Hodgepodge

Hi. I want to know everyone’s Thanksgiving plans this year. What are you making? Is there an original family dish that you must have every year or something unique that I might not have thought of?

My family is small and scattered throughout the West coast, so I have not done a traditional Thanksgiving in a long time. It will be only a few people at the Lisbon House and I want to keep things nice and easy. Perhaps I will make Brussels sprouts and order the #2 at Popeyes. If only that was possible.

The weekend was far from eventful. There was a lot of lazying around the house, research on Pink Slime (remind me to never eat a burger again) and taking naps while trying to watch Donnie Darko for the first time. I am going to get through it one day, I promise.

While working on Saturday, Taylor texted me and told me that she wanted to go eat ramen. Since it was less than five blocks away from my job, I happily agreed and walked over after work.

I had to make the hard decision of choosing between my classic habanero ramen or a new spicy sesame cold ramen. I really wanted to try the latter but knew I would miss the habanero if I did not order. Next time, I promise myself I will let my hair down and order a new kind.

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In la noche, the whole gang went to Dear Mom, a cool hipster bar in the Mission, to celebrate a roommate’s birthday. Yes, there are a lot of November birthdays at our house, we are all Valentine’s babies. 🙂

Taylor and I had a fail of a Photo Booth session.

Picture 1: Okay, let’s do a smile pose. 1, 2, 3…oh shit. I’m not looking up.

Picture 2: Kiss me on the cheek. 1, 2, 3…dude you’re hover kissing me. Okay, my turn to show you how it is done.

Picture 3: 1, 2, 3…um. Whoops, sorry. I was not ready yet.

Picture 4: We get four pictures? Okay…do the hand glasses. 1, 2…what’s the hand glasses? Ahhh 3.

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Sunday morning was nice and relaxing. I tried to do an artistic shot but clearly it did not come out correct.

Just wanted to show that you need to put on your rose colored glasses sometimes when blogging.

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The bread looks like ordinary white raisin bread but it came from a Chinese bakery. Anyone who has had Chinese bread knows that it is 20% soft, 20% buttery and 60% delicious. My vanilla cappuccino was awesome, although it started to settle in the picture below.

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After breakfast, I headed to the Farmer’s Market to pick up delicious Bolani, hummus from The Hummus Guy and various fruits and veggies for the week to come.

Taylor and I always crack jokes about each other because we will bring home a ton of produce only to be counterproductive and get Chipotle for lunch. You can not mess with tradition, right?

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Just like Underground Ramen, I have to get the same thing every time. White rice, a tiny amount of black beans, fajita veggies, 1/2 chicken, 1/2 steak, hot sauce and lettuce.

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After the smallest bit of homework was completed, we set out to bake a surprise brownie cake for Sarath. My floor does not have an oven so we baked our little hearts out on the second floor.

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Sarath came home from a long Sunday Funday and made a wish for the new year.

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Ghiradelli brownie cake, vanilla bean ice cream and fresh Farmer’s Market strawberries. 🙂

I feel kind of bad because we made her serve her own cake. Happy birthday Sarath, we love you! xxx

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Also, in the midst of all this extreme baking, I busted my lip open and now I look like a football playing hooligan. 🙁

What do you get at Chipotle and is it the same thing every time?

Who else does not care for the word ‘hodge podge’?

Taglia Il Pane

Remember when I mentioned last time that all I wanted to do was curl up with a good book? Well, I did just that and it felt amazing. I was in bed by 8:30pm on Friday night and got five chapters done before passing out. I should probably update the sidebar because I finished A Moveable Feast back in January.

Back when I use to go to Toma at a minimum of 3x/week, there was frequently a huge line next door at Ristorante Parma. I was a little confused, mainly because the menu seemed simple enough and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. However, I would always overhear patrons raving about how good the food was when they were leaving this cozy establishment.

A few friends of mine and I had original plans to eat at a Japanese tapas restaurant over in the Sunset. Reservations were hard to get, so we ended up walking around the Marina to find a place that was 1. delicious and 2. no longer than an hour wait. Our requirements seem fair enough, but rest assured, eating out on a Saturday in San Francisco can be a total pain in the butt.

The owner of Parma is a total bad ass.

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He was standing outside of the restaurant with his glass of wine and a gaggle of women. There was no list to put our names down outside, it kind of seemed like he was the Sphinx of the place and only banter and a nice smile will get you in. After going back and forth for a little bit, he told us it would be roughly an hour.

Eating at 6:30p slowly ended up being eating at 8:30p because we were having so much fun at Jacq’s house looking over wedding booth pictures. We were getting hungrier by the minute and ended up putting our names inside. To kill time, we went around Chestnut St., did a little restaurant window-shopping and came back only to find that it was our turn. Did he come out and say, “your table is ready”? No. He looked at us through the window, winked and nudged his head for us to come in. Wahoo!

I apparently can not sit still for pictures.

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The best part of the meal was the bread dipping sauce. You would think that this would be the simplest thing to over look, but they did something that most restaurants do not do. They added garlic! Olive oil, vinegar and garlic. Just one simple ingredient and it turned our table to a bunch of savages. Some of us could not wait our turn and it was a free-for-all. (AKA me).

