Light Of My Life

Today is a good day. Why? Because for the next two days, you do not have to worry about anything. No deadlines, no waiting for the clock to hit five, no driving home during rush hour. The only thing you have to worry about is where are you going to eat on Saturday night and what are you going to order.

I think I’m restaurant’d out and will cook at home this weekend for the first time this half of the year. I am overdue for a Farmer’s Market and Chipotle Sunday morning.

It is funny how l was talking about Marlowe in my last post and my latest dining experience so happened to be it’s sister restaurant.

Abby, the fire of my loins, took me out for a spectacular birthday dinner on Wednesday. We have a collective list of restaurants we want to try in San Francisco and Park Tavern happens to be one of them.

Located in the beautiful North Beach district, it is an upscale American Tavern that offers a satisfying menu of seasonal, market-driven seafood and meat dishes for every palate.

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We ended up just dropping the car off at valet because North Beach is the worst for parking, I did not even want to deal with it.

I love the ambiance of Park Tavern, it was nicer than your average restaurant but still felt comfortable and not too stiff.

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Everyone there was so pleasant and made us feel right at home. The waiter was charming and kept asking us if we wanted pictures of x, y or z. We might of took him up on a few offers. 🙂

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I stole this picture from Abby’s Instagram. I asked her if she would be mad if I ordered a Shirley Temple. When a eight year old orders one, nobody bats an eye. When a grown up (like myself, giggle giggle) orders one, the whole world goes crazy. Luckily, Abs was extremely accepting of my love for grenadine.

Go big or go home, right guys?

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I do not even know where to start with the food, we ordered almost everything on the menu. Both of us were huge fans of Marlowe, so I know we were in for a real treat.

First up is the Park Tavern fries. What is that on the sides, you ask? Oh, just a nice dollop of truffle and a soft boiled egg topped with caviar. Yes, this might be the most fanciest fries I ever had in my life. Fancy and delicious. My technique was dipping the fry in the egg/caviar and topping it off with truffle. It was unbelievable and I had a dream about it that same night. I wish I was kidding.

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Abs never had gnocchi (I know, what), so it was a must. Another pan-seared gnocchi dish in my corner, I am a lucky girl. This parisienne gnocchi was seared with wild mushrooms, farmstead blue and petit thyme.

I still can not believe how incredible this was.

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Park Tavern is known for their Brussels sprout chips, which I did not realize was a thing. Kale chips are so 2010, these are the new baked greens and I am excited to try to make these at home.

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She switched from her Caipirinha to a Chardonnay (or Sauvignon, who knows or cares) and I went from my very alcohol (ha) Shirley Temple to a nice Riesling. It is my favorite and the only wine I do not get tired of.

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The most amusing part of our night (besides us googly eyeing each other) was the table next to ours. Seated were two posh middle aged couples that we made small talk with and ended up being best friends by the end of the night. One of the women loved my camera and asked to take pictures of us. She just bought her first DSLR and caught the photography bug.

I obliged.

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I ordered the “Poulet Noir” to share and holy presentation. They said it would be revealed as a whole chicken but this was another level. This was served with black truffle, butter braised baby spinach and roasted peewee potatoes.

The spinach was phenomenal with the subtle taste of the truffle.

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Abby chose the caramelized sea scallops w/ yellow curried carrot puree, sunchoke barigoule, breakfast radish & chrysanthemum greens. For being someone who is not a fan of seafood, I had one whole scallop and Abs was so proud of me. I have to admit that it was great.

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What is a birthday without creme brûlée? This unique custard was made with local TCHO chocolate, chili, lemon zest and sea salt. A rich, chocolate biscotti was served on the side. I wish I did not eat this so fast because our waiter surprised us and brought out a complimentary carrot cake with cream cheese frosting as a birthday treat.

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I am surprised I was able to get out of my chair after. If you count, that is seven different dishes I consumed in two hours. I could not have done it without Abby sharing with me. I have to say thank you again, Abby, for the fantastic dinner. Love you to the moon and back. 🙂

We wrapped up our meal around 9:30p and had some fun with the valet guys and a stranger before heading home.

