Light Of My Life

Today is a good day. Why? Because for the next two days, you do not have to worry about anything. No deadlines, no waiting for the clock to hit five, no driving home during rush hour. The only thing you have to worry about is where are you going to eat on Saturday night and what are you going to order.

I think I’m restaurant’d out and will cook at home this weekend for the first time this half of the year. I am overdue for a Farmer’s Market and Chipotle Sunday morning.

It is funny how l was talking about Marlowe in my last post and my latest dining experience so happened to be it’s sister restaurant.

Abby, the fire of my loins, took me out for a spectacular birthday dinner on Wednesday. We have a collective list of restaurants we want to try in San Francisco and Park Tavern happens to be one of them.

Located in the beautiful North Beach district, it is an upscale American Tavern that offers a satisfying menu of seasonal, market-driven seafood and meat dishes for every palate.

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We ended up just dropping the car off at valet because North Beach is the worst for parking, I did not even want to deal with it.

I love the ambiance of Park Tavern, it was nicer than your average restaurant but still felt comfortable and not too stiff.

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Everyone there was so pleasant and made us feel right at home. The waiter was charming and kept asking us if we wanted pictures of x, y or z. We might of took him up on a few offers. 🙂

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I stole this picture from Abby’s Instagram. I asked her if she would be mad if I ordered a Shirley Temple. When a eight year old orders one, nobody bats an eye. When a grown up (like myself, giggle giggle) orders one, the whole world goes crazy. Luckily, Abs was extremely accepting of my love for grenadine.

Go big or go home, right guys?

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I do not even know where to start with the food, we ordered almost everything on the menu. Both of us were huge fans of Marlowe, so I know we were in for a real treat.

First up is the Park Tavern fries. What is that on the sides, you ask? Oh, just a nice dollop of truffle and a soft boiled egg topped with caviar. Yes, this might be the most fanciest fries I ever had in my life. Fancy and delicious. My technique was dipping the fry in the egg/caviar and topping it off with truffle. It was unbelievable and I had a dream about it that same night. I wish I was kidding.

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Abs never had gnocchi (I know, what), so it was a must. Another pan-seared gnocchi dish in my corner, I am a lucky girl. This parisienne gnocchi was seared with wild mushrooms, farmstead blue and petit thyme.

I still can not believe how incredible this was.

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Park Tavern is known for their Brussels sprout chips, which I did not realize was a thing. Kale chips are so 2010, these are the new baked greens and I am excited to try to make these at home.

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She switched from her Caipirinha to a Chardonnay (or Sauvignon, who knows or cares) and I went from my very alcohol (ha) Shirley Temple to a nice Riesling. It is my favorite and the only wine I do not get tired of.

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The most amusing part of our night (besides us googly eyeing each other) was the table next to ours. Seated were two posh middle aged couples that we made small talk with and ended up being best friends by the end of the night. One of the women loved my camera and asked to take pictures of us. She just bought her first DSLR and caught the photography bug.

I obliged.

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I ordered the “Poulet Noir” to share and holy presentation. They said it would be revealed as a whole chicken but this was another level. This was served with black truffle, butter braised baby spinach and roasted peewee potatoes.

The spinach was phenomenal with the subtle taste of the truffle.

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Abby chose the caramelized sea scallops w/ yellow curried carrot puree, sunchoke barigoule, breakfast radish & chrysanthemum greens. For being someone who is not a fan of seafood, I had one whole scallop and Abs was so proud of me. I have to admit that it was great.

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What is a birthday without creme brûlée? This unique custard was made with local TCHO chocolate, chili, lemon zest and sea salt. A rich, chocolate biscotti was served on the side. I wish I did not eat this so fast because our waiter surprised us and brought out a complimentary carrot cake with cream cheese frosting as a birthday treat.

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I am surprised I was able to get out of my chair after. If you count, that is seven different dishes I consumed in two hours. I could not have done it without Abby sharing with me. I have to say thank you again, Abby, for the fantastic dinner. Love you to the moon and back. 🙂

We wrapped up our meal around 9:30p and had some fun with the valet guys and a stranger before heading home.

And that, my friends, concludes my five-day-after-birthday dinner meal with the ever-so-special Abs.

Do you ever still order Shirley Temples? Try to make me feel better, please.

Which dish would you be most excited to try?

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

When I dropped my (nannied) kids off at their daycare yesterday morning, the sweet aroma of home made cookies filled the air right away. It was so enticing, like the sirens singing to a group of lost sailors in Homer’s ancient epic. I tried to convince myself that chocolate cookies weren’t the most nutritious breakfast, but the force was strong.

I ended up yelp-ing the closest bakery and found myself ordering a coffee, because what’s the warm cookie without a coffee? And when there’s fresh baked banana bread, how do you say no?

Thank you, Blissful Bites, for reminding me that at the tender age of 21, I am allowed to eat whatever I want for breakfast.

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The weather in San Francisco has continued to rise, I forgot what it feels like to feel the warmth wake me up from the other side of the window. Leaving the house at 7am leaves much hesitation about wearing shorts out, but today I was not disappointed.

Sometimes I am so self absorbed that I forget to stop and smell the flowers; I can not believe I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to cross the Golden Gate Bridge several times a week. While on my way to school, I had to pull over and just take it all in. It’s the little things that really get you every now and then.

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I could go on and on and regurgitate everything I learned in class today, but since I like you guys, I will show you all the delicious food I ate. My friend Abby texted me around noon to see if I wanted to eat dinner with her, I think she already knew what the answer was. Marlowe describes itself as, “an intimate, bustling dining room that feels like you’ve dropped in on a dinner party at your best friend’s house.” I’m going to have to agree with them.

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The restaurant is located right across the street from the bustlin’ Caltrain station on 4th and Townsend. By some divine miracle, I managed to get a spot right outside; this celebration calls for a round of shots! (Juuuust kidding!)

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Abby is one of my favorite dining friends because we always agree on appetizers to share. More appetizers to share means more food in my stomach. More food in my stomach means one happy hapa.

We started with Warm Deviled Eggs: stuffed with picked jalapeño & bacon, topped with aged provolone. These were a great way to start the night, nothing like a good deviled egg.

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Our next appetizer was the delightful Steak Tartare. I don’t know how this dish ever got past me, but I never tried tartare before. I was a little skeptical to eat the raw beef at first, but everything changed after my first bite. I think this is the best thing that I have ate in 2013. This steak was mixed with poached quail egg, arugula and a side of crostini. I’m just going to put it out there again that this was one of my favorite dishes.

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Abby, who is a huge fan of scallops, ordered the Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops. These little guys were served with bacon-wrapped asparagus, wild mushroom, English peas & Sauvignon Blanc cream. I am not much of a seafood fan but these were delicious, Abby raved about the asparagus.

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Strap yourself into the chair for my entree: Grilled Niman Pork Chop on a bed of sweet potato gratin, herbed bread crumbs, sautéed spinach & oloroso sherry jus. This entree was so massive that I gave Abby one of my chops and still felt full after, this piggy was a great bang for my buck.

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We finally cleansed our palate with a Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta Affogato and lemon biscotti. The Affogato was a little strong but tasted wonderful with the biscotti.

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I very much enjoyed this restaurant and will try to convince Chi to come with me for lunch sometime. His family is coming into town this weekend, so we’re just going to take it easy.

Any plans for Cinco de Mayo? Have you tried raw beef before; if so, did you like it?