By The Bayou

This week, there has been too little this:

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These Belgian truffle fries received an impromptu serenade from moi.

(Also could not leave out the picture of pear, Nutella and roasted almond crepes.)

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And too much this for my liking:

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I have never been happier for a Friday to come along. Although, I am sure I will say the same thing next week. Gravity is out in theaters and I was suppose to watch it today, but now have to wait for Friday night. I feel like I have not watched a movie for a really long time but it was actually the middle of May when The Great Gatsby came out in theaters. Crazy how time passes in my brain.

So instead of a movie, I went to eat at The Front Porch. Located in Bernal Heights, they dub themselves as “Southern Mission Hospitality”.

I did not notice that the restaurant is located in the garage of an house until I was editing this picture. You would not even notice sitting inside.
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Also loved seeing them dress up the restaurant with Halloween decor. I do not celebrate much on the actual day, but it makes me happy because it means the holidays are right around the corner!

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Okay, this was not the best example but inside had black and orange all over. Promise.

I found my new life motto.

“Tara, what do you think about the financial crisis happening in America?”

Fucket, get a bucket.

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These little cornbread muffins were really filling! The dip was interesting, I had to ask the waitress. Honey and some kind of chili pepper, but it tasted a bit nutty to me. Hmmm.

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I ordered the Spicy Shrimp + Grits: wild Louisiana shrimp, garlic, shallots & andouille sausage red eye gravy.

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This burger is funny to me because the top bun reminded me of a shiny bald guy’s head and that’s all I could think about when the waitress brought it out.

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Could not resist sharing the baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese, I have been on such a kick lately.

PS: I think my camera is lactose intolerant or something, I can never get a good shot. It just looks really blah when in reality it tastes like it was made in Zeus’ kitchen.

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Going to polish this post off with my ice cream happy dance. Mitchell’s is only a block away and I could not resist a junior sized coffee and ube ice cream.

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Have a great weekend! Xx

What’s your plans for the next two days? Have you/want to watch Gravity? How can you say no to George Clooney? He is my old celebrity crush! So dreamy.

Confessions

I have a confession to make.

I am not proud of it, nor do I condone any of the behavior…but I really like watching Maury.

It is rare that I am home and have time to watch daytime TV, but once in a while I do and I take full advantage. For example, yesterday after nannying, I got in bed and cuddled myself for a few hours while watching Maury. And it was the best feeling ever. I did not have to worry about anything besides wondering who the baby daddy was or if X cheated on Y with X’s brother and the kids might not be his but it turns out that none of the kids are his OR his brothers and they have to pull the third cousin on the show. I am getting a little adrenaline just thinking about it.

The guy on the show yesterday did a backflip when finding out he was not the father and I even found the GIF to show you.

Only a few people know my secret because I know how unbelievably trashy it is.

What’s not a secret is how much I loving eating out. Once upon a time (last year), there was a restaurant in the Mission called Mr. Pollo that was the talk of the town. It was a little mysterious, no menu and looked closed down from the outside. However, it had rave reviews and I really wanted to try it out. I never got around to it and was sad to find out that the Chef left due to rent problems and was being replaced by someone else.

Chef Manny, the original chef moved a few doors down to do a pop-up at Roxy’s Cafe and finally opened his own, larger restaurant at The Palace Steakhouse. After hearing this news, I put it on the back of my mind and tried to make reservations, only to find out that you basically have to text his wife (FOH) and wait for her to get back to you. It took me a little bit of time to correlate times that worked for the both of us, but I finally got a table last week and I was so excited to finally try Chef Manny’s food.

The best way to describe the way his menu is “Baller On A Budget”. I read this on Yelp and agreed 100%. $50 for a six course tasting? Sign me up!

Something I thought that was really fun about this restaurant was that it was completely BYOB. He was in a rush to open and San Francisco permitting takes longer than eternity, so he opened up the drink option for his guests to decide.

