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.

Grub Down

Introductions suck.

I don’t mean to sound blunt and rough, but there is something so nerve-racking about having a blank screen staring at you. Not only is it waiting for you to make your first move, but it also wants you to fill in the whole screen with senseless banter and colorful pictures. The latter part I can deal with; I can take the pictures of my food and I can write about my day, dining escapades or what have you, but how do I pop in every morning to say hello?

I’ve read somewhere that you should write your blog like you’re writing to your sister. It’s inviting. It gives you your writing voice and it’s how the reader can relate to you. When did I miss the lesson where I learn how to introduce myself to my family members? (By the way, I know I’m big time now because my sister now reads my blog! Hi Jie Jie! I love you!)

Anyways, I think I proved my point because that is my introduction for today. And I am going to leave it at just that.

Close curtain.

I have been eating out so much lately, which is good and bad at the same time. On one hand, it makes my blogging hobby easier because I can show off shiny pictures of delicious San Francisco food. On the other hand, I look back at my old posts and wonder what people think of my eating habits. It seems like a lot, but I still cook at home at least 3-4 times a week. I know it’s healthier, cheaper and a lot of fun to eat something you prepared yourself, but it is SO HARD to say no when someone texts/invites you to a night on the town.

With that, I’m going to show you pictures of one delicious eat in the Mission District. If you check out my Restaurants page, you might notice that most of the places are in the Mission. That’s because I live near by and there are so many options on Mission St., Valencia St., and now Guerrero St., that I don’t feel like making the trek to the north side of SF to eat.

If you’re not from or familiar with San Francisco, just ignore everything I said previously.

Fun fact: While checking my site stats, the majority of my readers are from the Bay Area and the second runner up is NYC. Feeling the love from both coasts. It’s like a warm love hug and I am just taking it all in.

Okay, on to pictures.

Grub is located on Valencia St. I was driving by, looking for somewhere new to try and stopped in when I noticed there wasn’t a wait. Being empty is an understatement, but it was maybe around 4:00pm on a Sunday and the dinner rush did not hit yet. I really digged (is that even a word?) their decor, especially the printed tables and funky art.

Their sign outside is just a picture of a fork and knife, kind of like my blog button up top. 🙂 It made me feel a little close connection with them.

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Who doesn’t love spicy popcorn instead of bread and butter for a pre-appetizer treat? It was a nice change of pace and I ate it faster than I am proud to say.

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Horrible photo, but all bottles of wine were 50% off. I said no and thought I was pretty stern with my dinner companion, but they somehow convinced me that it was too good of a deal not to pass up. Okay, fine, I will drink half a bottle of wine when I have a million things to do when I get home.

Just kidding, I just had a glass. Maybe two.

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Since we were going balls to wall for our appetizer and main course, I had to add a little bit of veggie to not feel like a total failure. This was a side of broccolini (love) with lemon, garlic and olive oil.

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The next plate to arrive was their chorizo and bacon Mac and Cheese, provided from their famous Mac and Cheese bar. The fusilli pasta was coated in a creamy blend of white and sharp cheddar, topped with grand padana parmesan breadcrumbs. It was a mouthful in person and in writing.

See, I told you I have been eating A LOT of mac and cheese. I think it’s time for a break before I get MnC’d out. I just think the Burritt Room Round Table really got the ball rolling, because before that event, I have not ate this kind of cheesy dish in quite a long time.

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And for a disappointing grand finale, a delicious burger with no picture. Whomp whomp. I know everyone is on the edge of their seats wondering what accessories I dressed it with. Did I cash out and add avocado? Sriracha aioli or white truffle? Sadly, this will forever remain a mystery…

Shortest post but I’m in the middle of what might be the longest week ever and will come back with cool things for you to read about soon. I promise. Well, I’ll try to promise.

50% off a bottle of wine, do you buy it or pass? What’s your introduction writing strategy? Try not to feel like you’re in an English composition class in college.

Sauteed Mushrooms

I know this has nothing to do with a list of things you might possibly care about, but I really want to share.

