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?

Sigh Of Relief

After volunteering at the hospital on Wednesday, I walked over to one of my favorite local grocery stores, Bryan’s, and picked up fresh strawberries and raspberries. A smoothie was calling for me and I answered.

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In my smoothie was bananas, strawberries, raspberries, carrots, spinach and almond milk. Such a good way to get my raw veggies and fruit servings for the day, and I can promise it tasted a lot better then it looked after it was blended.

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Yesterday, I had a pretty long day. I woke up at 5:15a to help nanny my kids a little bit earlier than usual because their dad was out of town and mom had to go to work. We played a few rounds of hangman, and I helped E set up all her dolls for a slumber party. I took them to school, went to my grandma’s house for breakfast and left to go to school for last minute cramming. The Micro exam was overwhelming and I don’t think I did as well as I should of, unfortunately.

What really wore me out was how long it took me to get home. My school is (on average) 50 minutes away from my house and it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to get home. There was crazy traffic when I got off the bridge with stop and go right to my house. I was ready to unwind, so my boyfriend and I went to go eat at one of my favorite local chains, Pasta Pomodoro.

Pasta Pomodoro first opened in the Marina in ’94 and rapidly started to extend their locations throughout the Bay Area. My sister worked in the Laurel Village location in either high school or summers in between college and it quickly became a family favorite.

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It’s so funny, the percentage of people eating at all locations are roughly 50% families with kids and 50% first date nights. There’s a definite stereotype to this restaurant.

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We start with the focaccia and olive oil + pesto dip, so much better than bread and butter.

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Next, is the traditional Bruschetta. Chi had just finished eating a huge burrito a few hours before, so he was just keeping me company. I’m ashamed (and proud at the same time) that I pretty much finished everything from dinner.

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The spinach salad is one of my favorites, it has a taste that I can’t recreate in my own kitchen. Included is tomatoes, red onions, shaved pecorino, crispy bacon in a balsamic vinaigrette.

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The main course, the Gemelli. Fusilli pasta with grilled and smoked chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and cream sauce. I could of made this at home, but the convenience is worth the few extra dollars.

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And for the cherry on my day, I came home to great news: I got accepted into my first school! 🙂 Now three more letters to wait on.

Where Are The Girl Scout Cookies?

The Girl Scouts have been pushing cookies for the last seven days and I have yet to acquire a box of Thin Mints in my possession; something is going on. This is the only time of the year I feel comfortable looking for little children in uniforms on the streets, and I am sad to report that my search has came up empty handed this weekend.

San Francisco has been making a killing this month with the weather. It was actually hot enough for short sleeve shirts and we only had one rainy day so far! To my surprise, Dolores Park was not packed as it usually is on a Saturday.

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My lunch consisted of an overpriced club sandwich (with chicken and avocado) and a side salad. We ate at an unknown cafe nestled somewhere in Downtown that I probably will never find again.

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I originally wanted to do something different, such as play tennis, or go to the museum. But my suggestions were quickly shot down when it was brought up that we didn’t own a pair of tennis rackets and the museum was closing soon. So, we went bike browsing in the land of the hipsters, Valencia St.

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I’ve been going to a few bike shops now, but I’m finding it really hard to find a baby pink bike that’s also functional in a hilly city.

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With no bike luck, I cheered myself up with ice cream at Xanath. We just happened to stroll by and found the flavors pretty unique, such as huckleberry and pumpkin pie.

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I am a coffee ice cream girl, so I got a scoop of espresso and a scoop of Madagascar vanilla. Less is sometimes more.

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Not wanting to go home, we made a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up groceries for the week and some ingredients for our home made dinner. Our sad looking cheese plate consisted of a sliced baguette, Syrah soaked cheese (so good) and crisp Gala apples.

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Chi also had a craving for Chicken Piccata, so we followed this recipe to a T and it came out amazing! Yes, we did consume a whole stick a butter, but it doesn’t happen every night and it was worth it. We’ve also been craving gnocchi since we ate at Beretta, so we cooked the gnocchi (a little bit too long) and pan fried it with sautéed spinach. The whole meal came together really well at the end and pictures certainly didn’t do it justice.

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Sunday was rather uneventful, as my whole day consisted of this:

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What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Did you have an eventful weekend?

Better Late Then Never

Is it too late to talk about the holidays?

Winter break is an anomalous time for me. The transition from the fall to spring semester leaves roughly three weeks of free time that I haven’t had before. In that time, I have…

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Played a game of Toma Todo.

Toma Todo is a drinking game that originated in Mexico. If anyone is familiar with King’s Cup, it’s the same principle where you pour beer into a larger cup that’s placed in the middle. There’s six sides to the dreidel:

Toma 1/2= Drink 1/2 sips

Pon 1/2= Pour 1/2 sips

Todos Ponen= Everyone pours

Toma Todo= Whoever gets Toma Todo has to drink everything in the middle cup!

It sounds kind of boring, but it gets really nerve wrecking and fun to egg on anyone that gets Toma Todo after the cup is entirely filled with beer!

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Seen some amazing views of SF.

Every time I see this bridge I am reminded of how blessed I am to live here. There’s so much to love in this little city by the bay, from the food to the scenic landscapes. I recommend anyone to come visit! Seriously, I’ll make an itinerary for you and everything!

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Attended the opening of Toma.

Toma’s grand opening was on December 19th and I couldn’t be any happier and proud! All the meats are organic, local and grass fed and the vegetarian options are to die for. The recipes are from past generations of family and even the tortillas are made fresh everyday!

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Went to my friend’s holiday gathering.

Two friends of mine had moved into a nice studio in the Nob Hill district of SF and realized they haven’t had a party yet and decided it was time. They served home made sangria and lots of apps. Although the pictures disappeared somewhere, I can assure you everything was delicious. The dog above is Bailey, my godson; isn’t he the cutest little nugget?!

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Spent Christmas with my boyfriend.

With the new restaurant opening, he wasn’t able to go back to Santa Barbara and my mom wasn’t doing anything so we stayed in SF and hung out all day. In the morning, we caught a matinee and watched Life of Pi (in 3D!). Of course, it was my idea. I read the book a few years ago and wanted to see how it would play out on the big screen. I definitely think the best part of the movie was the 3D effects, but I’m happy to report that he was happy with my choice (he originally wanted to see Django Unchained). We then took the long way home and basically drove throughout the whole city.

When we came home, we prepared a Christmas dinner for two. The chicken was stuffed with cloves of garlic and seasoned with rosemary, salt, pepper and cayenne. I sautéed the mushrooms and spinach together with olive oil, garlic, salt and paprika. We also made standard garlic mash potatoes and Trader Joe’s chicken sausage.

How was your holidays? Did you cook at home or go to a relative’s house for dinner?