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, the best part of this is that they use reusable ice cubes, which is great for the environment, click here for more info.

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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 of the buy bourbon online

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?

I Love Home

I’m back, I’m back on U.S. soil! I actually got in last Tuesday, but really wanted to take a week off blogging because I was starting to feel like it was a unpaid job instead of writing as hobby. I’m happy to say that I’m feeling refreshed!

As much as I loved traveling, it feels good to sleep in your own bed, y’know? I’m finally getting back to the swing of things and and jet lag is a problem of last week. I still owe you a Japan recap, but will tell you all about it next Monday. I feel like blogging about food I actually made and San Francisco (I missed you, baby).

One of my favorite things about being back is eating all the different types of food I missed. Trust me, I could eat Chinese food for the rest of my life, but sometimes you just really want a good Italian pizza or a good ol’ fashioned all American bacon cheese burger (which we will get into later). Those are things that you can not find in Asia.

Shortly after I got back, we celebrated Eduardo’s birthday with tacos and bowling. They already had a few beers by the time we got there, if you can’t tell from the expression on his face. 🙂

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The restaurant was close to pitch black, I’m surprised my camera picked up so much light. It felt a little weird to cheat on Toma, but it was nice to try a new restaurant.

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We ate at Tortilla Heights and I had a fried avocado taco and habanero shrimp taco. I must admit that I never had fried avocado before and it was pretty interesting!

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Let’s segway into this amazing view. Ah, it never gets old.

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I was never the best bowler. In fact, when I was around 14, I ended up getting the ball into the next lane. I can’t even begin to explain how I let that happen. Talk about embarrassing…

I figured I would let enough years pass before I would try again.

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Let’s just say that none of us are actually that good, which made me feel a lot better. Abby surprised me with how well she played! Every time she made a strike or a spare, her boyfriend would be by the jukebox missing the celebration, it was pretty funny. You had to be there.

However, I think the real news is MY TWO STRIKES in the last round?! I went from gutter ball to gutter ball and killed it at the end! The whole gang was just as surprised as I was.

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Another thing I missed very much was fresh veggies. China had a lot of veggies (cooked) and Japan surprisingly had almost none. I really wanted a huge salad when I came back, so I schlepped to the Farmer’s Market and picked up a little bit of produce and a huge bundle of swiss chard that isn’t pictured.

The basil looks just like leaves with an addition of a nice smell to come home to. 🙂

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I probably should of went to the Farmer’s Market before I went to Trader Joe’s, I could of saved a lot of money.

Now look how green this salad was. It tasted so fresh and delicious.

I actually promised myself I had to eat an avocado 24 hours after I got off the plane.

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On Thursday, I went to visit one of my good friends that moved down to San Jose for school. I haven’t seen her in over a month, so it seemed mandatory that she was one of the first people I went to see. 🙂

We ate at The Counter, which is a burger chain that everyone has been telling me I have to try. Luckily, it didn’t take much convincing to get her to come eat burgers with me!

All these menu options gave me a little bit of anxiety. I felt like I was taking a test, ha.

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First came out the fries,

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then this beast of a burger! I couldn’t image eating a patty that weighed a pound.

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I stayed in San Jose for a few hours and met her roommates before heading home. The next day, I really wanted to eat at home so I whipped up a pasta dish.

Prosciutto stuffed pasta, sautéed swiss chard & mushrooms with a butter garlic sauce. I had enough left over for the next day, which made me a really happy camper.

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Finally, to round our week out, we went to SOMA street food to get a nice selection of our local food trucks.

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Definitely got my burger fix in.

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Well, I hope all this food made up for my lack of posting! I really miss you guys and will visit everyone’s blogs tomorrow. 🙂

Coming up this week is Chimichurri sauce and a little sit down talk about running (which is long over due)

Until next time!

What food reminds you of home? If you ate at The Counter, what would be your perfect burger?

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?

Chinese Potstickers

So, we finally got a battery for the scale in our bathroom and the number on there was a lot higher then I remember. I just told myself it’s muscle from working out (ha), but found myself making a salad for lunch.

Spring mix, sautéed mushrooms, a little chicken and shallots.

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My quest for light eating rapidly came to an end when Chi came home with cupcakes para gratis. Whoops, another day another attempt.

Today’s recipe is sponsored by…

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my grandparents! I usually see them once a week, and this time we made potstickers together. My grandpa actually learned when he was younger in the war. Potstickers was a really popular item when drafted because it was really cheap to make and filling.

So here is to another authentic, Chinese family recipe! The other two I have made so far are Eggplant Stirfry and Chinese Chicken and Bok Choy. Check them out!

Chinese Potstickers

Prep Time: 1 Hour

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Serves: 58 Potstickers

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Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 Lbs Ground Pork
  • 6 Pieces of Cabbage, boiled
  • 1 Package of Potsticker Wrappers
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, diced
  • 1/2 Ginger, minced
  • 2 Eggs
  • 6 Stocks of Green Onion
  • 10 Shakes White Pepper Powder
  • 2-1/2 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • (Not Pictured)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Corn Starch
  • 1 Tsp Cooking Oil
  • 2 Tbs Oyster Sauce

TO PREP

1. Boil the cabbage for five minutes until soft.

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2. Cut the green onions thin, dice the garlic and mince the ginger.

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3. Cut the boiled cabbage thin so it doesn’t pierce the potsticker wrap.

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4. Pour all the solid seasonings just chopped into a bowl with the pork in it.

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5. Pour in soy sauce and oyster sauce and oil. Sprinkle in the sugar, white pepper powder, salt and corn starch. Crack open the two eggs.

6. Stir everything around with your hands clockwise until everything is mixed throughout. (Mixing it clockwise is a must according to my grandma).

TO WRAP

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6. Prep the table. Open your wrapper packet, a shallow dish of water, the pork mixture and a plate to put all your finished potstickers.

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7. Lightly fold the wrappers in half and in quarters to separate them for maximum usefulness.

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8. Dip your index finger in the water and get the edges of the wrapper slightly wet.

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9. Wet the back of a little piece to fold and use your thumb, index and middle finger to fold the wrapper.

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10. Do the same thing 1/2-inch away from the first fold.

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11. Put a little of the haam (pork stuffing) in the middle of the wrapper and take the middle of the opposite side and fold it toward the two folds you just made.

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12. Pinch the sides to make sure it’s closed tightly.

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13. Keep making them until you run out of stuffing or wrapper. We made 58.

TO COOK

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14. Boil the complete potstickers until they float. (We did 10 at a time and froze the rest).

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15. Fry them in cooking oil until they are as crispy as you’d like.

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16. Serve with soy sauce or hot sauce. In my case, both!

You can substitute the meat with chicken if you don’t eat pork (ahem, Chi), or my grandma said dried mushrooms and cabbage are really good for a vegetarian option. Enjoy!

What is the distinct cuisine of your ethnicity? Aren’t my grandparents the cutest?