I Left My Heart In San Francisco

When I dropped my (nannied) kids off at their daycare yesterday morning, the sweet aroma of home made cookies filled the air right away. It was so enticing, like the sirens singing to a group of lost sailors in Homer’s ancient epic. I tried to convince myself that chocolate cookies weren’t the most nutritious breakfast, but the force was strong.

I ended up yelp-ing the closest bakery and found myself ordering a coffee, because what’s the warm cookie without a coffee? And when there’s fresh baked banana bread, how do you say no?

Thank you, Blissful Bites, for reminding me that at the tender age of 21, I am allowed to eat whatever I want for breakfast.

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The weather in San Francisco has continued to rise, I forgot what it feels like to feel the warmth wake me up from the other side of the window. Leaving the house at 7am leaves much hesitation about wearing shorts out, but today I was not disappointed.

Sometimes I am so self absorbed that I forget to stop and smell the flowers; I can not believe I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to cross the Golden Gate Bridge several times a week. While on my way to school, I had to pull over and just take it all in. It’s the little things that really get you every now and then.

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I could go on and on and regurgitate everything I learned in class today, but since I like you guys, I will show you all the delicious food I ate. My friend Abby texted me around noon to see if I wanted to eat dinner with her, I think she already knew what the answer was. Marlowe describes itself as, “an intimate, bustling dining room that feels like you’ve dropped in on a dinner party at your best friend’s house.” I’m going to have to agree with them.

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The restaurant is located right across the street from the bustlin’ Caltrain station on 4th and Townsend. By some divine miracle, I managed to get a spot right outside; this celebration calls for a round of shots! (Juuuust kidding!)

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Abby is one of my favorite dining friends because we always agree on appetizers to share. More appetizers to share means more food in my stomach. More food in my stomach means one happy hapa.

We started with Warm Deviled Eggs: stuffed with picked jalapeño & bacon, topped with aged provolone. These were a great way to start the night, nothing like a good deviled egg.

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Our next appetizer was the delightful Steak Tartare. I don’t know how this dish ever got past me, but I never tried tartare before. I was a little skeptical to eat the raw beef at first, but everything changed after my first bite. I think this is the best thing that I have ate in 2013. This steak was mixed with poached quail egg, arugula and a side of crostini. I’m just going to put it out there again that this was one of my favorite dishes.

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Abby, who is a huge fan of scallops, ordered the Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops. These little guys were served with bacon-wrapped asparagus, wild mushroom, English peas & Sauvignon Blanc cream. I am not much of a seafood fan but these were delicious, Abby raved about the asparagus.

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Strap yourself into the chair for my entree: Grilled Niman Pork Chop on a bed of sweet potato gratin, herbed bread crumbs, sautéed spinach & oloroso sherry jus. This entree was so massive that I gave Abby one of my chops and still felt full after, this piggy was a great bang for my buck.

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We finally cleansed our palate with a Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta Affogato and lemon biscotti. The Affogato was a little strong but tasted wonderful with the biscotti.

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I very much enjoyed this restaurant and will try to convince Chi to come with me for lunch sometime. His family is coming into town this weekend, so we’re just going to take it easy.

Any plans for Cinco de Mayo? Have you tried raw beef before; if so, did you like it?

Happy Birthday, Richie!

This weekend was filled with celebrations! Chi picked me up after work on Saturday and we headed over to Crissy Fields to celebrate Richard’s birthday. Parking was so easy and we found them in record time. They were still setting up, so while the boys unloaded the car, I took a picture to show what kind of amazing view we had in our afternoon backyard.

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It was just absolutely breath taking; I try not to take these things for granted sometimes, especially since I get the pleasure of driving over the Golden Gate Bridge everyday for school. It’s so fascinating to look at, particularly when the fog is rolling in the morning.

I’m always down for a good barbeque, but one thing that puts me off is the wind. It’s not a big problem, but the hair in my face and the cold constantly pushing at me puts me off a little. Bailey (my godson) thinks the same thing.

