Time For Tapas

So big things are happening in California…it rained last weekend. I know that I am late to the party considering today is Friday, but we are just going to ride this out.

Last Saturday, I was in that in-between stage of being sick where I was displaying symptoms but not quite bedridden yet. Staying home all day made me feel bad for myself, so I decided to go out and support Loló’s opening weekend at their brand spankin’ new location on Valencia St. (their original location was only a few blocks away, but bigger is always better and this place could fit at least double the crowd)

Take a second and see how depressing it is outside. Boo umbrellas and bokeh.

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Then welcome yourself inside and feel an instant mood-changer. Boom, just like that. What kind of human does not like palm trees and sunsets? (+ bartenders and a whole page of mescal cocktails)

Also, their wall of vintage car doors? Stop it.

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Their decorations were so tacky and bright that I fell in love instantly. Props to their interior designer, every wall was so different but worked so well.

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We started with a plate of guac + chips w/ cotija cheese and pomegranate seeds! ($6.5)

There is always a first time for everything and I loved the pom seeds, I might have to make it this way next time I have friends over.

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If there is a food trend in San Francisco right now, it is definitely fried Brussels sprouts (sister, you called it). Every restaurant I have eaten at lately has it on their menu and I always get sucked into ordering them. No regrets, as they are perfect every time.

Loló makes theirs with shallots, hazelnuts and late harvest zinfandel vinaigrette. ($6)

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Funny story, it was a tie between Brussels sprouts or the Mexiterranean Cheese Fondue ($9) w/ oaxaca cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, oregano and organic corn chips.

After a few minutes of deliberation, we realized that we are adults and can order whatever the hell we want for dinner. Both it is!

PS: That is a piece of bread that is holding the fire, putting the literal meaning of working with whatever is in your kitchen.

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Grecia is going to be my stand in for this post because I looked horrible (think sick nose, beanie and oversized sweater). Also notice the coats sewed into the chairs, I love it.

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She ordered a Michelada first and it did not take me long to realize that I really wanted one too. ($ no idea)

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After eating the crab salad at Tosca Cafe, I have been craving more of this local crab since it is in-season and was happy to see it on the menu here as well.

Introducing the Dungeness crab croquetas con garlic aioli and mirasol pepper reduction. ($8.5) I love bite sized food when eating tapas, so these were fun to just pop in my mouth.

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Grecia’s favorite of the night was the shrimp and rock fish ceviche, w/ a citrus roasted pepper sauce, avocado and salted peppercorns. ($11)

I am not a huge fan of seafood as you know, but I did try a bite and thought it was a good tasting ceviche (from the few other times I tried). I also wanted to take the spoon home with me.

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My favorite was a tie between these chicken confit ‘tinga’ tostadas with bacon, chipotle peppers and roasted tomatoes (8) and the pibil roasted pork shoulder gorditas ($8) (no picture because I ate them faster then my brain could think about pulling out my camera)

I think I should be an honorary Mexican because:

1a.) I look like I am one (under the right settings, Chinese and European genes will cross and tangle into one Latina looking baby)

1b.) Patients come up to me and speak in Spanish

3.) I love everything Mexican food

4.) Not to toot my own horn but my Spanish accent is spot-on…now all I have to do is catch-up on vocab.

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The penultimate tapa was the lamb sliders on a brioche bun and porcini mushroom sauce ($10)

I really wish I liked lamb because these looked so amazing in every way. Damn you, gamey meat.

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And finally, the vibrant ‘diabla shrimp’ with a creamy and spicy cascabel and chipotle pepper sauce, white mushrooms and white rice. ($15)

You really cannot go wrong with shrimp and cream sauce.

Especially not with white rice, I have been eating so much healthy rice (brown, wild, black) and quinoa lately that I almost considered just eating a whole bowl of regular rice and skipping the shrimp. (do not fret, I had Chinese food for dinner last night and had my fill of white rice for the week)

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Last year if you asked me if we should share a desert, I would have been fine either way. Now I feel like my meal is incomplete without finishing on a sweet note.

I do not remember exactly what this is, but I know it is a berry truffle with hints of basil.

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PS: Happy Birthday Ciafa!

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PPS: Happy Valentines Day! If you want to be my Valentine, listen to the new Frank Sinatra compilation all day today like I have been doing this whole week. Then, feel free to e-mail me and let me know how much you enjoyed it and what your favorite song was. Also, mail me a rhubarb pie. That would be the most ultimate Valentines day ever. 🙂

(it’s called Sinatra, With Love)

PPPS: A reader e-mailed me and asked if I could start including the price of the dishes I order. I thought about it and did not want to be embarrassed (no shame) on how much I spend on food, but we will try this out for a few weeks and see if I like it.