A distant family member of mine sent over a newspaper clipping from April 5th, 1973. Connoisseur was my dad’s pipe shop back before he moved to San Francisco! Isn’t that amazing how I’m able to see it online at this day and age? I truly love how simple the ads were back then compared to how flashy everything is these days. Now I need to try to find someone to recreate it so I can frame it in my house.

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Now that we got that out the way, I’ll introduce this week’s recipe. I love mushrooms and usually eat them in a stir fry with veggies. This time I wanted to try them in a different way and just rounded up a few ingredients I already had in the house.

Sautéed Mushrooms

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: 2

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Ingredients:

  • ~15 White Mushrooms
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/3 Medium Onion
  • 1 Serrano Pepper
  • 1 Green Onion
  • 2-3 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Olive or Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Tsp Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

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1. Wash the mushrooms and cut the stems. Dice the white onion and pepper, mince the garlic and chop the green onion.

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2. Pour two tablespoons of red wine vinegar into a measuring cup and fill the rest with olive oil.

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3. Heat up a pan on medium low and throw in half of the oil/vinegar mixture and all of the chopped vegetables.

4. Put all of the mushrooms into the pan and let them cook for 5 minutes and pour in the rest of the oil/vinegar mixture. Toss in the rest of the dried herbs, salt and pepper.

5. Cook the mushrooms until they are tender, stirring frequently.

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I served this in a mini cast iron skillet and ate it as an appetizer with a baguette. 🙂

Short post today, but I still want to show you a cool place I ate at earlier this week. After class, I met up with one of my favorite people ever and ate dinner at Mission Rock Resort. It started getting cold, so we opt for a table inside. However, this view is pretty amazing, no? One of the many faces of San Francisco.

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I love my V, you might of seen her in past posts. We have been best friends since middle school! She knows everything about me. I wish she lived a little closer so I can see her more than once every few months.

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We had this jaw dropping Mac and Cheese (w/ tarragon bread crumbs) to start. I was a little leery because I must of ate Mac and Cheese three times in the past two weeks, but the regret vanished as soon as I took a bite. The whole table really enjoyed it.

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One more with me and my V. The white screen behind us was the first game of the NFL season. Go Niners!

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I’ll see you back on Friday! Today has been a busy day and I need to hit the sheets, ASAP.

Football fans, who are you going for? (Don’t disappoint me). Favorite way to cook mushrooms?

Burritt Round Table

How’s everyone’s week polishing off? Mine is getting better and better, for once I have no complaints!

On Tuesday, I drove over to downtown (can you believe it took me 45 minutes to travel 3 miles?) to join a round table at the Burritt Room Bar + Tavern.

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The Burritt Room is the cocktail bar for Charlie Palmer’s Mystic Hotel on Stockton St. It was actually built right after the infamous earthquake and named after the back alley that it’s right next to. The first thing I noticed about the bar that I really liked was the live band playing and how it had that vintage feel to it but still felt very comfortable with the wide assortment of business men to happy hour patrons. I haven’t been this impressed with a restaurant since I was in Edinburgh. When I was in Edinburgh, I had the best time at a restaurant called Timberyard. They turned a warehouse into the most intimate restaurant space ever. This reminded me a lot of that beautiful place in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The first part of our night started with a mixology class graciously taught by their head bartender, Josh Trabulsi.

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Waiting for me as I arrived was the Knickerbocker a la Monsieur. Fresh, not too sweet and most importantly, did not skimp on the alcohol!

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2 oz aged rhum auricle

1/2 oz cointreau

1/2 oz raspberry syrup

1 oz lemon

4 ea raspberries

Muddle, shake, then double strain. Garnish with raspberries and lemon wheel.

It is the best example of a summer drink that you could pass on to anyone, so I wanted to give it to my dear readers before fall heads our way.

Any other cities have Indian Summers like SF? We’re just starting ours and it will last until the end of October.

I probably should of paced myself, but Josh came quickly with the next drink, a Vesper Lynd. I’m not surprised how elegant this drink looks, considering it’s named after a classic movie with a smooth individual: James Bond.

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1 1/2 oz leopold’s navy strength gin

1 1/2 oz cucumbre colin blanc

Stir for 35 seconds and strain. Garnish with cucumber.

