Chorizo with garbanzo beans
The chorizo (as with the blood sausage) was amazing, but what really grabbed my attention were, again, the beans--so full of flavor!

Roasted pig's feet terrine with, green beans, mustard, and juice sauce (Yes! and juice sauce. That is verbatim from the Barlatta menu. I'll have a glass of that, thanks!)
This was a great way to end the meal! Spread this on their warm soft bread, o, so good! It's incredibly flavorful, especially with the sauce--I think I have a growing infatuation with terrines.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homemade Buffalo Wings

I'm almost certain that this is the easiest and most successful recipe I've made in...I don't know how long. I've been accustomed to buying frozen buffalo wings and shoving them to the back of my freezer for "one of those days" when I have a hankering for spicy wings. Now it's time to toss that bag of overly sauced wings out and never buy them again! I've found the recipe of the century--Baked hot wings!

This is a recipe inspired by one that I found on All Recipes. I modified it just a tad, it was mostly to taste and it was also based on how much prep time I had. So here goes:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 20 chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup hot pepper sauce (I used one that I found at Trader Joe's which worked perfectly in this recipe)

  • Instructions:

    1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you only have aluminum foil, that's fine, just make sure you spray it with lightly with cooking oil). Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt on to a shallow dish and mix thoroughly. Add the chicken wings (a few at a time), and lightly coat with the flour mixture. Tap off the excess flour. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place into the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. (Refrigeration is crucial because pulls off all the moisture from the wings, so that when you bake them, they become light an crispy rather than soggy.
    2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    3. In a small pot melt the butter and stir in the hot sauce. Dip the wings into the butter mixture, and place back on the lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until the wings are golden and crispy on the outside, about 20 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly and then bake again for another 20 minutes.
    4. Optional: place the wings under the broiler for 5 minutes just to be sure that they're nice and crispy.

Seriously, the best wings ever.

Monday, May 23, 2011

No Boots Here

I honestly can't say that I crave German food all that often.

1) I'm not a huge fan of spaetzle, brauts, or beer
2) German food puts me in a serious food coma

So what made us seek out hofbrauhaus on a weekday after work?
The novelty of drinking lots of beer out of a boot...which by the way, this hofbrau didn't even have...(and I've still never had the opportunity to do).

Despite that, I'm so glad we went, because the food is incredible! I think we'll be having German food again real soon...especially because we didn't satisfy our boot craving.

Homemade Gravlax
I adore gravlax. I remember when Matt and I first found out about it, we really wanted to take a stab at making our own but we never got around to doing it. This definitely lit a fire under our butts to really give it a try.

Spaetzle with Ham
Move over mac n cheese, this spaetzle is amazing!
I've never had spaetzle like this, heck, I didn't even like spaetzle until this crusty, cheesy dish came out. I am crazy about mac n cheese, especially when it's baked and golden brown on top, it's irresistible. Now I think I'm in love, but only because it disguised itself as mac n cheese.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


It's been a while and I'm sorry. I really have no good excuse other than the weather and my wine binges for both class and pleasure have been keeping me from updating this darn thing (well, that and catching up on sleep). But to keep from sounding like a sleepy, tired, old lady who hoards cats and binge drinks red wine, I'll just simply stick with the age old excuse, "I've been busy".

For your patience, you get two posts for the price of one! The pictures are of a lesser quality than I'd like them to be, but at this point they are what they are. They really don't do the food as much justice as I would like, heck, they don't do the food justice at all. So I'll try to describe Dopo the best I can in hopes that you will forgive my sorry attempt at good food photography and just give Dopo a try because you simply trust my opinion.

The first time Mat and I came here to Dopo was when we first moved back to the Bay Area from Orange County. This was the moment we felt like, "O yes, we're back!" Why? Because the food was incredible! Fresh pasta, intimate atmosphere, and incredible flavors that were a stone's throw away. No more traveling over three freeways, no more going to the same five tried and true restaurants this was amazing--this re-opened culinary doors.

The thing that I love about Dopo is that the Menu changes regularly and the bread, the salumi, and some cheese are made in house so the freshness and quality are guaranteed. Their pasta is always cooked to a perfect al dente and I'm always incredibly impressed by their simple presentation and harmonious flavor combinations.

Sea urchin salad

Razor clam spaghetti

Crab ravioli in butter and chive sauce

The bill was enclosed in tan card stock with the words "Meet the wine maker dinner" on the front, listing in a few short words what the event that Sunday was going to be about. Say no more...

This was essentially a 5 course meal inspired by the meal the Chef/ Owner had at the wine maker's home in southern Italy. Bruno, the wine maker, invited John, the chef of Dopo, to have a meal prepared by his wife. John happily attended.

Each course was paired with a wine made from Bruno's 27 hectare vineyard in Campania.