PPPPS: (last one, I promise) Do not forget to enter the Zabada Clean giveaway!

What are your Valentines day plans?

Do you like eating tapas? If so, what is normally your favorite dish? I always get one shrimp dish and chorizo if they have it.

The Ceiling

Thanks for all the nice comments from last post! You guys really know how to motivate a girl. So much that I took an extra step on Saturday after I got off; I worked out in our backyard (which never, ever happens).

Living in a house with a bunch of people leads to a pretty bad ass outdoor gym setup. We have ropes, balls, weights, jump ropes and even a TRX hanging thing.

One of my roommates even saw me from their window and decided to pop outside to photograph such a noteworthy event.

(PS: I think I’m going to start growing herbs in the flower bin behind me. Hoping basil, parsley and cilantro grow well in our climate!)

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I’ve been traveling all over this past month, so it definitely felt good to just get back in the swing of things and have a normal weekend. My workout was grueling, intense and seriously exhausting. Just kidding, I actually did two circuits of The Scientific 7-Minute Workout and jumped roped for five minutes after. I heard so many good things about it and what’s not attractive about only working out for seven minutes? Seriously.

With stomachs a-rumblin’, I showered up after and headed to the Mission to wine and dine at El Techo, Lolinda‘s very own rooftop bar.

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Outside Lands, San Francisco’s biggest music festival, happened this past weekend and I didn’t regret not going until I saw all the fun everyone was having on my Instagram feed. It’s definitely a weird lineup, with artists such as Sir Paul McCartney all the way to Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kaskade.

With that being said, you can’t complain about the roof top view on a nice San Francisco day.

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The whole menu looked appetizing, so we ended up getting just about everything there.

Starting off with guacamole that can only be rightly compared to my amazing home made creation.

The queso fresco on top really kicked it up to a whole new level.

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Wasn’t kidding about the queso fresco, I couldn’t get enough.

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Flautas de Pollo, tomato poached chicken and pickled cabbage. So delicious, but sadly only a teaser.

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And for the grand finale, tres chuzos. These, by far, were some of the best kebabs I have had in my life.

1. Carne- flap meat, onion, zucchini & chimichurri

2. Camarones- white shrimp, aji amarillo glaze & salsa criolla

3. Pollo- marinated chicken, red onion, aji amarillo

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Yes, that is a pitcher of Piña Colada in the back and no, it was not a good idea. At all.

After weeping silent tears because I hit my max, we decided it would be an amazing idea to overcompensate and head over to Humphry Slocombe for some good ol’ unfashioned ice cream.

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I only like two types of ice cream flavors: green tea and coffee (sorbet and gelato doesn’t count), so it only felt right to order the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee.

So worth it, although my scooper guy was new and skimped me on a full scoop. So it goes.

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How was your weekend? Would you dare to try the Jesus Juice flavor? (It was actually red wine and Coca Cola)

Fri-days

I just want to tell you guys about the great week I’m having. It involves:

A. Game of Thrones– So I’m not usually into the whole medieval knights and queen shenanigans, but my roommate basically told me that I could slap her if I didn’t like it by the time I caught up to the third season. I figured anyone willing to place a slap on the face wager must be really confident, so I logged into HBO GO on my Xbox and ended up spending 10 hours the first day just shuffling through the first season. I was hooked before I could even blink. I’m actually anxiously writing this post because I want to lay in bed like a potato and finish the second season.

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(P.S., doesn’t Khaleesi look like Sherry from YHL‘s doppelgänger?)

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B. School– I’m officially enrolled in my Fall ’13 dietetics classes and anyone living in California knows how much of a relief off the shoulders it is. It’s so hard to get classes in this state, no matter how much you’re willing to pay! Final grades also came out and I am more than relieved at my final GPA. Maybe the dietetics internship won’t be so hard if I continue to do as well as I’m doing now. 🙂

C. Acupuncture– Jacq started going to a community acupuncture place in SF and raved about it. I’ve always wanted to try so I tagged along last week for my first time to give it a go. I am pretty much in love with it. I don’t know if it’s placebo or not, but I’m feeling a lot better as an individual (after my second time!) and will continue to go once a week. Plus, I love the center that I go to, the team is great and I always feela t peace and enjoy my adult nap time.

