Arepas Para Mi

I originally wrote about The Palace when I tried their “baller on a budget” tasting menu. Um, five courses for $50? Sign me up.

A few weeks ago, I heard through the grapevines that they were opening for brunch and I wanted to check it out. I am a fan of Chef Manny and was interested in what he was going to bring to the table.

You should already know that I had to bring my tasting team with me.

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I gave away what we ate in the above picture, but the first dish to come out was an eggs benedict with pork (I cannot remember which cut for the life of me) and arugula. No brunch is complete without a runny yolk somewhere in the mix.

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See? How magical does that yolk look? The best part of eating runny eggs is cutting into the albumen and having the yolk flow all over your plate like hot lava.

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The menu leaned very Argentinian and their focus are arepas. We ordered two, one steak with avocado and the other one chicken. I never had an arepa before so I could not compare it to anything but I thought they had good flavor. It hurts me to say but I think it could have been executed a little better.

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I read somewhere that they were offering steak tartare but did not see it on the menu. Katerina, the wife of Chef Manny, took care of our table and I asked her if they would be offering it soon. I was so happy when she informed our table that the chef might be able to accommodate my request.

Chances are that it is going to be a good day when I get tartare before noon.

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The Palace has an open kitchen and I love watching the talent behind the counter. Here is a picture of the owner/chef Manny and a member of his support staff.

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Us girls spent the rest of the day BBQing and I could not help but show off my godson. I really do not care about dogs at all (especially little dogs) but he is just so sassy.

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How do you feel about runny yolks? Could not live without them.

Have you been barbecuing lately? I would normally answer no because my hair smells like meat after but we actually have been taking advantage of the grill in the backyard lately.

Engaged!

No, not me. There are a few variables missing in my life before that happens.

This post was originally supposed to go up on Monday, but something small happened to one of my family members so it had to get postponed until today. However, NOT posting this would have been tragic because it is such great news!

cue drum roll….

Bailey is now engaged! Her fiancé (B, how does that sound?!) proposed in the sweetest way up in the Marin Headlands. I cannot be happier for her, especially since they have been going out since high school days. Tear!

(side note: also since our last face-to-face meeting, Bailey received her acceptance into the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine!! What a great month this has been, she is going to be my little acupuncturist in 3.25 years.)

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I went to her house last Wednesday to hear all the deets and also because she wanted to show off her new spiralizer and mandolin. We snacked on Acme bread (have I professed my love for Acme yet?) and jalapeño infused olive oil while prepping for dinner. To drink, we opened a bottle of Tarantas cava- a Spanish brut that was perfect for a celebration.

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I never made (or tried) zucchini noodles before, so you can tell by the look on my face how cool I thought the whole thing was. After about five zucchinis, my arm was so tired from the manic speed I was moving and I was over it. Dinner has to be made somehow though!

Before coming over, we sent a few recipes back and forth and decided on this one. I wanted a Asain-y peanut sauce to go with my zucchini noodles and this one looked great with the sesame oil and chile sauce.

To be fair, we did double the recipe because the original amount was not enough for two people.

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Ta-da! Guys, it was SO delicious. We both ate the equivalent to about 3.5 zucchinis and half of a bell pepper. I did not think I was going to be full, but by the end we were both trying really hard to make sure we did not have to throw any away.

It was so good that I impulsively bought a spiralizer off Amazon while at the dinner table. I have not opened it yet but once this semester is over, bring on the vegetables baby.

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After dinner, we headed over to Jacq’s house to catch up with her and also to share Bailey’s good news. Jacque and her mom went on a West Coast field trip from Portland to Seattle! I am thinking of doing something similar in late May/early June.

