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 that said breakfast restaurants in Chandler  try Grubstak and 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.

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 soufflé 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.

15 Hour Flight, Here I Come!

So if you’re reading this, I’m either:

A.) In the middle of a 15 hour flight

B.) On a three hour bus ride

C.) In China!

Yes yes! My mom and I have been planning this vacation since it’s the only year I probably won’t have summer school. We’re spending three days in Hong Kong & Guangzhou, ten days in Sichuan and seven days in Japan!

I’m so excited that I actually packed early and not 20 minutes before we have to leave for the airport!

Chi thinks it’s weird that I pack everything into separate shopping bags, I just think it’s way easier to find things this way.

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In terms of blogging, I’m going to change my posting schedule to Monday and Thursday for the next three weeks and I’m so excited to share that some of my favorite bloggers has agreed to help me out and write guest posts! I got to take a peak at them and I’m sure you guys will love! Monday will be my blogging friends and Thursday will be Asia recaps. I wasn’t planning to blog during my time out there, but a lot of my friends wanted to see how everything was going and I would love to share my pictures as well.

Although I am so excited to go, I am going to miss this guy very very much.

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Yesterday, for my last night in SF, he took me out to eat at a very special place. Lolinda.

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They have an ahh-mazing rooftop bar where Medjool used to be, we managed to grab a drink before dinner started.

They must of put a ton of money into renovating, because I was in awe when I walked in. I’ve been to a lot of fancy pants restaurants, but this one was decorated so well. Pictures seriously doesn’t do it justice, it’s a lot bigger and grand-er (?) outside the lens. They also paid a lot of attention to detail, which I love.

It was almost pitch black too, so my camera picked up a lot of light. This is a fore-warning for how diluted the lighting is in the next few pictures.

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Lolinda describes its self as, “a new kind of Argentinian steakhouse that combines Latin American flavors with californian sensibilities”.

There were so many ambrosial options on the menu that we had a hard time figuring out what to eat. We started with the empanada de carne, stuffed with beef, raisins, egg, potato, olives and a side of chimichurri. My time at Lolinda reminded me of how much I love chimichurri dressing, I”m going to have to make some when I come back to the states.

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The choripan came next, which wasn’t exactly what I expected but thoroughly enjoyed. I thought it would be more ground chorizo with bread but it came in the form of a fancy hot dog. The flavor was on point, Chi and I were eating the bits left on the plate after.

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The table next to us recommended the pork chops (which I love, Chi hates) and sea bass (which Chi loves, but I hate) so we settled for a good ol’ fashioned Matambre: flank steak. I wish there was more, it was one of the best cuts of meat I had in a long time.

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Of course I had to order a side of veggies, to Chi’s exasperation, to balance out all the hearty meats we received. Dino kale, crimini and chili flakes in the first bowl and Chilero (spicy picked vegetables) in the other.

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It was an awesome meal at the end of the day and the bill came to a little less then 100 bones, including two drinks. Thank you Chi!

How do you sort your things in the suitcase? Any great eats this week?

A Meaty Valentines

I woke up yesterday not knowing what my plans were going to be for the evening, so you can imagine how I spent the better part of my day. What to wear? Should I eat a light lunch? Will I make it home in time?

Of course, all these concerns straightened themselves out as the day wore on. I started my day at 6:30a, took the kids I nanny for to school and then ate breakfast at my grandma’s house. Studied with classmates before class, attended a Microbiology lecture about microbial growth (certainly the highlight of my day) and drove home for a quick cat nap. After getting ready, I had a chunk of time to spare because my boyfriend got held up at the restaurant so I decided to play with my new tripod I got in the mail.

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He came home just in time and I made sure to drag him in a few pictures. We are not the most photogenic couple and I just wanted one good one where we both have our eyes open; clearly it wasn’t our day. Hey babe, is that a wink or a squint?

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We’re also not the best with timing, which got us all candids and no straight on shots. He either said something funny or I am just easily amused.

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I think this next one described the situation perfectly.

Me: Okay, just one good one! Last one, promise.

Him: I’m seriously going to choke you right now. Cheeese

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Ten minutes behind schedule, we got in the car and hit rush hour traffic. I am a huge worry wart and started panicking in the car because time was not on our side. I also was really anxious to know where we were going to eat. I feel bad for the poor guy, I think I drove him crazy. Just a little bit, at least.

When we got closer, I absolutely knew where we were going! Espetus Churrascaria, baby!! I have been dying to try this Brazilian steakhouse out for ages, I couldn’t wait to get out the car. We walked in and got seated instantly. Brazil’s national drink, a Caipirinha (sugar cane hard liquor, sugar & lime) some how made it to our table before I even put my bag down.

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We made a rookie mistake and pounced on the bread before the meal. There was a sweet puff, a cousin of a Churro, and a fried sweet plantain. All were delicious and I wanted to bring a few home for desert.

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This was not your typical, ordinary buffet; no sir. First, you start with the salad bar which entailed more than just veggies. My plate consisted of a constellation of arugula salad, cous cous, Brazilian guacamole (I favor Mexican more), hummus, eggplant and many more. We got situated and ate some greens before the meat party began.

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This sign was our best friend the whole night. When it’s flipped up to green, the men and their large skewers of meat come to your table and ask if you would like a taste. When you flip it over to the red side, they skip your table until you’re ready to go again. There was 19 different meat options, which sounds confusing but keep scrolling.

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The first meat that came was chicken hearts, which we politely declined. Next was homemade pork sausages. Yes please!

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Next came chicken drumsticks (which I am embarrassed to say was my favorite) and then something that made me blush. Bacon wrapped filet mignon. I couldn’t resist, I had two.

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One of our friendly meat servers.

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Ten different cuts of steak, four rounds of pork coated in heaven and three serving of cooked pineapple later, we threw in the towel. Or at least we thought we did, until the server casually slipped the desert menu on our table. I have a rule where I’m not really interested unless Creme Brûlée is available, and it was our lucky (or un-lucky, however you want to think about it) night.

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Even though we both were a speed bump away from throwing up from pure gluttony, it was a great experience and a memory I’m happy I get to share with him.

How was your Valentine’s Day? Have you ever gotten so full it was uncomfortable to walk?