Michelin Man

The San Francisco (and surrounding areas) Michelin Guide came out on Wednesday!

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Incase you live in the dark, this handy book “helps both locals and travelers find great places to eat and stay, with obsessively-researched recommendations to more than 500 hundred restaurants. This guide, updated annually, appeals to all tastes and budgets. Local, anonymous, professional inspectors carefully select restaurants, using the celebrated Michelin food star-rating system”. The history, which I actually found really interesting, can be conveniently found here.

It is my food goal this year to hit up all the bib-gormaunds, one and two stars and maybe The French Laundry. Although, I do not know how feasible this is because it is impossible to get reservations at State Bird Provisions no matter what. It’s probably easier to get a table at TFL or Meadowood, yikes.

The Lisbon House had a girls night on Wednesday and we ate at the Michelin-bibbed restaurant, Starbelly. (Sarath, we missed you!)

We were seated in their outside canopy, it felt really good to be outside but still have the warmth of the ceiling heaters.

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Micheladas are my favorite (alcoholic) drink in the whole world. If it is on the menu, I will order it. It is made with Mexican beer, salt, chili powder and lime and it tastes fantastic. Ciafa was suppose to be my model but the aperture kind of blurred her out. Isn’t she beautiful?

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I spotted this awesome door handle behind me and could not help but take a picture. Where can I find one of these bad boys? I really like the vibe they have going on in there, it was really cozy.

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Of course Taylor was in attendance too!

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We all shared the burrata di stefano, served with toasted hazelnuts, lemon and olive oil. Actually, I am not sure exactly what exactly is in/on it because they only have a sample menu online but I am almost sure.

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Ciaf and I ordered two pizzas. Mine is the chorizo, egg and cilantro on top. In my Foodservice Systems Management class, I have to create my own business and my idea was a pizzeria that serves “cultural cuisine”. In other words, pizza fusions with different countries national foods (Lomo Saltado, Kung Pao Chicken pizza, etc). One of my pizzas was this exact one (+ onion) so I was really excited to see it in person.

She ordered one with Starbelly bacon, jalapeño, arugula and green goddess dressing. I really enjoyed hers as well.

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Taylor ordered the catfish w/ andouille sausage, risotto and okra.

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I know so many of you bloggers are bakers and make the most amazing and badass recipes, but today in class I made a chocolate soufflé. We won out of the whole class! Ours was the best. It was decadent, rich and perfect. I was so proud of me and my lab partner. Plus I got to use a Kitchenaid for the first time and now I really want one for Christmas.

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The TA for our class brought in In-N-Out and she made me crave it all day. I had to go after my night class. I feel bad for all you East Coasters because In-N-Out is one of the main reasons I will miss California if I ever leave.

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Have a great weekend!

Thoughts on In-N-Out? What have you made in your life that you are most proud of?

Guess Who’s Back

My technology meltdown is over. Thank you for all the comments! My best friend actually sent me my favorite picture in the whole world and I laughed for almost two hours because I haven’t seen it in so long. I would post the link but it is not the most appropriate humor to share. It has to do with a dog that does a face every time it’s owner comes home, have you seen it?

Time break-down of my computer accident:

6:26p: While in the middle of writing my Wednesday post, I got up to get water. Hoped to finish by 7:00p, but ended up putting down my cup by the laptop and got distracted by something in the other room.

6:45p: Came back and accidentally knocked the cup over and spilled water all over my keyboard. It took me a minute to realize, “Gee, I should probably do something about this'”. I grabbed paper towels to soak up as much as I could and took out the battery and other things to make sure they weren’t wet. At first everything seemed fine but when I started typing, everything was in caps lock and every time I scrolled it highlighted the whole page. I think the water made my Shift key lock.

6:54p: This is when I started getting panicky. I tried to restart and it wouldn’t log me back into my account. My roommate works at Apple so I ran to her room, only to find her not at home.

7:04p: I drive to the Apple Store and strap my computer into the passenger seat. My laptop wouldn’t load anything and was stuck on the loading page with the Mac icon. That stupid icon was taunting me the whole ride there.

7:20p: I got to the Apple Store and ran in like a lunatic with my sad Macbook opened and went straight to the Genius bar. They surrounded my laptop and someone yelled, “Quick, get this laptop to a room! We need 20 CCs of power and a hard reset, stat!”.

No, that’s not what happened at all. Instead, I had to wait an hour and a half but I didn’t care. All I wanted was to make sure they were able to save all my information, because I have my whole life’s worth of pictures and documents that I really didn’t want to lose.

I’m sure most of the girls here have watched Sex And The City. That episode when Carrie’s computer died was exactly what happened to me.

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The only difference was that the dreamy Mr. Shaw was not there to assist me.

I ended up having to buy a new Macbook Pro and they were able to transfer all my files to the new computer. I just picked it up a few hours ago and have to mention how smooth the new keyboard is under my fingertips. The good news is I actually was planning to buy the new one that is coming out next month and the manager said he would extend the exchange policy for me. 🙂

I didn’t mean to make this so long but I felt like I have to tell you about my disaster of a day.

Actually, the whole day was not a disaster. I spent the majority of it hanging out with my pallie, Jacque.

After class, I went to her house for a few hours to help her with a project she’s working on. I can’t wait to share when she gets it all together, I think you guys will like it.

We got hungry and decided that burgers would be the best decision for lunch. The hardest decision I had to make all week was whether Roam or Umami Burger would be our winner.

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Roam won because it was about three blocks closer to her house. It’s actually a pretty cute eco-friendly restaurant, with their motto claiming “pasture to plate” and everything being sustainable with premium meats.