I am no wine connoisseur, so don’t judge this bottle of wine I bought at the liquor store right around the corner from the restaurant. I secretly wanted to pick up a tall boy of Modelo but felt that it would not of been the most classy thing to do.

PS: Please don’t think of me as this white-trash mammal. I just happen to like Maury and drinking beer, but I promise I don’t do it at the same time. I like to think I am pretty well put-together in person. 🙂

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The restaurant was pretty bare-bones and left many remnants of the old place that belonged there before. It added to the cool, hipster feels of dining there. You might notice that there is no one around because we had the first reservation at 6:00p.

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The first taste to come out was a charlene melon with baked Pacific salmon, served on a bed of onion, sprouts, salsa de ajo and a seaweed salad. It was garnished with Calinjula flowers and wheat berries.

My favorite thing at Japanese restaurants is the seaweed salad, so this was a wonderful course for me. I really enjoyed the crunchiness of the salad in relation to the other fresh flavors on the plate.

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Next to come out were the oysters, which I was really worried about.

If you have been reading for long enough, you know that seafood is basically my worst nightmare. My mom tried to feed me a tiny piece of fish when I was 6 months old and I just tongued it out. I have tried it a few times throughout my life and can not get rid of the psychological hatred of the water-dwellers.

Eating the swordfish and lobster at the Grand Chef Rendezvous made me open to try new things. I didn’t mind the salmon in the first course, but oysters are a different story. They are one big piece of slime and I was going to pass but I realized that I had to put my big girl panties on and give it a try.

I even softly told my waiter that he was going to take my oyster virginity.

These fancy mollusks were Glacial oysters served with a Wasakaka sauce, house-pickled shallots, smoked chili, salt and black pepper. Garnish was a yellow marigold.

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It was….interesting. Okay, I might of not had the prettiest face while eating it but it was not Chef Manny’s fault, I just am not a huge fan of oysters.

One of my favorite things about the meal was being able to see him create his dishes right in front of us. It was like he was putting on an unintentional show for us.


The third dish to come out was Maine lobsters prepared three ways.

First on the left is a lobster bisque with sea beans and corn, finished with fresh chervil.

The middle concoction is lobster tail sitting on a house aji sauce with green onion, avocado and habanero water.

Last on the right (my favorite) was a lobster claw ceviche on a platacones (similar to my recipe!)

*If I get any of these ingredients wrong and you know it, please e-mail me because there was no written menu and this is all from memorization and a few notes I jotted down

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For our intermission, I wanted to show you this little pumpkin on our table! The blogging world has been going crazy over pumpkins, so I felt it was fitting.

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Forth to come out was an amazing quail breast and leg with a lavender jus. It was recommended to eat with your hands because there was not much meat on the bones, but it was perfect with the right amount of spice. It came with a quick poached egg and broccoli/cauliflower florets.

The Pedron peppers are grown exclusively for the restaurant from Happy Quail Farms and the green one reminded me of the numbing spicy hua-jiao peppers from Sichuan in China.

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The penultimate course was a medley of pork cooked three different ways. The meatball was braised with the wild Lithuanian porcini mushrooms, coconut and tomato sauce (which had me still thinking about it the next day). Also included was pork belly and cap.

The Chef’s wife’s mom actually handpicked the mushrooms in her backyard and mailed them over for the restaurant! I like to call it international foraging. 🙂

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Finally, for the last dish was a steak that was cooked in a water bath at a constant temperature for two hours. Other things on the plate includes a deconstructed salad, beef jus, golden and red beef puree and bleu cheese.

I’m not the biggest fan of bleu cheese but think it went really well with the lettuce and beets.

Sorry for the steak lighting, the sun was already down and I know it does not look that appetizing but it was so good.

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Desert wasn’t included in the tasting, but sometimes you have to just go for it and I am so happy I did.

I think it was my favorite thing the whole night and I was happy with all of the courses.

Again, the pictures doesn’t do it justice at all but I think the dulce de leche and queso fresco soufflé really put me into a new magical safe zone. It was one of the best deserts I have eaten in a long time. The house-made Maracuaya passion fruit ice cream and berry trio really pulled all the flavors together. Who doesn’t love hot and cold deserts.