The selling point to schlep all the way to the Marina was that her mom made homemade cookies in the morning. (insert heart-eyes emoji here)

These bad boys were the perfect texture- crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Michael (her husband) complained about eating five cookies throughout the day- I think I had about six in the whole hour and a half that we were there. I insisted that that I did not want to take any home but was giddy inside when Jacq forced a little doggy bag in my hands before we left. They were made with oatmeal so that means they were healthy right? 🙂

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What are some must-try spiralizer recipes? Do not hold back.

Are vegetables a good replacement for pasta? I say no. As delicious as zucchini noodles are, they will never a replacement. I think it is a great alternative, but I will never spiralize when I am craving a huge plate of linguini and meatballs.

Aw Shucks

This is the face of someone who left San Francisco to recharge her batteries:

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I am so grateful for the person to think of the idea of Spring Break! It is officially the first day of my week-long vacation and to say I really needed it is an understatement. My idea of wilding out is not partying in Cancun, but sleeping in until 9 o’clock. When did I become such a grandma?

Fortunately, we headed up to Tomales Bay (in Marin) to shuck oysters and grill some carne asada for Richie’s birthday. As much as I love my city, it is hard to find serenity when there is close to a million people in seven square miles. One of the delights of living here is you can travel an hour north and have a whole new playground. I wish I snapped pictures of the windy roads with the crystal clear lakes and sure-signs of spring starting to bloom.

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I am not the biggest oyster fan (read: I cannot even) but the whole process was really cool to me. The oyster house sells them by the dozen and you go to your little reserved picnic table and grill them yourself.

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Apparently, shucking oysters requires many tools and a bit of finesse. It seems like a lot of work for one shot. Gloves, horseshoe-shaped work place and special knives…I must be missing out on something fabulous.

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PS: can we talk about how cute my godson is with his new haircut? He is lucky he has such a great mama to sacrifice her warmth so he can stay cozy.

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In order to get my dose of Vitamin D, I took a walk along the “beach”, which does not look so glorious in the picture below. I do not know if it was low-tide/drought/that’s just how it is, but the water was really far away and I even saw a dead sting-ray and some sort of alien looking shark. Was debating if I should post the pictures but it seemed a little dark.

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Let’s play Where’s Waldo and find the mini crab that was shuffling around in the sand and trying not to get stepped on. I told my roommate that all the little cone-shells were for hermit crabs, but I was half-sure and half-sure-that-I-could-have-made-it-up.

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When I came back to our table, I was so excited to see that D came! The last time was during New Years and it has been way too long. She eats her oyster “like a true Mexican” with a dash of Tapatio, lime, and a splash of Corona.

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She even found this b-e-autiful flower to put in my hair.

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Okay, last picture of the oysters. I just find them fascinating. What first human saw this rock-shaped thing and said, “Whatever is inside, I am going to eat it. Even if it is really slimy and stuck to the shell”.

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How do you feel about oysters?

Cheers To The Working Class

I have a few concerns and thoughts to go over with my small group of readers before I share the overwhelming amount of food consumed this weekend.

1. Happy Labor Day! Hopefully you got to take the day off work. Or, if you’re like myself, then you get a day off school even though you just started last week. Score!

2. Is it still a faux pas to wear white after Labor Day? I really hope not because I just ordered the cutest white pants from J.Crew’s labor day sale. Hmmm…maybe that is why they were on sale. Good thing San Francisco is not too judgmental about these sorts of things. I hope you will forgive me and I will try to remember next year.

3. Does anyone follow NPR’s instagram? I really enjoyed their ‘How To Make…’ dumpling series from all over the world. Check it out if you have time.

Saturday

Starting from Saturday, I was minding my own business at work when I received a phone call from of my favorite people ever, Bobby Moon. No, that’s not his real name but our little circle has called him that for so long now that anything else sounds preposterous. He told me he was on a ferry (wtf?) on the way to San Francisco and wanted to eat dim sum with a few mutual friends.

PS: It never occurred to me that people can take ship as their normal daily transportation. Bobby came up to visit from LA and his girlfriends family lives in the North Bay.

