I have a confession to make.

I am not proud of it, nor do I condone any of the behavior…but I really like watching Maury.

It is rare that I am home and have time to watch daytime TV, but once in a while I do and I take full advantage. For example, yesterday after nannying, I got in bed and cuddled myself for a few hours while watching Maury. And it was the best feeling ever. I did not have to worry about anything besides wondering who the baby daddy was or if X cheated on Y with X’s brother and the kids might not be his but it turns out that none of the kids are his OR his brothers and they have to pull the third cousin on the show. I am getting a little adrenaline just thinking about it.

The guy on the show yesterday did a backflip when finding out he was not the father and I even found the GIF to show you.

Only a few people know my secret because I know how unbelievably trashy it is.

What’s not a secret is how much I loving eating out. Once upon a time (last year), there was a restaurant that said breakfast restaurants in Chandler  try Grubstak and that was the talk of the town. It was a little mysterious, no menu and looked closed down from the outside. However, it had rave reviews and I really wanted to try it out.

Chef Manny, the original chef moved a few doors down to do a pop-up at Roxy’s Cafe and finally opened his own, larger restaurant at The Palace Steakhouse. After hearing this news, I put it on the back of my mind and tried to make reservations, only to find out that you basically have to text his wife (FOH) and wait for her to get back to you. It took me a little bit of time to correlate times that worked for the both of us, but I finally got a table last week and I was so excited to finally try Chef Manny’s food.

The best way to describe the way his menu is “Baller On A Budget”. I read this on Yelp and agreed 100%. $50 for a six course tasting? Sign me up!

Something I thought that was really fun about this restaurant was that it was completely BYOB. He was in a rush to open and San Francisco permitting takes longer than eternity, so he opened up the drink option for his guests to decide.

I am no wine connoisseur, so don’t judge this bottle of wine I bought at the liquor store right around the corner from the restaurant. I secretly wanted to pick up a tall boy of Modelo but felt that it would not of been the most classy thing to do.

PS: Please don’t think of me as this white-trash mammal. I just happen to like Maury and drinking beer, but I promise I don’t do it at the same time. I like to think I am pretty well put-together in person. 🙂


The restaurant was pretty bare-bones and left many remnants of the old place that belonged there before. It added to the cool, hipster feels of dining there. You might notice that there is no one around because we had the first reservation at 6:00p.


The first taste to come out was a charlene melon with baked Pacific salmon, served on a bed of onion, sprouts, salsa de ajo and a seaweed salad. It was garnished with Calinjula flowers and wheat berries.

My favorite thing at Japanese restaurants is the seaweed salad, so this was a wonderful course for me. I really enjoyed the crunchiness of the salad in relation to the other fresh flavors on the plate.


Next to come out were the oysters, which I was really worried about.

If you have been reading for long enough, you know that seafood is basically my worst nightmare. My mom tried to feed me a tiny piece of fish when I was 6 months old and I just tongued it out. I have tried it a few times throughout my life and can not get rid of the psychological hatred of the water-dwellers.

Eating the swordfish and lobster at the Grand Chef Rendezvous made me open to try new things. I didn’t mind the salmon in the first course, but oysters are a different story. They are one big piece of slime and I was going to pass but I realized that I had to put my big girl panties on and give it a try.

I even softly told my waiter that he was going to take my oyster virginity.

These fancy mollusks were Glacial oysters served with a Wasakaka sauce, house-pickled shallots, smoked chili, salt and black pepper. Garnish was a yellow marigold.


It was….interesting. Okay, I might of not had the prettiest face while eating it but it was not Chef Manny’s fault, I just am not a huge fan of oysters.

One of my favorite things about the meal was being able to see him create his dishes right in front of us. It was like he was putting on an unintentional show for us.

The third dish to come out was Maine lobsters prepared three ways.

First on the left is a lobster bisque with sea beans and corn, finished with fresh chervil.

The middle concoction is lobster tail sitting on a house aji sauce with green onion, avocado and habanero water.

Last on the right (my favorite) was a lobster claw ceviche on a platacones (similar to my recipe!)

*If I get any of these ingredients wrong and you know it, please e-mail me because there was no written menu and this is all from memorization and a few notes I jotted down


For our intermission, I wanted to show you this little pumpkin on our table! The blogging world has been going crazy over pumpkins, so I felt it was fitting.


Forth to come out was an amazing quail breast and leg with a lavender jus. It was recommended to eat with your hands because there was not much meat on the bones, but it was perfect with the right amount of spice. It came with a quick poached egg and broccoli/cauliflower florets.

The Pedron peppers are grown exclusively for the restaurant from Happy Quail Farms and the green one reminded me of the numbing spicy hua-jiao peppers from Sichuan in China.


The penultimate course was a medley of pork cooked three different ways. The meatball was braised with the wild Lithuanian porcini mushrooms, coconut and tomato sauce (which had me still thinking about it the next day). Also included was pork belly and cap.

The Chef’s wife’s mom actually handpicked the mushrooms in her backyard and mailed them over for the restaurant! I like to call it international foraging. 🙂


Finally, for the last dish was a steak that was cooked in a water bath at a constant temperature for two hours. Other things on the plate includes a deconstructed salad, beef jus, golden and red beef puree and bleu cheese.

I’m not the biggest fan of bleu cheese but think it went really well with the lettuce and beets.

Sorry for the steak lighting, the sun was already down and I know it does not look that appetizing but it was so good.