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While we were waiting for our table, we saw that they had a low corkage fee. Jacque’s husband went to the store to pick up two bottles of wine for us to imbibe with dinner.

I like their inspected sign. Such an honest and straight-to-the-point statement.

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Bailey’s boyfriend and I shared the Affettati di Salumi. He asked me last minute right before the waiter left and it was such a clutch decision. There was salami (genoa, maybe?), mortadella and two types of prosciutto.

I was surprised at how fast we finished it, but I remember that eating cured meats is one of the finest pleasure in life and smiled to myself.

Yes, they might be high in saturated fat & salt content, but I do not feel guilty because you just have to pick and choose your battles.

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Parma’s decor made me feel like I was right in Rome. From their grand collection of vino, to the arches in the mirrors and all the way to the plastic track lights up above.

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The entrees served at this restaurant are all no frills, authentic and plain Italian comfort food. I ordered the Penne Romanoff, with sautéed sausage and mushrooms in a tomato vodka sauce.

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All of us had a bite of this Molten Lava Cake except Michael. He is allergic to nuts and chocolate, poor guy.

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I am trying to milk as many Farmer Market posts as I can before they get boring to read every Monday.

Persimmons are one of my favorite fall fruit, the Chinese eat it a lot and I never knew they were popular outside of Chinese households until a few years ago when my American friend was eating it for lunch. She looked at me like I was crazy when I asked her how she knew about them.

Excuse the tired eyes, I passed on a cup of Joe before leaving the house.

PS: I love the lady next to me, she looks like she is getting low while picking the ripest persimmon out of the bunch.

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I am dying to remake my Brussels sprouts recipe, they are too good to be true. On the agenda this week is chicken and bok choy, possible turkey stuffed bell peppers and more grapes than I can personally consume.

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Farmer’s Market Sunday is not complete without Chipotle. Taylor, I like this thing we have going on.

Chipotle is one of those places where I have to get the same thing every time or it does not feel right.

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And finally, when is the last time you have seen these bad boys?! I was at Walgreens on Friday when this bright orange bag caught my eye. I totally forgot about them!

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Any nostalgic snacks from your childhood? Do you have to order the same thing every time you go to a particular restaurant?

Urban Eatery

How was everyone’s weekends? I see a lot of races, weekend vacations and sunshine on the blogosphere. Love it!

I worked on Saturday, thought I was going to study after, but ended up going to La Urbana for a weekend happy hour and early dinner.

This month old restaurant on Divisidero St. is bringing creative cocktails, sophisticated cantina-style Mexican food and cutting-edge design.

The thing that usually makes me really excited about going to restaurants is eating. However, I LOVED the architecture at La Urbana! Check out their bar, it reminded me of the painted slats in Puerto Rico. The picture does not quite capture the vibrancy of the paint but I was really impressed when I walked in.

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What sets this restaurant apart from others is their huge selection of Mezcal. Their bar had maybe 2-3 pages of different innovative cocktails created by their bar manager, who was also our bartender for the day!

I ordered ‘The Mexican Dude’, which was a combination of horchata, vodka and something else that I can not remember or find on their online menu. I love Horchata, but never had it as an alcoholic drink before. Most will see this as a good thing, but it was so strong that I felt like I was taking a shot every time I took a sip. Ha!

They even have a freakin’ tree planted in the middle of the restaurant. The old space use to be a hydroponics store; I am assuming that it is the last remnant of Planet Earth. It would be so cool to eat at that table with a friend.

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Last picture of an awesome thing is this beautiful lady stamped almost everywhere. I fell in love with her and kind of want her on my wall.

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When it was dinner time, we moved from the bar to an actual table. Taylor is pretty much one of the coolest people ever, I want you to meet her. She sipped on a sangria, but that Manhattan is not mine. I might get booed for saying this but it is the hardest drink to finish, I have a bad taste in my mind just thinking about it. Thinking back it makes me sad because I will never be classy enough to smoke cigars and drink Manhattans.

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The chefs brought out complimentary vegan Chicharr´on de Arroz; rice cracker, chipotle salt and guacamole. It could of had a little more flavor, but it was a nice opening palate cleanser and had me ready to devour everything.   

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This masterpiece pictured below is the Queso a la Plancha: manchego and smoked salsa. You know the crispy part of cheese that gets burnt when you make quesadillas or something similar? Well the whole wrapping is the burnt cheese. I was sold when the waitress explained it to us and the dish was fantastic. Everything about it, from the sauce to the 1000 calorie per-piece pieces of burnt cheese. Amazing.

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This Carne Asada confused me a little because carne asada is usually made with flank/flap/skirt steaks. Instead it was rib eye, fingerling potatoes, chili arbor and garlic creme. They served mini tortillas and I loved the flavor and everything about this.