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Finding our table was hard for a lot of our friends. Crissy Fields has a small entrance that can be hard to miss, so it took a lot of us to try to explain where our tables were. We even started using this lonely palm tree as a marker, only to find out later that there is another lonely palm tree further down away from the bridge.

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If you walk ten feet down towards the water, there is a nice sandy beach area to hang out with. I saw a lot of people in the shallow end of the water, but can’t imagine how freezing it was for them! The sun was out but the air was still cold. PS: Another picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. 🙂

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The wind made it hard for us to start the fire for the grilling, it was really amusing to watch.

Q. How many men does it take to start one fire?

A. Three!

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Of course, they got it done at the end, and we were served some good ol’ fashioned American BBQ. Burgers and hotdogs, anyone? We even had a few veggie burgers for our vegetarian friends.

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Of course you’re wondering, “Tara, what are you guys washing it down with?” Well, my dear, a friendly keg happened to make its way over to our party. A Blue Moon keg, while we’re at it! (As fun as a keg sounds at a BBQ, I hydrated myself with water to make sure one of us was okay driving home.)

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Happy birthday, Richie!

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And a bonus picture of the lovely couple.

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Do you enjoy indoor or outdoor birthday celebrations? Any unique barbecuing ideas?

Better Late Then Never

Is it too late to talk about the holidays?

Winter break is an anomalous time for me. The transition from the fall to spring semester leaves roughly three weeks of free time that I haven’t had before. In that time, I have…

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Played a game of Toma Todo.

Toma Todo is a drinking game that originated in Mexico. If anyone is familiar with King’s Cup, it’s the same principle where you pour beer into a larger cup that’s placed in the middle. There’s six sides to the dreidel:

Toma 1/2= Drink 1/2 sips

Pon 1/2= Pour 1/2 sips

Todos Ponen= Everyone pours

Toma Todo= Whoever gets Toma Todo has to drink everything in the middle cup!

It sounds kind of boring, but it gets really nerve wrecking and fun to egg on anyone that gets Toma Todo after the cup is entirely filled with beer!

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Seen some amazing views of SF.

Every time I see this bridge I am reminded of how blessed I am to live here. There’s so much to love in this little city by the bay, from the food to the scenic landscapes. I recommend anyone to come visit! Seriously, I’ll make an itinerary for you and everything!

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Attended the opening of Toma.

Toma’s grand opening was on December 19th and I couldn’t be any happier and proud! All the meats are organic, local and grass fed and the vegetarian options are to die for. The recipes are from past generations of family and even the tortillas are made fresh everyday!

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Went to my friend’s holiday gathering.

Two friends of mine had moved into a nice studio in the Nob Hill district of SF and realized they haven’t had a party yet and decided it was time. They served home made sangria and lots of apps. Although the pictures disappeared somewhere, I can assure you everything was delicious. The dog above is Bailey, my godson; isn’t he the cutest little nugget?!

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Spent Christmas with my boyfriend.

With the new restaurant opening, he wasn’t able to go back to Santa Barbara and my mom wasn’t doing anything so we stayed in SF and hung out all day. In the morning, we caught a matinee and watched Life of Pi (in 3D!). Of course, it was my idea. I read the book a few years ago and wanted to see how it would play out on the big screen. I definitely think the best part of the movie was the 3D effects, but I’m happy to report that he was happy with my choice (he originally wanted to see Django Unchained). We then took the long way home and basically drove throughout the whole city.

When we came home, we prepared a Christmas dinner for two. The chicken was stuffed with cloves of garlic and seasoned with rosemary, salt, pepper and cayenne. I sautéed the mushrooms and spinach together with olive oil, garlic, salt and paprika. We also made standard garlic mash potatoes and Trader Joe’s chicken sausage.

How was your holidays? Did you cook at home or go to a relative’s house for dinner?