Last, is the Berlinetta which was packaged for us to drink on the go. I love the chic little jar they placed it in, almost makes me not want to drink it. This was described to us as an Italian Manhattan. Regular Manhattans have more bourbon then vermouth, this is the opposite.

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1 1/2 oz bourbon

1 1/2 oz carpano antica vermouth

1/4 oz cynar

2 dash

Stir for 10 seconds and strain. Garnish with orange peel, serve.

I also snagged one of their menus to check it out and thought the pictures were so adorable and helpful for any bar novices like myself.

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Thank you Josh for your expertise! He was so knowledgable, friendly and welcoming that I officially nominate him for the best bartender award.

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Moving on to dinner, which was something I was really looking forward to. (I honestly spend the larger part of my day thinking about food. Maybe if I spent more time worrying about astrophysics or biochemistry instead of what my next meal is going to be, I will be doing something good for the world).

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Our chef for the evening, Luke Knox, grew up in Nebraska and moved to Portland to attend culinary school. He worked for Chef Thomas Keller at Bouchon in Vegas and then went under the arms of Chef Charlie Palmer. He is a new San Francisco transplant, only living here for five months, and is now the executive chef here at the Burritt Tavern!

The philosophy of the tavern was to be progressive American cuisine but use California’s fresh ingredients.

When being invited to this event, they asked us to submit a childhood favorite dish so the chef can put his own spin on it. Unfortunately, he didn’t pick mine but I was not disappointed when I looked at the menu. The first course was a County Line Harvest Salad with Frog Hollow plums, smoked almonds, goat feta and a plum vinaigrette.

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I loved how well the sweetness of the plums worked with the smoked almonds and goat cheese.

Next up was the holy Macaroni and Cheese, made with tasso ham, tubeti pasta and a three cheese mornay.

I actually have the recipe that I will share in the following few weeks with you guys. This was the best Mac and Cheese I had for a lonnng time.

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I wasn’t sure what was on top, bread crumbs maybe? When Chef Luke worked in Vegas, the head chef there would always put cured ham in their employee Mac and Cheese meals and now it’s a wrap; he couldn’t go back to anything else. Quite frankly, I have no complaints with that remark!

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Also wanted to sneak a picture of old San Francisco, crazy how many buildings have been raised and how much has progressed in a little over a hundred years.

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We were allowed to choose between a pacific halibut or oxtail stew for our main course and I knew which one I would be tasting immediately.

My eating companion, Ben, chose the same dish too. Oxtail stew with roasted eggplant, heirloom carrots, cipollini onions and ricotta to finish.

The oxtail was pulled from the bone, braised naturally and then cooled down before being pulled. He cooked the veggies separately so they maintained their texture and flavor. We thought the ricotta was an interesting choice to use with the dish, but it was delicious, sweet and tangy without weighing down the stew.

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We had pairings for each of the courses and I loved the Riesling so much I had to take a picture of it.

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Last but not least, our desert composed of a Meyer Lemon Tart with basil-blueberry compote and white chocolate feuillentine crisp.

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I am a sucker for tarts and never seen basil added to a desert dish like this one did. The fried basil and oil added a nice savory element to combat with the sweetness of the blueberries. I was already stuffed and couldn’t finish sadly.

One of my favorite parts of the night was having the chef sit down with us and talking about his experiences a little more in detail and understanding where he gets his creativity from.

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He was so humble and just oozed passion for his career and being the head chef here at the Burritt Room. Some things I remember from our discussion was he felt a lot more creativity here in San Francisco compared to the restaurant industry in Las Vegas. His main goal was also to keep the tavern as American as possible, they don’t use any Asian/Latin ingredients and it limits but also challenges him at the same time.

Thank you Chef Knox and the Burritt Room + Tavern for this opportunity!

As I was leaving the garage across the street, a taxi guy was being the biggest jerk and I quietly thought to myself that karma will suck for him. Not twenty seconds later, a cop pulled him over! I thought about buying a lotto ticket because of the huge coincidence, but if anyone has had any trouble with taxis this week then I hope this made you feel better!

**I was not compensated for this post, but did receive the dinner on the house. All opinions are proudly my own!

What’s your drink of choice? Do you have any stories that involve sweet, sweet karma?