Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Culinary art.

I'm back now (sad!). And because I need to catch up on sleep, I'm just going to give one more quick little highlight before I sum up the whole trip:

We spent the second half of our Saturday in Golden Gate Park where we attended San Francisco's Zine Fest, a conference for independent and underground publishing. I didn't know what 'zines' were before that day (short for 'fanzine,' Wikipedia defines them as a "small circulation, non-commercial publication of original text and images"), so it was a super neat experience in learning about something completely new and observing such diverse talent in art, storytelling, wit, humor and weirdness. The last part I say with admiration.

And wouldn't you know it, there were even some food-inspired items:

These deliciously adorable note cards are by Motormouthpress, which produces stationery rather than zines (it's sorta related, I guess). Click through their site to see more food-themed cuteness.

I should have gotten twenty more of these. Although, then I'd just have a huge stack of note cards that would sit on my desk forever, as they are almost too pretty to part with. I suppose I could send them to myself.

"Dearest Me,


Love, Me."

(And if you're wondering what's on the other side of the card, it has the chocolate petite cake in a gift box, with a speech bubble that says, "I miss you, too, Raspberry." AWW.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lunch at Haight and Ashbury. Or near, rather.

Okay, so I'm really behind. And now I only have time (and room) to talk about one part of my Saturday: lunch at a Nepalese restaurant.

Metro Kathmandu
in/near the Haight and Ashbury district was my first venture into Nepalese cuisine. And first impressions were delicious.

A mango lassi was a sweet, thick thirst-quencher, which whet my appetite and made me hungrier. Luckily, the food came out quickly.

A chicken and mango spinach salad with tamarind dressing and shaved fennel. The chicken was a little on the tough side, but the perfectly ripe, juicy mango more than made up for it.

Chicken curry with basmati rice was a lighter, less rich version of Indian-style curry. Which isn't bad at all -- just pleasantly different. This time the chicken was fall-apart-in-your-mouth tender. SUPER MONEY TENDER. Hahaha silly Guy Fieri.

Finally, I was most excited to try these Everest momos -- stuffed with ground buffalo meat, curry, onion, garlic and ginger, served alongside a tomato chutney. Since this is the first time I had buffalo, I can't really say yet what its distinct qualities are. Perhaps.. a juicier version of beef? 'Yummy' could be another distinctive quality..?

I would love to try more of Nepalese cuisine. I wonder if there are any restaurants in Orange County.

Sounds like a food quest is in order.

* * *
Metro Kathmandu
311 Divisadero Street
San Francisco 94117

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Asian Ghetto," nap, sushi.

Hah! You probably thought I wasn't going to update, huh?! Yet, here I am.

So just a quick rundown of today's food consumption:

A late lunch at Berkeley's "Asian Ghetto" on Durant Ave. consisted of lamb gyros from Meesha's Berkeley Gyros and a lychee-avocado smoothie from Sweetheart Café. Both were yummy and filled an empty stomach caused by preceding hours of luggage-towing.

Don't ask me why we got Greek/Mediterranean grub at an Asian Ghetto. There happens to be pretty good Italian there, too.

After an impromptu tour of UC Berkeley's campus, we returned to my sister's apartment where I promptly collapsed on the floor and snoozed for an hour and a half. I awoke to: "I'm hungry -- let's go eat some sushi!" and groggily (and happily) obliged.

We got three monstrous rolls at Joshu-ya Sushi. They were too gigantic for this blog, in fact. I'll show you only one: The Lucky Danny Roll. (I wonder who this Danny is. And why is he so lucky?)

Shrimp tempura, crab meat, asparagus tempura, topped with fresh salmon, avocado and tobiko. Quite heavy because of all the fried goodness, but pretty damn tasty. And the fish was very succulent.

To sum it up: Traveling, food, nap, more food, sleep. It was a pretty good day.

Tomorrow: San Francisco!

* * *
Meesha's Berkeley Gyros
2519 Durant Ave.
Berkeley 94704

Sweetheart Café
2523 Durant Ave.
Berkeley 94704

Joshu-Ya Sushi
2441 Dwight Way
Berkeley 94704

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Berkeley foodventures to come!

I'm leaving for vacation to Berkeley tomorrow, camera in tow, and the part I'm most excited about is checking out all the local food places! Oh, after seeing my sister, of course.

I've heard that Berkeley has some of the best food and most talented chefs in the country. Ooh! I'll try to update while I'm there, but I might be too busy having fun or stuffing my face.

On a separate, but related, note: I am really wanting and trying to update this blog more often. It's not that I have a lack of material (SO many things to ramble on about) -- it's a lack of time! Boo, bill-paying job!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chocolatey goodness.

When your pastry chef cousin Irene asks you if you want to attend a free Valrhona chocolate demo, all you can do is say 'hells yes.'

I mean, come on: it's free, at Surfas (absolute heaven for chefs, gourmands, and cooking enthusiasts), and it features the be-all and end-all of chocolate -- mother effin' Valrhona. You don't have to ask me twice.

Corporate chef for Valrhona, Derek Poirer, with his endless capacity for patience and chocolate knowledge, demonstrated recipes and humored silly questions from participants for more than two hours.

Oh yeah, and he also fed us chocolatey goodness:

Above, a chocolate financier, studded with streusel and "Valrhona's solution to the chocolate chip," per the description of chef Poirer's assistant. And that Tootsie Roll-looking thing on top? A luscious log of chocolate custard.

Valrhona's chocolate mousse topped with macerated strawberries. Because 'macerated' is a way cooler word than 'chopped.'

Chocolate soufflé, which was actually a baked version of the chocolate mousse.

Finally, chocolat chaud made with a special chocolate spiced with curry, cumin and other spices. Oh, and topped with fresh vanilla foam, of course.

The recipes are supposed to be available someday soon on the Surfas website -- if and when they do post them I will include the link here. For now, please join me in drooling at the photos and fantasizing about swimming in a giant tub of chocolate mousse.

* * *
8824 National Blvd.
Culver City 90232

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Independence Day: The red velvet strike ends!

In celebration of 4th of July, my cousin Cha and I made red velvet cupcakes. Or rather: "Blue(berry), White, and Red (Velvet)" cupcakes. Tee hee hee.

I had a much better, less redder experience with red velvet this time around (we only put half a teaspoon of red food gel into these babies).

My cousin preferred red sugar crystals for decorating:

"Aww, yours are cute. They're rustic and homey!"
"Hey, Irene always uses 'rustic' whenever she messes up on something."

"Rustic" or not, they were mighty tasty. And not frightening in the slightest. REJOICE!