Extra Thin Please

Happy belated Memorial Day! I took the day off (from basically doing nothing) and spent the day eating frozen yogurt and barbecuing in our back yard.

I want to introduce you to a new-ish roommate of mine who moved in the Lisbon House sometime in the past few months. We cannot really pronounce his first name well so I lovingly nicknamed him Leo. Well, the boys actually call him Ders because he looks like an European version of Anders from Workaholics. He is here in San Francisco for six months to complete an internship at the Dutch embassy.

Although he has eaten an uncountable amount of pizza in Italy, I wanted to take him to a new-to-me corner spot pizzeria in Glen Park.

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We started our meal off with a traditional pre-pizza salad. Gialina offered a delicious avocado salad ($9) with blood orange (+ vinaigrette) and barley. I loved the acidic flavors from the blood orange with the creamy avocado.

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I could not help but take this picture that was directly in my vision the entire meal. This old-school couple probably has such a interesting back story to tell and I will just have to be left wondering. The old guy is looking like, “what the hell am I doing with this hat on my head”.

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The three of us shared two of Gialina’s signature classics. All of their pizzas are extra thin crust and instantly won the key to my heart. Less of the pan means more room for toppings. In this case, the ‘Atomica’ ($16) includes mushrooms, chilies, red onions & mozzarella. The boys demanded we added meat and I compromised with them by asking for slices of pancetta.

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The other one we shared was the Portobello ($16) w/ caramelized onion, fontina, preserved lemon & arugula. Again, we had to add a meat so I thought that sausage would make a good pairing. I could not decide which one I liked more; the first one had a really good spice but its hard to say no to arugula on pizza.

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Nothing really beats a well-made pizza and I have to thank Gialina for being open during my time of hunger. I hope you guys had a great weekend!

Thin crust or thick crust? I do not know if I can go on with my day without knowing your choice.

Westfield Food Tastemakers

Can I get one of you to do an impromptu drumroll? Last month, I was selected as one of the Westfield Food Tastemakers. Chef Julian Yeo of Straits and I teamed up to create an exclusive dish that will be featured in a new Westfield food experience.

In my last post, I mentioned a cool story between Straits and my family. A long time ago (although my mom would probably chime in and say it has not been that long), Straits’ first location was a small local corner Singaporean restaurant in the Richmond district. My mom was one of their first employees and I heard through the grapevines that she was lively and entertained her lunch patrons so well that they just kept coming back.

Well, one of those customers happened to be my dad! He would go to the post office to pick up mail and then head across the street for the most authentic Singaporean food in the city.

My dad must have been quite the charismatic gentleman because whatever tricks he had up his sleeve worked. They ended up dating and was lucky enough to have me bless them with my presence a few years later.

To think that I would not even be a human if it was not for Straits makes me feel like I should be a poster child for their company.

Back to the point- when I found out about this opportunity I knew that Straits and I had to work together. Chef Julian is the son of the owner (my mom’s old boss) and I am so humble for this experience.

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There is still a little mystery to this event because I cannot reveal our amazing entree until next week, but I am so impressed with it.

There are other bloggers that are also Westfield Tastemakers, such as:

Andi @ Misadventures With Andi who is working with M.Y. China

Mika @ Food Fashionista who is working with Lark Creek Steak

Melissa @ Savvy In San Francisco who is working with Cupola

Anita @ Dessert First who is working with CocoaBella

Brenda @ Bites and Bourbon who is working with Sorabol

We threw out ideas about what kind of dishes would be great for this event. Here is Chef Julian explaining what ingredients compliment each other in Southeastern cooking.

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He impressed all of us with the wok + fire combo.

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My failed attempts were responsible for a few laughs. A few months ago, I flipped an egg over in a little skillet for the first time by sheer luck. Apparently it was not my day with the commercial-sized wok. The chef said it takes a bit of wrist work and finesse.

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A few more coaching steps and I managed to get it down.

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I also did my part and helped chop the green onions.
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And to be completely honest, his knife skills are a lot more fast and efficient then mine, I do have to say he uses the best knives from the best review of kitchen knife set – DotBeasts so that may be helping him out!

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If any of my San Francisco readers are interested, I am giving away two tickets to the VIP launch event at the Westfield San Francisco Center downtown. Just leave a comment or e-mail me!

Kin Khao

There is always a new “you have to try this” restaurant in San Francisco. This month it is Kin Khao, a Thai restaurant that recently opened in the Parc 55 hotel downtown. After reading Sandy’s post and seeing that Michael Bauer (our local food critic) was going to post a review soon, I jumped at the chance and made a reservation before it became too well known (read: busy).

A little backstory: the owner Pim was one of the first original food bloggers and managed to gain a lot of honor in the food world with recognition and awards throughout the years. Kin Khao is her tribute to the childhood dishes and flavors she picked up while being born and raised in Bangkok.

