Aw Shucks

This is the face of someone who left San Francisco to recharge her batteries:

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I am so grateful for the person to think of the idea of Spring Break! It is officially the first day of my week-long vacation and to say I really needed it is an understatement. My idea of wilding out is not partying in Cancun, but sleeping in until 9 o’clock. When did I become such a grandma?

Fortunately, we headed up to Tomales Bay (in Marin) to shuck oysters and grill some carne asada for Richie’s birthday. As much as I love my city, it is hard to find serenity when there is close to a million people in seven square miles. One of the delights of living here is you can travel an hour north and have a whole new playground. I wish I snapped pictures of the windy roads with the crystal clear lakes and sure-signs of spring starting to bloom.

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I am not the biggest oyster fan (read: I cannot even) but the whole process was really cool to me. The oyster house sells them by the dozen and you go to your little reserved picnic table and grill them yourself.

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Apparently, shucking oysters requires many tools and a bit of finesse. It seems like a lot of work for one shot. Gloves, horseshoe-shaped work place and special knives…I must be missing out on something fabulous.

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PS: can we talk about how cute my godson is with his new haircut? He is lucky he has such a great mama to sacrifice her warmth so he can stay cozy.

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In order to get my dose of Vitamin D, I took a walk along the “beach”, which does not look so glorious in the picture below. I do not know if it was low-tide/drought/that’s just how it is, but the water was really far away and I even saw a dead sting-ray and some sort of alien looking shark. Was debating if I should post the pictures but it seemed a little dark.

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Let’s play Where’s Waldo and find the mini crab that was shuffling around in the sand and trying not to get stepped on. I told my roommate that all the little cone-shells were for hermit crabs, but I was half-sure and half-sure-that-I-could-have-made-it-up.

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When I came back to our table, I was so excited to see that D came! The last time was during New Years and it has been way too long. She eats her oyster “like a true Mexican” with a dash of Tapatio, lime, and a splash of Corona.

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She even found this b-e-autiful flower to put in my hair.

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Okay, last picture of the oysters. I just find them fascinating. What first human saw this rock-shaped thing and said, “Whatever is inside, I am going to eat it. Even if it is really slimy and stuck to the shell”.

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How do you feel about oysters?

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 soufflĂ© 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.

Angel Hair Shrimp Pasta

Man, has this week been exciting. I started off the week with some of Chi’s friends coming from out of town to food poisoning/24 hour stomach bug in three days.

On Monday, we went to 7 Mile House, which is a local bar that sells restaurant quality food. They have really fun nights, like Karaoke Wednesdays and Thursday Live Blues. All five of us shared two orders of nachos, that came complimentary for ordering a pitcher during a Warriors Game. Our guests decided on oysters, which aren’t my cup of tea, but they said they were dee-licious.

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Chi, who wanted something different from the usual buffalo wings, ended up getting buffalo wings. You know how the old saying goes, if it’s not broken- don’t fix it! I might of stole a wing…or two.

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And my entree was a sizzling hot-to-your-table plate of pork adobo with rice. Adobo is a pretty standard filipino dish, so I thought it was funny when I saw it on the bar menu the first time I came here.

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Now a recipe I wanted to share with you guys on Wednesday was this pasta dish that I really like making, for these reasons:

1. It’s fresh and delicious

2. It only takes 15 minutes

3. All the ingredients are basically things you already have in your house (minus the shrimp)

**Please excuse the lighting, it’s so hard to take pictures under the vent light!

Angel Hair Shrimp Pasta

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: 2-3 People

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 lbs of Raw Shrimp (tails detached)
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 8 oz of Angel Hair Pasta
  • 1/3 Cup of White Wine (around two shot glasses)
  • 1/3 Cup of Cream Sauce (around two shot glasses)
  • 1-1/2 Tbs of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs of Oregano Leaves
  • Salt to taste

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1. Detach the shrimp tails and poop chutes (IMO, the grossest part of cooking) and rinse the shrimp clean. Turn on the stove to medium heat and pour 1-1/2 tbs of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic into a pan. Add the shrimp after the pan has been warmed up and add 2 tsp of oregano, stir.

2. Cook shrimp for 5-8 minutes/until they turn pink (depending on your stove heating temperatures). Put water, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt into a separate pot and let it boil. Add around 8 oz of angel hair pasta and cook until al dente, or read the cooking times on the box; it took me around 7 minutes.

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3. When shrimp looks like it’s about to be ready, add in two diced Roma tomatoes, and 1/3 each of cream sauce and white wine. Right before serving, squeeze in half a lemon and stir.

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4. Serve the shrimp on a bed of angel hair pasta. Garnish with a little bit of oregano.

This recipe is so fresh, and it smells amazing too. If I wanted to eat this vegetarian, I would use mushrooms instead of shrimp. Let me know how it turns out for you!

What would you replace the shrimp with for a vegetarian option?