Desert wasn’t included in the tasting, but sometimes you have to just go for it and I am so happy I did.

I think it was my favorite thing the whole night and I was happy with all of the courses.

Again, the pictures doesn’t do it justice at all but I think the dulce de leche and queso fresco soufflé really put me into a new magical safe zone. It was one of the best deserts I have eaten in a long time. The house-made Maracuaya passion fruit ice cream and berry trio really pulled all the flavors together. Who doesn’t love hot and cold deserts.


Hopefully you read through everything because I included some commentary, life lessons and stories to tell your future kids scattered throughout all the pictures. Maybe not so extreme but I was happy to share my meal with you. 🙂

Happy Friday!

What’s your guilty pleasure? And be honest so I don’t feel bad about mine.

25 thoughts on “Confessions

  1. I think Maury is everyone’s guilty pleasure. I mean…it’s endlessly amusing. And a little disgusting. 😛

    This pop up sounds fabulous! What a great meal, and for such a reasonable price!

  2. Keeping Up With the Kardashians is mine! I don’t watch it regularly, but if I happen to come across it, I get sucked in. Oops!

    And queso fresco souffle?! Sounds amazing! Glad the wait was worth it.

  3. Hahaha sometimes that show just sucks you in! I never intend on watching it but if it’s on in a waiting room or something, I’m all about it! Same goes for Judge Judy type shows… So ridiculous! All those things look so adorable and really cute portions, too. I HATE oysters so props to you for getting it down, albeit with a smirk on your face! 🙂 Dessert is always the best course and I know that stuff was good, it looks so YUM! Haha the mushroom situation… So interesting but so cool. I love knowing that the food I’m eating is straight up fresh and local – there’s nothing better. Happy Friday!

    • Meghan it was the worst. I really wish I had an adult palate and enjoy shucking oysters while drinking a martini but I don’t think I will ever try one again.

      Okay, forever is a long time but not until I somehow get brave again.

  4. Wow! What a dining experience you had! 🙂
    Hmmm guilty pleasure…it used to be watching 90210 (the new one, I’m not embarrassed about liking the old one!) but it went off the air, so I guess I need a new guilty pleasure.

  5. there was a time I would watch Maury in the afternoon – mostly because that was the only thing on TV worth watching (can you believe that!)and I had nothing better to do – but I got over it very very quickly! In the past couple of years, Maury is being filmed at a studio in my town (stamford, CT). My town has been on the map this week for other reasons too – the woman who rammed into the whitehouse lived half a block away from us. We’ve been very popular, but that was off topic.
    That food looks soo good and I love when chefs work in non-traditional settings – it makes the whole experience that much more interesting and cool !

    • Ha! It’s either Maury or Judge (whoever). I choose Maury! And yes, I know they film in Stamford. I actually want to watch one day whenever I visit New York. It’s on my secret bucket list!

  6. I’m with Erin on this one. Miley = not a fan. “We can’t stop” = big, huge, dorky fan (I may or may not sing it out loud when I’m running, and not on purpose).

    The juxtaposition of this post makes me smile, a lot.
    Maury + beer, then a masterful (?) segue into what looks like a 17 course foodie-gasm meal + lip smacking recollections to go with.
    You wear so many hats. I like them all.

  7. International foraging…amazing! I still watch The Real World so no judgment here! Just sent the name of this resto my my BFs sister who lives in SF. Then again I basically send all of your resto recommendations. If I can’t eat there you better bet every person in SF that I know will be!

  8. Hey, everyone is guilty of their guilty pleasures….
    The food looks good along with the gal in black and white.
    I used to watch so much of the K’s…seriously I am over it now and I watch Carrie Diaries..haha..and I have a teenager..

    • I will also get hooked on the Kardashians. Although, it’s more of Scott that I think is the funny one out of the bunch. He says things that make me wonder if he thinks before he speaks…like Tobias from Arrested Development.

  9. I swear, you eat the most varied and interesting food- reading your blog makes me want to move to San Fran!

    Never heard of that show, but the amount of trash I watch but don’t admit to….. oops. PS I obeyed and posted the cauliflower crust recipe…although I would rather dine out in your hood!

  10. I was really into America’s Next Top Model a few years ago. But that was when we had cable.

    I love reading about your SF dining adventures. We can only go to places that have high chairs, and even then it’s never the relaxing experience it used to be! Someday …

  11. They need to come on over here to Kuwait & open another restaurant. I love the freshness of all ingredients used for their dishes.

    p.s. It’s perfectly okay to enjoy Maury – who doesn’t? 🙂

  12. I think you are quite well put together person, so no judgement is coming from me! 🙂 I love how fresh and fallish everything looks. The pumpkin next to the wine is adorable! And enjoying Maury is totally not a crime in my book. I’m guilty too! 😀

  13. Maury is pretty trashy. You should be ashamed! 😉 Real Housewives is my guilty pleasure. Those women are just awful.

    That meal was no joke! Mushrooms mailed from the chef’s wife’s mom? I’m impressed. Really, it looks like he put so much thought into each dish. And all of that for $50 is a good deal. The only thing that would have made that better was a tall boy. 🙂

  14. Oh wow, I’ve been meaning to try out Chef Manny’s new place. You beat me too it! But now I can get a preview from your photos. I have to make plans to go! Good for you for trying the oyster! I love oysters and that looked like a good one.

    As for my guilty pleasures, I watch a lot of TV but I do stay away from a lot of the trashy ones. I think the only one that comes close is maybe Millionaire Matchmaker?

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