I do not speak Thai but I am assuming that their language structure is a little similar to Chinese. We would say chi fan, which directly translates to “eat rice” but really means “let’s eat!”.

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I knew after looking at the menu that I had to order the Pretty Hot Wings. How can you go wrong with a fish sauce+garlic marinade, tamarind and Sriracha glaze? To say they were delicious would be an understatement, although I did expect them to be a lot spicier. My dining companion is the type of person to start sweating at the sight of peppers but was not phased by these chicken wings. Perhaps my batch did not have as many chills compared to others.

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I also wanted to show off the original bottle of Sriracha that they use in Thailand. I wish I had more of an opportunity to try it but the food was seasoned to a T overall and the additional heat was not necessary.

Kin Khao has an impressive list of cocktails and I almost gave in; however, the Thai Ice Tea was calling my name and I answered without hesitation.

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The first dish to come out was an unique take on a traditional Pad Kee Mao. This is usually one of my staples when I go eat Thai but I never had it with rabbit before! It is not located on their menu online so I can’t remember everything in it but from the picture alone we can assume that there is basil, julienned peppers and onions. What you cannot see is the Bird’s Eye Chili that leaves you unable to close your mouth from the slow, burning pain. Worth it every time.

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Next is Pim’s take on a traditional Cantonese dish that I remember from my own childhood: Khao Mun Gai.

The chicken was poached with ginger and served alongside rice that was cooked in chicken fat. I love how the dish was presented with the long sprigs of cilantro because it did not last long after I poured Pim’s special sauce (in the following picture) and mixed everything together.

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What was really interesting about the dish (above) was that it came with a side of ‘intense’ chicken consommé. The waitress told us to take a sip every few bites to cleanse the palate.

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Okay, now what I have been waiting to share. I do not know if your eyes are even worthy to look at the picture below (and to be honest, Sandy got a better shot).

The real star of the show was the Massaman Nong Lai. Man oh man, this might have been the best thing I ate these past two months.

First, the bone-in beef shank is braised for over 24 hours in a medley of complex flavors such as house-made Massaman curry paste, coconut milk, burnt shallots potatoes. (oh, the potatoes)

Second, you might notice a little spoon and that is where the jackpot is at the end of the rainbow. Nestled inside is rich, melt-in-your-mouth bone marrow; it does not sound too appetizing but I am thinking about going back just for those few bites. Really makes the curry worth the $26.

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We wanted to get dessert but felt like a good ol’ fashioned San Francisco It’s-It instead.

And to leave this off with a surprising fact:

I rarely take pictures of myself. Yes, this blog has like 10,000 almost identical pictures of me eating, smiling and/or laughing but I never remember to take selfies. So here I present to you, my first selfie of 2014.

(do not worry, the car was parked and I realized I forgot to take one at dinner so I had to find a way to make up for it.) 🙂

Also, after opening this picture on my computer I realized how horrible my iPhone front camera is. Time to upgrade…iPhone 6 when are you finally coming out?

When eating different cuisines, do you prefer traditional or fusion?

Something Fishy

I was really excited to get back into a normal blogging schedule but sometimes life just gets in the way. I mentioned last post that something small happened to one of my family members. Well, last week my grandpa was admitted to the hospital after falling outside of his house. He suffered from a subdural hematoma and had to get Burr holes to help drain the hemorrhage. Good news is that he is doing so much better now and finally got moved from the ICU. My mom came down a few days ago and it was nice to have a helping hand in regards to hospital visits and etc.

After we took care of all the hospital stuff, I drove her to my aunts house in Marin where we had a fantastic dinner.

My mom brought down fresh box crab from Oregon and it honestly looks like something out of a Alien vs. Predator movie. My auntie Helen and my mom went to work and cracked open the meat out of two crabs so my cousin and I could make homemade sushi (!!).

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We also got this little fella ready to make for dinner. (just kidding, we’re not that Asian). (ps: I hope nobody gets offended by that comment)

Chewy is a grumpy bunny and is not too fun to hang around. I let him have his space.

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Annie and I have been friends since we were three years old! She moved across the street from our old houses and our moms became best friends. She is basically family and I love coming over and hanging around her house although I do not do it as often as I would like.

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I also just wanted to quickly show off these rolls we made. The triangle shaped ones are box crab + cucumber + avocado (basically a California roll) and the other ones are salmon + avocado.

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Since my mom has fresh access to salmon and crab, we had a seafood feast. Also, the wild-caught salmon came straight out of the water two days before it was on our plate.

Cannot forget the Chinese veggies either, they are so delicious with a little bit of salt and garlic.

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It is rare that my mom and I get any alone time together, so we had a nice afternoon after visiting my grandpa the day after. Normally we are on the move when she comes down to visit, but a few hours of downtime before dinner led us to grab ice cream cones at Bi-Rite (she got a scoop of ginger, yuck) and snap a tourist selfie at Twin Peaks.

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