Fresh ricotta and mozzerella with house made charcuterie and house made bread
Wine: NV Vino Spumante "Selim"

Insalata di frutti di mare
Seafood salad with shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, and octopus with a citrus and herb dressing
Wine: 2009 Cilento Fiano "Donnaluna"

Conchiglie with spinach and fresh ricotta
Ricotta and spinach stuffed shells
Wine: 2008 Cilento Aglianico "Donnaluna"

Braciola di maiale
Braised pork with mash
Wine: 2005 IGT Paestum Aglianico "Naima"

Torta di marscapone with straberries
Mascarpone torte with strawberry sauce
Wine: Aglianico Passito "Ra!"

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Take II

As promised, Matt and I went back! When I said in my last post that we'd be back a Adesso very soon, I didn't realize it'd be this soon. Very rarely do we ever go to the same (splurge) restaurant twice! I mean, we've been meaning to go back to Adesso's sister restaurant, Dopo, for nearly half a year now (gosh, has it really been that long?!) and still no repeat. It's sad really. But Adesso definitely made us realize that our long list of "hit and quit, but meaning to revisit" restaurants deserve a second visit, because every time we try a new restaurant and are disappointed, we always say "Man, we should have gone to insert name of amazing restaurant like we wanted to..."

So, we took our own advice, revisited Adesso and as expected, they did not disappoint.

Tomino Wrapped with Speck served with Crostini

I think I just found my new favorite cheese.
The tomino was soft baked and I guess you could say that this is the Italian take on brie. If you love brie, you should definitely give this a try. The tomino has a more delicate buttery flavor than brie but still that great, coat-your-mouth soft cheese feel. And as for the speck, I adore it! Which is why I felt like one thin slice wrapped around the tomino was hardly enough, but I guess i'm just being greedy...

The Chef's Platter
Tuscan pork belly, mortedella, the Umbria, bresaola, the picante

My favorite of the five was definitely the Umbria with the pork belly coming in a close second. It was just incredibly flavorful. The salumi that they make at Adesso is a force to be reckoned with. Even the bresaola was meaty and much better than the one Matt and I have tried at, dare I say, the Fatted Calf in the Hayes. I know, I know, gasps can be heard around the world, but it's true. See for yourself!

This is the pork belly, it definitely deserved a close up. Look how paper think it's cut--you can almost see through the translucent fat. Even on a warm night like this one, it held up pretty well.

You know you have to order another plate of food when there's still wine left in your glass.

Arancini of Pork Ragu
Delicious little fried rice balls filled with...

some of the most delicious pork ragu in town.

As we were leaving Adesso, I realized that it's so easy to find mind-blowingly great food in Oakland. Unlike San Francisco, where don't get me wrong we have great food, it's exhausting weeding out all the mediocre ones/ borderline amazing restaurants because there are just too many places trying to do the same thing. Whereas in Oakland, because of it's reputation, there are fewer neighborhoods to erect "new-age dining" so there's less clutter and it's easier to find places like Adesso, Dopo, Fat Lady, and Chop Bar. There's there's no room for flabby restaurants. While it is sometimes frustrating when people ask me where they should eat in the city, and I can only name a handful, I'm glad that I have come to know (or almost know) the Oakland food scene like the back of my hand. Oakland has yet to disappoint me--in fact, it has surprised me and continues to impress me. Despite its reputation, the food is incredible and I highly encourage anyone looking for a food adventure to cross over the bay and get to know Oakland...you won't regret it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


There are days where I crave a laid-back evening with good drinks and great salumi. Some of these days happen right after eating lots of Korean fried chicken and rice cakes...

Korean Fried Chicken

Spicy Rice Cake (with Ramen!)

What do you do when you crave spicy, flavorful Korean food AND classy drinks with a great atmosphere?

You get Korean food, and then go to Adesso in Oakland.

Made with lavender gin.

I love the Piedmont area of Oakland. Three years ago, if you tried to convince me there there were parts of Oakland with fancy, hipster, new-age dining, I would have never believed you. But now, Matt and I spend many a night (and day) dining about in Jack London Square, Piedmont, and Montclair. Granted that it is still Oakland and only a stones-throw away from the "sketchy" neighborhoods, I'll take my chances for a bite at Dopo, Adesso, The Fat Lady, or Chop Bar.

This is the first time that we have ever been to Adesso. Matt and I tried Dopo when we first moved back to the Bay Area (we were hit by a sudden craving for fresh pasta). We instantly fell in love with both Dopo's food and it's atmosphere. When we got home that night, we Googled the place to find out more about the chef and found that they made their own salumi (which we sadly, but not regrettably, missed out on). Not only that, Dopo had a branch off down the street called Adesso, which served specialty cocktails, small plates, and of course their salumi. Ever since, we've been meaning to try it.

Calabrian plate of salumi

Of course, after Korean food, we were pretty much stuffed since we only intended on going to Adesso for drinks. But while sitting at the bar, and watching the guy slice all the lardo and salumi, we had to make room for some.

Next time, we're definitely trying the lardo

Aperol Sprizter...you know I had to do it.

We definitely feel like we cheated ourselves of the full Adesso experience since we were so stuffed already, which is why we're planning on going back real soon but this time, we'll do it right. Maybe this week? I'll keep you posted.