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After our acupuncture session, our stomachs agreed that Green Chile Kitchen across the street sounded amazing.

(The fireman driving told me he wanted to be in my picture!)

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I thought it was a chain at first because it kind of had that franchise feel to it, but I figured out that they only have one location. I liked how they set up the interior, nice and spacey with many seats for me to choose from.

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Usually when the server/cashier asks me if I want anything to drink, I get water with lemon. However, she pointed out the green chile lemonade and I obliged.

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I also didn’t regret it.

Can’t wrap my head around how people can hold off on the guac and chips when they eat at a Mex restaurant.

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I don’t know who Mary is, but her rotisserie chicken was amazing. Green chile citrus rub, beans, rice, tortillas and salsa and side salad.

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Jacq, my little vegetarian, had a quinoa and kale salad that I was actually very envious of. It’s literally picture perfect.

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I’m really sad to write this post, because Jacq is leaving to Connecticut to finish up her wedding planning this week and I won’t see her until her wedding in August. Then, I have to wait for her to go on an African honeymoon to follow the great migration (jealous, much?) and come back when the school year starts. I’ll see you when you are a Mrs., Jacq! xx

What’s your views on acupuncture if you tried it? Any wedding plans knocking on your door?

Toma Toma Toma

I was looking back on my old posts yesterday and realized that I talk about Toma in almost every post but I never really explained what it is!

In mid-December, my boyfriend opened a restaurant in San Francisco in the coveted Marina district. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have went into the place and I’m so proud every time I drive by it. This picture is before it even opened; I tried to find a more recent one (there’s chairs and dividers that spruce up the place now) but I guess I haven’t taken one lately.

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The food is considered modern mexican, all the recipes are family recipes from Durango and Obregon in Mexico. The difference is that all the meats are premium and grass fed and they buy all the produce locally as well. The tortillas for the tacos are house-made every morning, which is something that is practically unheard of!

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Toma has multiple meanings in Spanish, essentially it means to drink, to consume or to take. It can be used as a verb (ella toma, she takes) or as an expression (¡Toma!, take that!).

He recently started introducing specials, which are made in a limited quantity every morning and sells out usually by the afternoon.

Monday- Chile Colorado

Tuesday- Chicken Mole

Wednesday- Camarones de Ajo

Thursday- Chile Verde

Friday- Barbacoa

Sat/Sun- Pozole

The specials are some of my favorite things there, you can put them in tacos, burritos, or in a bowl. Sometimes I will be bummed to find out that they sold out before I can get there.

Since I want to continue with the Friday Five, I’ll post my five favorite things from his restaurant!

1. Torta

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A torta is a Mexican sandwich, the bread is usually a sandwich roll (which they call bolillo) with your choice of meat. I really like it with carne asada (steak) and a guacamole spread in it.

2. Salsa

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One of my favorite things about Toma are their salsa, each one is a family recipe that’s been perfected over time. My favorite one is the back right hand side that we call Rico’s. It’s a subtle but after-spicy habanero flavor. It goes on perfectly with cilantro and onion (mandatory at a Taqueria!) and a dash of lime.

3. Burritos

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The one pictured above is actually a wet burrito, which is topped with enchilada sauce. My favorite burrito, which I named myself as the Tara special (Chi refuses to acknowledge it), is a half steak half chicken burrito with beans, rice, cilantro, onion, avocado and sautéed mushrooms. I don’t get it every time because it’s a handful to make, but when I do, I turn into the happiest girl ever!

4. Guacamole

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Sometimes you have to look back and enjoy the smaller things in life, such as plain ol’ guacamole and chips. If you have noticed, I kind of have an obsession with avocados. If it fits, it sits on top of my food and it honestly goes with everything.

5. Tacos

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(Shrimp)

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(Steak, Mushroom, Chile Verde)

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(Chicken)

There’s a reason tacos are at the end of my list. You always save the best for last, right? Growing up in California, I can say I have eaten my fair share of tacos. Without sounding biased, I honestly (swear on my life) think that these are one of the best tacos I have ever had in my life. I can seriously eat these tacos every day without any regret. The tortillas are hand made, so they taste really fresh and fluffy. What’s really good is to put one of the specials I was talking about earlier in here, and top it off with cilantro, onion, lime and Rico’s.

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, let me know and try to stop by! I’m sure we can do you a favor. 🙂

This weekend Chi is going to Vegas, so I’ll be spending Memorial Day a little low key and hanging out with friends I’ve been putting off until school was done.

What’s your favorite Mexican food? Any fun plans for Memorial Day?