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Hopefully you read through everything because I included some commentary, life lessons and stories to tell your future kids scattered throughout all the pictures. Maybe not so extreme but I was happy to share my meal with you. 🙂

Happy Friday!

What’s your guilty pleasure? And be honest so I don’t feel bad about mine.

Hike Hike Hike

School starts in less than two weeks, so I’m trying to get everything in before I’m chained to my desk and chanting Ochem nomenclatures.

What does the end of my vacation include? Hikes and food!

My old roommate Keri traveled to New Zealand, Australia and Thailand for nine months and came back to San Francisco last week. Talk about adventurous, right? I would love to do something like that if I didn’t have so many ties and attachments here in America.

Anyways, she’s been staying at our place so I got to spend lots of time with her. On Wednesday, all of the girl roommates went on a hike at the Bernal Heights hill.

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We were actually led by a pack of wild mountain dogs.

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They walked us to the top, where there was an amazing (almost 360°) view of San Francisco! You can see Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge right behind me.

(This is my ‘ta-da! we made it!’ pose)

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We also slipped into the abandoned part of the water tower, I think in this picture it looks like we were trying to recreate the beginning of Destiny Child’s Survivor video. By now, I seriously can’t remember what we were doing. Ha!

Sarath, who is inheriting a DSLR from her brother, adopted my camera for the afternoon to learn how to use it and get use to all the buttons. Unfortunately, that means that she wasn’t in most of the pictures.

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There was also quite a few pieces of rock art on our descend down the mountain. I thought this picture symbolized the loneliness and vastness that is my heart. All jokes aside, there are about ten pictures of me squatting next to different rock art and this one was the best one. 😉

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We also saw the San Francisco fog creep in, which was nonexistent when we got there. This phenomenon can really engulf the whole city in a matter of hours! I even saw a twitter a few months ago that lovingly named our fog “Karl”.

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After our less-than strenuous hike, we were ready for dinner. I’m sure anyone in the SF or NY area has heard of Mission Chinese, essentially it is Americanized Chinese food (kung pao pastrami, etc). Keri has never been so we thought it would be a great last meal before she heads home to Boston.

The waits are usually less then desirable, but we managed to get in before a line started to form outside.

Tiki Pork Belly, w/ soy caramel, mandarin orange, picked pineapple, shaved coconut and macadamia nuts. This one was probably my least favorite, which isn’t their fault! I just don’t like mixing my sweet with my savory and I also think this was their least Chinese inspired dish.

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These Mongolian long beans w/ xinjiang spices, horseradish and chili oil were a group favorite. I’m not the biggest green bean fan but I think I ate the most out of everyone in the group! They were honestly perfect, with the little cuts of jalapeño in there.

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Chongqing chicken wings w/ explosive chili and crispy beef tripe. These brought me back to my days in Sichuan, my mouth fell back in love with the numbing spicy that is usually associated with that province.

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Last but not least, Broccoli Beef Brisket w/ chinese broccoli and smoked oyster sauce. This was also delicious, but the chicken wings and green beans were my favorite! NExt time I’d like to try the bacon and rice cakes or kung pao pastrami!

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To make sure we completed the day with no regrets, we stopped by Birite Creamery to top things off. Since I had a sad ice cream experience a few days ago, I had to make it up and make sure I got the two best flavors they had.

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Which I did! The top scoop is their sorbet of the day: raspberry and blackberry, and the bottom scoop is the ricanelas (cinnamon and snicker doodles).

I never thought I would use this word to describe ice cream but it was magically phenomenal. No wonder there is always a 20 person line in front of Birite whenever I pass by Dolores! I even called the next day because I wanted to buy a pint of their sorbet, but they changed the flavor to melon. Not the same. 🙁

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Have you ever had asian fushion, what’s your thoughts? What’s the best hiking spot you have been?

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)