And that, my friends, concludes my five-day-after-birthday dinner meal with the ever-so-special Abs.

Do you ever still order Shirley Temples? Try to make me feel better, please.

Which dish would you be most excited to try?

Otra Vez

I hope you do not hate me after this post.

Why? Because I am posting pictures of Beretta, yet again. Last time, I promise.

Half of the Lisbon house went out to eat a midday meal on Saturday and we had bad luck choosing a restaurant. Everything good was either closed because of the awkward timing or way too far away. Luckily, our go-to Beretta welcomed us with open arms.

Their arugula & fennel salad was a great starter and paved the way for our feast to come.

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Just expect a picture of Taylor at least once a week now. She makes an awesome dining companion. I do not know if it is our shared love of arugula or because she is always down to leave at a minute’s notice to grab Easy Breezy with me at 10:00 pm. More than once…wish I was kidding.

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Can we take a minute and soak up this meat antipasti? From the top to the bottom: prosciutto, lard, salami, mortadella and hot coppa. We do not have to talk about the pickled salad goin’ on in the upper left hand corner because I did not like that. At all.

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I love this picture because it is an actual candid. I can only imagine the dirty thoughts that ran through my head when the waitress brought the plate out.

Hint: It involved a crostini and meatgasm in every bite. A calorie less than divine.

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I found my table lighting hot spot for these broccolini dosed in garlic, olive oil and peppers. It is hard to believe a dish so simple can taste so good.

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I know gnocchi is a cult favorite, but who has had it pan seared? It is life changing and I want to recreate something similar soon. This dish was made with pancetta and porcini mushrooms.

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Lastly, what Beretta is known for, their thin crust pizza.

On top is a broccoli rage, pancetta, tomato & mozzarella special and the bottom has hot salmi, coppa, tomato, provolone & diavolicchio peppers.

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This week is bitter sweet for me, I have to work and study a lot but will reward myself with a mini trip down to LA for the weekend. 🙂 Details to follow.

What are your plans for the long weekend? (Forget the fact that I am asking on a Wednesday).

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?

Where Are The Girl Scout Cookies?

The Girl Scouts have been pushing cookies for the last seven days and I have yet to acquire a box of Thin Mints in my possession; something is going on. This is the only time of the year I feel comfortable looking for little children in uniforms on the streets, and I am sad to report that my search has came up empty handed this weekend.

San Francisco has been making a killing this month with the weather. It was actually hot enough for short sleeve shirts and we only had one rainy day so far! To my surprise, Dolores Park was not packed as it usually is on a Saturday.

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My lunch consisted of an overpriced club sandwich (with chicken and avocado) and a side salad. We ate at an unknown cafe nestled somewhere in Downtown that I probably will never find again.

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I originally wanted to do something different, such as play tennis, or go to the museum. But my suggestions were quickly shot down when it was brought up that we didn’t own a pair of tennis rackets and the museum was closing soon. So, we went bike browsing in the land of the hipsters, Valencia St.

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I’ve been going to a few bike shops now, but I’m finding it really hard to find a baby pink bike that’s also functional in a hilly city.

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With no bike luck, I cheered myself up with ice cream at Xanath. We just happened to stroll by and found the flavors pretty unique, such as huckleberry and pumpkin pie.

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I am a coffee ice cream girl, so I got a scoop of espresso and a scoop of Madagascar vanilla. Less is sometimes more.

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Not wanting to go home, we made a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up groceries for the week and some ingredients for our home made dinner. Our sad looking cheese plate consisted of a sliced baguette, Syrah soaked cheese (so good) and crisp Gala apples.

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Chi also had a craving for Chicken Piccata, so we followed this recipe to a T and it came out amazing! Yes, we did consume a whole stick a butter, but it doesn’t happen every night and it was worth it. We’ve also been craving gnocchi since we ate at Beretta, so we cooked the gnocchi (a little bit too long) and pan fried it with sautéed spinach. The whole meal came together really well at the end and pictures certainly didn’t do it justice.

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Sunday was rather uneventful, as my whole day consisted of this:

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What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Did you have an eventful weekend?