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Last is the Costilla de Res; braised short ribs, pasillas, sesame seeds, purple yams. I ordered this because I love yams but was really excited after finishing the plate. The ribs were so tender and I loved the aji that was on it. Tasted perfectly with mash potatoes, if you ask me. I’m getting cravings just looking at the picture.

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One last mention of their logo, I love this girl.

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This would of been a perfect meal but we were so hungry after we had to order a pizza while watching World War Z at night. Great place for drinks though, their menu was crazy.

I have been eating out SO MUCH these past few months that we made a promise to only eat at home this week. We went to the Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning and picked up cheap, organic produce and some essentials from Trader Joe’s. I’m thinking Jalapeno Green Beans, Kale Chips and a broccoli recipe for Wednesday. We were so excited with our shopping and might of got Chipotle on the way home. The week does not start until Monday anyways. 🙂

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Do you care about the ambiance as much as the food at restaurants? What’s your favorite fall produce to buy? I saw a bunch of squash but have not made the plunge yet.

La Cocina

I had something important come in the mail today.

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But I can’t tell you about it until next Monday, sorry! To make up for my vagueness, I will show you something else that came in the mail!

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I have an obsession for books. Not just the stories in the books, but physically having a hard copy of a book. This is a reason why I don’t ever see myself getting a Kindle, no matter how convenient it is. There’s nothing like finishing the last line, closing the book and then letting out a big sigh. Right?

My sidebar has been showing the same book since I created this website. It haunts me every time I look at it because I forgot about it for three months and then got really lazy about updating it. It is next on my mental to-do list, I promise.

Since you are so interested in my history with books (read: falling asleep), I had to put a bunch in boxes because my small bookcase only allows me to showcase my newest or dearest ones. 🙁

I’m just going to wrap this up and tell you that my dream library has one brick wall and the rest of the walls are covered with books from floor to ceiling. That is all.

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Moving on, my coworker surprised me and bought me a bunch of my favorite Asian snacks. They’re probably filled with lead but they remind me of my sweet, sweet childhood. Have you ever had the pandas?! If you want a healthy option, one surprisingly healthy snack is popcorn. We don’t mean the one you buy at your local cinema. But one you make at home using a popcorn maker – check out this guide for more info as as they look at makers by brands like vonshef & more. When you prepare you own popcorn you can make it as healthy as you like. In fact many people ditch sugar all together when it comes to seasoning and use far healthier herbs and spices for a delicious savoury snack.

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La Cocina (the kitchen in Spanish) hosts a food festival every year to raise money for their community kitchen. This is actually my second time going and it’s my favorite festival ever. It makes sense because food+friends+more food+seeing drunk people dance is an equation for a good time.

They hold a vote every year for the public to decide which vendors are going to be at the fair, which I think is really fun and gives a great turn out. There is a variety of food trucks, restaurants and sponsors that set up their booths and give us an option for a little bite, big bite or drink.

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I started with a small bite, tostadita de tinga.

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Delicious, but it only got me pumped and ready to eat everything in site. I didn’t get to snap a picture of everything I ate, but I did also enjoy a Korean taco (which had seaweed instead of a tortilla) and a bite of some ceviche.

Not going to lie, it did get a little hectic moving around. It took around 20 minutes to move one block and the whole fair was seven blocks total.

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With over 80,000 people in attendance, food being sold out is bound to happen. Luckily Abby an I only waited in line for ~30 seconds before the scissors came out.

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We really wanted to try the ramen burger (the next Cronut) but the line was ridiculously long. I’m actually surprised it took them so long to sell out!

Instead, we used and abused these bad boys.

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The drink tokens were so nice that I wanted to take one home as a souvenir. However, for $5 a pop, it made more sense to let it go and enjoy the outcome.

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To be honest, this darling coconut was one of my favorite things there. Thank you Whole Foods, for the hydration.

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We really lucked out with the amazing weather, all the delicious food we ate and ridiculous side show attractions. Text me to see videos, please, they will make your day. 🙂

Oh, and can’t forget the pho rolls. Stop it.

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Sunday was a little less intense, I went on my long run in the morning and picked my mom up from the airport in the afternoon. She had a layover in SF for a few hours AND it was her birthday! Talk about lucky for me.

After my run, I went to my friend T’s house because she did a little personal shopping for me. On Friday night, we met up for late night drinks and I grumbled about how me working early on Saturday interfered with my Saturday Farmer’s Market food run. She practically forced me to let her buy my groceries and to pick them up during the weekend and I obliged. Okay, she didn’t force me but she was very insistent and it’s hard for me to say no when people are stern with me. 😉

Kale, baby bok choy, mushrooms, eggplant, avocados, peaches, grapes, tomtatoes, pita chips, hummus, bolani and peanut butter.

FOR. $12. DOLLARS!!!! I hit the Farmer’s Market jackpot! She’s been going to the Alemany FM for over five years so she knows where all the deals are and made friends with all the workers. Talk about my role model!

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Last but not least, a picture of my family. I took my mom to Limon and she had a blast.

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Aren’t those sunflowers gorgeous? She absolutely loved them!

Ramen burger, what are your thoughts? What’s your dream library (pictures are always welcome!)?