I have never been one to turn down dim sum nor do I have the ambition to change that so I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to get off work.

I caught a Sidecar to Abby’s house and we walked over to Great Eastern in Chinatown and only had to wait twenty minutes! Ever since President Obama came to SF and ate here, the lines have been excruciating long so it was nice to not have to stake out early in the morning for a coveted number. Thank you Labor Day and the closure of the Bay Bridge!

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We ordered around 11 dishes between the four of us, but you can see all the dim sum from my post in Guangzhou. (I covered most of the essential plates over in that post.)

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Have you tried these egg custard tarts? We call them Dan Tat in Chinese and they are ridiculously amazing. Call me biased but I think the Chinese has the best pastries and deserts.

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After walking around and feeling like a tourist, we schlepped back to Abby’s house and I got to play a game of tug-o-war with my god son, Bailey.

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And then we dropped Bobby off at the Ferry Building, but decided to grab a bite to eat at Gott’s Roadhouse first. I want this sign for my room but I don’t know if I have enough wall space. Wouldn’t that be cool?

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He ordered a Gottspacho (gazpacho) to share with everyone, I might of guzzled down most of it when no one was looking. 🙂 If anyone is asking, I recommend to dip your fries in your gazpacho. Fire!

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I ordered the Green Chile Cheeseburger w/ jack cheese, lettuce, onions, salsa verde & charred jalapeño mayo on a toasted egg bun. The staff favorite was to substitute the beef patty with a turkey patty and I felt compelled to listen to the cashier. And it was delicious.

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Sunday

The sun was out, nobody had to work and it was a long weekend. So where do we start off our day?

Beretta, of course! Whenever I don’t see a line outside, I feel like it’s a rip off to not stop in. We were on our way to Dolores Park to enjoy the festivities when we decided that all of our stomachs could of used a little padding before getting crazy at the park.

The antipasti was beef carpaccio w/ arugula, parmesan and capers. What do you think about carpaccio? I’ve eaten out with people that both loved or hated it and it’s always one extreme or the other.

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Gnocchi Florentine w/ spinach, Italian ham, bechamel, tomato, parmesan and panagratatto. I love gnocchi (especially Beretta’s appetizer with porcini mushrooms & smoked pancetta) but I felt that these fell a little short of my expectations. The flavor was delicious and I can’t say anything bad about food ever because I love it, but it tasted more like mush then gnocchi.

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I love runny eggs so I was surprised when I realized I never had it on my pizza before! This was the carbonara w/ bacon, eggs, mozzarella, pecorino & cracked black pepper. Yum, I couldn’t get enough.

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Finally after feeling stuffed, we drove a few blocks to Dolores Park and got a good spot in front of a bunch of dudes playing volleyball.

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I can’t express enough how much I love Dolores. We had a a trio of high schoolers serenade us with their Caribbean steel drums.

1. When is the last time you have seen a steel drum?

2. What high schoolers even knows how to play one? I just imagine them going home after school to practice their set list and felt a little warm in the heart after.

3. Do you even know what a steel drum is?

Everyone started playing ladder ball and I was too tired to get up so I took a cat nap.

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I don’t have words to describe the next picture but look at the size of this water container. It is literally the size of two (2) normal human heads. You could fit 2 two-liter cokes into this huge thing.

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And for the grand finale, the highly coveted Ramenburger! 50% pork belly and 50% Wagyu patty between two Ramen noodle buns with shoyu sauce, cheddar and bacon.

Remember when I showed you how the Ramenburger sold out at La Cocina? Well, Abby and I did not put up well with that so we made everyone come and try it with us against their will. It was nice to be able to say that I ate it but I think this meal officially ended my obsession with the Ramenburger.

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Happy Labor Day again and hopefully everyone ate as well as I did!

PS: It is so hard to put a duvet on by yourself. Where is my +1 when I need one?

What did you do during the long weekend? Thoughts on the ramenburger, yes or no?