We shared the Fryfecta, which came with sweet potato fries, french fries and the zucchini and onion haystack. They were so addicting with the chipotle habanero hot sauce.

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Jacque and I both ordered the French and Fries, which was dressed with truffle parmesan fries, gruyere, avocado, onions and watercress. The only difference between our burgers was that she had a veggie patty with lettuce wrap and I had the traditional with beef patty and sesame bun.

I might be a little biased because I love truffle on everything, but now I have high expectations for Umami whenever I get around to trying it. Stay tuned for the verdict.

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Also, can we take a minute to talk about her tea collection? I didn’t know about this gem until I read a note that her friend wrote for her when he stayed over. Holy shit there is a lot of tea. The cabinet comes up mid waist and the first shelf is filled from back to front full of teas. If anyone has any questions about tea then she is the person to ask. Seriously.

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I’ll leave this post with an example of how excited I get at dinner time.

Tip #1 on how to make me a happy girl: feed me well.

Don’t mind the scrubs. 🙂
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Sorry for this post being all over the place. My technology woes made me forget how to blog. I’ll be back to normal on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Smash Time

Thank you everyone for your nice comments and e-mails over the week. A little tidbit for you: FAOT received the most page views ever in one day on Wednesday. Wahoo, here’s to many more to come! (insert festivus emoji icons here)

As my sister mentioned in the comment section of my panko eggplant recipe, summer in San Francisco is fashionably later than the traditional times of June-August. It all fits in some how, considering the stereotypical ‘more different, even better’ persona that is usually tied to our little city by the bay. (And if you were to ask me what my opinion is, then I would respond and warn you that there are a lot of degrees of uniqueness in this seven mile twilight zone.)

So. What do you think of eating during the climax of summer, burgers on the grill? What about smash burgers for a change?

I received a media invite from Smashburger’s team a few weeks ago and was a little wary of going because I am not a huge fan of fast-food chains. However, I did my due diligence and researched the company a little before I made the decision to go for it. It didn’t hurt that the tasting happened to take place during the few short hours I’m free during the week and I also live close by.

Reflecting back, I’m happy with myself for going because I really enjoyed their corporate culture and most importantly, the burgers!

A friend of mine (and writer over at Mrs. Spaghetti) accepted my invitation to feast. We have almost all of the same classes together, which is awesome because studying just got a little bit easier.

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I never heard of Smashburger before, but recently learned that they opened in 2007 and already have 235 locations! The first SB was in Denver, CO and the founder wanted a burger that was delicious and juicy in every bite.

The guy in the middle looking down at something is Tom Ryan, the founder of Smashburger. He was our host of the meal and told us his philosophy and why they do things the way they do. I just wanted to tell you guys his credentials because they are pretty bad ass.

-Masters in Lipid Toxicology and Ph.D. in Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry

You don’t hear those everyday!

-Created the Stuffed Crust (a high person’s dream come true) at Pizza hut, the Dollar Menu and McGriddles from McDonalds

I really respect Tom because he does not just let other people do his work. He knew almost every statistic about all 235 chains and I could tell he was really proud and involved in the business.

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While getting my drink, I noticed they had Honest as their tea company. I usually do not see that very often so I used it to my advantage.

Smashburger also hand selects local craft beer to serve depending on your area. He even asked us for recommendations for what to put in San Francisco!

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First to come out was a huge tasting of different fries. The Smashfries (left picture) were so addicting, tossed in pesto, rosemary and sea salt. Veggie frites (on the right) were also tasty and great for people who have a potato phobia. My favorite (and the one I kept grazing on throughout my meal) were the flash fried dill chips. I’m not the biggest pickle fan but I loved the crispiness.

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The 7-course burger meal sounded scary, but rest assured, they cut them in quarters. Still, I ate the equivalent to 2 full sized burgers, a side of fries and a smoothie. Talk about getting it all in…

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My favorite part of the Smashburger tasting was seeing that they had more than just a standard classic. I might even over touch and call some of the options gourmet, like my favorite burger: the Truffle Mushroom Swiss on an egg bun (+fried egg=heaven) or the Bay Chicken (w/ baby arugula on a ciabatta bun).

Vegetarians, they even had an amazing spicy house-made black bean burger (first picture on the left)! Everyone loved it and it’s better than the frozen Morningstar ones that I see at some restaurants.

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Our cutie helper passed out PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY Haagan Dazs shakes at the end. It was almost as if I died and went to heaven.

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Just wanted to share other dining options, like a real Cobb salad. I don’t order salads much when I go out, but when my friends do I can’t help but notice how sad they look.

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The whole gang of burgers, ranging from angus beef all the way to chicken and vegetarian.

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Tom liked me so much, he hired me as the Executive Patty Operator.

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Just kidding, but he did show me the secrets to making a juicy, delicious burger.

Everywhere you read tells you to not flatten your patties (and don’t do it at home!). Smashburger doesn’t pack their patties, which allows air to go through and create enough space for the juices to stay in the patty. Although the burgers look flat, there was a significant amount of juice (enough to trail down my hands while eating!).

Thank you, Tom!

Oddly enough, he reminded me so much of my favorite biology teacher. I wonder if they’re related.

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PS: Really need to get my hair done. Rocio, come back to San Francisco…

My final verdict? I would try it at least once! There are so many restaurants in San Francisco that I hate visiting the same place twice, but I wouldn’t mind coming back if I was in the area and needed a quick bite to eat. This particular Smashburger is located in the Potrero Hill shopping center.

**Smashburger provided me with a meal but I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are proudly my own!

Have you had Smashburger? Are you a classic burger lover or the more different the better?

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?